Ao Nang Beach, Krabi

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Originally from Miami, Stefanie Langley finds Krabi’s mix of tourism-meets-deeply-ingrained-traditions a winner and, as she tells David Leck, it doesn’t get much better than spending down time in Ao Nang.

 

I came to Thailand in 2007, but headed to the country’s south three years ago. There are many reasons I love calling Krabi ‘home’ – from stunning natural beauty to quiet corners in the shade of coconut trees and islands around which long-tail boats sail turquoise waters. It’s to Ao Nang, though, that I head on an almost daily basis.


The local government recently cleaned up the beach and built beautiful walking paths along the shore across the road from stalls selling handmade goods, ethnic clothing, jewellery, fragrant soaps, spices, and curry pastes. There are numerous travel agents and many spas we recommend to people who’ve spent an energetic day at our climbing school – great for soothing tired muscles!


Thai is one of the world’s great cuisines, and sampling it is one of the pleasures around here – from fabulous fish, oversized lobsters, squid, prawns, and scallops to sweet roti drizzled in honey, cashew nuts, and palm fruits. My favourites include kanom jeen (thin rice noodles in a spicy fish curry) and khao mok (an Indian-style turmeric-roasted chicken covered in deep-fried shallots).


In a prime spot blending a perfect location with a terrace looking out to the ocean and an extensive international menu, Aning is one of my favourite restaurants. It has a lovely atmosphere, and the food is consistently good.


The most popular time of year to visit is between November and February, when days are blessed with sun, the seas are calm, and the heat is tolerably pleasant, but personally I prefer the start of the rainy season (mid-June) when temperatures are cooler.


Thais love to celebrate, with many festivals forming an integral part of the culture. The most noted are Songkran (Thai New Year), Chinese New Year, and Loi Krathong, when respect is paid to the goddess of water by releasing elaborate lotus-shaped rafts decorated with candles, incense, and flowers.


Another sacred occasion is the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on December 5. With the passing of the world’s longest-reigning monarch on October 13, it’s sure to be marked this year with a mix of great sadness and enormous gratitude for the life of the man who had an incalculable impact on modern Thailand.


Stefanie Langley

Stefanie Langley spent seven years backpacking around Thailand and volunteering at several conservation and community-based projects – including almost four years at the Baan Unrak Children’s Home on the Thai–Burmese border – before settling in the southern province of Krabi in 2013. She and her husband Tik run the Real Rocks Climbing School and live near Ao Nang with their two-year-old daughter Mayom.
realrocksclimbing.com

 


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Krabi, Thailand
Distance: 5,359 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 40 minutes
Frequency: Beginning December 6, Qatar Airways will operate four flights a week

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