Ao Nang and I have a love-hate relationship. It is by far the most beautiful part of Thailand. Limestone cliffs jut up from the seabed forming impenetrable walls, and peninsulas like Railay Beach and Tonsai. Growing from the limestone is a variety of shrubbery, making the view from afar breathtaking. The water is crystal clear with a tint of blue. The sunsets are mesmerizing; watching them I would take a big breath of air in and sign the biggest sigh of my life. You can Kayak through the ‘jungle of islands’ created by the limestone cliffs where semi-tame monkeys will hop on your kayaks in hopes of finding a crumb of food.
Some of the rock cliffs are captivating. Notable shapes have formed like Chicken Island (Ko Gai) and Turtle Island.
Juxtaposed the scenery is one of Thailand’s worst cultural cities and more tourists than locals. The attractive landscape has brought people from all over the world. Too many people. The world class diving is quickly fading. Now all you see during the snorkeling trips is a handful of fish the size of your hand. They have to throw bread into the water to bring enough fish into the area for you to see. Take the terrain away and I could have been in California for all I knew. Prices were insane (relativity speaking of course). Coming from areas of Thailand where you could buy a meal for a dollar, four to six dollars a meal was earth shattering. I paid about $3.00 a night for a hostel in Chiang Mai and Bangkok and I paid $15 a night in Ao Nang. The price was the price. If you didn’t like it then you were shit out of luck. In every other mainland city I visited you were overcharged, but the price was negotiable.
I am glad I visited Ao Nang, but I don’t think I will be going back anytime soon. After the three days, I didn’t feel like I was in Thailand anymore.