Jamie's Phuket Blog

Jamie's Phuket Blog - Discover The Real Phuket!

Ao Sane Beach - One of Phuket's Gems

You might not have heard of Ao Sane beach. I know people who live here who don't know it, or they have heard of it, but have never been, or don't know how to get there! Ao Sane beach is still a small, quiet beach and when I visited in September 2018, I felt like I'd gone back in time. First time I went to Ao Sane was 2006 and it's really not changed since then, although Phuket tourist numbers have increased a lot! The southwest corner of Phuket makes for a nice drive in a car or on a moped, there's plenty to see in this area such as the Big Buddha, Karon Viewpoint, Phromthep Cape and plenty more - see A Tour of South Phuket. The roads are quiet here and the scenery is great even if the area is a lot more developed than it used to be.

Ao Sane Beach is not well known and is a little big hidden. You need to get to the larger Naiharn Beach, and at the north end of the beach follow the road that passes around the entrance to The Nai Harn Resort. Then you have about another 600 meters of narrow, twisty cliff-side road before reaching a small parking area and a big sign saying 'Ao-Sane Bungalow and Restaurant'. If you carry on straight you enter the Baan Krating Resort.

Ao Sane Beach Parking

There's space for lots of mopeds, but not so many cars. And I saw a couple of signs saying they will fine you and remove your vehicle if you block the road, so I guess there has been an issue in the past! You could also just park at Naiharn, where there is more parking space, and walk about 1 kilometer from there to Ao Sane.

Ao Sane Beach Entrance

And then you walk down a steep concrete path (see photo above) for about 50 meters to the beach. Ao Sane is not big - the beach stretches only about 130 meters from end to end with granite rocks at either end, and some pretty big granite boulders on the beach and in the sea too! The view looking east (see below) towards Phromthep Cape and Ya Nui Beach is great.

Ao Sane Beach

At the east end of the beach there are some beach chairs in the shade. Not too many, and I am guessing you'll need to pay to rent one. With the restaurant only a few steps away, this is a place you could easily sit for some hours and have a few holiday drinks interspersed with a swim or snorkel in the sea. I believe the snorkeling here is OK when the sea is calm and there used to be a tiny dive shop run by a German guy .. I know he has gone back to Germany, but I hear that he sold the place . it was not open when I visited, but maybe in high season.

Ao Sane Beach

Ao Sane Beach

The restaurant has plenty of tables, mostly in the shade. Looks pretty much like it did back in 2006. Nothing fancy, prices reasonable (maybe a bit more than I'd want to normally pay for Thai food, but ...). And very quiet and relaxing. No loud music, no traffic noise, just the sound of the ocean. I had not planned more than a quick visit to take photos, but figured a beer would be nice and why not have lunch too.

Ao Sane Beach Restaurant

Ao Sane Beach Lunch

Thai food prices were about 90 - 150 Baht. I went for fish and chips (200 Baht) and it was a very good portion! And went very well with a cold Chang beer. I sat for nearly an hour enjoying life. I think a trip with the whole family will be on the cards soon - and then I can have more than 1 beer and let my wife drive :)

To the west side of the restaurant are a few bungalows, some looking better than others. The low season rate - 500 Baht per night. Basic, but right on the beach with a restaurant next door. Deal? I am not sure where else in Phuket you can get a beachfront bungalow for 500 Baht.

Ao Sane Beach Bungalow

I need to spend a bit more time in this area. The nearby Nui Beach is on my list for a visit soon and Naiharn beach is very nice too. Rawai Beach has places to eat and you can hire boats out to nearby islands and one day I really should get to the restaurant at Bon island. Too much to see, too little free time.

Ao Sane Beach - Location Map

Bizarre Foods in Phuket (Travel Channel)

I remember reading a few years ago that the Travel Channel had done an episode of 'Bizarre Foods' in Phuket .. forgot about that until today and found it online and watched for the first time. The host is quite right - to find the best Phuket food, get off the tourist beaches! There's a couple of things on here that I have not eaten - really must go and try sea cicadas sometime, but really I am not one of those people who must try the weirdest local foods! Many of our favourite Phuket restaurants are here on the blog - see Phuket Restaurants.

Railay Beach and Phra Nang Beach (Krabi)

Yes, this is the Phuket Blog, but Krabi is very close to us ... We had a 2 night trip to Krabi back in April 2017 and I really wanted to visit Railay Beach. I'd been in Phuket since 1999 and somehow never really checked out Krabi until this year! Well, we never got to Railay in April, but we saw enough of the Krabi area to plan another trip, so we had another 2 night trip in Krabi in July 2017. Railay was very much on my must-see list despite my wife thinking it would be just another beach. And although we only spent a couple of hours checking out Railay beach and Phra Nang beach (right next to Railay) we really like it and we are already thinking of our next Krabi trip and will spend a bit more time at Railay.

Tours to Krabi from Phuket, or tours for people already staying in Krabi, can be booked with my friends at Easy Day Thailand.

We were staying in Krabi Town at the River View Hotel, which is right next to the river. The pier for longtail boats to Railay Bay (or Ao Nang) was just a few minutes walk from the hotel. And the boats are not expensive - just 150 Baht per person each way.

Longtail boats from Krabi Town to Railay

(above) We got a longtail boat from the river in Krabi Town. The trip to Railay is about 12km and took about 30 minutes on a lovely sunny morning with calm seas. Our boat arrived at a large floating pier at Railay Bay East - not much of a beach here, it's mangroves and a bit muddy. West Railay Beach is the place you want to be! We first bought some bottles of water in a minimart - everything double the normal price because everything here has to be brought in by longtail boat. Small bottles of water - 20 Baht. Note for next time - bring some water with us from town (small bottles of water can be as cheap as 7 Baht). Jeez, I sound like a cheap backpacker!

Longtail boat approaching Railay Bay

(above) Approaching Railay from Krabi Town

Railay Bay East

(above) Floating Pier at Railay Bay East

Railay Beach Alleyway

The walk from Railay East to Railay West is down a narrow path passing the backside of a couple of hotels and restaurants, not that pretty, but arriving at Railay Beach, we were confronted with a truly spectacular view. Although I had really wanted to visit I was prepared to be disappointed, as often happens with very touristy places. But this really is a beautiful place and I think it helps that this was low season and we arrived by about 10am - you can certainly expect more people later in the morning and during the afternoon. I wonder if we might stay here next time rather than in Krabi town ...

Railay Beach

Railay Beach (west) Krabi

(above) Railay Beach (West). It gets lots of hype, so I was expecting something less, but it really is gorgeous. I am not really a beach person, I don't "go to the beach", but I think I could stay in a hotel here for a few nights and just enjoy the scenery, the sand and the sea (and a few beers). It was quiet when we arrived and that certainly helps. There are only a handful of hotels (check hotels at Agoda), many people visit from Ao Nang and other nearby areas (Krabi Town or even from Phi Phi) during the day. Also at Railay West we saw plenty of supplies being unloaded by hand from longtail boats. Plenty of work goes into that 20 Baht bottle of water!

Unloading supplies at Railay Beach West

(above) Unloading supplies at Railay Beach

Railay Beach West

(above) My boy could run around at Railay Beach all day I think! We have to come here again. On this trip we had limited time, as we needed to be back in Krabi Town by about midday or 1pm to check out of the hotel. From West Railay, to get to Phra Nang Beach you have to walk back to East Railay and then turn right until you find the path to Phra Nang. Not a long walk, just a few minutes. Heading to Phra Nang Bay you walk past caves and stalactites for a couple of hundred meters. There is a sign to a viewpoint that we'll have to explore next time.

Phranang Bay is maybe even more beautiful than Railay, but smaller. It's hemmed in by high cliffs and as you can guess the only access is by foot, plus we saw that some tour boats drop people directly here rather than Railay. It was about 11am when we got to Phra Nang and it was noticeably busier than Railay West. But anyway. Wow.

Phra Nang Beach, Krabi

(above) Phranang Beach - click photo to see a bigger version (opens in a new browser window)

Phra Nang is certainly a place we could stay for a while, bring a picnic, swim a bit ... it's on the list for next time! There are several points of interest here aside from the beach, the sea and the views. Right by the beach you can find a cave which features an extremely unusual shrine. Offerings are made hereto the princess of Phranang cave in the form of lingams. What are lingams? They are phallic symbols resembling the male organ (ha ha, won't get me to say penis here!) The offerings are said to bring good luck, wealth and fertility to the local people. It seems these beliefs are still held today, as there are plenty of new phallic offerings.

Phra Nang Cave, Krabi

(above) Our daughter checking out the shrine at Phra Nang Cave

Cave and Beach, Phra Nang, Krabi

(above) Looking out from a cave at Phra Nang Beach (not the willy cave, it's the next one). There are a few caves here and I saw someone crawling up a narrow passage, but where to? Gosh we really do need to come back and explore more!

Phranang Cave

(above) Lots and lots of lingams. Yeh, you don't get this on any other tourist beach!

Phra Nang (and Krabi in general) is also well known as a place to go rock climbing. Krabi is a good place to learn/try climbing, and there are plenty of cliffs if you are an experienced climber. We found a load of climbers next to the beach. Some looked like novices, others were climbing higher.

Rock Climbing at Phra Nang Beach

(above) Rock climbing at Phranang, Krabi

Our longtail boat driver was waiting for us at East Railay and it was already midday by the time we walked back from Phra Nang. I am glad to say this area has surprised me. I am sure it can get crowded at times, but there's a lot of natural beauty here and now we're planning our 3rd Krabi trip and will spend more than a couple of hours at Railay and Phra Nang!

More about Krabi

Krabi Hotels (Booking at Agoda.com)
Krabi Tours - contact my friends at Easy Day Thailand
Tiger Cave Temple
Emerald Pool
Our Trip to Krabi in April 2017
Our trip to Krabi in July 2017

Railay Beach and Phra Nang Beach - Location Map