Ao Nang, in search of sun and civilisation......
Trip Start Nov 17, 2012
40Trip End May 25, 2013
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Making the journey from Ko Phangan took the best part of a day and 4 modes of transport, starting out of course with the now "famous" Songthaew taxi to the pier, then a ferry via Ko Samui to a tiny town on the Thai mainland, a bus from there to Krabi and finally a minivan from Krabi to Ao Nang. Of all of these, the minivan was probably the most entertaining as our driver decided to drop us off first but as usual, he had no idea where the hotel was! (We've gotten used to negotiating taxi fares in Asia only to finally agree a price, get in and then have the taxi driver ask us where we want to go....... I thought thats what the negotiation bit was for!!!).
So, lost and crammed into a minivan full of 10 people, super organised James decided to whip out his Tripadvisor map which he'd downloaded on to his iPad. Unfortunately the curse of Tripadvisor maps struck again as we soon found ourselves driving round and round in country lanes way outside of Ao Nang trying to find a hotel which basically didn't exist where it should have done! We felt a little guilty on the other passengers as the driver stopped about 5 times to ask for directions, every time getting back in the van and promising us he knew where he was going! We eventually stumbled upon it by complete chance right back in the middle of Ao Nang! Oops! Stupid Tripadvisor maps!! Although great for us as we were much more central than we thought we'd be.
Ao Nang is advertised in the guide books as basically a less sleazy, slightly nicer version of Phuket (although what we've heard of Phuket, I think we'd prefer Baghdad right now!). It was very busy, tourists everywhere and more restaurants, bars and shops than we could actually count, but it was nice to be back to civilisation again. At least if Google weather had lied to us here, we'd have plenty to keep us busy!
On the first of our two main days, we decided to hit Ao Nang beach
The view at the end of the beach and out to sea was pretty cool with these enormous rocks (and when I say enormous I mean 10+ storey building height!) almost balancing in the sea - I have no idea how they were standing as it almost seemed to defy Newtons Theory of Gravity...... they just looked amazing (James wrote that bit!!)
Probably the biggest downside with the beach was the Longtail boats which come and go all day long, transferring people from beach to beach, doing tours out to the islands in the distance, etc. They're really interesting to watch for about the first 5 minutes but after that, they did get quite annoying. Some of them were so loud that at times with our eyes closed we could have been sitting in the pit lane of Silverstone- it was just ridiculous!!
On our second and last main day, we decided to try out a different beach called Rai Leh Beach which you could only reach from where we were by a Longtail boat. The boat was great fun even though we should have brought ear plugs with us
We decided on dinner in a restaurant called Bamboo something. The main reason why we decided on this one amongst the hundred or so others we walked past was the really cute, little Indian man on the front. Instead of verbally assaulting us to get us to eat in his restaurant like some of the others tried to do, he was so friendly and smiley! He had even put on a smart green shirt, trousers AND had polished his shoes! I was impressed!
However, within 5 minutes it was chaos!!! We've never seen anything like it as table after table after table started complaining about their service, all within 2 minutes of each other! Half of table 1 had finished their meals when the other half hadn't even received theirs. Table 2 had waited over an hour for their food. Table 3 had watched their food being given to table 4 who were eating it whilst complaining that they'd received food they hadn't even ordered!!
Despite questioning ourselves, we decided to give the food a go, have a few drinks and whilst it took a while to come out (we were the only table left in the restaurant at this point), it was actually really tasty. When we went to leave, the smart Indian man stopped us and apologised for the chaos which was really sweet. We must have spoken to him for about 15 minutes whilst we gave him some tips about how to run a good restaurant!! Ha! What did we know! But he wrote some of them down anyway-we felt like mystery "eaters"!! He even told us and showed us a new page he would be putting into his menus from tomorrow about the wait for the food! The whole experience had obviously affected him. I just wanted to give him a big hug - which was more than likely due to the amount of local beer I had drunk!!!
The best thing about Ao Nang had been the chance to enjoy some lovely sunshine on a beach (I know you all probably think we're out here laying in beaches every day but we're definitely not!). It hasn't been added on to our list of places to move to (although I reckon we'd have a job at Bamboo something restaurant if we did!), but it had been an interesting 3 night stay in the busiest of our Asian beachside resorts so far.
Next stop for us is the one we've been looking forward to on the beautiful island of Ko Lanta. We look forward to updating you from there soon!
Lots of love,
Amy and James