- Location. Ao Nang is the main resort in Krabi, and the main road (facing Ao Nang beach) is where all the shops, restaurants, pharmacies, bars, tour agents, etc. are so you're within easy reach of everything! The hotel itself is just a 2 minute walk from this main road, so you're close enough to everything yet when you're lying by the pool it's incredibly peaceful, you can't hear any noise from the roads etc. All the tours (eg. island hopping trips etc.) leave from really nearby too.
- The pool. From what we saw of other hotels in and around the area, ours was by far the biggest! Cleaned everyday, lovely and refreshing, and a really peaceful area. There's also a pool bar (which was unfortunately being renovated during our stay) which looks like it would be great too!
- The staff. Their English is limited (but they're in Thailand, so why should they have to speak English!) but they're all really friendly and helpful. One waiter made a point of coming over to our table every morning at breakfast and telling us he hoped we enjoyed our breakfast.
- The rooms. Our room was on the second floor, over-looking the pool. The rooms are big, basic but perfectly fine, and clean. One thing I would say is that they aren't cleaned very thoroughly - they come in and change the beds and towels, and clean the bathroom etc. but I'm not convinced the floors are mopped or the surfaces wiped or anything like that. Not that it really matters! Housekeeping staff are all really smiley and polite if you ever walk past them in the corridors etc.
- The hotel seemed to suit everyone...there were groups of friends, couples, families, etc.
- The whole stay was perfectly enjoyable. Check in was easy, we didn't have any problems, nothing was lost or stolen, etc. and the hotel looks pretty much exactly as it does in photos...which is often not the case with hotels!
- The breakfast is fairly basic and didn't really change during our two-week stay. There is orange juice, pineapple juice, tea, coffee, milk, water, fresh fruit (usually just watermelon and pineapple), a choice of eggs/omlettes which are cooked in front of you, chicken ham, chicken sausages, soup, either rice or noodles, potatoes, and various little muffins/pastries. There's nothing wrong with it though, as long as you're not expecting a massive 5* hotel style buffet! Alternatively, we noticed that lots of the restaurants offer breakfast too.
- We travelled in low season (May-November) and arrived in the middle of a week of torrential rain. This is obviously not a fault of the hotel's, but something to consider! We asked at reception if there was anything to do, and they basically said no (as all the boat trips etc. can't run in the storms) so we got a bit worried! Fortunately the weather cleared up and for the last ten days of our two week trip we had beautiful weather. Also, the roof on the pool bar had been destroyed in the storms so they were rebuilding it while we were there (it wasn't a disturbance, just a shame to not have use of the bar!)
- Don't go all-inclusive! There are heaps and heaps of restaurants along the main road serving absolutely everything (American, Mexican, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Swedish, seafood, etc.) at varying prices. During low season, lots of the restaurants offer discounts. Almost all of the Italian restaurants do a big bowl of pasta or a 33cm diameter pizza for 140 baht (which is under £3)...lots of other restaurants did half-price cocktails and beers, and took 20% of your food bill, etc. There are also lots of road-side stalls which are super cheap and really nice...one night we had two fresh fruit smoothies, two burgers and four pancakes for about £2.50. Gringo's is a great Mexican place - a really friendly and helpful Australian guy runs the place, their portions are big, and their dacquiris (in over 20 flavours) are amazing!
- I lived in Asia for about 10 years, so I'm really used to bargaining in all the markets and shops...I'm not sure why, but in Krabi the shop owners are completely disinterested. They'll tell you the price of something, and then their final price, before you've even asked...and when you try to bargain they just say no. All the usual tricks (pretending to walk out, saying you've seen it cheaper elsewhere, genuinely going to look for it elsewhere) are a waste of time...we gave up pretty quickly!
- Railay! Railay is another area where there are lots of hotels, but it's only accessible by boat, which is why we opted for a hotel on the mainland. Phra Nang beach and Phra Nang cave are on the 'island', so it features in lots of island hopping tours...we personally wouldn't recommend the 4 island or 5 island tours (especially not in high season as the prices double, and aren't really worth what they cost in low season!) as you stop at Phra Nang beach and Phra Nang cave for about an hour, and the rest of the time you just stop and look at nearby islands which are quite underwhelming apparently! We took a long-tail boat to Railay instead, and paid 200 baht (£4) each for a return ticket...we left in the morning and came back at about 3 in the afternoon...this option is much cheaper, gives you much more freedom since you're not on a tour, and is really simple! The long tail boat men won't leave until they have 8 people in their boats (unless you want to pay the equivalent) so you might have to wait a bit sometimes in low season, but we were lucky and didn't have to. Phra Nang cave has an ancient Buddhist shrine - one of the few left in the world - and Phra Nang beach was our favourite beach of the whole trip. It's absolutely beautiful, and so quiet in low season! So stunning, and so worth a visit!
- We went on a trip to Koh Phi Phi, which was great, but in high season when the price doubles might not quite be worth it...worth pointing out also that Maya Beach (where 'The Beach' with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed) is thoroughly underwhelming! The actual beach is tiny, absolutely rammed with people (I can't even begin to imagine what it's like in high season) and it's impossible to take a photo without either people or a speed boat in the background! There are plenty of trips to go on and plenty of things to do in the area, so I wouldn't recommend centering your stay on a trip to Maya Beach! We only stopped there for half an hour on our tour, and that was more than enough!
Feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions about the hotel or the area!
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- Also Known As:
- Krabi La Playa Hotel Ao Nang
- Krabi La Playa Resort Ao Nang