Exploring the postcard perfect isles of Ao Nang Bay
KOH RANG NOK: Just off the western tip of the arrow-head peninsula that is home to Railay Beach, sits Koh Rang Nok. This tiny but picturesque island of white sand beaches is surrounded by crystal clear shallow waters. At high tide it can appear to be two separate islands, but when the tide recedes an isthmus of fine white sand appears just above the surface, creating a pedestrian walkway between the two halves.
CHICKEN ISLAND: Known in Thai language as “Koh Gai” or “Koh Tub”, the rather odd-shaped rock formation—referred to in English as Chicken Island—is indeed an island that does resemble a chicken (from certain angles anyway). On it you’ll find secluded beaches, a snack bar, and some nice offshore snorkeling spots.
SNORKELLING: Almost all the islands that lie offshore from the Krabi mainland are perfect for snorkelling, especially the small uninhabited ones that are literally just large chunks of rock popping up above the surface of the sea. Unfortunately, the increase in water temperatures globally, and the increase in tourists to Thailand annually, have both had a dramatic impact on the health of these once pristine reefs, but visitors can still see a few patches of healthy coral and plenty of colourful fish darting about whenever curious visitors arrive.
KOH PODA: Located just 6 km south from Ao Nang, the postcard perfect tropical island known as Koh Poda is a preferred stop on most organized boat tours in this region. The island is part of a National Marine Park, and as such there is an entry fee—for non-Thais admission is B400 (children B200) and for Thais it’s B40 (children B20)—although this fee is worked into the price of most commercial tours. For shutterbugs, the large vertical rock formation that stands dramatically alone in the waters just off the main beach has become a “must-do” photo op.
KOH HONG: It’s a bit of a distance—heading in the direction to the west and north of Ao Nang—but the journey to Koh Hong is worth it… provided you don’t mind crowds. Because of the sheer volume of boats arriving at this island paradise a floating dock was built, which allows the huge numbers of visitors easy access to a stretch of white sand and turquoise waters that’s nicely shaded by the line of trees along the beach. Colourful fish dart and scurry around tourists taking a dip in the shallow ocean waters, while vendors onshore have plenty refreshments for sale when visitors get peckish or parched.
Words and photos by Bruce Scott