Bob Marley’s Thailand – Exploring Ao Nam Mao and Railay

We stayed at the Dawn of Happiness Resort in Ao Nam Mao, Krabi for 6 days (February 26 – March 3, 2017). We took the ferry to Ao Nang from Koh Lanta, which took about 3 hours and cost us 950 baht, which wasn’t bad since it it also included a transfer to our resort. Calling it a resort is probably misleading in the Western sense since there were twelve huts and no pool or amenities. We knew beforehand when we were looking for places that this wasn’t going to beo the Shangri-la, but it was cheap and looked pretty in a rustic way. Our views were confirmed when we arrived, the vibe of the place was very Rastafarian, the management and employees would just hang out around the kitchen and dinning area and there was always Bob Marley playing on loop in the background. The bright side of this place for me (other than it having hot water) was that there was a litter of kittens about a month old who lived in the kitchen/dining area and the beautiful views from the beach, which was about 10 feet from our hut. The water wasn’t swimmable about half the day because the tide would go out but you’d be able to walk out pretty far, which was very cool (and made for great pictures). The downside for me was the management, the owner was rarely ever around and his Swedish girlfriend tried to manage the place but did not seem to enjoyed it very much and would talk down to the staff. Most evenings we ate dinner at the resort, which consisted of chicken or fish, rice, collard greens and a banana for dessert. At first it was pretty good but then the quality went down and the price was raised from 120 to 150 baht per person so we started going into town for dinner.The town was only a fifteen minute walk from our resort and the food was absolutely phenomenal. There are barely any tourists in Ao Nam Mao so everything is cheap and you get some authentic Thai food. There’s a place near the family market, past the chicken satay stand (no name but there are about five wooden tables at the front and plastic tables in the back) where they serve some of the best food I have ever had, the laab Kai (minced chicken salad) had me coming back three days in a row. Grab some sticky rice for 10 baht and laab for 100 baht and you and your travel buddy will be so full you might not even want dinner. There is also a place across the street called Thai Food Start, where you could get a delicious twist on a traditional green curry.
We really didn’t do much in Ao Nam Mao since we came there mostly for the sun and beach but we did spend our last day in Railay, which was one of the best decisions we ever made. Railay hands down is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. It cost us 200 baht each from Ao Nam Mao pier to go there and back. We went expecting just a beach but quickly realized it was so much more. When we arrived we looked at a map and saw that there were several view points across the island. In my opinion, visiting view points is always a good idea. When we got there, there were no signs saying that we were at a view point or indicating where to go. We just saw a steep clay hill with a rope and some vines. Luckily there were people climbing down this hill who told us that we would have to use the rope and vines to climb this very steep hill and this would take us about twenty minutes. We didn’t want to back out so we climbed up the hill and headed to the viewpoint, which was amazing and 100 % worth the climb. Then, we saw a sign leading to a lagoon and we decided that since we climbed up this far we had to also see it. The lagoon was a slippery downhill climb and three sets of bamboo ladders attached (somewhat reliably) with a rope to some rocks away. I’ll be honest climbing down those ladders was terrifying. However, again it proved to be absolutely worth it, the lagoon was breathtaking and it was refreshing to jump into some water and go for a swim after all that climbing. The climb back down the hill was fairly easy (but be ready to have your clothes ruined from being stained by clay), and so we headed through some more caves to the equally beautiful beach at West Railay. The water here was chilly but crystal clear and with the caves and palm trees in the background it was magical. We were pretty hungry by this point and were pretty excited to see some food boats. For 200 baht we were able to buy ourselves two delicious smoothies, some fried spring rolls and chicken fried rice. After our yummy lunch, we just laid down and relaxed with our books until it was time to head back to Ao Nam Mao.
Overall, I really loved Ao Nam Mao. Ao Nam Mao is for the traveller who is looking for a quieter, more laid back and authentic experience. I think 6 days is the perfect amount of time to spend there because you have lot’s of time to read, eat amazing food and visit Railay once (or twice).


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