Looking back at our time in Thailand, Klong Muang in Krabi has to be one of the most memorable. Blissfully tranquil and refreshingly unhurried, Klong Muang is the picture perfect, laid-back alternative to the tourist trap of Ao Nang. Little did we know that the crowds of Ao Nang would have us running right into the arms of this hidden gem.
In fact, arriving in Ao Nang was a shock! We’d expected a cool, chilled out and authentic vibe, but instead Ao Nang was extremely over-developed. Chain restaurants served bland food, hotel resorts concealed traces of a once understated charm and western watering holes blared cheesy live music. Great if you’re looking for that type of thing. But we were looking for something less obvious. Something with a local feel. We made the best of what we had, choosing to relax by the pool instead of the overcrowded beach, eating at the few local restaurants we could find and soaking up the glorious sunsets in the evening before exploring the town. We lasted three days then escaped to Klong Muang, recommended by a random conversation with a local. We couldn’t get away quick enough! In our haste to leave, we missed out on visiting the famous Railay beach!
Nestled in-between Ao Siew beach and the upmarket Tubkaek beach, Klong Muang was reminiscent of a sleepy fishing village. It had a simplicity to it. A certain charm. There was only a handful of restaurants and the beach was almost deserted. Just what we were looking for. Just what we needed.
Luckily we’d managed to find a room at one of the few locally owned budget guesthouses in the area. It was the perfect hideaway. The beach was ten seconds away, the bar was ten seconds away and the massage beds were ten seconds away! Utter bliss!
We were only meant to be in Klong Muang for a few days – a week at the most. But something special happened. We met a great bunch of people right on our doorstep. Some of them stayed at our guesthouse, some of them were random strangers. But we all connected and for about ten days we called this beach our home.
Night after night we all got together to exchange travel stories and watch spectacular sunsets until the very last glimpse of amber light disappeared over the horizon. By day we’d soak up the sun on pristine, white sandy beaches overlooking views of the outrageously blue Andaman. Sometimes we’d zip around on scooters exploring Krabi town or just taking in the views. Close to the Koh Hong islands, we hired long tail boats and spent time island hopping and fishing.
Our living room was the beach, where we spent lazy days and balmy nights at the Little Jamaican Bar. This bar bought us altogether. Whoever passed by couldn’t resist the charm of this place, often leaving their 5* star resorts to join us. Honeymooners, pilots, cabin crew, travellers – you name it. They all descended on this quirky little bar. Made entirely out of reclaimed wood and defying gravity, Sharkey the owner, literally lived and breathed this place. He’d organise beach BBQ’s and whilst we sat under the stars by the glow of a beach fire listening to the sounds of Bob Marley, he’d make some mean cocktails!
Time inevitably crept up on all of us. The group got smaller and smaller as people went home or continued their travels. Day after day we’d bid farewell to someone, until only Asad and I were left. Our last memory was standing by the road side at 5.00am waiting for our taxi to the airport. It was time to go. Time for a new adventure – in Malaysia!
For us, Klong Muang was special. Not just because it had idyllic beaches, amazing sunsets and a peaceful seclusion, but because we met some great people. It played a huge part in the whole experience. We were inspired by these people, definitely entertained and in awe of the travel stories they shared with us. Most of all, we’ll always remember it’s the simple things in life that make us happy – a beach, friends, a few beers and Bob Marley!
Where to stay
Most of the accommodation in Klong Muang is composed of 4* and 5* hotels with a few 3* dotted around. We stayed at the budget friendly Vacation House which in February cost £8 a night for a double room and huge breakfast thrown in. Bargain! This is a lovely family owned guesthouse with a simple but delicious lunch menu. Ask for Laila who will organise scooters, transfers and tours for you. We loved it here!
Koh Kwang Resort which was literally across the road from Vacation House, was another budget – friendly option. We stayed here a couple of nights. Accommodation ranges from rooms with fans or A/C to garden bungalows. They can also organise tours and have a restaurant.
Little Jamaica Bar
One of the few beach bars on Klong Muang, this is a great place to watch the sunset. It’s got a couple of tables, a hammock, a tree swing and chill out area. With live music most nights, it’s just the perfect place to hangout!
Getting to Klong Muang
Krabi town is about 30 minutes from Klong Muang. You can take a songthaew, taxi or tuk-tuk to Klong Muang. Ao Nang is a mere 20 minutes away, perfect for when you fancy a night out or a bit of shopping.
Klong Muang beach is better than the beach in Ao Nang. Not that I’m a beach snob – after all a beach is a beach! But it’s far less crowded and the sand is softer. As Ao Nang is the main hub for trips to Railey and other islands, the beaches have many boats waiting to pick up tourists. You won’t see this at Klong Muang. Instead it’s just local fishermen with long-tailed boats for hire.
There is no nightlife! However this is gradually changing and as I’m writing this I’m sure a new restaurant or bar has popped up! Apart from a couple of beach bars and Paddy’s Pub on the main road, there is nothing to do here in the evenings unless you’re staying in a resort where the entertainment and dining is of course, all in-house. There are a handful of locally owned restaurants and the atmosphere is decidedly relaxed.
If you want to experience the tranquility and peaceful surroundings of Klong Muang, I would go now. Capture that faint whisper of local charm before the silence is discovered by the Ao Nang crowd!