For those willing to try something other than conducted tours of beaches & islands from Ao Nang, there is the cheaper option of making the trips on long tail boats. These boats are called ‘Long Tail” because of the long propeller shaft attached to the engine at the rear end of the boat. Tickets for long tail trips can be bought from the Ao Nang Long Tail Boat Service Club counter on the Beach Road. One can walk to the counter or take a tuk tuk (ask for long tail boat counter). Just know that tuk tuk service in Ao Nang is expensive and to take you even to a very nearby point, they will ask for 100 THB or more. To locate the counter, if you are walking on the beach road with the beach on your right side and the shops on your left, soon you will reach a left turn. The counter is at this corner. The road is indicated as “4203” in the map. There are several options for taking ‘DIY’ tours from this counter to local beaches & local islands such as on a shared basis or as a private boat charter. The counter opens daily from 8.00am to 6.00pm.
Single / Return Trips To Local Beaches
‘One way only’ tickets to Centara Grand Hotel and Tonsai Beach are sold at 100 THB each from 8.00am to 6.00pm. For trips to West Railay Beach and Phra Nang Cave Beach, two way tickets are sold at 200 THB each. There is a night time service also from 6.00pm to midnight but since during those hours the counter will be closed, I guess the money will be collected directly by the boat driver. Night time one way charge for these trips is THB 150. An information display at the counter says that for a return trip to a local beach, one needs to buy two single tickets. One way trip to a local beach by long tail boat takes approximately 15 minutes.
Tickets To Local Islands
Return tickets for trips to the local islands – Poda Island, Tub Island, and Chicken Island – are sold at 300 THB each and the journey time is approximately 25 minutes. These three are called “local islands” because one can see these islands in the front from the Ao Nang Beach. For other far away islands, one needs to take a conducted speed boat tour or book a private long tail boat charter. The local island boat service operates from 8.00am to 4.00pm. For the return trip, one can take any available boat that belongs to the Long Tail Boat Service Club by giving the ticket to the driver.
Long Tail Boat Charter Rates
Private long tail boat charters are available for 4-6 persons and the trip duration can be half day or full day (upto 4.00pm). The cost of a boat charter varies from 1700 THB to 5000 THB depending on which and how many islands you cover. The islands that are covered by charter boats are Pakbia Island, Paradise Island, Hong Island, Daeng Island, Tub Island, Poda Island, Chicken Island, and Railay Bay, etc.
National Park Entry Fee
An additional national park entry fee (400 THB or so per person) has to be paid by the tourist for trips to Tub Island, Hong Island, Poda Island, Chicken Island, and Bamboo Island. You may inquire about the entry fee at the boat ticket counter.