Many visitors consider Ao Manao as one the best beach they’ve seen in Thailand. I can’t disagree with them since it really has a lot of advantages. There’s no proper beach in Prachuap Khiri Khan itself, but it’s just 5 kilometers away to go to Ao Manao and enjoy a nice day at the sea.
What makes this beach unique is that it’s located within Wing 5, the Prachuap Air Force base.
This location has two main advantages :
- It’s always neat since the soldiers clean it up every day of the week.
- You will not be bothered by beach vendors since they’re not authorized to carry on business in Ao Manao.
The beach itself stretches along Ao Manao Bay wich offers a beautiful scenery with it’s limestone rocks emerging from the sea. It’s lined with trees which will protect you from Thailand’s blazing sun. However, when i say the beach is beautiful, don’t expect white sand and azure-blue sea: it’s the gulf of Thailand, not the Carribeans.
The nothern part of the beach is occupied by a lining up of deckchairs and tables: This is a common Thai way to spend time at the beach. You will be charged the (small) fee of 10฿ per person to sit there. Once settled you can ask for a menu and order food and/or drinks that you will gladly consume while looking at the sea. If you don’t plan to spend a long time at the beach or if you don’t like to sit on deckchairs, there’s still a large part of the beach where you can freely place your towel and go for a swim.
Ao Manao offers a lot of facilities: toilets and showers, two food centers, bars, restaurants, souvenir shops… and if you’re not the kind of person who enjoys lying quietly on the beach you’ll find the opportunity to practice different activities: horse riding, archery, quad biking… There’s even a little “farm” wich is the home of a flock of goats and a few ostriches. And for those who’re willing to enjoy an extended stay, there’s also an hotel.
Be aware that Ao Manao beach is a favourite destination for bangkokians willing to escape the uproar of the city for a few days. It means it can get really busy during week-ends and holidays. On the other hand it can be extremely quiet during weekdays.