Klong Muang is a pretty beach area located to the north of Ao Nang, with spectacular views over the Andaman Sea and the closest coastal access to the Ko Hong island group, a protected marine park of astonishing beauty. There are three beaches here: Ao Siew, whose most southerly point, Hang Nak cape, was chosen by the Thai royal family as the clifftop location for one of their summer palaces; Klong Muang, which has two sides – a wide sandy stretch to the south, and a narrow strip of sand curving round to the north, that is home to an industrial pier; and, even further north, the wildly beautiful Tupkaek Beach.
Whereas Ao Nang has evolved gradually over 20 years to become an international resort area, Klong Muang and Tupkaek have been developed rapidly in the last few years and, from the outset, only seen top-level investment from the likes of the Sheraton group and now Sofitel and Ritz-Carlton.
The accommodation that has been built here and at Tubkaek beach all share the same characteristics: private, luxurious and self-contained. The biggest attraction of these hotels, with the Sofitel being the notable exception, is that they (unlike the hotels in Ao Nang) have direct access to the beach. And, with spas, pools, restaurants and even shops within the grounds, there is no need for guests ever to leave the confines of the resort area.
And, for the moment, there is no real reason to go outside.
In Klong Muang, the immediate vicinity is rather dull: there is little if no street life, less than a dozen independent restaurants and no nightlife to speak of, though things are improving gradually. Halal food is readily available, as the village of Klong Muang is Muslim, and there are also a few locally-owned budget bungalows and guesthouses for those who can’t afford 4 star hotels.
Tupkaek Beach, however, is far worse: there is no village here so basically you’ll find no sign of life outside the hotel compounds. This means the hotel restaurants are the only dining choices, and there is not a single shop or independent restaurant within walking distance.
All of which is perfect for people who want a quiet, luxury break or an escape from the usual holiday crowd. As most tour operators will now pick up from Klong Muang and some from Tupkaek too, it is still possible to use the area as a base to explore the islands and inland; many hotels located here also offer shuttle services to the more busy Ao Nang Beach for those in need of a shopping fix or night out.
As all the hotels are located directly on the shore, with only indirect public access, the beaches are effectively private, for the use only of the resorts’ clients. A large plus is that – for the most part – the beaches are free of longtail boat traffic, which makes them noticeably more peaceful than Railay or Ao Nang. Apart from Tubkaek beach at high tide, swimming is not particularly good as the coast is quite rocky and shallow, but the pools rank among the best and most original in the region.
One other attraction in the area is the National Park located at the end of Tubkaek Beach. From here, there is a nice woodland walk past a river to a waterfall and – for those feeling fit or brave enough – the opportunity to continue further to the peak of Ngon Nak (also known as Hon Nak, meaning Dragon’s Crest), a mountain with spectacular views over Phang Nga Bay. Although only around 4km in distance, the trek takes 2 – 3 hours and should only be attempted with a buddy and plenty of water.
Potential visitors to Klong Muang should also be aware that there is also a large gypsum quarry located between this beach and Tupkaek which attracts attendant large boats and trucks used to transport the white powder. It is, however, only an eyesore rather than anything more bothersome and is unlikely to spoil your holiday here.
Last updated: October 24, 2016