Ao Nang and Krabi - Jim Wageman

Not far from Thailand's peninsular southern border with Malaysia, the province of Krabi and its capital of the same name were until recently relatively unspoiled destinations for those looking to experience the natural wonders of Thailand's south. The seaside town of Ao Nang and the Nopparat Thara Marine National Park and its many offshore islands seemed almost Edenic, resplendent with palm-tree- and casuarina-lined coasts, limestone cliffs and karsts arising from the sea, and sparkling, often virtually empty beaches. Unfortunately, as with other such extraordinarily appealing locations, the area is now overrun with tourists and with all manner of vendors eager to cash in on the surge. Despite all that, there is still much natural beauty to be enjoyed here.