Ao Manao located in Pranburi district in the Gulf of Thailand is one of the most beautiful bays in Thailand. Lom Muak hill dominates to the north and Klongwahn hill to the south of the beach, so the bay is well protected from storms during the wet season.
There are a few rocky islands off the shore which add to the idealic scenery. Featuring fine white clean sand, shallow water and gentle currents this beach is the perfect get away for the whole family.
Something extremely unique with Ao Manao, is that the location is housed within Wing 5, a Royal Thai Air Force base that also offers beach recreation to both air force families and international visitors and is located 5 km South of central Prachuap.
Wing 5 offers comfortable accommodation to the public at prices cheaper than you would expect. Check bookings first because the Wing 5 give priority to air force officers, accomodation is often sold out during public holidays and long weekends.
Camping is also available on site if you are a motorcyclist wanting somewhere quiet and away from the normal packed tourist beaches. Being part of the air force base, the grounds and beaches are extremely clean, well manicured and free of rubbish and pollutants.
Locals offer boat rides out into the bay to explore the islands at cheap prices. This retired air force man offered a buzz around the bay for a couple of hours for only 300thb, then refused to take money from us after we got back.
On the main beach, banana boat rides, and speed boats rides are also available, with snorkelling on offer near the island outcrops. As with most scenic beaches, for a small price you can sit back and relax on beach chairs until the shade of an umbrella and order local seafood like fish, crabs and prawns all cooked Thai style.