Railay (also spelled Raileh, Railey) is jaw-droppingly stunning! We are talking world-class beaches that are picture perfect in every way.
This piece of paradise is cut off from the mainland by towering limestone karsts which make it a rock climbers dream. This terrain also means it’s impossible to drive there and the only way there is by boat, so it totally feels like you’re going to a tropical island.
If you are looking for a beach holiday, pure and simple, go to Railay.
|Railay East||Sunrise Beach||Mid-Range||*|
|Railay West||Sunset Beach||Fancy Resorts||****|
|Phra Nang Bay||Monkey Beach||One 5-star resort||*****|
Apart from sunbathing and swimming, the main activity on Railay is rock-climbing, which attracts enthusiasts from all over the world. The quality and value makes it a great place to learn with basic beginner’s classes starting at ฿600
Hidden in the cliffs at the tip of the Railay peninsula is a breathtaking viewpoint and lagoon. You’ll find the trail between Railay East to Phra Nang Beach. It’s part trek & part scramble. It’s only short (around 1km) but it’s very steep, and be prepared to get MUDDY as you work you way through the slippery clay!
I’m not a morning person, but there’s really nothing like a Railay East sunrise to start the day. The colours that come across the sky are insane.
Once of the best experiences in my life is heading to Phra Ngha Bay at first light to snorkel in the crystal clear water when there’s no one else in sight. Yes, you can still do this during the day but if you’re already up from watching the sunrise, why not?
Huh? Yes, it sounds a bit odd! But if you’re lucky there will be little microbes in the water that when agitated, they emit a brilliant light. A night swim with these little stars in the sea is truely magical. Make sure you don’t leave any valuables on the beach when you do this because there’s been stories of items going missing
Longtail boats can be chartered for of island hopping to offshore islands like Ko Poda and Ko Hong. If you’re on a tight budget, make some friends and share the cost!
Cruise around the Railay waters and cave passageways on a kayak.
There are lots of paths around Railay to explore, check out the path that goes around the back of Railay East over to Tonsai
Take a trip to the mainland to check out Krabi’s attractions, our highlight was the Tiger Cave Temple and the walk to the Big Tree
A massage will be in need after all the activities you can do here. The good news is the best massages that we had in Thailand were in Railay (and we’ve had A LOT!).
For us, the food in Railay didn’t stand out like other places in Thailand. Most restaurants offer the standard ‘Thai & Western’ menu (why oh why can’t they just focus on one cuisine and do it well!?). These are the places that we’d go back to and recommend:
Here are our picks for each budget:
If you’re after private accomodation, check out Railay Beach Club. It’s kinda like Railays own Airbnb. In high season rates range from ฿3,000 for 1brm home that sleeps 2, to ฿18,000 for a 3brm home that sleeps 8.
Handy info: Unless you have pre-arranged accomodation in a fancy resort, you’ll need to take your luggage to your accomodation. Everything’s close so it won’t be more than a 10 min walk. The footpaths are okay if you need to roll a suitcase between Railay East to Railay West (we managed, but did need to carry our bags at points where it was sandy).
While Railay is actually part of the mainland, it’s not reachable by road because it’s surrounded by massive limestone cliffs. The only way to this secluded paradise is via boat.
Here’s how to get there from the main destinations nearby.
Ao Nang is the best mainland point to get to Railay. Here Thai-style longboats will take you around to the Tonsai and Railay West shorelines.
From Krabi Airport, you can either get a shuttle to Krabi Town (฿90) or Ao Nang (฿150).
If you’re coming from Krabi Town, here’s how to get to Railay. Boats from this side stop at Railay East, where there’s a floating pier.
There are ferry services from popular islands near Railay. You can buy tickets at the pier, which is what we did. You can also buy tickets online here or through local agents, both options can include hotel transfers.
|Phuket||Rassada Pier||2 hrs 15 mins||฿700||1 x day at 8:30am|
|Krabi||Klong Jilad Pier||x||฿x||x + / day|
|Phi Phi*||Tonsai Pier||1 hr 15 mins||฿400||1 x day at 3:30pm|
|Koh Lanta^||Saladan Pier||1 hr 45 mins||฿550||1 x day at 1:30pm|