Railay Beach is one of the most stunning and laid back beaches, isolated from the mainland by limestone cliffs and jungle. There is no way of getting there other than jumping on a long tail boat. Railay consists of two main areas; Railay West and Railay East.
Railay East doesn’t have a proper beach but it offers plenty of bars and restaurants and a variety of accommodation suited to all different types of travellers. Despite having no proper beach, it makes a lovely walk along the shore.
Railay West is beautiful. If you want to swim and lay on the sand, Railay West is the area to be. It also offers plenty of restaurants and more expensive, but great accommodation. Behind the beach is the entrance to the Walking Street where you will find cheap street food and some lovely Thai shops
Railay is small and you can reach anywhere by foot once you get off the boat. We only had to walk 5 minutes to find our resort in Railay East. As well as being small, Railay is surprisingly quiet and laid back. There are no parties in neither Railay East or West so if this is something you prefer, Railay is the place to go! We arrived in Railay at the start of June and because this was low season, there was hardly anyone around. However, in high season, it can get very crowded and you probably won’t find a place without people on it!
Things to do in Railay
Viewpoint and Lagoon
The entrance to the view point and lagoon can be found on the way to Phra Nang Beach. The trek is not for the faint hearted and is more of a climb rather than trek so if you’re looking for an easy walk, I suggest you go elsewhere! There are big ropes all the way up that you can use to help pull you up but you still need to do a lot of climbing by yourself. When we did the climb, there were a lot of people coming down in bare foot because it was impossible to do in flip-flops so if you intend on doing the trek, I suggest you wear trainers or walking shoes!
Once you get to the top, the viewpoint is great. You can see the whole of Railay East and West, along with the beautiful limestone cliffs, palm trees and bright blue sea. The viewpoint area is actually very small but the big climb discourages people from going up so when we got to the top, there was only two other people.
Railay Lagoon is located near the viewpoint but this trek is even tougher. When we got to the top of the lagoon trek, there was a sign saying that it was closed off. After making our way down, we came across a few people who had gone down despite what was said on the sign. We enjoy this sort of thing so we decided to give it a go. The climb was very steep and slippery. Once we got down to the last steep climb, I had to stop, as my legs were too short to reach the bottom! Rowan managed to get down so he had the whole lagoon to himself, which he described as an experience he will never forget.
Railay is the perfect place to kayak with the sea being so calm and clear. You can rent a kayak from a variety of places along Railay West for about THB100 (£2.50) per hour. It’s a great way of seeing the different beaches of Railay.
Part of the National Marine Park, the Hong Islands can be reached within 30 minutes by speed boat from Railay Beach or 45 minutes by long tail boat. The Koh Hong group is considered to be among the most beautiful in Krabi province. We bought a day tour to visit the Hong Lagoon and the islands, which cost us around THB1600 (£40) each with lunch, water and snorkels included within the price. The trip started off with Hong Lagoon, which is best at low tide due to the change in colour from emerald green to clear turquoise. After visiting the lagoon, we stopped off at Lao Lading and Koh Pakbia to explore and snorkel for about an hour at each island. Both are beautiful islands but unfortunately, they are overcrowded with tourists, which is something neither of us enjoy. Our last stop of the day was Hong Island, which is uninhabited except for birds, gibbons and monitor lizards.
4 Islands Tour
Unfortunately, due to time, we didn’t get chance to do this tour but it is known to be one of the most popular trips from Railay Beach. You can do this tour for about THB1700 (£43) each.
There are two ways to get to Tonsai Beach. We decided to walk, which meant trekking on uneven paths and through the jungle and across the rocks if the tide is low. You’ll find the path at the far end of Railay West. However, if you’re not so keen on hiking or physical activity, you can get a long tail boat, which costs around THB50 (£1.50) (if there’s 4 passengers). Tonsai Beach is a lot quieter but just as beautiful as Railay. Like most beaches, it gets a lot busier during the day so if you like peace and quiet, try and get there in the early morning!
Phra Nang Beach
To get to Phra Nang Beach, walk towards the right of Railay East and past the viewpoint and lagoon signposts. The path is straight and it’s very easy to get to. At Phra Nang Beach, you’’ find the famous ‘penis cave’ where the locals bring carvings as a gift to the princess of the cave. You can often see a lot of rock climbers climbing up the limestone cliffs so if this is something that takes your fancy, give it a go!
Railay was one of our favourite places that we visited and would definitely recommend it to everyone while its still an undeveloped, peaceful paradise!
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~ Megan and Rowan ~