Year after year, these majestic limestone cliffs attract tourists and rock climbers alike, all coming to see this amazing part of Thailand. Railay Beach is small peninsula of land sitting in between Ao Nang Beach and the hub city of Krabi. This little slice of paradise is the perfect place to take part in some adventure sports, or just relax on the ocean for a couple days!
How to get there:
People often mistake this area for an island because the only way to access it is by boat. Even so, getting here is quite easy! Take the ferry or grab a private long boat for cheap. It’s roughly the same distance between Ao Nong Beach and Krabi.
Different Parts of Railay:
East Railay: When pulling into the ferry port we were surprised at what we saw. Plenty of hotels, resorts and restaurants, but no swim-able beach front in site!?! East Railay is kind of an ugly scene, filled with mangroves and semi-polluted blue waters. This is the “cheaper” side of Railay and obviously for a good reason. Luckily someone pointed us in the right direction and we found our way to paradise!
Not what I wanted to see!
West Railay: This is that postcard, picturesque beach you came here for! The west side is constantly packed with beach goer’s, flowing with long boats, all with the incredible limestone cliffs as a backdrop. Honestly, one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever seen! Behind the beach you’ll find the famous “walking street,” home to souvenirs, food, and plenty of hoppin’ beach bars. Expect to shell out some Thai Baht if you want to stay in West Railay though, as these glamerous, upscale hotels are just steps from the main beach. Most budget travelers choose to hunker down in Ton Sai Bay or East Railay, with the west side only a 15-20 walk away from each.
Ton Sai Bay: Not technically part of Railay Beach, Ton Sai seems almost like an illusion in the distance. Cut off from the beautiful West Railay, this hippy rock climbing base camp is actually kind of the place to be! Everyday you’ll be entertained watching hundreds of climbers (and monkeys!) scale the tremendous rock walls. And with a community of hostels and cheap(er) bungalows built right into the mountains, it makes for the best of both worlds in Railay. Just make sure you walk over from West beach during low tide, otherwise you’ll be straddled with a strenuous 20 minute hike through the jungle! We stayed here though with no problems and enjoyed the adventure!
At the end of the day, Railay Beach is all what you make out of it! While sometimes seen as just a rock climbers playground, it can actually be a nice vacation spot for a couple days! Our recommendation is to include it in part of your trip if you’re heading to the Krabi/Ao Nang area. Hit the walking street, test your monkey skills with some climbing, and enjoy the amazing West Railay Beach! Cheers!