Our Trip From Ao Nang to Railay Beach (Read This Before You Go)

Ao Nang to Railay Beach

Railay Beach is one of the most popular places to visit in Krabi Thailand! One thing that makes it so unique is it’s peculiar location. Even though it is part of the mainland, the only way to get from Ao Nang to Railay Beach is by sea. It might sound confusing at first, but don’t worry! We’ve made the trip many times via longtail boats and are here to share the best tips from our experiences. Here’s how to get from Ao Nang to Railay Beach Thailand. 

Visiting Ao Nang Beach

Before we get into the Ao Nang to Railay Beach route, you should know a little bit about Ao Nang Beach! This is one of the best coastal towns to visit in Thailand in the heart of the Krabi province. 

It’s a great place to visit for families, beach lovers, and even those looking to let loose in the nightlife scene. As you’ll find out, it’s also the jump off to many of the most beautiful islands in Thailand and the nearby Railay Beach. 

Luckily, Railay is close enough that you can make a day trip if you’d prefer to stay in Ao Nang. It’s easy enough to jump on the quick 15-minute boat ride from the pier. 

Ao Nang is full of so many amazing restaurants, bars, and a wide range of accommodation options. On our last visit, we stayed in a fantastic tropical pool villa at Krabi Resort and had the time of our lives!

Be sure to check out our full guide to Ao Nang Beach here, and some of the best hotels in Krabi in our article below.

→ 20 Best Ao Nang Hotels For Your Krabi Vacation (Our Top Picks)

Ao Nang Hotels

Buying Ao Nang to Railay Beach Tickets

There are a few important things to know about buying your tickets. First off, they only take cash! Be sure to have some Thai Baht on you for the Ao Nang to Railay Beach trip. Otherwise, you’ll be out of luck when you get there.

The ticket office is open from 8am to 6pm every day, but here comes the tricky part. Once you get there you’ll have to decide how much you want to pay based on your group size. 

They load the Ao Nang to Railay Beach boats up in groups of six. Since most travelers aren’t in a group this large you’ll have two options. You can either wait for other people to arrive (cheapest ticket), or simply pay for the price of six people to have them leave early.

On our most recent visit, we were in a group of four. Not wanting to wait around, we decided to pay the extra cost for the private boat. Tickets are only 100 Baht ($3 USD) so it’s not a huge deal if you decide to do as we did.

Also, note that you’re only able to buy a one-way ticket. You’ll have to purchase a separate return ticket when going the other way from Railay Beach to Ao Nang. Understanding where the boat drops you off is essential for getting your tickets on the way back! 

There are two spots in town that are the official ticket locations. Personally, the one we we always go to is at the end of Ao Nang Beach. However, on the other side of the beach is a second ticket counter location where you can also take off from. 

Ao Nang to Railay Beach Departure Location

Ao Nang Longtail Boat Service Club

Ao Nang to Railay Beach Tickets

Ao Nang to Railay Beach Ticket Cost

Ao Nang to Railay Ticket Pickup

Ao Nang to Railay Beach Drop Off Points  

Another important thing to know about the Ao Nang to Railay Beach trip is that there are several drop-off points. This will completely depend on whether you’re on a day trip or staying in Railay Beach for a few days. 

On our last visit, we decided to stay for 3 nights and felt it was the perfect amount of time. We were dropped off directly at Railay Beach and it was just a short stroll to our hotel. 

Yet, if you didn’t know, there are three different beaches to enjoy in Railay! If you’re heading there on a day trip we would recommend being dropped off at Phra Nang Beach first. From there you can walk back to the main Railay Beach, and even explore Tonsai if you have time.

→ 3 Best Railay Beaches You Can’t Miss in Krabi Thailand

Ao Nang to Railay Thailand

3 Railay Beaches to Experience

Railay Beach 

As soon as you arrive in Railay, you’ll be blown away by the tall limestone cliffs that tower over the beach. It almost looks like something out of a dream, with the incredible nature and rock formations all around you. 

This is the main beach of Railay filled with hotels, restaurants, and a fun bar scene. There is a cool walking street with different street food options behind the beach in a winding maze. 

This is also the most popular drop of point. If you don’t specify where you want to go when traveling from Ao Nang to Railay Beach you’ll end up here!

Ao Nang to Railay Beach Thailand

Phra Nang Cave Beach 

Also known as the “Princess Cave,” this unique beach is a must-visit if you’re heading from Ao Nang to Railay. You can easily walk here from the main Railay beach in 10-minutes on the jungle path.

Once you get to Phra Nang, you’ll be in awe of the massive cavern. It’s also an important site to local Thai people as fishermen leave offerings here for luck before there travels at sea. 

While the beach and clear turquoise waters are stunning, be sure to swim under the overhanging rocks. When we were there we even climbed through a small tunnel to the other side. 

Phra Nang Cave Beach 

Tonsai Beach

On the opposite side of Railay Beach sits beautiful Tonsai. There are three different options to get here depending on your travel style and the tides.

It’s simple enough to flag down a longtail boat for a quick ride over from Railay. For the more adventurous travelers, the other way to get to Tonsai is by taking the 15 minute jungle hike. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and not flip flops as the trail is steep.

This shorter hike is only accessible at low tide. Conversely, there is another hike at high tide which will take over an hour! Pay attention to the water levels to ensure you get back safely.

Tonsai Beach Thailand

6 Ao Nang to Railay Tips to Know First! 

1. Wild Weather: This area of Thailand has some interesting weather conditions, especially during the rainy season. Know that the boats typically go in any weather, but be prepared for a bumpy ride en route from Ao Nang to Railay Beach.

2. Water Activities: Railay is known for its amazing water sports like kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Here’s a list of our 12 favorite activities and tips for your visit. You can easily book a tour that takes you out to the islands or rent a kayak directly from the beach.

Railay is also world-famous for rock climbing and it’s common to see rock climbers hanging from the limestone cliffs. They even offer beginner classes like this one!

3. Luggage: It’s a good idea to go with a travel backpack like this one instead of a roller suitcase. There are some pathways in both Ao Nang and Railay. Yet, it will be annoying to load your large suitcases on the boat or drag them along the sand.

4. Hotels: Most of the hotels are in the main Railay Beach area while there are a small handful at Tonsai and Phra Nang. You can find everything from hostels to mid-range accommodations, and even luxury resorts. Be sure to check out out some of our favorite hotels at the bottom of this post.

5. Monkeys: Watch out for the monkeys in Railay as they will be seen in the trees and running wild all over the place! Specifically, you will see them on the jungle walking paths and they’re quick to steal your food if you leave it out.

6. Low Tide: During low tide, the boats aren’t able to pull directly up to the beach as it’s too shallow. You’ll have to physically jump into the water and make the rest of the trip by foot with your belongings. It isn’t too far but we highly recommended having some kinda of water shoes on  something simple like this works).

Ao Nang to Railay Beach Guide

Where to Stay in Railay Beach

Now that you know how to get from Ao Nang to Railay Beach, where should you stay in Railay? Most of the best accommodations are set back from the main street. 

The area is actually cut into sections called Railay east beach (or east Railay) and west Railay! We’ve included some different options for you to scan through that will work for every budget.

Ultra Luxury (Phra Nang Cave Beach) – Rayavadee – Awesome upscale hotel situated on Phra Nang Cave Beach. Enjoy a meal at the famous restaurant “The Grotto.” This restaurant is only available to resort guests as are all the great amenities at this beautiful location.

Fun Vacation (West Railay) – Sand Sea Resort – This resort is right on West Railay Beach so you can step out of your door and out onto the beautiful sands! It’s the perfect spot for couples or families in the middle of all the action.

Budget-Friendly (East Railay) – Railay Princess Resort – Set back near the port, Railay Princess has rooms with mountain views and jungle vibes. Even though it’s in East Railay, you’ll be a short 5 to 10 minute walk to all the best things to do in Railay Beach.

Hostel Life – (Tonsai) – Tinidee Hideaway Tonsai Beach – If you’re looking for a hostel in a unique setting, check out Tinidee Hideaway! This fun spot is around the corner from West Railay on Tonsai Beach and has both dorms and private rooms.

Railay Beach Hotel

Traveling from Krabi Town to Railay Beach?

If you are staying in Krabi Town and planning a visit Railay Beach we have good news! You actually don’t need to travel to Ao Nang first.

There is a small stand at Ao Nam Mao Pier (Krabi Pier) where the longtail boats congregate. To get here you’ll need to take a taxi from Krabi town depending on where you’re staying. If you’re flying into Krabi Airport you can easily jump in a taxi and go straight to the pier. 

We’ve also used the shared shuttles from both towns which can be much more affordable. It’s a 20-minute drive from Krabi town and super easy to get to. Buy a boat ticket from the stand and wait for the boat drivers to tell you to get on. 

The cheapest way is to wait for others to arrive who are making the trip. As we mentioned with Ao Nang, you can also pay the extra for the longtail boats and get right on your way. In high season the boats travel back and forth constantly, but in low season you may have to wait a little while. 

When coming from this location the boats arrive at Railay West Beach and you will have to walk with your bags through the jungle path to where you are staying. Still, the entire area isn’t very large. So as long as you don’t have too much to carry you shouldn’t have much difficulty getting around. 

Krabi Town to Railay Beach

Have any questions about this article or want to share your own tips for how to get from Ao Nang to Railay Beach? Leave us a comment below! 

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

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Krabi Thailand

Thailand Travel Planning 

 Transportation: While traveling through Thailand 12Go is where we find all our ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! You can find everything from island hopping speed boats to the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

 Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we found flights from Bangkok to Phuket for $12 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over Phuket! You can find everything from a James Bond island luxury sunset cruise, to Phuket Old Town 15-taster food adventure, and 5-hour island tour

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

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