12 Top Tips & Things to do in Railay Beach Thailand

Railay Beach

Year after year, travelers from all over the world head to Railay Beach to see the majestic limestone cliffs tower over the sea. Railay Beach is a small peninsula set between Ao Nang Beach and the hub city of Krabi. It’s the perfect place to do some rock climbing, get out on the water, or just relax on beautiful West Railay Beach for a couple of days. Check out our Railay Beach travel guide for all the best things to do in this special part of Thailand!

How to Get to Railay Beach Thailand

First and most important! How do you get to Railay Beach? Getting to Railay Beach from Krabi is just a quick boat ride away, making this little slice of paradise accessible.

The easiest way to get to Railay Beach is from Ao Nam Mao Pier or Ao Nang Beach. Longtail boats run throughout the day taking passengers back and forth. 

Now for the confusing part. The boats only run once there are enough people to fill them or if you’re willing to cover the full cost of the boat. There may be 3-4 times per day that are set to leave but these can change. 

Don’t let this discourage you at all though! If you are traveling in high season there are always tourists showing up to the piers trying to get a longtail boat. Here are what the prices were listed during our visit in March 2022.

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

How to Get to Railay Beach Thailand

Railay Beach Ferry

Hotel Transfers From Railay Beach

Here’s another important thing to know! Depending on what hotel you are staying at, some offer boat transfers at a discounted price. We booked a room at Railay Princess Resort and were happy to find out they had a set transfer available!

It will be different at every Railay Beach hotel, but here it was only 50 Baht at 9am, 11am, and 4pm for the daily boat back to Ao Nam Mao Pier. 

One of the unique things about the transfer is that they have large tractors that pull a trailer filled with passengers out to the boats at low tide! 

Railay Beach Travel Guide Tip: If this is your first stop in the area the closest airport is Krabi International.

Railay Beach Hotel Transfer

Railay Beach Tractor

East vs West Railay Beach Thailand

East Railay Beach

When pulling into the ferry port we were surprised at what we saw. Plenty of hotels, resorts, and restaurants were in view… Unfortunately, we didn’t see one swimmable beach in sight!
East Railay is filled with mangroves and isn’t too pretty at low tide. This is the “cheaper” side of Railay which is a great place is you are on a budget. The good part is it’s still just a quick 5 minute walk from to West Railay Beach.
East Railay Beach

West Railay Beach

Now this is that picturesque postcard beach you came here for! West Railay Beach is constantly packed with swimmers and flowing with longboats. Yet, the long stretch of golden sand leaves plenty of room for everyone to enjoy. The incredible limestone cliffs serve as a backdrop, creating one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever seen!
Behind Railay Beach, you’ll find the famous walking street which is home to souvenirs, food, and plenty of beach bars. There are a few hotels right on the beach in West Railay Beach, but expect to pay a little bit more than you would in East Railay or anywhere inland. 
Even if you’re not staying on the main beach you can still have a meal at one of the hotel restaurants or even rent kayaks from one of the shops. We’ll explain more of the best things to do in Railay Beach soon!
West Railay Beach

Where to Stay Around Railay Beach Thailand

There are honestly so many great places to stay around Railay Beach Thailand. Remember it is quite small!

Just because you’re not staying right on the main part of West Railay Beach, doesn’t mean you’re going to have a bad experience. Here are some of our recommendations, with one in each of the different areas of Railay. 

Ultra Luxury (Phra Nang Cave) – Rayavadee – Amazing upscale hotel situation on Phra Nang Cave Beach. Enjoy a meal at the famous restaurant “The Grotto.” This restaurant is only available to resort guests and all the other amenities at this stunning location.

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

Budget-Friendly (East Railay) – Railay Princess ResortSet 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 5-10 min 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 adventurous spot is around the corner from West Railay on Tonsai Beach and has both dorms and private rooms.

Railay Beach Hotels

Finding Your Way Around Railey Beach Thailand

Before getting into our tips and best things to do in Railay Beach, you should know a little bit about how the town is set up. Railay Beach in Thailand is a maze of small walking paths and side streets.

The largest of those is the main walking street which is full of funky bars, seafood restaurants, dive shops, and random souvenir stores.

→ What’s Thai Food? 40 Delicious Dishes & Drinks You Must Try!

So how can you find your way around? 

Throughout the small streets of Railey Beach, there are maps, signs, and even random graffiti pointing you in the right direction. The area isn’t very large so if you do get twisted around it won’t be long before you find your way again. 

If you don’t have the best sense of direction make sure to have a sim card and map of the area, or use an offline map. This is especially important if you’re out after dark as not all paths are well lit! 

Railay Beach Map

Where Exactly is Tonsai Beach?

Since it’s not technically part of Railay Beach, Tonsai seems almost like an illusion in the distance. Cut off from the beautiful West Railay Beach, this hippy rock climbing base camp is actually a fun place be! 
Every day you’ll be entertained watching hundreds of climbers (and monkeys!) scale the tremendous rock walls. With just a hostel and another hotel in Tonsai, it makes for a secluded area that feels like its own separate community from Railay Beach Thailand.
Even if you’re not staying in Tonsai it’s quite easy to get over there from Railay Beach. You can walk around the rocks from the right side of West Railay Beach at low tide. Otherwise, it’s a 15 min hike on the jungle path! We stayed on Tonsai Beach one of our trips to Railay, and enjoyed the adventures in nature!
Tonsai Thailand

12 Quick Tips & Things to do in Railay Beach 

Cost: Items such as water, beer, and snacks are slightly more expensive than on the mainland. That’s because everything needs to be brought into Railay Beach by boat! The best deals we found were at the small mini-marts near the port in East Railay.

Tides: Double-check the tides for your trip! Some of the best things to do in Railay Beach (hiking, kayaking, etc…) need to be done at high or low tide.

Monkey Gangs: One secret you might not know is that monkeys actually run Railay Beach Thailand! There are large families that roam the area together. We came across dozens of them climbing in the trees every day. Don’t get too close while taking pictures and never feed the monkeys.

Happy Everything: While strolling the walking street you’ll see signs for “happy” pizza, smoothies, and more. Well, just an FYI this is a codeword for psychedelic mushrooms! Obviously, avoid these items if you’re not looking to have that happy of a day. 

Great Seafood: Even though there are some happy choices, don’t worry! There is also plenty of delicious food on Railay Walking street. We particularly enjoyed the seafood dishes like fresh-caught fish on the grill.

Walking Only: All the streets on Railay are walking only, so you won’t need a motorbike or anything to get around. This will be a nice break from the vehicles you see blasting around other beach towns and islands of Thailand.

Railay Beach Thailand

More Things to do in Railay Beach 

Kayaking to Phra Nang Cave: Rent a kayak from West Railay Beach and go around the left corner of the cliffs. There you will find a stunning beach and the epic Phra Nang Cave. You can even park your kayak and swim through the cave with the rocks hanging over you!

Adventuring to Tonsai Beach: We mentioned this before in our Railay Beach travel guide, but it’s a must! Take the walk or short hike over to Tonsai from West Railay one day to get a different perspective of the area.

Learning to Rock Climb: Railay Beach Thailand is famous for its rock climbing. People actually travel from all over the world to experience it. Take a beginners course to get a taste of what the pros come here to do on the massive cliffs of Railay.

A Boat Trip & Ko Poda Beach: From West Railay Beach you will see a set of majestic islands in the distance. Take a half or full-day 4 Island boat tour with stops at Ko Pada Beach and the surrounding islands which are part of a national park.

Hiking to the Railay Viewpoint: On the path from East Railay to Phra Nang Cave Beach there is a short hike to a stunning viewpoint. Just be aware that the hike is VERY VERY steep. You will actually need to use ropes to get up. Don’t take it on unless you’re 100% comfortable on wild paths like this. 

Watching Sunset on West Railay Beach: After a day of adventure, one of the best things to do in Railay Beach is to grab an ice-cold beer or cocktail and seeing the colors change in the sky over the enormous Railay cliffs.

Things to do Railey Beach

Things to do in Railay Beach

Have any questions on our Railay Beach travel guide? Or want to share more of the best things to do in Railay Beach? Leave us a comment below! 

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake


Railey Beach 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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