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.
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.
East vs West Railay Beach Thailand
East Railay Beach
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 Resort – This 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 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 5-10 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.
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.
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!
Where Exactly is Tonsai Beach?
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.
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.
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!
Brigitte & Jake
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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
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.