Tucked away behind a rocky headland and only accessible by a 10-minute boat journey from the mainland of Krabi, are the four beaches that comprise the Railay Peninsula in Thailand. The beaches are all within walking distance to one another. They have gained a global reputation for their beauty, rugged landscapes and rock climbing.
Railay West is the picturesque main beach and arrival port for docking boats. This wide sandy beach is surrounded by impressive limestone cliffs and dotted with small restaurants, shops and bars in the nearby walking street. After dark, the laid back day time vibe continues in bamboo reggae bars and wooden open-air restaurants.
Adventurous explorers can also find a cave at the western end of the beach that you can reach with the help of ropes to view an incredible vista of the Andaman Sea and surrounding islands. Be sure to wear sensible shoes as sandals or flip-flops will not cut it.
Railay East beach is the narrowest stretch of beach with mangroves and local fishing boats. After dark, the all-day dining venue Lucky Restaurant and Last Bar transforms into Railay’s version of a full moon-esque dance party.
Phra Nang is a chilled-out beach to hang out at for the day. Not far from the shore are the two tiny isles that you can access on foot via a sand bar at low tide. At lunchtime, long-tail boats converted into floating kitchens dock to the shore to serve a great choice of local and international dishes as well as fresh drinks.
Tonsai Beach is best known for its excellent rock climbing experiences and climbing routes up gigantic limestone cliff faces. Beginners can participate in climbing courses and advanced climbers can join more technical courses or tours with private guides.
Being more remote, there’s no transportation here except for the long-tail boats coming and going. The area is not overdeveloped and still has a very laidback atmosphere with just footpaths and no motorised transportation. If you want to stay overnight, there’s a handful of hotels in Railay and other accommodation options ranging from basic bungalows to luxurious resorts.
When considering a Northern Thailand tour, whether organized or independent, there are some places worth highlighting:
Railay Beach, Krabi is something special with her natural beauty, splendid seas and limestone cliffs and mountains. Be it sunrise, sunset or anytime in between, the four pristine beaches that make up the Railay peninsula are a little piece of paradise and your place for climbing adventures, lazing on the beach or dancing the night away with fire twirlers.
Railay beaches tick all the boxes when it comes to an idyllic tropical paradise. With its sapphire-blue clear waters, powder-soft sands and striking limestone cliff backdrop; this peninsula is truly spectacular.
The Railay peninsula and its beaches are also known for offering the best rock climbing in Thailand. All year round, avid rock climbers are venturing to Krabi province to access Railay beaches famous cliffs and caves. There are many companies operating climbing courses, offering guided climbs across varying degrees of difficulty from beginner to advanced.
A famous spot for the intrepid traveller is “Hidden Lagoon”. Located between Railay East and Phra Nang beaches, the route for reaching the emerald-coloured lagoon is treacherous- to say the least. To access it, you must climb steep cliff faces using ropes to assist with some sections being completely unassisted. Proper footwear is essential and be careful of sharp rocks. To view the lagoon in its full glory you will need to go there at high tide. It’s not really worth the trip at low tide.
From Krabi to Railay beach, it’s a 10-minute boat ride from Ao Nang beach on the mainland.
The water at Railay Bay and its beaches are generally shallow and warm. It’s best to swim at high tide because at low tide the water becomes too shallow for swimming.
The Railay peninsula is only accessible only from the sea via boat. It has four beaches, namely Railay West and East, Tonsai and Phra Nang. All the beaches are surrounded by tremendous limestone cliffs but it is possible to travel on foot between these.
There are several good snorkelling sites that you can access by boat from Railay West and East beaches.
No Railay is a peninsula reachable only by boat from Krabi.
It s a 10-minute boat ride from Ao Nang beach on the Krabi mainland.
The Railay peninsula comprising of four pristine beaches located between Krabi Town and Ao Nang, and only accessible by boat. There’s no transport on Railay- only footpaths.
From Krabi Town Pier to Railay Beach is about 11 km by longtail boat which takes 30 minutes. From Ao Nang Beach in Krabi, its only a 10-minute boat trip.
There are currently travel restrictions in place throughout Thailand but once these have been lifted, it is possible to fly directly to Phuket or Bangkok and then onto Krabi province. From the Krabi mainland, you can reach Railay Beach by a short trip on a longboat.
Hotels in Railay range from budget and mid-range with a few higher-end resorts. Where ever you decide to stay in Railay, you’ll only have a few minutes walk to reach the beach which is so convenient.
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