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Railay beach in Krabi is our favorite beach in Thailand. We visited for the first time 9 years ago and fell in love. Since then, every time we visit the country, we spend a couple of weeks there. What can we say? We never tire of beautiful places!

Though it looks like an island, Railay is actually a peninsula. However, a massive wall of tall karsts separates it from Ao Nang. That’s why it feels in the middle of nowhere and so pristine! In fact, there are no cars in Railay. You will breathe fresh air and hear the sound of the waves.

Railay has been blessed with stunning scenery. Huge tall karsts tower above the beaches. The sand is golden, and the water is crystal blue. As if that was not enough, there are fantastic caves, birds, and cute monkeys. Finally, partying and eating great food are some of the best things to do in Railay Beach.

Things to Do in Railay Beach Krabi

Where to Stay in Railay

Railay is the best place to stay in Krabi. Our favorite hotel is Sand Sea Resort, directly on Railay West. Therefore, you can walk everywhere in no time. The hotel is set in a splendid garden with monkeys and birds! It’s got three pools, bungalows, and rooms.

Railay has some of the best hotels in Thailand. If you have the money to splash, do so at the one and only Rayavadee. The ultra-luxurious resort occupies a massive garden. The rooms are plush and have everything you ever dreamed of. The service is in a class of its own!

Where to Stay in Railay

How to Get to Railay

To go from Ao Nang to Railay beach, you have to take a 10-minute boat ride. You have nothing to worry about! The trip is an attraction in itself. You will travel on a traditional long-tail boat next to massive karsts and see the coast from the sea.

Boats leave frequently from the center of Ao Nang every day from 8 AM to 6 PM. Later on you have to wait until the boat fills, which shouldn’t take long. Late at night, you probably will have to hire the entire boat. From Krabi International Airport, you can take a shared van to the boat terminal.

You can also go from Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Phuket, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yai Yai Islands to Railay. Fast and long tail boats travel amongst the islands frequently. Ask around in any of these islands and you won’t have a problem. All of these places are connected by shared vans and boats.

How to Get to Railay

Railay on a Day Trip

A lot of tourists go on a day trip to Railay Beach. It’s a very popular trip from other islands and Ao Nang. We strongly recommend spending at least a night in Railay. The place is unbelievably beautiful, and the beaches are amongst the best in the world!

Since most tourists visit Railay for the day, you will have it all to yourself in the evenings. We can’t understate how nice the nights are in Railay. Therefore, do yourself a favor and stay at least one night in Railay. You will want to stay much longer!

That said, if you are short of time, do not skip Railay altogether. Go on a day trip, get a glimpse of its incredible beaches, and come back for more. You can go early in the morning and come back late. There are several restaurants, bars, and even public showers in the center.

Longboats Ao Nang Railay

Things to Do in Railay

Spend Some Time on Railay Beach

Railay West beach offers tons of things to do. Evidently, spending time on the beach is a must. We love Railay West because it’s big, wide, and sandy. That’s why we stay here. Even in high season, you will be able to find more than enough space.

Depending on the tide, the boats arrive in the middle of the beach. Therefore, it’s best to bathe in the north or the south. Don’t worry at all! The boats do not access the bathing area. Note that the beach to the south is perfect for children. It’s shallow and so calm!

Cute monkeys live next to the Railay Beach. You will most likely see them on the trees above the Sand and Sea Hotel. Tall trees line Railay West, providing much needed shade. Finally, since it’s a bay and the sea is so calm, you can bathe late at night, under the stars!

Railay West Beach

Spend Some Time on Phra Nang Beach

Phra Nang beach is south of Railay. The beach is stunning, with golden sand and splendid nature. Though it is close to Railay West, massive karsts block the way. Therefore, you have to cross the jungle to get there. The 10-minute walk is safe, easy, and so much fun!

Railay’s Phra Nang beach is also famous for its temple in a cave. You will see it next to the sea. It’s a small temple carved into the karsts. Local people visit the temple to pray, so be respectful. The beach is also a great place to climb.

We usually visit Phra Nang in the afternoon. Most tourists visit Railay on a day trip and leave. Thus, it can be a bit crowded and noisy during the day. That’s why it is the best beach in Railay if you want some alone time in the evenings.

Phra Nang Beach

Snorkel close to the Ko Rang Nok Island

We love snorkeling at Railay beach. The best place to do so is around Ko Rang Nok Island. The picture-perfect island is in front of Phra Nang beach. You will see it from the coast. Actually, if the tide is low, you can walk to the island.

The tide is never super high, so you shouldn’t have any trouble reaching the island. At the most, you have to swim some meters. There’s a small beach and a lot of nature. The water is shallow all year round, making it the perfect place for snorkeling.

If you don’t have snorkeling equipment, no worries. You can rent masks and breathing devices in the walking street in the middle of Railay. If you are not into snorkeling, you can enjoy the area and float on the sea! In fact, the entire area is perfect for kids and families.

Snorkeling in Railay

Hike to the Princess Lagoon

If you are in good shape, trek to Princess Lagoon to the south of Railay. The place is magical! We are talking about a lagoon with blue water on top of the karsts! We have to be honest. Due to health reasons, one of us couldn’t climb up.

You need strong arms and legs to climb. The first section of the climb is with a rope. It’s fixed but a bit steep. It can be a bit slippery too, so you will need proper shoes. We do not recommend climbing if it’s raining.

A bit easier is the hike to the so-called Railay Viewpoint. Again, you need to be in good shape, but it is not as steep. The trek to the platform should take 40 minutes while the one to the lagoon an hour. The views from both places will take your breath away.

Blue Lagoon Hiking

Visit Diamond Cave

Diamond is the biggest cave in Railay. You simply can’t leave without visiting it. The giant cave is 10 minutes walking from Railay West beach. You have to cross the island through the walking street and turn left. No worries, there are signs along the way.

Though locals call it Diamond Cave, it is really a cluster of caves carved into the karsts. You will see strange rock formations, bats, and water dripping from the ceiling. It opens from 8 AM to 5:30 PM. You need to pay a small entrance fee. It’s less than 3 euros and so worth it!

The entire tour of the caves shouldn’t take more than half an hour. It’s safe and pretty dramatic. Though most tourists go with flip-flops, we recommend wearing proper shoes. It is slippery! If you have kids, bring them along. It’s safe, and they’ll love it!

Princess Cave

Walk or Swim to Tonsai Beach

Tonsai beach is next to Railay West. However, massive karsts block the way between both beaches. Therefore, you have to walk or swim from one to the other. The beach is long and sandy, but a bit rough with rocks. That’s why we don’t recommend staying here.

When the tide is low, you can walk through the rocks around the karst to the beach. If the tide is high, you will have to swim or walk on top of a small hill that separates the beaches. You’ve got nothing to worry about. It is pretty easy and fun. We’ve seen parents with kids doing so.

There’s also a way through the jungle to Tonsai. Ask for directions in the walking street. Rock climbing in Tonsai is the thing to do in Railay. You will see expert guides with their equipment next to the karsts. If you don’t climb, enjoy the views and the beach.

Tonsai Beach

Go Kayaking around the Peninsula

Railay is the best place to practice kayaking in Krabi. Since it’s a bay and the water is calm, it’s super easy and safe. You will see couples, friends, and families kayaking around. That said, if you don’t feel up to it, don’t. There’s no need to push yourself!

Since it can be very hot, do not forget a hat and to wear sunscreen. Likewise, bring a recycled bottle of water to keep hydrated. Most tourists kayak with flip-flops or barefoot. There are one or two people kayaks. Do not forget to wear your floating vest at all times.

Ask in your hotel for kayaks. All the ones we recommend have kayaks and equipment that are in good shape. You can also rent them next to the beach. Some people kayak in the afternoon. It can be better due to the weather, but be sure to be back before sunset.

Kayaking in Railay

Have a Cocktail or Two at the Best Bars

Railay beach has the best nightlife in Krabi! There’s nothing wrong with the bars in Ao Nang, but we like the ones here better. As mentioned, most tourists leave at night, so only people spending the night get to party at night. The vibe is so cool and relaxed!

There are several types of bars in Railay. We do not like extra loud music, pub crawling, or cheap alcohol. Thus, we don’t recommend the bars north of East Railay. The ones closer to the floating pier are better. The best bar here is Why Not Bar.

It’s a big bar with excellent cocktails, vegetables, and music. Besides, it faces the mangroves and the sea. Our favorite bar in the center is Bamboo Bar. The owner and his wife are so much fun to talk to! Their cocktails are the best, and the music is brilliant!

Bamboo Bar

Go on a Day Trip to the Nearby Islands

As touristy as it seems, the 4 island tour from Railay is truly worth your time. The tour takes you to Koh Poda, Chicken Island, Tup Island, and Phra Nang Cave Beach. The views from the boat will leave you speechless. You can hire the tour here.

It includes snorkeling equipment, vests, fruit, water, and lunch. Everybody loves it! You have to pay an additional 3 euros (100 baht) in cash to enter the national park. It leaves around 9 AM and ends approximately at 3 PM. Bring light clothes, sunscreen, and a hat.

You can also go on a 7 islands sunset tour around Railay. It includes the ones mentioned above plus a couple of other places. It ends in Koh Poda Island, with a BBQ while watching the sunset. Finally, go to Koh Phi Phi Islands on a day tour. It’s on a speed boat and takes 7 hours.

Railay Day Trips

Watch the Sunset on the Railay Beach

Railay beach is the best place in Krabi to watch the sunset. The colors of the sky and sea are amazing! We do it every day we are there. The sun sets to the west of Railay. Therefore, the best place to see it is from Railay West Beach.

You will see couples, friends, solo travelers, and families walking along the beach or seating on the sand. You can buy a cocktail from the seafront bars and enjoy the epic views! Don’t forget insect repellent. There are mosquitoes at night on the beach.

Another incredible place to watch the sunset is Phra Nang Beach. As mentioned, it is close to Railay West, but you need to loop around the center. It’s a bit quieter than Railay West, but the views are equally beautiful. Go every day to a different place!

Sunset in Railay


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