A small peninsula surrounded by the turquoise ocean and accessible only by boat. Railay Beach in Thailand is a little piece of paradise, including beautiful beaches and a unique atmosphere. Soaring cliffs hiding pristine beaches surrounded by green forest. Railay Beach is one of my favorite places in Thailand, my definition of a Thai paradise.
Today, I will share with you all the most important tips for your trip. Everything you need to know about Railay Beach in Thailand.
How to get there
Railay Beach is located in Krabi, in the south of Thailand at the Andaman Sea and close to famous destinations like Phuket and Koh Phi Phi, respectively on the other side of the Andaman Sea. It’s quite common for travelers to plan their itinerary starting in Phuket, following to Koh Phi Phi Island and ending in Krabi.
The best way to get there is via Krabi, the city has a good airport that receives flights from some important cities and from Bangkok to Krabi everyday. It is very cheap to get there, especially flying with low-cost airlines like Thai Vietjet, Nok Air, Air Asia and Thai Lion Air. I found fares for US$ 5 from Bangkok to Krabi last year. This is amazing!
The only way to get in Railay Beach is by boat. In Krabi there are two piers where you can get a longtail boat to a fast trip across the sea to Railay Beach: AoNang and AoNammao and both have the same distance from the airport, over 20 kilometers. AoNammao is the best option and a little more organized.
At the airport you can take a transfer for 150 baths (US$ 5) or take a taxi, which will cost around 700 baht (US$ 23). Nok Air sells the ticket with the combined transfer by car, it’s a good option, but it’s not the cheapest.
In AoNammao you can buy the ticket at the small office on the corner of the pier for 100 Bahts, there’s no way to buy in advance and boats leave every 30 minutes until 5pm. There are no boats at night, remember that when planning your arrival. The time travel from AoNammao to Railay Beach is 15 minutes.
Explaining the beach
As I mentioned, Railay is not an island, but a peninsula. Many people get confused because of the access that is made only by boats.
Railay Beach is actually 4 beaches: Railay East, is not a beautiful beach, it is where the longtail boats arrive. On the opposite side, crossing the small village, is Railay West, the most beautiful and with good hotels and restaurants. TonSai Beach, which is separated from Railay West by a mountain and Phranang Beach, where the infamous Princess Cave is located.
Where to stay
At Railay Beach we find accommodation for all budgets. This is one of the good things about Thailand, incredible hotels at good prices, an excellent value for money.
If you want a more private and even more comfortable hotel, the best on Railay is Macaque and Languor Villa on Phrahang Beach.
Railay East has great hotel options, like Railay Princess Resort & Spa, a 4-star hotel with a 3-star rates. Bhu Nga Thani Resort & Spa is another great option. And in the lower part of Railay East is the Rayavadee, an amazing place do stay!
Best things to do in Railay Beach, Thailand
Railay West is my favorite beach, white sands and turquoise water. Scenic boats make up one of the most famous images of the Thai islands. The beach is perfect for enjoying a sunny day and of course, the sunset.
But if you want some more, take a longtail boat right there to explore some nearby islands, it’s really cool, some beaches are deserted. Maybe rent a kayak or stand-up paddle, I love kayaking and this is a really cool activity to do in Railay Beach.
A two-pax kayak rental is 200 Baht (US$ 6) an hour and 100 Baht (US$ 3) more for every extra hour after that. You can kayak to the beach near the Princess Cave in Phranang Beach and explore the small rock islands around as well.
Phranang is my second favorite beach, famous for its scenery and of course, the Princess Cave. As the name says, a cave but full of phallic figures (that’s right), which represent fertility. The people gets crazy in the middle of that, oh my gosh!
Railay Beach also has a viewpoint with the most beautiful view of the entire peninsula. But be careful, the access is very dangerous, the climb is done by a limestone karsts and then a track through the forest – always slippery and full of roots – then you need to climb more and more to get there.
From the viewpoint you can take another trail to the beautiful hidden lagoon. A green lagoon in the middle of the mountain.
As I mentioned, Railay East is not a beautiful beach, but it’s great for those who enjoy climbing and abseiling, that corner of Railay is famous for a massive limestone karsts and rock climbing.
At night, the cool thing is to walk around Tonsai, the small village between East Railay East and West. Plenty of little shops, restaurants where everyone gets together in the end of the day. But you may be surprised by a party in the sands of Railay West with lots of torches and some guys dancing with fire. Believe me!
7 Islands Sunset Tour
7 Islands Sunset Tour is a very popular attraction in Krabi and Railay Beach. I bought the ticket at the hotel and I paid 1,500 Baths (US$ 48).
You can visit all these islands renting a long-tail boat by 1.000 Baths (US$ 32) per day, it’s cheaper but there’s no diving in the coral reefs or dinner on board.
The tour starts in the afternoon and the boats leave the AoNammao pier, the same one we use to get to Railay. The tour covered 7 famous islands, with some stops for snorkeling in coral reefs with thousands of colorful fishes, that was amazing!
The last stop is nearby Railay Beach for night diving with fluorescent plankton. It was pretty cool, a very interesting experience.
How many days there
I stayed 3 days and it was perfect time but you can enjoy Railay Beach in 2 days as well. Railay is so small that you can see everything in one day, but don’t be in a hurry, enjoy every minute on those white sands.
How to getting around
By walk, there’s no vehicles on Railay. Some hotels has a golf cart to pick up and drop off the guests at the pier. Nothing more! But Railay is so small that you going to take just 5 minutes from one point to another point. Except for the tracks to the lookout or to Tonsai beach, of course!
- Thai Airways round-ticket from Bangkok to Krabi: 2.147 Baht (US$ 69)
- Transfer from Airport to AoNammao pier: 150 Baht (US$ 5) – each way
- Long-tail boat from AoNammao to Railay Beach: 100 Baht (US$ 3) – each way
- Three nights at Sand Sea Resort: 5.000 Baht (US$ 160)
- Kayak rental for 3 hours: 400 Baht (US$ 13)
- Average meal: 150 – 250 Baht (US$ 5 – 8)
- Drinks: 200 Baht (US$ 6)
- Tour boat 7 Islands: 1.500 Baht (US$ 48)
Some tips about Railay Beach, Thailand
- Internet: Railay Beach has a good 4G, we aren’t in the middle of nowhere despite the idyllic atmosphere. I recommend to buy an AIS SIM card, the best internet service in Thailand.
- Cash and credit card: There’s a currency exchange in the small village, but rates are terrible. In this place there’s an ATM, the only one on Railay Beach. Remember that withdrawals in Thailand are charged a fee of 220 baht per withdrawal. Cards are accepted in a few places, most restaurants only accept payment in cash. Make sure your hotel accepts credit card payments.
- Prices: Cheap, as in other tourist regions of Thailand. A meal at one of the restaurants on the beach will cost around 100 to 400 baht. One beer is about 80 to 100 baths.
- On the beach: If you are going to spend the whole day at the beach, bring some water and something to eat. In addition to sunglasses, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
The best time to visit Thailand
Choosing the best time to visit Thailand is an important aspect of a successful trip. From beautiful sunny days to weeks stuck in the hotel room with torrential rain and even occasional flooding.
For the locals, everything is normal. But for people like us, who spend money dreaming of perfect days in paradise and face the worst possible climate, it is very frustrating.
January, February and March are the best months, the weather is dry and the temperature is acceptable across the country. The sky is clean and blue and the sea color more beautiful than ever. Temperature is around 30 degrees celsius.
At the end of March, April and May are the hottest months. You can easily find temperatures in the range of 40 to 45 degrees. For those who wants to visit Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, in the north of the country, the vegetation will be dry and the burning season will begin. Visibility is always reduced and the air is dusty and smoky. I was there at that time and I felt the heavy air, the view of Doi Suthep, the mountain temple was very limited.
June and July it starts to rain in some places, but it is not the beginning of the rainy season. The temperature is about 35 degrees.
August is the beginning of the rainy season. The crossing between Thai islands, such Krabi to Phi-Phi and Phuket, can be interrupted for days.
In September the rains begin to decrease in the north. In Bangkok the rain continues in isolated spots
October no longer rains in the north and in the Bangkok area, it is an excellent time to visit, as the climate is cooler, the sky is clear and the trees will be green and lush.
November is excellent time to visit Thailand, the temperature is pleasant and because the end of the low season, we can find great prices.
The high season begins in December, the weather is excellent throughout the country.