I first heard of Railay Beach only a few years ago, while reading other bloggers stories of the beach and seeing their amazing photos. Suddenly this beach located in Krabi province of Thailand shot close to the top of my bucket list. I made it a mission to see it, next time I was in Thailand. That time finally came in June. Since my head was filled with so many picturesque images, the expectations were super high. I was afraid that when I arrived I would be disappointed. Well I’m happy to report that I was not. Railay Beach is still extremely beautiful and I would say one of the best beaches in the world.
Railay may not be the longest beach or have the whitest sand in the world, but what makes Railay so special is the incredible natural scenery and the journey to get there. Railay is only accessible by boat. The best way to get there is by catching a longtail boat in Ao Nang. It costs 100 Baht each way. Depending on the time and season you may have to wait till there are enough people. There is 8 person minimum for the longtail to depart. Since I went in June I had to wait about 15 minutes. Be prepared to get wet while getting in and out of the boat. The ride takes approximately 10 minutes and is very scenic.
As the boat gets closer the dramatic karst limestone cliffs come into full view. At this point I was starting to feel a lot of excitement and little apprehension. I feared that the beach would not live up to my expectations and be very crowded. Incredibly it was not crowded at all and looked as beautiful as I imagined. Being there in June probably had something to do with the low amount of tourists, nevertheless it was much less crowded than Maya Bay.
Railay is much more than just Railay Beach.
The peninsula consists of three beautiful beaches: Railay, Phra Nang beach and Ton Sai beach. Phra Nang beach is accessible by the walking street from Railay, while Ton Sai is accessible through a hiking trail from Railay.
There are several caves on Railay. The most famous one being the Phra Nang Cave or the Penis Cave as some call it. One legend says that the cave is a shrine dedicated to a goddess princess named Phra Nang. Today local fisherman leave offerings to her to ensure safe travels on the sea. Many of the offers take the form of male genitalia.
Railay is also home to some 0f the best rock climbing in the world. Climbers of all skill levels are welcome here. Even if you have never rock climbed in your life, this is the perfect place to start. There are many schools here that offer 1 or 3 day courses. One such climbing school is Basecamp Tonsai.
Phra Nang Beach is considered by many as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It was much more crowded than Railay Beach.
Railay has accommodations for every budget. Ton Sai Beach with its hippie culture generally has the less expensive rooms and bungalows. There are restaurants and even convenient stores.
No need to haul beer to Railay Beach when there are convenient stores here.
My time in Railay was way too short. Looking back I wish I stayed here as opposed to Ao Nang. There are many things I wish I could have done such as rock climbing and trekking to the blue lagoon but did not have enough time. Oh yeah there is a hidden blue lagoon in Railay and the hike to get to it is not exactly easy.
The last longtail boat to Ao Nang leaves at 6pm (18:00). Unless you are staying in Railay you will not get the chance to see brilliant blue bio luminescence light up the water at night or the fire dancing and parties that are happening on Railay Beach.
Railay is truly a paradise, a place I can’t wait to visit again and this time for much longer. So when visiting Krabi stay here and not Ao Nang.