Travel Destinations in Thailand: Railay Beach

Cut off from the mainstream Thailand by a series of remarkable limestone cliffs, Railay Beach (spelled ‘Rai Leh “) is one of the most spectacular seaside destinations in Thailand. As it is only accessible by a boat, it has a feel of a deserted island. East Railay is full of mangroves and mudflats. It is just few minutes distance from Western Railay, but be sure that you know which beach you are staying on.

Railay Beach

Railay Beach, Thailand – Photo source

Getting around Railay

Railay beach is a sufficiently small piece of land that can be easily explored on foot. In fact, you will find no cars or motorbikes on Railay. You will find people walking and enjoying the beach without the use of any kind of transport.


Railay has very limited accommodation options, and there are only a couple of hotels and bungalows on West Railay, including comfortable and homely Railei beach Club and the luxury Rayavadee Resort. If you want to stay comfortably on this beach, you need to book in advance.

Rayavadee Resort

Rayavadee Resort – Photo source

What you could expect

Although it is becoming more and more popular each year, Railay Beach is still much laid back and serene compared to other well-known beaches in the area. There are some bars on Railay, but night life is generally limited. Those searching for big parties may feel a little bored.

Things to do

Sporty individuals will love Railay because of the activities that happen on and around the beach. The beach is famous for rock climbing and there are hundreds of bolted routes available (Newbies can enroll in programs and advanced climbers can rent gear easily), for snorkeling and kayaking. If this is not what you want, there exists a quiet beach to unwind.

Railay Beach

Railay Beach – Photo source

Our recommendations

For travelers on a budget, Railay is a little tricky destination. Apart from easy bungalows at Railay East, the majority of the cheap accommodation options are present in Tonsai. But the hippie-ish environment present there is not for everyone. If you are thinking about staying in a midrange place at any time during the trip, Railay West is where you should go.

Hiring a private beach house on Railei Beach or a villa on one of the close by cities should have the desired effect. Wherever you live, never forget to check out Phra Nang Beach – it is one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet.

If you are not on a rock climbing holiday, Railay is arguably much better approached as a short trip from Krabi or Ao Nang, especially if you are with limited funds. One or two days are enough to relax whatsoever on Railay beaches, investigate caves, do some kayaking, and have a drink in a beach side bar.

Getting to Railay

Railay Beach is situated on the mainland, but since it is separated from the remainder of the country by mountains, Railay ferry is the only way you can reach there. There are many longtail ferries that make several fifteen minute trips from Krabi to Railay during the day.

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Olivia Watson

Olivia is a world traveler who has been to 27 countries in just over 15 years. She loves to share her knowledge of traveling to help others travel safer, cheaper and have more fun.

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