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Krabi Railay Beach

A place you just need to visit is Railey/Railay beach in Thailand. Railey is one of Thailand's most sought after beach areas. Just south of Ao Nang Beach, around a rocky headland and accessible only by boat, Railay presents a private and extraordinary world.
In just one small peninsula you'll find gorgeous white sand beaches, soaring limestone cliffs, viewpoints, caves and hidden lagoons inside the cliffs, shaped and fed by the changing tides. All within walking distance!
CLICK TO ENLARGE! Railay beach krabi
At Railay there are no roads, only footpaths. No buses, no cars, just local "longtail" boats. Although it's actually connected to the mainland, the spectacular Phra Nang peninsular is effectively isolated by limestone headlands and steep jungle valleys from Krabi's main holiday areas. The very picture of tropical paradise, with no roads and no hassle, Railay offers lazy days, adventure forays and chilled-out evenings.

Beaches in Railay
Accessible only from the sea, Railay's four beaches Tonsai, Railay West, Railay East and Phra Nang (often referred to as the "Phra Nang Cave" beach) nestle between towering limestone cliffs.
Three of the beaches, Railay West , Phra Nang Cave Beach and Railay East areconnected by narrow footpaths winding around the base of the cliffs. In the small areas in-between, you'll find accommodation ranging from basic fan cooled bungalows, to the exclusive Sheraton Rayawade.

railay beach krabi

Railay West
Railay West offers perfectly soft sand, a wide beach, informal beach restaurants, friendly locals and a tiny community of travellers who just can't seem to leave.

At sunset the beach is a hive of activity with boats arriving and departing, impromptu games of football and takraw (a local game played with a woven ball) and people taking a stroll. The beach faces west, so its a great place to just sit and watch a stunning tropical sunset.

A pathway straight across the peninsula links Railay West with Railay East skirting past dozens of small bungalows dotted around the area. You can also walk along the beach at Railay East and along the base of the cliffs to Phra Nang beach (About 45 minutes)

Eating out at Railay, is generally low key and casual, with many small local eating places around the resorts or beach areas, serving both western and Thai food. Travellers often exchange tips and stories and they're often the place where new friends are acquired. Not all of the restaurants in Railay West serve alcohol, but there are great selections of fresh juices. Nightlife is fairly low key with the party scene, (mainly high season) located in Railay East.

Both Railay West and Phra Nang have surrounding cliffs that twist into fantastic shapes, weathered by the the wind and rain over time. Trees and shrubs cling precariously to the rock face, as do the rock climbers who come here for sun, sand and the challenge of an overhang or a vertical wall. Most people, however, just come to relax and enjoy.

phra nang cave beach krabi

Phra Nang Cave Beach
Most people arrive at Phra Nang by boat and are amazed by this beautiful cove. Phra Nang (not to be confused with Ao Nang) is more popular and busier than Railay West, especially in high season (Nov- April) and has all the ingredients of a perfect beach. Duvet soft sand, clear shallow water for safe swimming, a small island and coral reef, accessible at low tide, caves and rockpools.

All this, set against a backdrop of picturesque limestone cliffs that provide natural shade from the hot afternoon sun.

At the bottom of the limestone cliffs lies the Princess Cave or Tham Phra Nang Nok. Dedicated to an ancient fertility goddess, the cave contains a strange combination of large phallic symbols, garlands and offerings in the hope of increased potency and prosperity. Local fishermen still leave offerings although it's now becoming a local tourist attraction.

Further along the base of the cliff (south end) is a pathway to an entrance which leads inside the rocky headland to an interior lagoon. The lagoon is fed by the tides and only accessed by a strenuous climb. It's worth the climb (which needs decent shoes) to see the eerily quiet lagoon, which, in addition to its location inside the rock, is also well above sea level. At the top is a fantastic view over the whole of Railay and the coastal area beyond.

Phra Nang is a great beach to simply hang out. In the late morning the "sandwich boats" arrive. Local longtail boats equipped with ice boxes, bread and sandwich ingredients. Fancy a cheese and ham baguette? Freshly made and not expensive, the ladies on the boats will serve with a smile and often a free piece of fruit.

Just offshore, is a tiny island which you can walk to at low tide along a sand bar and go snorkeling. If you can't be bothered, just take it easy. There's no accommodation on Phra Nang Beach except the deluxe Sheraton Rayavadeee which unobtrusively occupies part of the beach. So if you really want to treat yourself, spend a few days in luxury here.

Railay Beach East
Railay East, a narrow beach on the opposite side to Railay West, is home to mangroves, local fishing boats and local birds. It's also the most convenient place to find a longtail taxi boat to Krabi town and other beaches.

A few local restaurants line the beach, providing welcome shade and a drink while you wait for your boat. At night they form the focal point of the Railay high season party scene. Bars like Gecko, Cliffs, Railay Experience and the Last Bar offer an eclectic mix of fire-twirlers, good music and good vibes until it's time to wend your way back to your bungalow. Shoes optional.

Along the pathway which links to Railay West (about a 25 minute walk) are dozens of small bungalows giving the feeling of a small self contained village, which indeed it is, with restaurants and convenience stores in addition to the the bungalows. Accommodation can also be found around the north end of Railay East, near the nightlife scene. If you're interested in climbing, check out the climbing schools also located at this end of the beach. (See map)

You can also walk from Railay East to Phra Nang Beach (about 15 minutes.) The two beaches are connected by a path which follows the base of the cliffs bordered by caves, stalactites and of course, vendors. If you plan to walk around it's a good idea to keep your shoes and wear a T shirt. Although it's a short walk to the other beaches it gets unbelievably hot!

Tonsai Beach
A little quieter than the other beaches, Tonsai really is the place to read that book or just work on the suntan. A few bungalow resorts with names like "Andaman Nature" and "Dream Valley" Beach restaurants and bars, together with a climbing school give an idea.

What to Do
Apart from the usual beach activities, Railay is famous for rock climbing. Here are a few of the rock climbing schools.

Company / Telephone
Krabi Bihn Na pah 0-16760642
Krabi Cliff Man 0-12304619
King Climbers 0-14760270
Pra Nang Rock Climbers 0-1464 6358
Pra Nang Rock Design Hot Rocks 0-1342 9932
Tex's Rock Climbers 0-16074882
Fun Climbing


krabi rock climbing

Places to Stay
Recently the number of places to stay on Railay has increased, but not so much as to affect the beauty of the place. You will find new resorts around virtually all of the beaches except Phra Nang which is restricted by the topography and the presence of the Sheraton Rayawadee Resort. The old fan-cooled bungalows can still be found, but many are being upgraded and the latest resorts offer air-con as well as fan. During high season (Nov-April) it gets busy with visitors often staying weeks rather than days. (krabi hotels)


Railay Beach Map

railay beach map krabi

 


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