|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!
|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
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 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
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
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!
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
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
Railay Beach Map
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