Hiking to the hidden Princess Lagoon on Railay Beach can be a bit of a challenge but the reward is so worth it! Not many people make the hike out to this secret spot, but they’re missing out on one of the coolest spots in all of Thailand. The lagoon is small and circular and is also enclosed by towering limestone cliffs with beautiful touches of jungle scenery. The view and atmosphere of Princess Lagoon is truly magical and something we definitely recommend doing while visiting Railay Beach!
How to get to Princess Lagoon Railay Beach
Finding the start of the hiking trail is fairly straightforward. It can be easy to miss, but it’s located across from a small hut on the path to Phra Nang Beach. Just follow the signs to Phra Nang Beach and you’ll eventually see a sign for Railay Viewpoint and Railay Lagoon. You’ll know you’re at the start of the trail when you see a big red ‘Danger’ sign and are staring at an almost vertical rock wall with a few ropes.
The beginning of the trail to the Lagoon is the same as the one up to Railay Viewpoint. Once at the top, the path splits. You can either go left to the viewpoint or continue going right which leads down into the lagoon. From the start of the trail, it will take you roughly 20 – 30 minutes depending on how fit you are.
Is the hike hard?
The hike can be a bit of a challenge and may seem daunting when you have to climb vertical rock walls with only your hands and a few bits of rope. It’s around medium difficulty, but definitely not as hard as others make it out to be. There are plenty of ropes to assist you and to help you balance. In some areas you’ll have to cling on to the ropes to hold your weight as you slowly abseil your way down. The rocks are also smooth and have plenty of natural holes and places to grab on to. The distance of the hike is really short, so you won’t be exhausted from all the walking, but more so from the climbing.
Hiking to Princess Lagoon on Railay Beach
The first half of the hike involves scaling the clay cliff. Find the best rocks to get a solid grip and flat surfaces to get a strong hold with your feet. There are ropes to help pull yourself up if you can’t find a good grip. It won’t take long until it flattens out abit at the top. There will be tree vines everywhere but you’ll eventually reach a sign at a split. You can continue walking left to check out the viewpoint which won’t involve anymore climbing. Alternatively, you can go right and make your way down into the lagoon.
If you really struggled climbing up the first bit, we’d recommend not continuing down as it becomes a lot harder and steeper.
It starts off easy and you’ll easily be able to follow the path through the jungle canopy. You’ll then reach a point where the cliff is almost a straight drop. This is the hardest part of the hike as you’ll have to hold onto nothing else but the rope to lower yourself down. Take it slow and make sure you have a solid footing before taking the next step. After two or three walls down, you’re there!
What to expect at Railay Lagoon
Once you’ve made it to the bottom, the area opens up to a stunning view of the emerald lagoon. In the morning you’ll even be able to witness the incredible light rays peeking through the canopy above. The lagoon is circular and is enclosed by massive limestone cliffs on all sides. The place feels incredibly secluded and you’ll only be sharing it with a few other people.
At low tide you’ll be able to walk around the lagoon and check out all the different sides. The tide comes in very quickly and when it does, you’ll be able to enjoy a well deserved swim! We were there at 10 AM and the tide was a little low, but it was just starting to come in. From our experience, the tide was at its highest between 11AM – 12PM. The water may seem a little murky and muddy at first, but as soon as the tide comes in and the sun starts to shine, you’ll see the water turn an emerald colour.
Not many people take the extra effort to reach Princess Lagoon when visiting Railay Beach. You’ll find that the lagoon is a peaceful and uncrowded environment which can be hard to find in Thailand. It truly is a hidden gem that we definitely recommend checking out for yourself!
Tips for hiking Princess Lagoon Railay Beach
- Don’t wear white clothes or any clothes you care about. You’re certainly going to stain your clothes with red from all the clay and rock climbing. It’s best to bring clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Wear enclosed shoes with good grip or go barefoot. Make sure to bring a pair of comfortable shoes with good grip to make the climb easier. If you only have flip flops as I did, consider going barefoot to make your life easier. The rocks are smooth and are not sharp or painful to step on.
- Go in the morning. You won’t have to go at sunrise to beat the crowds as there isn’t a whole lot of people anyway, but try going in the morning. It’s a lot cooler in the morning than at midday, which makes the hike a lot easier. Midday is also when a lot of people do the hike to the viewpoint, so you’ll end up being behind a lot of people when climbing.
- Don’t go if it’s been raining. It’ll be incredibly slippery and more dangerous than it already is.
- Check the tides if you’re looking to swim or take photos. You can check here for the most up to date tide timings.
Where to Stay on Railay
There are limited accommodation options on Railay due to it being only accessible by boat. However, there are still some great choices. There is a small walking strip which is where you’ll find all the bars and restaurants.
Rayavadee – Luxury: Rayavadee is the ultimate luxury getaway on Railay. The resort is located on the beachfront with an outdoor pool and plenty of dining options. The villas are stunning and each have their own garden terrace. Staff are also incredibly helpful and are there to make your experience unforgettable. The private secluded location and modern villas sure make this the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Avatar Railay – Midrange: Avatar Railay is in a great location that is walking distance from everything. The rooms are modern and the property also features an outdoor pool and sun terrace. Breakfast is also included, which comes with a variety of delicious Thai and European options. Staff at the resort are always smiling and very helpful. Avatar Railay is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a beautiful resort without breaking the bank.
Blanco Hideout Railay – Budget: This youth hostel is a great budget place for backpackers looking to stay on Railay for a few nights. There is a sun terrace that offers panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding mountain landscape. There is a swimming pool, 2 bars and a communal terrace area where you can relax. The bungalows are clean and come with air conditioning. Staff are super friendly and host a variety of fun activities that guests can participate in. You’re sure to meet a bunch of other awesome travellers staying here!
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