Railay Beach is a stunning escape with plenty of things to do in the area, including secret lagoons, incredible viewpoints, rock climbing and of course pristine beaches. Railay is a large peninsula on the mainland that is only accessible by boat, giving it more of a laid back island vibe. The surrounding mountains, jungle scenery and beautiful beaches is what makes this place so special.
How to get to Railay Beach
Railay Beach is easily accessible from the main tourist area of Ao Nang via a quick longtail boat. At both ends of Ao Nang Beach you will find an official ticket booth called the Ao Nang Boat Service Club. You can purchase a longtail boat ticket to Railay for 200 Baht ($10 AUD) per person return. You’ll be dropped off at Railay West Beach and from there you’ll be able to walk everywhere.
The daily boat service runs from 8AM – 6PM. They also run a nightly service from 6PM – 12PM, but you’ll have to pay a little extra. The Ao Nang Boat Service Club is also a great place to book your Hong Island Tour and many other island hopping tours.
Best things to do in Railay Beach
1. Hike to the secret emerald lagoon
The secret emerald lagoon is one of the most unique things to do in Railay Beach. It’s a short, but somewhat challenging hike that involves scaling vertical rock walls. There are ropes to assist you when climbing up and down so you’ll have to take it slow. It’ll take you about 20 minutes until you reach the incredible 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 also 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. The emerald lagoon truly is a hidden gem and one of the best things to do in Railay Beach. We definitely recommend checking it out for yourself!
Click here to read our full blog post on the Railway Lagoon. It includes all the details from best times to visit and how to find it.
2. Check out the incredible scenic viewpoint
The Railay Viewpoint is right before the lagoon so you can tick them both off at the same time. The hike isn’t far, but it will take some climbing to reach the viewpoint. You’ll have to use ropes to help yourself up the almost vertical cliff but the reward is worth it! Once at the top of the cliff you’ll see a fork in the path with a sign pointing left to the viewpoint. You can also go right if you’re interested in checking out the emerald lagoon.
The viewpoint looks out over the whole of Railay and the peninsula. You’ll be able to spot the various beaches, limestone cliffs and plenty of palm trees.
3. Swim at Phra Nang Cave Beach
Phra Nang Cave Beach is just a 15 minute walk from the centre of Railay. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in the Krabi region so make sure to check it out! The beach is large enough to find your own area to relax and there are also plenty of places to swim. Most people hang out at the southern end of the beach near the cave. There is a weird and interesting shrine in the cave to check out for yourself!
The other end of the beach is usually more quiet and better for swimming. There is a beautiful limestone formation just a stone’s throw away from the beach. This area is much more open, making it better for swimming and it’s also away from all the crowds and boats. The water at Phra Nang Beach is super refreshing and clear, making it one of the most ideal places for a swim in Railay.
4. Grab lunch on the beach from a longtail food boat
Along Phra Nang Beach you’ll find plenty of longtail boats that serve quick and delicious Thai food. It’s the perfect place to grab lunch and find somewhere on the beach to relax. The boats also sell plenty of refreshments, ice-cream and snacks if you’re looking for more. It’s not everyday you see food being served from a boat, so we definitely recommend checking it out. The food and beverages are also super affordable.
5. Relax on Railay West Beach
Railay West is another popular beach where you’ll find plenty of people relaxing and enjoying the sun. The scenery is nothing short of breathtaking with limestone cliffs surrounding you on both sides of the beach. This beach is often less crowded than the popular Phra Nang Beach which is good if you’re looking to escape the crowds. The large stretch of soft sand is perfect for finding a spot to sit back and relax. Along the beach there are some restaurants where you can enjoy lunch with a beautiful view!
6. Go Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is one of the most popular things to do in Railay Beach. The unique limestone cliffs and formations are the perfect conditions for all types of rock climbers. Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, there are plenty of tours available. For a beginner lesson where you’ll learn the basics of rock climbing, try out the Rock Climbing Full or Half Day Experience. There are flexible packages for solo or group courses, as well as half day or full day courses. The professional and friendly instructors will teach you everything you need to know about rock climbing!
7. Rent a Kayak
Renting a kayak is a great way to explore the coastline. You can find them on almost any beach and rent them by the hour. Renting a kayak allows you to view the many unique and incredible limestone formations up close. You’ll definitely want to bring your GoPro or waterproof camera so you can capture the entire experience.
8. Stroll the walking street
The walking strip in Railay Beach is where you’ll find all the bars, restaurants, and shops. There are plenty of trendy and funky bars for you to grab a cheap drink and enjoy the laid back atmosphere. You’ll also find some fashion and jewelry stores with some unique items. If you’re looking for a cheap place to eat, there are budget friendly restaurants located at the end of the walking strip. The beginning of the walking strip is where you’ll find the beachside restaurants.
Where to stay in 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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