several tourists walking by the long tail boat taxis in Railay Beach / how to get from Phuket to Railay Beach / Is Railay Beach worth visiting

Is Railay Beach Worth Visiting? 8 Reasons to Visit

Are you visiting Krabi, Thailand, and curious: Is Railay Beach worth visiting? Well, you’ve come to the perfect spot. Here are eight reasons you must visit Railay if you’re in Thailand.

Also included in this guide are the best beaches in Railay, where to eat, hotel recommendations, and a few tips for visiting Railay Beach to help your trip go smoothly!

From exotic beaches, towering picturesque limestones, and an authentic tropical atmosphere, Railay Beach really does have it all!

To clarify a few things, Railay Beach is the most popular beach in Railay, but as a whole, Railay is a tiny remote town in Krabi, only accessible by boat. But for the most part, most refer to all of Railay as Railay Beach, also known as Railay West Beach.

There’s no form of transportation in Railay. The remote tiny town has small, narrow dirt roads, and you must walk everywhere. However, you can get to most places in Railay in about 10 to 15 minutes.

the main walking street in Railay Beach empty in the morning hours


The most apparent reason you must visit Railay is the area’s few extraordinary beaches. The best beaches in Railay aren’t your average beach. They feature towering limestones, palm trees, and abundant surreal nature surrounding the beaches.

There are three beaches in Railay, and because of the town’s size, visiting all of them is easy.

Here is a breakdown of all three beaches, their locations, and what you should expect from each.

Railay West Beach

Known as the main beach in town, Railay Beach is a beautiful shoreline with soft sand, crystal-clear waters, and expansive tall limestones in the background.

This is an excellent beach where you can spend the day relaxing and doing a few water activities like snorkeling and waterboarding.

Railay Beach is sectioned off to two sides. On the left side of the beach, you’ll find the swimming area, and on the right side is where the longtail boat taxis go back and forth from Ao Nang Beach.

Also, along the beach are a few restaurants and bars to check out. At sunset, Railay Beach is the most famous sunset viewing spot. You’ll find many locals and tourists with their blankets, watching the sunset here each evening.

While Railay Beach is stunning, it does get busy with foot traffic throughout the day due to visitors from Ao Nang. The longtail boat taxis stop coming to Railay Beach after 6:00 PM due to the low tide at the beach.

long tail boats docked at Railay beach on the west of the island

Tonsai Beach

If you’re coming from Ao Nang Beach to Railay on a longtail boat taxi, you’ll notice Tonsai Beach first as you approach Railay, it’s on the far left.

Tonsai Beach is a secluded, calm, and quiet beach accessible only by a longtail boat. Technically, you can hike the large rocks, but it’s not the safest.

The beach shoreline has many tall palm trees and calm waves. As you relax, you’ll spot rock climbers taking on the tall limestone cliffs and longtail boats going back and forth between Ao Nang and Railay.

For those looking for the calmest beach around, Tonsai Beach is your spot. There’s also a bar and restaurant nearby the beach as well.

Phra Nang Cave Beach

Without a doubt, Phra Nang Cave Beach is the best beach in Railay. Located on the eastern side of Railay, this beach is something out of a tropical scene in a movie. Many have regarded it as one of the best beaches in the world.

As you arrive to Phra Nang Cave Beach, you’ll instantly spot the towering limestones, lush greenery and the sacred Princess Cave (Tham Phra Nang Nok), adorned with offerings from many locals. You will spot a few interesting items at the Princess Cave, however, please be respectful, as this is a place of worship.

Phra Nang Cave Beach water’s are crystal clear and calm, making it perfect for those looking to do some paddleboarding.

Here’s a tip, if you come earlier in the morning, there’s beach area to explore on both sides, only accessible in the morning, because of lower tide.

Overall Phra Nang Cave Beach is a must visit when in Railay and if an excellent beach to enjoy a relaxing day in the tropical atmosphere of Krabi.

For those looking to take some beautiful shots of the beach, I’d advise you to come before 9:00 AM to do so!

large limestone isolated in the ocean being views from Phra Nang Cave Beach in Railay, Krabi, Thailand

Tropical Surroundings

Railay is truly a tropical paradise, as soon as you arrive to Railay Beach you’ll be blown away by its alluring rich nature, from its beaches, to its limestone, tall palm trees, few caves in the area and much more.

Krabi is famous for being the most tropical state in Thailand. And Railay might just be the most tropical destination in all of Thailand.

There are many places in Thailand full of rich nature, but setting islands on the side, Railay is the best and most tropical place in Thailand.

small monkey hanging onto it's mother in Railay Beach, Krabi

Island Hopping

A significant advantage to staying in Railay Beach is having access to the many island tours that depart from Railay.

There are several great and exciting island tours to consider from Railay, it might be difficult to choose!

Krabi 4 Island Tour

This is a exciting excursion by speedboat or longtail boat as you venture off and visit four beautiful islands in Krabif for a half day, 6 hours.

The islands you’ll get to visit are Ko Thap & Ko Mor (twin islands), Chicken Island and Koh Poda. Jump in the water, snorkel as you spot the vibrant marine life in Krabi’s waters.

Sit back, relax and get ready to experience more of Krabi’s nature rich surroundings.

Krabi 7 Islands Sunset Tour

For those looking to see as much of Krabi’s islands as possible, this tour is for you. On the 7 islands tour you will visit all islands mentioned above in the 4 islands tour and three additional islands!

A bonus on the 7 island tour is the sunset ride at the end of the day, on the way back you’ll experience a vibrant tropical sunset in Krabi!

Krabi Hong Islands Tour

On this exciting island tour, you’ll get to visit the series of famous Hong Islands including Hong Island, Hong Lagoon, Ko Pak Bia, and Ko Lao Lading.

For those looking to do some kayaking amongst surreal nature, this is your tour. On tour, visitors can snorkel, kayak, and get to explore the many Hong Islands.

Many who frequent visiting Krabi regard the Hong Islands as the best in all of Thailand. At the end of the day it’s all opinion but the Hong Islands are absolutely stunning and not nearly as touristy as other islands in Krabi, such as Koh Phi Phi!

Laidback Atmosphere

Rockclimbing & Kayaking/PaddleBoarding

Visitors looking to experience active activities in the tropics of Thailand will love visiting Railay!

Railay is famous for it’s many rockclimbing opportunities due to its towering tall limestones and caves all around. There are several spots to go rock climbing, including Bat Cave, Diamond Cave, Tonsai Village and Phra Nang Cave beach, amongst many more.

Those who enjoy kayaking or paddleboarding appreciate calm waters more than anything, luckily for you, the current in Railay at most of the beaches is perfect for both activities!

On many of the beaches you rent a kayak or paddleboard. Both cost only 200 baht to rent per hour, and if you’re looking to use them for the entire day, it will cost you 800 baht.

There’s no better way to appreciate the views of these massive cliffs along the waters in Railay than to see them from a kayak or paddleboard!

Unique Attractions

Railay Beach offers many unique attractions you wouldn’t find in all destinations in Thailand.

Starting off with it’s amazing caves, Bat Cave and Diamond Cave are both incredible beautiful caves worth visiting when in Railay, inside with of them you can hear several bats screeching as you enter.

The East Railay Viewpoint is a stunning viewpoint in the area, where you can see all of Railay from higher up, best of all it’s a short hike, though it is slightly steep.

Last but not least, the stunning Emerald Lagoon in Railay, this stunning tropical lagoon is full of clear emerald waters and offers an excellent way to cool off in natural spring water on a hot day. With plenty of shade from the trees and the sun shining in the middle of the lagoon, it’s a site to experience!

exterior view of the famous diamond cave in Railay Beach, Krabi
Diamond Cave

Alternative to Koh Phi Phi

Regarding tropical destinations in Thailand, Koh Phi Phi is by far the most famous due to social media and it’s claim to fame when Maya Bay Beach was featured in the movie “The Beach” starring Leonordo DiCaprio.

Because of this, Koh Phi Phi tends to always be overcrowded with tourists and social media footage has definitely contributed to that.

Railay Beach is the best alternative to Koh Phi Phi, I would argue that it’s much more beautiful than Koh Phi Phi. Not to mention, Railay is far less touristy than Koh Phi Phi, despite having its own share of tourist visiting it.

While both places are located in Krabi, Railay represents a more authentic tropical experience in Krabi with less of a party atmosphere.

Things are laidback here, businesses are owned by families, and it’s a ideal tropical slow-paced environment. While Koh Phi Phi is quite busy with tourists and the first thing you see when you arrive at the pier is McDonalds and BurgerKing, not so authentic for a tropical destination!

clear skies, several palm trees along the three-way road in Railay Beach, Krabi

How to Get to Railay Beach

Now that you know why you must visit Railay Beach, let’s discuss how to get here from where you’re.

Ao Nang to Railay: At Ao Nang beach, there are long tail boats docked at each end. Buy a ticket, wait for the boat to get full and you’ll be on your way.

Boat taxis operate from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM, so if you plan to visit Ao Nang from Railay, plan accordingly.

Phuket to Railay Beach: Ferries and speed boats depart from Bang Rony or Rassada Pier and arrive at Railay East Floating Pier.

Price & Travel Time: 700 baht and 2-2.5 hours – Book your Tickets Here

Koh Phi Phi to Railay Beach: From the main pier in Koh Phi Phi, a ferry will take you straight to straight to Railay East floating pier.

Price & Travel Time: 480 baht Ferry/900 baht Speedboat and 90 mins for Ferry/ 40 minutes for Speedboat – Book your Tickets Here

a long tail boat taxi on the waters transporting passengers to Railay beach from Ao nang

Where to Stay in Railay Beach

Despite Railay being a tiny place, there are many accommodations to choose from, from resorts to boutique hotels and a few budget-friendly hostels as well.

Rayavadee: A stunning 5-star oasis luxury hotel located right along Railay West Beach. This resort has done an exceptional job offering a luxury experience in the middle of the jungle.

Railay Bay Resort & Spa: A stunning beach front resort along Railay West. The hotels known for it’s pool and modern spacious rooms.

Bhu Nga Resort: Excellent rated 4-star hotel in Railay, located along Railay East, so you’re conveniently a short walk away from both sides of Railay.

Blanco Hideout Railay: Ranked #1 hostel in Railay, this hostel is in a great location, has a pool and is perfect for budget travelers.

stunning towering limestones along a calm shoreline in Phra Nang Cave Beach, Railay, Krabi

Best Restaurants in Railay Beach

There are a fair share of restaurants in Railay and they’re mostly all located along the town’s main Walking Street.

Along this street you’ll find many family-owned restaurants, bars with happy hour promotions, and cafes.

Cuisine wise you’ll find Italian, Indian, plenty of Western Food options and local Thai cuisine. After spending a week in Railay Beach, here are a few of my favorite places!

Railay Family Restaurant: Well rated Thai family restaurant serving Thai dishes all day, best known for their seafood.

The Heart Restaurant: Best seafood restaurant in Railay, offering fresh oysters, squid, snapper, massive prawns, and lobster, cooked in a traditional Thai way.

Railay Cafe Thai Noodles: Small restaurant serving beef noodle soup, pad kra pao and other known Thai staples.

Railay Story: Thai barbaque restaurant most known for their grilled chicken skewers, grilled seafood and more.

Summer Fresh: Western style cafe serving all the popular breakfast favourites, such as eggs with ham, avocado toast and much more.

Crepe & Waffle Homemade: Locally owned dessert shop known for their delicious Thai roti pancakes.

a plate of seafood Pad Thai made to perfection at Only Noodles in Phi Phi islands

Tips for Railay Beach

With it’s remote location, Railay Beach is one of those places its best to know a few tips before visiting.

It’s important to know about each side of Railay so when you’re attending a tour or leaving Railay, you know which bayside to go to.

  • Railay West Beach: This is the main beach side where longtail boats dock to arrive from Ao Nang Beach.
  • Railay East Beach Floating Pier: This is a floating pier on the East end of Railay where ferries arrive and depart.
  • If you visit Ao Nang for the day from Railay, make sure you return by 5:00 PM by longtail boat taxi, otherwise you won’t be able to return till the next day.
  • Consider bringing a dry bag, when you arrive at beaches and islands, sometimes you’ll need to go in the water, these types of bags ensure your things don’t get wet.
  • Shops: Remember, you’re visiting a remote destination, so don’t expect everything to be here. Bring anything you may need with you.
  • Fast drying towels are great to bring on excursions in Thailand, they help keep you dry but dry fast so you can put them back into your bag!
  • Don’t feed the monkeys in Railay, it will only lead them to approach you to see if you have more food.
  • Travel Insurance is always a good idea when traveling abroad, you never know what may happen.
the hidden beach area on the north side of Phra nang cave beach

Is Railay Beach Worth Visiting? — Final Thoughts

Railay Beach is definitely worth visiting, it has some of the best beaches in Thailand and it represents Krabi’s authentic tropical atmosphere best, and is far less touristy than places like Koh Phi Phi and Phuket!

Along with everything mentioned above, Railay Beach is an excellent place to just unwind, things are simple and laidback here.

I fell in love with Railay Beach, as I was making my way around Thailand, I was troubled to find places where I could really relax with a slower paced environment around me. Railay Beach was just that, its calm, you walk everywhere and the nightlife was just right for a laidback town.

Visiting southern Thailand, you must absolutely add Railay Beach for at least one or two nights into your Thailand Itinerary!

Railay Beach is nature-rich with many beautiful beaches, it’s a laidback destination, and offers plenty of activities for visitors.

How many days do you need at Railay Beach?

At least spend 1 to 2 nights in Railay Beach, while it is small, with that much time you’ll be able to experience all it has to offer.

Is Railay Beach crowded?

It’s sometimes crowded in the afternoon when visitors from Ao Nang and other parts of Krabi visit for the day. But for the most part, it’s not always crowded.

How long is the ferry from Railay Beach to Phuket?

The travel time is around 2 hours from Railay Beach to Phuket.

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