Railay, Thailand is located between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang. It’s a beautiful secluded area where many day trippers come to see its gorgeous beaches and limestone cliffs. During the night, a smaller group of tourists roam the island and enjoy a more quiet and peaceful atmosphere. There are monkeys all around, no cars and plenty to see and do. Some of Railay’s best moments are sitting on Ao Phra Nang Beach and watching the sun go down, or waking up and enjoying the limestone cliffs and clear water all to yourself before everyone else arrives. If you can only head here for the day, it’s still beautiful but I would highly recommend spending the night to enjoy some of Railay’s magical moments.
How to get there:
Although not an island, the only way to reach Railay is by boat. We flew from Bangkok to Krabi. It was a fairly seamless experience to get from the Krabi airport to Railay, and I imagine it would be for most people as there are so many tourists making the same trip every day. We left the airport and paid for a bus+boat combo to get us to Railay. The bus took about 45 minutes (from what I remember) and then we waited at this little restaurant/port for about 10 minutes till a long tail boat came to collect us and a few others. It should be noted that because you’re getting in a long tail boat you need to carry all your bags in the water. This wasn’t a huge deal for us with our backpacks but it definitely was a bit of a struggle for those with suitcases – especially on a windy day with the waves soaking everyone as we carried out bags overhead.
I’m not going to lie.. the food in Railay from what I experienced was a bit questionable. For those staying here and not just day-tripping, it seemed to be a common concern. Quite a few people we met there had gotten food poisoning, and some had experienced severe health concerns as a result. If you think about it, all the food that is coming into Railay is coming from a long tail boat, and has likely been out in the sun for longer than it should have been. When you’re walking around the side alleys here you’ll also notice they are completely littered with trash and it’s clear that there is a problem with garbage disposal and sanitation. Although there were some delicious and seemingly wonderful places to eat in Railay, I would caution people (like anywhere) to be careful where they eat and make sure the food they’re eating is cooked safely.
We stayed at a beautiful resort and I would highly recommend it! It’s called the Phutawan Resort and it cost about 75 Canadian dollars a night but was completely worth it. There’s a restaurant on site (with delicious food), the rooms are clean, beds are comfy, and the view from the beautiful pool is simply unbeatable. You could spend your entire trip at this resort and still be happy. Only steps away (for those adventurous types) is a beautiful cliff where you can practice rock climbing. If you’re not into working out on vacation, you could also just watch the rock climbers from the pool like we did! My only slight complaint about this place (and I mean slight) was that it was a bit of a trek to get to this resort (not that far – but still something to consider if you don’t want/can’t carry your bags very far) and it’s also quite a bit uphill. This is genuinely worth it though for the views of the resort and the peaceful, quiet spot that it offers.
There are so many fun activities you can do from Railay. Of course there’s exploring the area itself and hitting up Railay beach or Ao Phra Nang Beach. From there you could rent a kayak and go explore some of the limestone cliffs. After a morning of kayaking you could treat yourself to a Thai massage or do a Thai cooking class. If you wanted a day trip from here there are plenty to choose from! You could go to the Phi Phi islands or go explore Krabi and the neighbouring areas. There’s even a little hike you can do that offers a spectacular panoramic view of the beaches – let it be known though that this hike is for those adventurous type who don’t mind climbing up some steep roots and getting their hands and knees a little dirty.
Railay was a beautiful area that we visited in Thailand, and I would recommend it. Our resort was one of the best parts about it, as were the moments spent in quiet sipping a Chang on the beach and watching the sun go down.