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Railay Beach: A Guide to One of Thailand’s Most Beautiful Beaches

  • Post last modified:October 27, 2023
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  • Post category:Asia / Guides

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Are you ready to explore one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand? Well Railay beach is definitely one that you'll need to add to the bucket list. With its striking rock formations and turquoise waters, this place is iconic of this south East Asian country, and is so much more than just a beach.


In this guide we're going to share everything you need to know about visiting Railay beach in Thailand, from how to get there, to all of the different things that you can do there. So without further ado, let's jump right in!

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Where is Railay Beach, Thailand?

Railay Beach is a popular beach area that is part of Krabi, one of the top tourist spots in Thailand. Krabi is in one of the provinces in the south of Thailand, Changwat. It is located right along the Andaman Sea, and is just a short trip away from Krabi Town, as well as the Krabi Airport.

where is Railay Beach

Railay Beach is just outside Krabi.


How to Get to Railay Beach, Thailand

Railay Beach is one of the most popular spots in the south of Thailand, particularly for tourists. Here are the different ways to get there.


Traveling to Krabi, Thailand Via Air

The closest airport to Railay Beach is Krabi, and one of the easiest ways to visit the area is by flight. There is a small airport in Krabi, but it does have a few international flights. Krabi Airport serves domestic flights from Bangkok (both BKK and DMK) and Chiang Mai. Additionally, it  serves international flights from Chendu, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for your destination! You can also look up flights to Bangkok, and then find the cheapest date to fly to Krabi after.

Search for a flight to Krabi, Thailand:

Getting From Krabi Airport to Railay Beach

Despite Railay beach being on the mainland area of Krabi, it is actually only accessible by boat. The first step will be making it to one fo the two piers that serve Railay Beach, which are Krabi town’s Khong Kha pier, and Ao Nang. 


Krabi airport is about 20 minutes away from Krabi Town, and a little over a half hour from Ao Nang. You can either take a shared shuttle for 150/ person or you can take a private taxi for 500 Baht. If you're staying in Ao Nang, we definitely suggest paying a bit extra to get a private taxi. It took us over an hour with the amount of stops we had to get to our hotel, and it didn't feel worth saving the little we did.


Want to book your airport transportation in advance? Here are some options you can choose from:


Once you make it to the pier you'll then have to get a long-tailed boat over to Railay Beach. Boats sail to Railay Beach from 8 am to 6 pm, and tickets can be purchased from the pier on the spot or from the ticket booth in advance.


Want to book the whole trip beforehand?


Traveling to Krabi, Thailand Via Land

Very few people actually make the drive over to Krabi. However, if you do have a car and are in Phuket, it is a 2 1/2 hour drive. If you don't like flying and really want to visit Krabi from Bangkok, you could always rent a car and do a road trip down, which would take around 10 hours. Keep in mind that in Thailand they drive on the left side of the road.


Plan on visiting Railay Beach from Bangkok? 



Traveling to Railay Beach, Thailand Via Sea

If you plan on exploring other parts of Southern Thailand, then traveling via sea will be the best way to go. Other than Krabi, there are also ferries that go to Railay Beach from Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, and Phuket. Just simply check the charts below to see all of the different ferry routes and times.


The great thing about getting your ferry tickets beforehand is that there will be someone coming to your hotel to get you, and bring you to the pier. Make sure you arrange the day before to get this service set up!


Want to book your tickets ahead of time? Here are a few of them down below:

timetable boats to Railay Beach
Long tail boat to Railay Beach

The only way to get to Railay Beach is by boat.


Entry Requirements for Thailand

If you're looking to travel to Railay Beach, you'll need to keep in mind the requirements in order to enter Thailand. Here is everything you'll need to know for entering this country.


Visa Requirements for Thailand

First thing's first- let's make sure you're able to enter Thailand without any problems due to visa restrictions. Currently, Thailand offers visa-free visits for up to 30 days to 64 different countries, and allows 18 others to receive their visa upon arrival.


If you would like to extend your stay to either 60 or 90 days, you can simply apply at your local embassy, or do so once you are in Thailand, for a fee of $30. Another option can be to leave and visit a nearby country, and then return to Thailand to restart your 30 days in the country.


If you'd like a bit more info on the visa process, or to see if you personally need a visa, you can check the official page.


Covid Entry Requirements for Thailand

Thailand, along with many other Asian countries, have been quite conservative with restarting tourism. As of last year (2022), Thailand is now open to tourists who are either fully vaccinated, or obtain a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of flying.


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Local Adjustments

During your travels there are things that you may forget about, that could be different from where you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to Thailand.


Language

The official language in Thailand is Thai. If you are a westerner, this language won't be quite so simple to pick up.


I'm not going to lie- I definitely thought there would be much more people with a higher level of English than I experienced throughout Thailand. Especially when dealing with taxis and tuk tuks, it is important to have an app ready to help, such as Google Translate.


Currency

The currency used in Thailand is the Thai Baht. Currently (October 2023) every 1 USD or 1 Euro is equal to 36.11 Thai Baht.


It is important to note that it is not common to be able to use a credit card in Thailand. Unless you are staying at a big hotel or dining at a fancy restaurant, cash is normally the only method of payment accepted. (There is also a transfer option, but this is only for those that have a bank account in Thailand).


Outlets

Thailand is actually great when it comes to their electrical outlets, because they can serve both American and European appliances. Plug types A, B, & C are all accepted throughout the country. The standard voltage in Thailand is 230 V with a standard frequency of 50 Hz.


This is important to know if you have appliances from the Americas. This is because the plug may fit, but the energy amount may not be the same. In this case, you'll need to buy an energy converter in order to not blow out your electronics.

Water Potability

Generally speaking, the water in the south of Thailand is not very safe to drink. We suggest sticking to bottled water, and getting large jugs in the supermarket to refill your own water bottle.

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Get an Insulated Water Bottle


Tipping Culture

The tipping culture in Thailand is not really an exact percentage. Tipping in Thailand isn't very typical. However, the fancier the establishment, the more likely it will be to find others tipping a bit (up to 10%). For street food, taxis, and salon services though, it isn't necessary at all. We do however suggest you tip those helping you in the hotels.

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Things to Do at Railay Beach, Thailand

While we first assumed that Railay Beach was just one beach, we were completely wrong. Railay Beach has a bunch of things to do around it! Here are all of the things to do in the area.


Visit the Different Beaches

The main beach that most dropped at is Railay West Beach. When you follow the trail through the town, you'll then end up East Railay Bay Beach. Here you'll find restaurants lined along the bay, and another area full of long tailed boats. You can continue following the path to the right and you'll end up at Phra Nang Beach. Here you'll find people rock climbing, the shrine, and a few resorts lining the sandy coast.


Railay Beach, things to do at Krabi, Thailand
Railay Beach, Thailand
Railay Beach, Thailand

There are several different beaches that make up the Railay Beach area.

While this is right next to Railay West Beach and appears too be a large circuit, it actually doesn't connect. Phra Nang Beach will be the furthest beach, and to get back to Railay West Beach you'll have to walk exactly where you came from.


All of the beaches are surrounded by striking rock formations, and one is seriously more beautiful than the next. We definitely suggest exploring all of the different beaches that the area has to offer!

Railay Beach, things to do at Krabi, Thailand

The beaches are surrounded by striking rock formations.

Browse the Shops

Right off Railay West Beach there are tons of shops lined up between all of the restaurants. While we definitely think the shopping is better in Krabi or Ao Nang, it's definitely worth browsing around to see what they have.

restaurants at Railay Beach

There are plenty of restaurants and shops along Railay Beach.

Admire the Monkeys

Right behind all of the restaurants at Railay West Beach you encounter a ton of wild monkeys! They are absolutely adorable, and roam freely around the center of the main trail. Please don't feed them or try to interact. If you do have an open bag though, don't be surprised if they try to get into it. They're pretty harmless, but also remember that they're animals so they can be territorial. Make sure to admire them from a safe distance and respect the area around them.


monkeys Railay Beach
monkeys Railay Beach

Make sure to keep a safe distance from the adorable monkeys.


Explore Diamond Cave

Once you get to the monkeys the road will fork. Continue a few minutes to the left and you'll get to Diamond Cave. This stunning spot is just 100 Baht to enter for adults, and 50 for children. There is a clear path that you can follow to check out the stalactites and stalagmites surrounding you. It definitely is a cool place to check out while visiting Railay Beach in Thailand.


Diamond Cave, Railay Beach
Diamond Cave, Railay Beach
Diamond Cave, Railay Beach

Diamond Cave is one of the most unique things to do at Railay Beach, Thailand.

Check Out the Phra Nang Cave Shrine

Located on the furthest beach, you find a cave that is waiting straight ahead from the spot you arrive. Head inside and you'll see a unique shrine. Local Thai people come here to seek fertility. It's super colorful, and definitely an interesting place to pop into while you're in the area.

shrine Railay Beach
cave shrine at Railay Beach

Located in the corner of Phra Nang Beach is a cave with a shrine inside.

Go Inside Bat Cave

This hidden gem is located on Phra Nang Beach, but it isn't quite in plain sight. You'll actually have to climb to the cave bay using ropes and ladders, but you'll be rewarded with a gorgeous spot to enjoy the scenery of Railay Beach from a different perspective.

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Railay Beach, Thailand Pin
Railay Beach, Thailand Pin
Railay Beach, Thailand Pin

Go Rock Climbing

One of the most popular activities at Railay Beach, Thailand is rock climbing. We're not talking one of those typical man-made rock climbing walls. Here you'll find people actually climbing up the large rock formations along the beach! This is of course something that you can only do by booking a guide, as it can be quite dangerous, and there is certain equipment necessary.


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Want to try rock climbing at Railay Beach? Here are a few different courses that you can try:

Climb Up to a Beautiful Viewpoint

There are two viewpoints at Railay Beach. One is of the east, and one is of the west. They start by climbing up this steep dirt path covered with tree branches. You'll want to be careful here, especially during rainy season. The beginning takes around 20 minutes to climb up, and the two different viewpoints are to the right and left. 


If you head to the left you'll find the Railay East Viewpoint. If you go to the left, you'll head down a much more tricky trail, which will take you quite a bit longer, but provide stunning views of Railay West Viewpoint.



We highly suggest giving yourself time for this (we didn't have enough to do it), and to be well prepared. Bring plenty of water, shoes with good traction, and be super careful! It looked pretty intense, especially during the rainy season. We did see pictures though, and it looked just stunning from above.

Railay Beach viewpoint

This is what the beginning of the hike looks like.


Getting Around Railay Beach, Thailand 

The area around Railay Beach is actually full of walking paths. While we did see some golf carts, everything is pretty much made to explore by foot. There are just a few streets, and there are signs everywhere for the different attractions. These aren't paved, but are pathways created by dirt or sand. We definitely didn't anticipate just how much there was to see, so get ready to explore!


We also say plenty of long tailed boats on the different beaches, so could imagine that you can hire someone to take you from one beach to the other in that way.

Railay Beach map
Getting around Railay Beach, Thailand

The only way to really explore the area is by walking the beaches and trails behind them. However, we think that you can also hire boats to take you from one beach to the other if you bargain correctly.


Food & Drink at Railay Beach

When we first went to visit Railay Beach we thought we'd find just a stand or two for some drinks and snacks. We truly didn't realize that Railay Beach is a place where people stay for a couple of days, and that there is a whole small town here.

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On the main beach you'll find a strip of restaurants and shops that go all the way down a street leading to where some of the trails start. There is a variety of Thai and western food, and even vegetarians can easily find something to eat here. You'll also find that a lot of the cafes offer weed as a normal menu item. At Railay Beach you'll find everything from Frozen cocktails and fruit filled drinks to Pad Thai, burgers, or soups.

Railay Beach, things to do at Krabi, Thailand

Getting a frozen drink on Railay Beach is a must.


Where to Stay in Railay Beach

When it comes to finding a place in Railay Beach, the good thing is that with location you really can't go wrong. Everything is close enough to walk, and there are some great spots that are located right on the beach.


Want to see the different options? Simply check the map below for the different accommodation options:

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Is Railay Beach Safe?

Overall, Thailand is a pretty safe country to visit. As Railay Beach is very touristy, you'll find solo travelers confidently visiting Railay Beach and other places in Southern Thailand. Walking around at night is perfectly fine, as there are plenty of people out generally. Our only recommendation is to be a bit extra careful is with your belongings. Make sure to always watch your things so that you aren't an attraction for petty theft.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Railay Beach, Thailand

Now that you know the best things to do in Railay Beach and how to get there, let's go over a few more things.


The Best Time to Visit Railay Beach

When it comes to the best time to visit Krabi and Southern Thailand, it truly depends on your intentions. For the biggest parties and the best weather, you'll definitely want to visit in the high season. (This is also the dry season) from November to February.


I visited in August, and have to say that I personally loved it. There were far less people than there normally are in the dry season, but definitely enough to be able to have a great time (this is when a lot of Europeans travel to Thailand). The weather was very tempermental though, so if you're craving sunny skies and perfect beach days, then you may want to rethink going during the rainy season.


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Weather & Packing For a Trip to Southern Thailand

Thailand has two seasons- wet and dry. It is ALWAYS hot in Southern Thailand, so you'll definitely want to bring light beach clothing. Swim suits, a towel, and casual clothing is all you'll really need for the beaches, and maybe some sneakers for hiking.


Another thing to note is that if you decide on the speed boats from Railay Beach to the  surrounding islands, and are prone to getting sea sick, you'll want to be prepared. Make sure to bring dramamine, as well as a plastic bag in case things go a little rougher than planned.

Railay Beach, Thailand
Railay Beach, Thailand
Railay Beach, things to do at Krabi, Thailand

When we visited in August we had dark skies, but much fewer crowds.

The good thing is that if you happen to forget anything, or want to have any items to bring into the water, there are also some shops that you can purchase those types of items at.

shops at Railay Beach

There are shops that have floats and other water related products.

Packing List for Railay Beach, Thailand

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Railay Beach is one of the most amazing places to visit in Thailand, and is definitely worth adding to your bucket list. You can do a day trip from Krabi if you leave early in the morning, but we definitely suggest spending at least one night to explore all there is to offer in the area.


Want to learn more about awesome spots in Thailand? We have guides for Krabi, the Phi Phi Islands, Chiang Mai, and more! Make sure to subscribe so that you can stay up to date with all of the new travel guides we have coming out.


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