Прочети този пост на български език: Почивка в Краби, Тайланд: Плаж Рейлей
Okay guys, I’ve decided to go back to blogging on a more regular schedule now that I’m home all the time anyway.. Let’s talk about a popular destination in Thailand – Railay Beach, Krabi!
When to visit Railay Beach
Similarly to Koh Lanta, it’s best to visit Railay Beach between December and April. That’s when the weather is sunny, dry and rainfall is rare. I won’t stop repeating this but bare in mind that this also is the period when Railay sees its busiest times. The area is completely closed off by cliffs and there’s limited space, so you will definitely feel the lack of options to escape to more deserted places. From all the places we visited in the south of Thailand, we found Railay Beach to be the most touristic.
Nevertheless, I don’t regret visiting – the scenery was completely different from all other islands and beaches that we went to. It’s definitely worth seeing!
How to get to Railay Beach
If you’re coming from Bangkok, the easiest and fastest way to get to Railay Beach is by plane to Krabi. Then take a van from the airport or main bus station in town to Ao Nang Beach and from there take a longtail boat to reach Railay.
We, however, came directly from Koh Lanta with a ferry that we booked online in advance on www.12asia.go. I’ve probably said it too many times but this website is awesome when going around Asia with public transport! Depending on where you are coming from you can check the route, price and book online! Our trip included a direct transport from our accommodation in a pickup truck to the pier in Koh Lanta Town and the ferry to Railay West, all of which cost about 600 baht ($18) per person. The ferry’s last stop was Ao Nang beach with Railay West as a mid-stop, the entire journey to there was about 2 hours.
As I said before, Railay Beach is completely isolated from the rest of the mainland because of the surrounding cliffs. Therefore, the only way to get there is by boat. There are two key piers:
- Railay West – you can get here only by longtail boat. Our ferry from Koh Lanta couldn’t reach the beach, so we stopped in proximity and switched to a longtail boat.
- Railay East – the bigger pier, where most speedboats stop.
Where to stay in Railay Beach
Railay is pretty limited in size, so don’t expect a lot of isolation. To get from one side to the other, you would be crossing through multiple resorts, which is why there are also signs everywhere not to make excessive noise.
Options here are more on the pricey side in comparison to other places in Thailand, so you would either splurge for a 5-star resort or take a 3-star budget hotel as we did with Anyavee Resort. We stayed for 2 nights and were happy with the service and room conditions. The only complaint was about the noise from the nearby places (bars, restaurants, etc.) but I think that’s a common issue in Railay regardless of where you’re staying. So once again, having some earplugs at hand saved me!
If you’re looking for bungalow, backpacker experience then Tonsai beach is your place. It’s right next to Railay West and you can get there by longtail boat or by walking for 1-2km through the jungle. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see it but I read a lot of good reviews about Tonsai, so it might be worth to visit if you’re staying for longer.
As I have shared before, www.agoda.com is the site to use when booking hotels and accommodation in Asia. I have found it to be the cheapest, plus you get some ‘cash back’ with every booking that you can use for future stays.
What to do in Railay beach
There is not a lot of area to cover, so walk around! You will see monkeys, lizards and other interesting animals despite all human activity around. Explore the caves and cliffs, jungle paths and any other nearby beaches such as Tonsai.
Best beaches around Railay, Krabi
- Railay West is the most popular one. It’s beautiful but for sure too busy for me – too many people and a lot of noise from all longtail boats departing and arriving every other minute.
- Phra Nang I liked better because it was a bigger and the scenic views of the cave and cliffs around and in the water were just amazing. It was still crowded but at least there were places a bit farther away from the cave that were more isolated. During low tide you can get to Ko Rang Nok island without swimming, just wear some flip flops or swimming shoes cuz it’s quite rocky.
- Railay East is not really a beach for swimming because of the mangroves but it’s still cool to see how it transforms between low and high tides.
- Tonsai is close by as well but as I said, we didn’t manage to visit it
Railay and the area is famous for its vertical cliffs that are a dream for rock climbing enthusiasts. You can find a lot of tours and schools that offer climbing gear and assistance for all levels – from beginners to advanced. We personally were not really interested in this but ended up actually doing some rock climbing ourselves when getting to the viewpoint and the lagoon (read below) that was pretty hard and maybe not super safe for beginners! 😀
Visit Railay Viewpoint and the hidden Lagoon
This was probably one of the coolest things that we did in Railay! To get to the viewpoint path follow the signs from Railay East to Phra Nang beach. Then you will see a super steep pathway and a sign for the viewpoint and lagoon. Going up is not hard and will take you about 10-15mins if you’re used to moderate physical activity, there are also ropes to help you climb and stay balanced. My advice is for sure to wear sneakers as the ground can be slippery and flip flops are not at all a good idea. Also, go when the weather and ground is dry because you wouldn’t want to be climbing and most importantly going down in mud! Follow the signs and you will get to the amazing view of Railay West and East!
If you want to continue to the lagoon, go back to the sign that you saw on the way. But just to warn you, this one is a bit trickier and harder! Going down can be a challenge if you don’t have experience (as I did) and can seem a little scary at first 😀 There are certain areas where you don’t have any other option but to use only the rope going down. On the bright side, going up was much easier! Anyways, we managed to get to the lagoon for about 30mins and was definitely worth it! It was super peaceful, there were not a lot of people around noon and the whole experience was very different from anything we had done so far in Thailand!
Canoeing at sunset
We got a canoe from Railay West and explored the entire area for about 2 hours. It was a pretty cool experience that you should try out, especially during sunset! It cost us 300 baht for 2 people, for 2 hours.
Another cool thing that this part of the Krabi area is famous for is Bioluminecent plankton – yeah, kind of like in the movie The Beach but you have to have special white lights to be able to see it. If you want to experience this, you can get a tour guide or join a group with canoes or paddle boards during the hours after sunset.
Where to eat in Railay
Railay has plenty of restaurants and food options to choose from. We used Google Maps to check highly rated places and here are the ones we liked best:
- Railay Family Restaurant – try the spring rolls and pick a fresh fish on the grill with ginger and lemon.
- Mangrove Restaurant – the honey grilled chicken here is just awesome!
- Flame Tree – we went for breakfast here. Rottees and fruit smoothies are great!
All in all, Railay is a great destination if you’re looking for a beach resort with all everyday life conveniences and more visitors (but not as crowded as other places like Phi Phi or Phuket). Don’t expect an amazing night life too, there are mostly chill bars where you can hang out in the evenings. I personally wouldn’t stay in Railay for more than 3 days. It’s rather small and there’s not a lot to explore apart from going on boat tours to nearby islands. The amount of tourists is also something that I didn’t enjoy a lot! However, the scenery is something that’s totally worth it! If you haven’t seen such cliffs and formations rising out of the sea, it will impress you for sure!