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Why West Railay Beach is special ?
Rai Leh or Rai Lay — is a small peninsula just south of the town of Ao Nang, Krabi. It’s attached to Krabi’s mainland, but cut off by towering limestone cliffs from all the roads and towns.
While the powdery white sand beaches attract boat loads of travellers, Railay is perhaps best known as one of the world's greatet rock-climbing destinations. Over 700 routes are bolted to dozens of sheer rock faces, often with commanding views of the surrounding ocean. For the adventurous, one of the most popular activities in is deep-water soloing, which combines solo rock-climbing and base jumping into pristine blue sea.
What to explore at West Railay Beach?
There are three sides to the Railay Beach peninsula. West Railay Beach, also called Sunset Beach by some, and Phra Nang Beach on the south-facing side of the peninsula, are among the best, most stunning white sand beaches in Thailand, surrounded by beautiful emerald clear water.
The resorts and hotels on these two beaches are more expensive, but there are also cheaper hotels and bungalows available on the mangrove-lined East Railay Beach, within around 10-15 minutes’ walk from the main beaches.
You can spend a relaxing day lazing by the pool or on the beach. Or if you’re looking for more adventure, you can tryrock climbing with some of the best instructors in the world.
There are many local climbing schools that can outfit you with climbing shoes and equipment, and lead you on trips for everyone from beginners to advanced climbers.
Railay Beach is often the idyllic tropical paradise featured in posters and postcards of Thailand, so don’t forget your camera.
On Phra Nang beach you’ll find a small cave shrine filled with phallic statues dedicated to the deity Sri Kunlathewi, a legendary Indian princess who was wrecked along the Krabi coastline in the 3rd century B.C. and has been invoked by local fishermen ever since to provide a bountiful catch.
Adventurous travelers can climb a ragged jungle path up this impressive karst cliff to discover a hidden lagoon and an eagle-eye viewpoint high over East Railay Beach.
At night Railay is fairly quiet, but with several cozy little beach bars — some romantic spots to share a cocktail by candle light, some lively, reggae-style bars that stay open late with live music and exciting fire shows on the East Beach.
The girlie-bar scene is also completely absent from Railay Beach, since the majority of visitors here are families and younger backpackers, which makes for a nice change of pace from many spots in Thailand.
How to get to West Railay Beach?
You need to take a longtail boat (pier next to the night market by the river) that costs 150 baht each way. From Ao Nang the journey is around 15 minutes (100 baht) and boats arrive either on West Railay Beach or on Phranang Beach.
It is also possible to visit Railay on a day trip from anywhere on the mainland; indeed many people stay in Ao Nang, which has cheaper accommodation, but spend the daytime in Railay. The beautiful beach at Phranang Bay is also the last stop on the “four island” tour that you can book from any travel agent in Ao Nang.
- Heaven on earth
- Best sunset spot in Krabi
- A dreamlike beach
- Stunning bay
Tips for you
Such a beautiful beach to view the sunset. Worth while to walk down to.Also a very interesting shrine there to view.
We came to Railay after a friend visited in 2007 and fell in love.However she was so sad when we came back here in jan 2015.Overrun with hundreds of tourists, loud and dirty boats pulling in and out the beach every 30 seconds, brown polluted water and stalls selling the same old tat you get all across Thailand.The route to the beach via the walking street is littered with bin bags being ripped apart by monkeys and raw sewerage.The stretch of beach itself is covered in resort restaurants selling their take on the same food.You can see how the island was beautiful, the tall limestone mountains on either side are spectacular. But Railay appears to be turning into Koh PhiPhi and smells just as bad.
Truth be told, I was only there for a few hours, and other than a meal did not partake in any activity. My impression is that it is a nice place to visit, but a bit too overrun with tourists to my taste.It may be that Railey Beach developed its reputation before becoming overcrowded, and now it's reputation is acting to its disadvantage.Nevertheless, it is worth visiting for less than a day if you are in the area
This really is a beautiful beach... much better before the tourist boats arrive and when they have left ;-) Early in the morning and late in the afternoon it's a fabulous place to relax, grab a beach mat at the bar and watch the sunset... It's also a 15 minute walk, or a short kayak ride, to Phra Nang beach, which is without doubt the best beach... but get there well before 9:30am when the tourist boats also start to arrive and ruin the peace and tranquility... We kayaked and walked there and had the beach to ourselves at 8:30am :-) Fab!