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East Railay Viewpoint & Princess Lagoon Hike, Railay Beach

East Railay Viewpoint & Princess Lagoon Hike, Railay Beach

A hiking guide to the famous East Railay Viewpoint & Hidden Lagoon (Princess Lagoon) in Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand.

Visiting Railay Beach and looking for an epic viewpoint hike? What about a hidden lagoon nested beneath towering limestone cliffs in the middle of the jungle?

If this sounds like your kind of adventure, then I’ve found the perfect locations. The Railay Viewpoint hike is a short but steep hike involving some muddy jungle scrambling to an awesome viewpoint of East Railay Beach.

You could do what I did and continue on the same track to the Princess Lagoon (Sa Phra Nang), Railay’s hidden lagoon, a great place for swimming in the jungle! I must warn you though the walk down is steep and does require a medium level of fitness.

In this guide, I’ll break down everything you need to know about this awesome hike in Railay while offering some insights into what you might expect based on my experience on the trail.

Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

About the East Railay Viewpoint & Princess Lagoon Hike

Railay is a fairly small peninsula, but packs in a tonne of adventure opportunities. As far as Railay's viewpoints go, the Railay East Viewpoint is one of the best!

However, be prepared for a steep climb involving thick ropes and a bit of rock climbing and scrambling to get there (especially steep on the way down to Princess Lagoon).

Although at only 290 meters to the viewpoint from the trailhead, or just 1 kilometer (return trip) if you walk to the lagoon, it really is almost vertical the whole way.

However, you don't need any special equipment like ropes to do this hike. Although I walked in flip-flops, I'd recommend you wear running or hiking shoes.

Steep climbing at railay east viewpoint

How to Get to the Railay Viewpoint Trailhead

First things first, you have to get to Railay. There are no roads leading to the peninsula, so you must take a boat. I've written a guide on how to get to Railay, which covers all the best & cheapest options from Ao Nang Beach, Krabi Town, and beyond.

To make it easier you might book accommodation and leave from one of Railays Beach hotels or resorts.

Once you arrive at Railay, you'll find the trailhead for both the Railay East Viewpoint & the Princess Lagoon roughly halfway along the walking track from Railay East Beach to Phra Nang Beach.

As you walk towards Phra Nang (one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand), keep an eye on the left side, where you'll spot the steep, orange trail leading up the slope, this is the trailhead.

Pinned Google Maps location: Railay Viewpoint Trailhead

Map to east railay viewpoint & lagoon in thailand

What to Expect on the Railay Beach Viewpoint Hike

  • Hike Distance: 1 km (0.62 mi) return trip (including Railay Lagoon)
  • Hike Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation: 130 meters total elevation gain (including up & down to the lagoon)
  • Difficulty: Moderate (steep rock scrambling)

As I'd assume most travelers would, I stumbled upon this trail while walking from Railay East Beach to Phra Nang Beach. I noticed that there was a sign (pictured below) with a map and hike details beside the trail.

The steep trail leading up the orange, muddy slopes also caught my attention. So, looking for an adventure, we began climbing up the hill, with a bunch of monkeys looking on.

Below I'll break down each section to help you prepare.

Map of the railay east viewpoint & lagoon hiking trail
Railay east viewpoint hike

Advice: Do not feed the monkeys. You don't want to be attacked on this steep trail.

Trailhead of east railay viewpoint & railay lagoon hike
Monkey at the trailhead

Climb Up the Wall to The Crossroad - 90 Meters

The first section is just 90 meters, but it is pretty much vertical, climbing quickly to around 60 meters above sea level. The good thing about this is that the steepest bit is right at the start, which tends to quickly deter anybody not prepared.

However, in true Thai backpacker fashion, most of the people I saw on the trail were walking barefoot in bikinis and board shorts.

The track has really good limestone holds all the way up, so the scramble is pretty easy in terms of technicality. Rock climbers won't struggle but if you've never done any climbing you might.

There's also a thick rope marking the only way up, making the climb to the viewpoint easier. However, I'd say that if it was raining it'd be quite a slippery challenge.

Rock scrambling to railay east viewpoint, krabi

After 90 meters, you'll arrive at the top, where you'll see a sign indicating the Railay East Viewpoint at 110 meters to the left, or the Hidden Lagoon at 155 meters to the right.

Signpost covered in stickers, thailand
Hike to railay viewpoint

Short Walk to the Railay East Viewpoint - 110 Meters

Once you're at the top, you can relax as the climbing is finished.

The last bit is just a short 110-meter stroll to the viewpoint through dense jungle. Just follow the obvious track and ignore the turn-offs.

Hike to railay east viewpoint through jungle

The View from Railay East Viewpoint

Arriving at the viewpoint, you'll notice a small roped-off clearing overlooking Railay East Beach. Here, you can see the floating dock and rows of longtail boats.

The elevated position also means you can see over the palm-lined isthmus to the white sands of West Railay Beach. The viewpoint offers an expansive, panoramic view of the Railay Peninsula all the way to Tonsai Beach.

We stayed here for 10 minutes or so, snapping some photos before the gathering high season crowds encouraged us to continue to the lagoon.

Railay east viewpoint

East Railay Viewpoint to the Princess Lagoon - 265 Meters

Instead of turning back on the same trail, you can continue down to the right of the viewpoint for a quick loop back to the crossroad. Once you arrive, continue straight, following the sign to the lagoon.

The section leading to the Railay Lagoon is the steepest and most challenging scramble and is separated into two walls. The first leads down to a small flat area beside a huge tree. Then, immediately to the left, the steepest part begins.

Advice: A white dress should not be worn on this hike. It will not be white at the end.

Rock climbing to the railay hidden lagoon
Hiking in railay, thailand

This section is quite fun and even has a bit where you need to squeeze through a small opening hole to descend.

Once you're at the jungle floor, you can dive straight into the lagoon!

Tip: The hike to Princess Lagoon is not recommended for children!

Rock climbing to railay lagoon
Climbing down the steep rock wall to Princess Lagoon

Swimming at Railay Beach Lagoon

Whether you call it the Railay Lagoon, the Princess Lagoon, or Sa Phra Nang– it really is a tropical jungle oasis. The watercolor is a deep emerald and surrounded by jungle-covered, towering limestone cliffs.

Sa phra nang, railay lagoon, krabi

When we visited in the late afternoon, we had magical rays of light shining through the tops of the canopy. The water is roughly 1.5 meters deep in the middle, which is good for swimming but there are no cliff jumps here.

Along the sides of the lagoon there are many caves, take care when walking along the rocks because they are really sharp.

We spent about 45 minutes here cooling off in the refreshing waters before climbing back up the slope.

Railay hidden lagoon
Sa phra nang, railay lagoon, thailand

Return to Railay Bay - 235 Meters

Don't worry, once you've made it to the lagoon, the most difficult climb is over. The climb back up is much easier than on the way down.

And, the final descent back to the start is also much easier than the descent to the lagoon.

Railay lagoon hike

Things to Know Before You Hike

I hope this guide to hiking to Railay East Viewpoint and the amazing Princess Lagoon in Railay has been a useful adventure preparation tool!

Before you shoot off, here are some quick pointers you might want to know (especially those who skim-read this blog)!

  • Did I mention this was steep? - prepare mentally as coming down is much harder than going up on steep slopes like this!
  • Wear enclosed footwear - yeah I know, you're in Thailand. If you struggle with heights or climbing steep faces, I recommend leaving the flip-flops behind.
  • Prepare for rain - luckily, I hiked to the Railay viewpoint in decent weather. However, in a heavy rainy season downpour, I'd imagine that this climb would be a nightmare, and pretty dangerous too!
  • Take your time - there's no rush, but plenty of opportunity to slip. Remember though, there's only one way up and down. So, be considerate to others by letting them pass if you notice that they are faster than you.
  • Visit the lagoon - the main attraction here is the Railay East Viewpoint. However, since the Princess Lagoon is on the same trail, I highly recommend taking the detour. It's one of the best things to do in the Railay area and one of my favorite highlights when visiting Railay.
Swimming at railay lagoon

FAQ Hiking to East Railay Viewpoint & Princess Lagoon

What should I expect during the hike?

The hike involves a steep climb with some rock climbing and scrambling, especially on the way down to the Princess Lagoon. The total elevation gain is around 130 meters, and it's considered moderately difficult. The hike takes about 1-2 hours for a 1 km return trip.

When is the best time to hike to the East Railay Viewpoint and Princess Lagoon?

The best time for hiking to the East Railay Viewpoint and Princess Lagoon is during the dry season, spanning from November to April. This timeframe offers sunny and dry conditions, making the trails less slippery and the hike more enjoyable. However, remember it will get hot so pack lots of water.

Can I swim in the Princess Lagoon?

Yes, the lagoon offers a refreshing swim in a deep emerald pool surrounded by jungle-covered cliffs. However, it's not suitable for cliff jumps as you cannot see the bottom, and be cautious of sharp rocks along the edges.

Is the hike suitable for children?

Due to its steep and challenging sections, I would not recommend this hike to children, those who are physically unfit or scared of scrambling/heights.

Where to Stay at Railay

Railay is a small peninsula with no cars or road transport. Therefore, you can walk to all the pristine beaches, where most of the best Railay Beach hotels and resorts are located. There are also a few budget backpacker hostels right on the beach.

Below are the top 3 places to stay in Railay for each budget.

Rayavadee outdoor views of the bungalow accommodation and swimming pool, krabi

1. Rayavadee Luxury

Known as one of the best resorts in Krabi. This 5-star luxury accommodation in Railay is famous for its epic cave restaurant. Boasts immaculately designed rooms, 6 restaurants, an outdoor pool, & incredible balcony views.

Tinidee hideaway villa accommodation on tonsai beach, thailand

2. Tinidee Hideaway Villa

Amazing sea-view villas overlooking the impeccable Tonsai Beach. The most romantic place to stay for couples. Features a beachside pool & world-class breakfast included.

Blanco hostel pool in railay

3. Blanco Hideout Budget

Easily the best backpacker hostel in Railay featuring a pool, two bars, a restaurant, a gym, and great common areas for sunbathing and meeting other travelers.

More Krabi Travel Guides & Adventure Inspiration

And, that's a wrap for this Railay East VIewpoint hiking guide, good luck!

If you're still planning your adventures in Krabi and the Railay Peninsula make sure to check out some of my other guides below for more inspiration!

Hidden beach, railay beach

Plan Your Krabi Accommodation

Still in the planning stages of your trip? Perhaps you're booking on the fly. The below accommodation guides will help you plan where to stay in Thailand.

East railay viewpoint & hidden lagoon pinterest pin
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Your feedback & updates are crucial to keep my guides factual & current. Got new info or updates? Drop a comment below or contact me directly.

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I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you.

chen

Wednesday 3rd of May 2023

Thank you for the useful guide!