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How to Get to Railay Beach from Ao Nang or Krabi, Thailand

How to Get to Railay Beach from Ao Nang or Krabi, Thailand

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

A useful transport guide explaining how to get to Railay Beach from Ao Nang or Krabi in Thailand.

Railay Beach is known for its pristine beaches for swimming in crystal clear waters, towering limestone cliffs for rock climbing, and its easy-going, laidback atmosphere. It’s truly one of Thailand’s best tropical paradises, and definitely worth visiting.

However, there are no vehicle roads to the Railay Peninsula, meaning the only way to get here is via boat. The closest area to Railay is the nearby Ao Nang in Krabi, but there are many ways to get here from all corners of Thailand.

So, whether you’re staying in Krabi, Bangkok, Phuket, or Ao Nang, this up-to-date travel guide will have all your transport options for getting to Railay Beach covered!

Longtail boats at railay beach, krabi

The Most Convenient Way to Get to Railay Beach

Skip bartering with travel agents– the easiest way to get to Railay Beach is to book the Krabi Islands Speedboat Tour online. This combines a visit to Railay with the unmissable Krabi Islands and includes free hotel pickup from Ao Nang, Krabi Town, Ao Nam Mao, Klong Muang, or Tub Kaek Beach.

Being a speedboat tour, it's also the fastest way to visit all the most beautiful beaches and islands in a single day– meaning more time swimming in the lagoons and relaxing on the amazing white sand beaches.

Railay beach west, thailand

How to Get to Railay from Ao Nang Via Longtail Boat

For travelers staying in Ao Nang, the cheapest way to get to Railay Beach is to take a shared, traditional Thai longtail boat from Ao Nang Beach.

The longtail boat journey typically only takes 10-15 minutes, varying on weather and sea conditions. The cost is 100 Thai Baht each way. But you must wait until the boat fills up with around eight people before you depart.

There are two locations where you can book your boat from Ao Nang to Railay Beach. These are at both ends of the beach street in Ao Nang (the one with the big marlin fish statue). After taking this boat myself, I highly recommend going to the southern end. This is called the "Ao Nang Longtail Boat Service Club".

Location: Ao Nang Longtail Boat Service Club

The reason I recommend this end is that it is much more popular and as a result, boats fill up quickly so that you don't have to wait.

Map longtail journey ao nang to railay beach
Longtail boats on ao nang beach, thailand

Boat drivers will drop passengers at Railay Beach (Railay West, the main beach). However, you can also request Railay East, Tonsai Beach, or Phra Nang Beach, though you might be charged an extra fee.

Taking a longtail boat from ao nang to railay beach

Budget travel tip: The ticket staff will try to sell you a return ticket straight away. I recommend purchasing a one-way ticket, which leaves you with more flexibility to return to Ao Nang with whichever company has boats ready from Railay.

What Time Do the Longtail Boats Leave for Railay Beach?

The first boats officially depart at 8:00 am in the morning and the last boat from Railay leaves at 6:00 pm.

Alternatively, if you want to get to Railay Beach early for sunrise, there are usually boat drivers there early. You'll just need to ensure you can fill a boat, or prepare to pay for the whole boat yourself.

If you take this option, I recommend bartering as they will usually accept 600 Thai Baht (no lower) if there is nobody around.

Alternatively, you could book a night at one of Railays beach hotels to watch the sunrise and explore the area early.

Boats at railay, krabi

How to Get to Railay Beach from Krabi

Whether you're landing at Krabi Airport and want to get to your accommodation in Railay, or you're staying in Krabi Town and want to visit on a day trip, here are your options.

Railay Beach from Krabi Town

Here are the options to get to Railay Beach from Krabi.

  1. Railay & 4 Islands Tour - a convenient option if you want to combine Koh Phi Phi, Maya Bay, Pileh Lagoon, and Railay Beach with all transport included.
  2. Taxi or Grab to Ao Nang - it's roughly 20-25 minutes of travel time to reach Ao Nang Beach from Krabi Town, where you can then jump on one of the shared longtail boats. The cost is approximately 400-500 baht.
  3. Songthaew to Ao Nang - take a Songthaew (shared pick-up taxi) from the stop near the river for 60 Thai Baht. This journey takes approximately 40 minutes. Arriving at Ao Nang Beach, you can take the longtail.

Alternatively, you can take a longtail boat from Klong Jilad Pier, south of Krabi Town. However, this trip takes over an hour and I wouldn't recommend it as it'll likely be more expensive than just getting to Ao Nang first via road.

Boat leaving railay towards ao nang, krabi

Railay From Ao Nam Mao Beach (Krabi)

There is a pier approximately 12 kilometers south of Krabi Town (20-minute taxi) known as Ao Nam Mao Pier, where you can take a longtail boat to Railay East Beach for 100 Thai Baht.

Railay Beach from Krabi Airport

Travelers arriving at Krabi International Airport (KBV) can book a private transfer for the 30-kilometer (18.6 mi) journey to Ao Nang for just 850 Thai Baht, from there, it's easy to get the shared longtail boat transfer.

Alternatively, there's also a shuttle bus from Krabi Airport to Ao Nang, costing 150 Baht and departing every hour from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Railay beach, krabi

Travel tip: You can rent a motorbike or scooter (Honda Click) in Krabi for 180-300 Thai Baht per day. Alternatively, car rentals are available from town or the airport, with great deals available on DiscoverCars.

What It's Like Taking the Longtail Boat to Railay Beach

Longtail boats, or reua hang yao in Thai, are traditional Thai vessels made of timber and propelled by a modified car engine sporting a long propeller shaft. They are typically the cheapest ways to get around on the water.

Usually, you'll find a sunshade cover or a small roof. However, a common complaint is that the longtails are very noisy since the engines are not insulated by any cover.

My journeys from Ao Nang to Railay Beach have always been quite easy and pleasant since it is only a 10-15 minute journey. Along the way, you'll pass Pai Plong Beach and the towering limestone cliffs isolating the Railay Peninsula.

Additionally, we enjoyed great views of Tonsai Beach along the way.

Boat trip from ao nang to railay

Useful Tips for the Boat Transfer to Railay Beach

Below are some useful travel tips to make sure your transport to Railay goes smoothly!

  • Low tide - during low tide, the beach at Ao Nang retreats quite a bit. Be prepared to have to walk out in the soft, wet sand to reach the longtail.
  • High season - Krabi sees over 6 million visitors per year. Most arrive during the peak season of November to February. I recommend getting the early boat to Railay to avoid the crowds once you arrive.
  • Low season - during the low season, you might have to wait a while until the longtail boats fill up. The most popular time is at around 9-10 am.
  • Font seat - if you can, sitting at the front of the boat is the best way to avoid the deafening sound of the motor.
  • Phra Nang Beach - visiting the stunning Phra Nang Cave Beach is one of the best things to do in Railay. It might be a good idea to ask the boat driver to drop you at Phra Nang if you want to get there early before the crowds. Otherwise, you must walk from Railay East Beach.
Boats on the beach in thailand

Getting to Railay from Other Regions in Thailand

Railay Beach from Bangkok

Railay Beach is approximately 780 km (485 mi) south of Bangkok. The fastest way to get to Railay Beach from Bangkok is to fly to Krabi Airport. There are many cheap airlines offering flights for under $50. From here, you can take a private transfer or shuttle bus to Ao Nang, followed by a longtail boat.

Alternatively, there are bus route options from Bangkok to Krabi available on 12Go Asia.

Railay Beach from Phuket

There is a convenient speedboat ticket that you can book which takes travelers from Phuket directly to Railay Beach or Ao Nang via Ko Yo.

Alternatively, travelers landing at Phuket International Airport, or those staying at Phuket Town or nearby Patong can take a taxi, shared minivan, or bus from Phuket Town to Ao Nang. The journey takes approximately 2 hours, with a road distance of about 140 kilometers (86 mi) to cover.

If you take the overland option, you'll need to take the longtail boat trip once you arrive in Ao Nang.

Boat driving from railay beach, thailand

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.

FAQ About Getting to Railay Beach

Can you walk from Ao Nang to Railay Beach?

No, you cannot walk from Railay to Ao Nang. These two locations in Krabi, Thailand, are separated by sea and steep limestone cliffs, making direct walking impossible. The only way to travel between Railay and Ao Nang is by boat.

How long does the boat ride from Ao Nang to Railay take?

The journey typically takes 10-15 minutes. However, this depends on sea conditions.

What are the boat operating hours from Ao Nang to Railay?

Boats start running from Ao Nang to Railay Beach at 8:00 am and the last return from Railay is around 6:00 pm.

Speed boats at pileh lagoon

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I hope that this useful travel guide has helped you plan your transport to Railay Beach from Ao Nang, Krabi, and other popular tourist regions of Thailand.

But, don't end your planning here! Below are some of my most popular travel guides from Southern Thailand to help you find amazing and fun things to do!

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.

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Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

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