Wondering how to get to Railay Beach from Ao Nang, Krabi, or other regions of Thailand? This useful transport guide will have all your options covered!
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!
- Quick Answer: Most Convenient Way to Get to Railay Beach
- How to Get to Railay from Ao Nang Via Longtail Boat
- How to Get to Railay Beach from Krabi
- What It’s Like Taking the Longtail Boat Ride to Railay Beach
- Getting to Railay from Other Regions in Thailand
- More Krabi & Thailand Travel & Adventure Guides
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
Quick Answer: 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.
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 long tail 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 near the corner leading to the main strip. This is called the "Ao Nang Longtail Boat Service Club". The reason I recommend this side is that it is much more popular As a result, boats fill up quickly so that you don't have to wait.
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.
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. However, 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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. Cost is approximately 400-500 baht.
- 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.
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.
Travel tip: You can also 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 Ride 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.
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.
Must-visit:Emerald Pool & Blue Pool Krabi
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.
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.
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.
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 & Thailand Travel & Adventure Guides
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!