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How & Where to Spot Dusky Leaf Monkeys at Railay Beach

How & Where to Spot Dusky Leaf Monkeys at Railay Beach

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.

Railay Beach, a tropical paradise in Krabi, Thailand, is not just known for its epic limestone rock-climbing cliffs and crystal-clear waters but also for its unique wildlife.

Among the diverse animals you can spot on this peninsula is the Dusky Leaf Monkey, a rare species not commonly spotted in other regions of Krabi. These monkeys stand out with their distinctive black and grey coloring (bright yellow for the babies) and gentle, shy nature.

I’ve visited Railay several times and I spotted a group of these monkeys on each occasion. However, on my recent trip I finally set out to photograph them, here’s my guide on how and where you can reliably spot these awesome Railay Beach monkeys!

Baby dusky leaf monkey in railay beach

About the Dusky Leaf Monkeys

Dusky Leaf Monkeys, also known as Spectacled Langurs, are black and grey primates with distinctive white rings around their eyes, giving them a "spectacled" appearance.

Unlike the common Macaque monkeys you'll find on "Monkey Beach" and the famous Ao Nang Monkey Trail, these guys are generally very shy and gentle, feeding mainly on leaves, fruits, and flowers.

While they can be found in many regions of Thailand and Malaysia, they have become increasingly rare due to deforestation and humans encroaching on their habitats. Luckily, Railay has no cars and is very laid back, and it seems these monkeys have taken a liking!

Railay beach dusky leaf monkey and baby

Where to Spot the Dusky Leaf Monkeys at Railay Beach

Railay Beach is a prime location to spot these elusive primates due to its lush, tropical environment and relatively quiet atmosphere compared to other tourist spots.

I've spotted these monkeys all over Railay, high in the trees on Railay Walking Street and even in my hotel near Railay East Beach. However, they're usually hiding quite high in the canopy, and hardly ever around long enough to get a good photo.

However, I now know exactly where to look for them if you want to spot and photograph these monkeys in Railay reliably and responsibly.

Hiking Trail to Phra Nang Beach in the Early Morning

Railay's Dusky Leaf Monkeys are usually most active in the early mornings. I asked around the town and some locals told me that you could spot them on the walking path to Phra Nang Beach, leading on from the southern end of Railay East Beach.

This is known as the Cave Path and is a scenic path passing the famous Railay Eeast Viewpoint and Princess Lagoon trailhead. There is a high fence between the rock wall and the Rayavadee Hotel, but the monkeys are often seen walking along the fence.

I recommend being quiet and looking up into the canopy. It only took us about 15 minutes before we spotted a mother and her baby. Below are some photos I captured during my visit.

Monkeys on the phra nang beach trail
Baby monkey in thailand
Dusky leaf monkey at railay beach
Dusky leaf monkeys on the phra nang beach trail
Dusky leaf monkey walking with her baby on a fence

Rayavadee Hotel Grounds

After about an hour of photographing these monkeys, we continued onto Phra Nang Beach. To our surprise, we spotted even more Dusky Leaf Monkeys on the trees right near the beach! They were hanging out in the fruit trees of the Rayavadee Hotel grounds and didn't seem too shy at all.

Although we weren't staying there, the staff kindly allowed us to take some photos.

Baby dusky leaf monkey in thailand
Dusky leaf monkey at rayavadee hotel on phra nang beach
Dusky leaf monkey in a tree at phra nang beach, thailand
2 baby monkeys at phra nang beach
Dusky leaf monkey at rayavadee hotel on phra nang beach
Black monkey in thailand
Railay beach monkey and baby monkey

Responsible Wildlife Tips in Railay

When spotting Dusky Leaf Monkeys or any other monkeys or wildlife at Railay or anywhere else for that matter, it's important to follow these responsible guidelines to ensure their safety and yours:

  • Keep Your Distance: Always maintain a respectful distance from the monkeys. Avoid getting too close, as this can stress them out and alter their natural behavior. They don't usually attack like Macacques but you should still keep your distance.
  • Do Not Feed the Monkeys: Feeding wildlife can disrupt their diet and lead to dependency on human food, which is unhealthy for them.
  • Respect Their Habitat: Stay on designated paths and avoid disturbing their natural habitat. Do not attempt to touch or grab the monkeys.
  • Dispose of Trash Properly: Ensure you don't leave any litter behind, as this can harm the monkeys and other wildlife.
  • Observe Quietly: Try to remain as quiet as possible to avoid startling the monkeys and to enjoy observing them in their natural behavior.

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.

I hope you've enjoyed this quick animal-spotting travel guide to Railay! Before you go, make sure to check out some of my other blog posts below for more inspiration for what to do and see in Krabi.

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.

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.

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. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.