A useful Krabi travel guide featuring the top things to do in Railay Beach, Thailand.
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand but want to skip the crowds of Phuket, then Railay Beach near Ao Nang, Krabi should be at the top of your list.
Railay’s limestone walls are a magnet for beginner and professional climbers, but the truth is that the Railay Peninsula has so much more to offer! From kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding through the calm waters of the world-class Phra Nang Beach, to exploring the hidden lagoons and caves in its jungle interior, there are so many fun & adventurous things to do on the Railay Peninsula!
After visiting this iconic location several times, I’ve compiled this useful travel guide unveiling the top attractions, points of interest, and hidden gems in the peninsula. To help you plan your trip, I’ve also detailed the best ways to get here, and the top Railay hotels to help you plan where to stay.
- Quicklist: The Top 3 Activities in Railay Beach
- How to Get to Railay Beach from Krabi
- Top 18 Things to Do in Railay Beach Thailand
- 1. Phra Nang Beach
- 2. Rock Climbing
- 3. Longtail Island Hopping Tour
- 4. Railay Beach West
- 5. The Railay Bat Cave
- 6. Swim or Paddle to Ko Rang Nok Island
- 7. Phra Nang Princess Cave
- 8. Railay West Viewpoint
- 9. Stalactites Near Railay East Beach
- 10. Railay East Viewpoint Hike
- 11. Railay Hidden Lagoon (Princess Lagoon)
- 12. Snorkeling at Railay
- 13. Tonsai Beach
- 14. Rent a Kayak at Railay West Beach
- 15. Hidden Beach
- 16. Diamond Cave
- 17. Railay Walking Steet
- 18. End the Day With An Amazing Sunset at Railay Beach
- FAQs About Traveling to Railay Beach
- More Krabi 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.
Quicklist: The Top 3 Activities in Railay Beach
In a rush? Want the top 3 unmissable activities that you can book from Railay in advance? Here they are.
How to Get to Railay Beach from Krabi
The first and most important thing to know is that there are no roads leading to the Railay Peninsula. As the southernmost region of mainland Krabi, Railay is only accessible by boat.
The most convenient and popular option is to visit Railay on a speedboat day trip from Ao Nang. This is how I visited Railay Beach for the first time and I highly recommend it. It combines a visit to Railay with other nearby islands like Chicken Island, Koh Poda, and Tup Island.
Longtail Boat Transfer to Railay Beach from Ao Nang
Alternatively, if you want to spend an entire day exploring Railay Beach, you can easily get here via the longtail boat trip from Ao Nang Beach.
This costs 100 Thai Baht per person each way and trips operate between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. The boat journey only takes 10-15 minutes, depending on the weather and sea conditions. However, as a shared boat transfer, you will need to wait until there are 8 passengers ready to depart.
I've written a detailed guide breaking the best transport options, which will outline how to get to Railay from Ao Nang, Krabi Town, Krabi International Airport, or other regions of Thailand like Phuket or Bangkok.
Top 18 Things to Do in Railay Beach Thailand
Now, with the logistics out of the way, let's dive into this list of the best things to do at Railay Beach, Thailand!
1. Phra Nang Beach
The beautiful Phra Nang Cave Beach is easily one of the most stunning beaches in Thailand.
Featuring stunning turquoise water and towering cliffs, this beach is a true paradise, and one of my favorite to photograph in Krabi. This is a curved stretch of white sand, edged by two famous caves on either side. It's also home to the famous grotto dining restaurant overlooking the beach, run by the Rayavadee Resort.
To get to Phra Nang, simply walk from Railay East Beach. You could also kayak from Railay West, or ask your longtail boat driver to drop you here on the way from Ao Nang.
Travel Tip: Visit Phra Nang Beach early on your Railay Beach itinerary as it will likely become crowded after 11:00 am. This is especially true during the peak season of November to March.
2. Rock Climbing
Of course, one of the things that make Railay so famous is its world-renowned limestone. You'll find an array of amazing climbing routes scattered throughout the peninsula. These range from beginner-friendly rock walls to crazy overhangs!
If you're a first timer visiting Railay Beach and want to do some climbing, you'll want to go with a professional climbing guide. This is a beginner-friendly climbing school and the top-rated in Krabi, with hundreds of 5-star reviews.
Tip: If you're staying in Ao Nang, the above tour includes a return transfer to Railay. This is a cost-effective way to get here if you're planning to do some climbing.
3. Longtail Island Hopping Tour
Travelers staying in Railay have many great beaches to explore. But, when in Krabi you definitely don't want to miss the amazing islands of the Andaman Sea.
Many islands are within reach on a longtail day trip from Railay. These include Chicken Island, Koh Poda, Tup Island, and the famous Phi Phi Island (Koh Phi Phi) & Phi Phi Leh (home of Maya Bay and the Pileh Lagoon).
If you're looking to snorkel in crystal clear waters and healthy coral reef, then you won't want to miss an island trip.
4. Railay Beach West
Railay is a peninsula connected by a thin, palm-lined isthmus to mainland Krabi. On either side are its two main beaches, Railay Beach West and Railay Beach East. Railay's main beach is on the west side, and is also known as Sunset Beach. This is where you'll likely first arrive if you're coming from Ao Nang.
The beach itself is one of the best places in Railay for swimming, and sunbathing, since you can find many sandy areas free of boat traffic. Also, the beach is surrounded by vendors selling food and drinks, as well as some great beach bars and restaurants
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5. The Railay Bat Cave
There are many famous caves in Railay, but one of the most underrated is the awesome Bat Cave. This huge limestone grotto is located on the western end of Phra Nang Beach and features one of the best viewpoints in the region. But first, you'll need to climb up through the cave via the aid of some rickety bamboo ladders.
While you don't need any special climbing equipment to reach the Bat Cave viewpoint, there's a pretty hardcore rock climbing route at the back of this cave. This leads through the huge limestone pillar all the way through to Railay West.
6. Swim or Paddle to Ko Rang Nok Island
Dotted less than 100 meters from the shores of Phra Nang Beach is a jungle-covered limestone island known as Koh Rang Nok. When visiting Phra Nang, one of the best things to do is to swim or paddle out to Ko Rang Nok Beach, a tiny beach on the island facing Railay.
This is much more secluded than the main beach and a great spot to relax and swim in clear waters. At low tide, you can even walk out to the beach!
7. Phra Nang Princess Cave
While I consider the Bat Cave to be the most epic cave at Railay, the Princess Cave, is what gives Phra Nang Cave Beach its name.
Phra Nang Princess Cave is quite a unique and fascinating cave located on the southern (east) end of Phra Nang Beach. The cave is filled with phallic-shaped offerings, including wooden penis carvings and statues. Local fishermen believe that a mythical sea princess resides in the cave and that these shrines represent fertility and a bountiful catch.
8. Railay West Viewpoint
When you inevitably find yourself on the main sunset beach at Railay West, make a trip to the very southern end of the beach. Once you arrive, you'll see a steep, rocky trail leading up to the lush jungle beside the resort.
This is a short hike to Railay West Viewpoint and overlooks the crystal clear, blue waters of Sunset Beach and Tonsai Beach, as well as the towering limestone cliffs separating the peninsula from Ao Nang.
The trail is quite easy to follow, but a little overgrown. To help you up the steeper, more slippery sections (especially in the rainy season), there are thick fixed ropes. Expect to get to the viewpoint in less than 20 minutes from the beach. The viewpoint itself doesn't have any signs but is below a huge climbing wall. This wall is an advanced rock climbing route going through to the Bat Cave on Phra Nang!
9. Stalactites Near Railay East Beach
Taking the short walk from Railay East Beach to Phra Nang, you'll pass one of the best examples of Railay's amazing stalagmite formations. The best spot is a large overhang along the trail, where you'll also see some stalactites.
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10. Railay East Viewpoint Hike
Along the same trail leading from Railay East to Phra Nang, you might catch a glimpse of a steep, muddy trail leading up the almost vertical wall on the left.
This is the walking track named the East Railay Viewpoint Hike, one of the best viewpoints on the peninsula. This track is very short but extremely steep, assisted by ropes for most of the way. The walk is more of a vertical scramble, but the views are definitely worth it at the top!
11. Railay Hidden Lagoon (Princess Lagoon)
Branching off the same trail to Railay East Viewpoint trail is another steep, scrambling descent to the Hidden Lagoon, also called the Princess Lagoon or Sa Phra Nang.
If you're going to head up to the viewpoint, I highly recommend taking the extra way down to the lagoon. At the bottom, you'll discover a huge emerald-green pool surrounded by tall limestone cliffs with overhanging caves on all sides.
\It's one of my favorite places to visit in Railay Beach, and well-worth the difficult scramble! Don't worry, the way down is harder than the way back up!
12. Snorkeling at Railay
When you're visiting the tropical southern region of Thailand, of course, you're going to want to do some snorkeling! Luckily, snorkeling is one of the best things to do at Railay Beach, since there are a few great spots with healthy coral reefs and abundant marine life.
The best snorkeling spots are at either end of Phra Nang Beach. Just swim out a little from the main beach at the point. I recommend snorkeling on a clear day and at high tide, when the visibility is a bit better.
13. Tonsai Beach
Tonsai Beach, sometimes written "Ton Sai Beach" is a charming and more beach on the western side of the Railay Peninsula. Unlike the other three main beaches on Railay, Tonsai Beach offers a more laid-back, bohemian vibe. It attracts travelers looking for a great place to swim, as well as many backpackers and rock climbers from all over the world.
To get to Tonsai, you can take the walking trail along the headland leading from the north end of Railay West Beach. Alternatively, those coming from Ao Nang can be dropped here by the long tail boats for an additional cost.
14. Rent a Kayak at Railay West Beach
One of the best ways to explore the unique tropical coastline of the Railay Peninsula is from the sea. And, if you want to be your own captian and get some exercise at the same time, why not rent a kayak?
Kayaks (either 1 or 2 person variants) are available for rent at Railay West Beach near the longtail boat driver desk. Prices range between 500 Thai Baht and 1000 Thai Baht per day, depending on your haggling skills.
Alternatively, if you're staying in Ao Nang and are feeling like a much longer paddle, you can kayak from Ao Nang beach and paddle to Railay yourself.
15. Hidden Beach
Looking for a hidden gem at Railay? What about a secluded beach, shaded by jungle trees, and offering your own slice of soft, white sands paradise?
Don't miss Hidden Beach, a spot I discovered when exploring the northern end of Phra Nang. To get to the beach, just walk around the rocky cove at the end of the beach. Just around the corner you'll see the Hidden Beach. It really is quite small, accommodating perhaps 5-6 people.
This beach is one of the best spots for couples looking to escape the crowds at Railay!
16. Diamond Cave
By now, you'll know that Railay Beach has many caves. In terms of rock formations, stalagmites, and stalactites, they don't come more impressive than the Diamond Cave.
You'll find the diamond cave just a short walk from Railay Walking Street in Railay Village, or by heading north from Railay East Beach.
Tham Phra Nang Na, as it's called in Thai features a tall, narrow passage elevated from the cave floor by a concrete and wooden path. This leads to a large, open cavern where many bats live. Almost as soon as you enter the cave, you'll notice that the temperature is much cooler, making it a great place to visit in Railay to escape the heat!
Note that this is a paid attraction at 200 Thai Baht per person for entry. During the wet season, there's also a big pool in the center that sparkles– giving it its name "Diamond Cave".
Travel tip: If you're looking for the best place to eat or grab a drink, stop by "Last Bar", just 5-minutes walk from the Railay East Beach floating pier, or 2 minutes from Diamond Cave.
17. Railay Walking Steet
Since there are no roads at Railay Beach, all the streets are technically "walking streets". However, this is the name given to the restaurant and pub street running through the peninsula. This main walking street connects Railay West with Railay East Beach, and is the central hub of the area.
This is where you'll find many great Thai food and international restaurants, plenty of bars (offering all kinds of things), and some quaint cafes and souvenir shops. It's also where you'll kick off the famous Railay Pub Crawl.
By no means is it as busy as the main walking streets of Krabi, but hey, this is Railay!
18. End the Day With An Amazing Sunset at Railay Beach
If the day is withering away and you're still wondering what to do in Railay Beach, don't fret. The western-facing side of Railay offers some of the best sunset views in the entire Krabi province!
I recommend heading down to the beach in the late afternoon and finding your own secluded spot. Alternatively, Sunset Bar is a popular spot right on the beach with good sunset views.
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.
FAQs About Traveling to Railay Beach
The cheapest and most convenient way to get to the Railay Beach area is by taking a short boat ride from Ao Nang. These are public longtail boats that cost 100 Thai Baht per person.
The best time to visit Railay is during the dry season of November to March. During this time, the weather is warm and the days are dry. However, this is also the busy high season and a popular destination on the Thailand backpacking circuit. Visiting in the shoulder season of April or late October is a good balance.
Couples shouldn't miss Hidden Beach, Phra Nang Beach, and Tonsai Beach for a romantic and fun couples beach trip. These beaches have clear water and pure, white sands for relaxing on.
There are plenty of great things to do on the Railay Peninsula for families with kids. I recommend checking out the many beginner rock climbing walls, Tonsai Beach, and Phra Nang Beach– one of the most beautiful beaches in Asia. You can also spot monkeys on the walk there from Railay East.
When looking for where to stay in Krabi Railay is one area that stands out. There are many hotels, guest houses, and resorts in Railay. These range from high-end 5-star resorts to budget guest houses and one backpacker hotel.
Railay Beach can be visited on a day trip from Ao Nang. However, there are so many fun things to do here, and most travelers will want at least a day to relax between the hiking and rock climbing. Therefore, a good amount of time to spend at Railay Beach is 3-4 days.
If you're looking for a Southern Thailand travel destination with beautiful scenery, clear water beaches for swimming, jungle tails for hiking, epic viewpoints, and world-class rock climbing, then Railay is one of the best beaches to visit in South East Asia!
Yes, all the main sim card providers get decent service at Railay. This includes DTAC, AIS, and True.
More Krabi Travel & Adventure Guides
And, that's a wrap for this detailed Thailand travel guide to Railay Beach, Krabi! I hope it's been useful in planning your adventures and things to do in this unique, tropical peninsula.
Check out the list below for more Thai travel inspiration!