Railay Beach, Krabi, is a place you might entirely miss when visiting Thailand. It just doesn’t have the familiar ring to it like “Ko Tao” or “Ko Phi Phi” do, and yet, it would be the biggest shame to miss visiting. Railay Beach might just be the most beautiful place in the world.
The Best Parts of Railay Beach, Thailand
After spending a few days in the overrun, touristy, insane place of Phuket, I literally took an audible sigh upon arriving to Railay. Also called “Rai Leh” by locals, this heavenly place isn’t actually an island, but a small peninsula set between Krabi and Ao Nang.
Because it’s accessible only by boat, long tail boat!, you get an immediate sense of privacy and calm when you arrive here. While there certainly are still many tourists, it feels much more authentic than other islands in the area. It’s small, completely walkable on foot, and there aren’t any crazy Tuk Tuk drivers to possible run you over – actually, there aren’t any vehicles, period.
The landscape is incredibly beautiful, and after spending a week or so in this heavenly place, you’ll come to know each of its unique corners, beaches, restaurants, and hidden gems. The many “Jamaican” bars sell “Bob Marley” cigarettes and shakes that will “take you to the moon,” which although I opted out, seemed to give these establishments a really laid-back vibe I thoroughly enjoyed (board games and all).
But perhaps my very favourite part of staying in Railay was the natural beauty, and all of the animals. From fish in the sea, to stray kittens roaming around, to various breeds of monkeys swimming in the trees (and pretty frequently stealing mangos from passersby), I honestly just couldn’t get enough of how beautiful this place was. I haven’t felt so connected to nature in such a long time.
Where to Stay in Railay Beach
We found a gem while researching places to stay in Railay, and damn, am I glad we did! We knew almost immediately it was the one: the serenity, the private huts, the beautiful views. Railay Great View Resort did NOT disappoint, either. This is honestly probably one of the most magical places I’ve ever stayed, and thanks to this very blog, I’ve stayed in some glamorous places.
The things I loved about Railay Great View Resort:
- Accessible only by foot or long-tail boat. There is a complimentary long-tail boat service that will take you to-and-from town at particular hours, but this stops between 430-6pm. While some reviews complained about the walk, we thoroughly enjoyed this footpath. It’s quiet and beautiful, and only takes about 15 minutes to get into town. Just wear bug spray at night!
- Private beaches – yep, two private beaches! You can literally watch sunrise and sunset every day from your own private beach when you are staying here.
- Infinity pool and the most beautiful view. The infinity pool looks out towards the most beautiful, cutout view of the ocean and landscape of the peninsula.
- The monkeys! Because this property is set pretty well in the jungle, you’ll likely have the opportunity to see some monkeys playing in the trees above the pool or restaurant. Even though you see them quite often here, I never got tired of the view.
- The rooms. The private huts are so beautiful! We had some really memorable moments just enjoying some silence (or a deep conversation) on our patio, looking out into the jungle. We also loved sleep in the bed surrounded by the mosquito net. Surely meant for function (which was great) but also somehow added to the magic of the place. Beautiful showers and just overall so enjoyable.
- The restaurant and market. You’ll never go hungry or thirsty here, but do take note: alcohol isn’t served on the resort property (just wine).
What to do in Railay
There’s not that much hustle and bustle happening in Railay, which is part of the reason I fell so in love with the place, but you still have to do a few things:
- Have a drink at Tew Lay Bar. This is the coolest bar ever, and you would probably never find it otherwise. Most tourists turn back before they reach it, because it’s off-the-beaten-path towards Railay Great View Resort. You’ll find hammocks and bed built into trees overhanging the water where you’re welcomed to sip on a beverage – or eight.
- Swim at Tonsai Beach. The beach one north from Railay West, most tourists take longtail boats to Tonsai without realizing there is a little hidden path at the north end of Railay Beach that will take you there. Have a drink at Freedom Bar, if you have the time.
- Eat a Roti Pancake. In addition to having mango and sticky rice whenever you possibly can, I also fell in love with mango nutella roti pancakes. A great treat for a night out!
- Watch sunset at Railay Beach. The restaurants here can be expensive, considering, but you can sit and watch sunset with a Roti Pancake if you please! Simply beautiful. Another option is to take a kayak out and watch the sun go down from a little closer to the horizon.
- Hike to the lookout. It’s hard to describe how to get to, but it’s on one of the only footpaths in the place and you will certainly find it if you ask. BUT BEWARE!!! This is NOT an easy hike. I was sweating buckets and had to use my laser focus with each movement to ensure I didn’t plummet to my death. Seriously. While this is one of the most memorable experiences I had, do NOT do it with children, wearing flip-flops, or if you’ve had even one or two beers. Be prepared for a serious hike.
I hope that you enjoy Railay Beach as much as I did! If you have any questions, leave me a comment below.