Thailand | How to do Railay Beach in a Day

Railay is a small beach near Krabi, almost entirely surrounded by water and limestone cliffs, meaning it's only accessible by boat. As we were short on time for island hopping, we stayed in Ao Nang on the mainland and did various trips from there to the Phi Phi islands, beaches and hills in the area. We only spent one short afternoon here but I really wanted to share how to do Railay Beach in a day.

longtail boats on railay beach

Getting There

The easiest way to get to Railay from Ao Nang is by longtail boat, with a service running constantly from 8am-6pm every day. Simply pop down to the kiosk by the beach to pay for your ticket - about 100THB each way. Once there's enough people to fill a longtail (usually 6-8 people) your boat will set off. It's only a 15 minute journey and an enjoyable one too, sailing between the towering karsts.

railay beach
phra nang princess cave railay beach
Read on for d*ck pic explanation...

Three Beaches

Railay is actually made up of three beaches - East, West and Phra Nang. You arrive on West Railay but I recommend taking one of the little pathways lined with bars to get to the East beach. There are signs but I seem to remember one pointing in the wrong direction so don't pay too much attention!

massaman curry railay beach

Our first port of call was something to eat - climbing the 1237 steps to the Tiger Cave Temple that morning got us pretty hungry! We ate a deliciously spicy Massamman curry at a random hotel's outdoor restaurant heading towards East Railay. Luckily they were happy to offer us shelter when a torrential downpour started - the ground flooded within minutes! 

We suddenly realised how ridiculous we were for hiding from the rain when we remembered we'd come to Railay to swim...

rock climbing railay beach

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is popular at Railay due to the abundance of limestone cliffs. Nearby Ton Sai beach is the most well known spot but you can hire gear and take lessons on Railay too. We spotted a few climbers once we made our way to Phra Nang under the overhanging rocks that make the walkway feel almost cave like. 

railay beach caves
Believe it or not, this is me with a tan!
railay beach

Phra Nang Beach

I'm not going to lie, Phra Nang isn't as pretty as West Railay (and East is only worth passing through) but it is the most interesting beach by far. If we'd had more time I would have loved to hike up to the lagoon! As it was we only had time for a dip in the sea, which was grey-ed by the passing rain clouds but still warm and pleasant to swim in. 

phra nang princess cave railay beach

The Princess Cave

The other thing about Phra Nang beach is the Princess Cave - or as I like to call it, the Penis Cave. Local fishermen believe the cave is home to a mythical sea princess and leave offerings of flowers and incense to bring them luck and protection when fishing. Others bring carved phallic symbols to help with fertility!

railay beach

Had we had more time, I would have climbed to the viewpoints or hired a kayak to explore more caves from the water. As it was, we had enough time to take a quick dip in the sea and grab a tasty rum cocktail from one of the beach bars back on the West beach, then jump back on a longtail to head home to Ao Nang. 

Rainbow on Railay Beach

An afternoon was enough to tick the boxes for Railay but to get the most out of your visit I definitely recommend you spend a whole day there - or even stay overnight in one of the many resorts!


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