Railay Beach, Tonsai Beach and more – 6 unforgettable sights on the Railay Peninsula
It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Asia: Railay Beach. In fact, it is one of the most impressive beaches we have seen during our world trip. So that you can discover this fantastic corner in Thailand, today I’ll tell you all the important information you need for your trip to Railay Beach.
Heavenly scenery awaits you as you drive to the Railay Peninsula (also Rai Leh). In total, there are four beaches on this peninsula and two other attractions that you will not soon forget.
Railay Beach West
It’s the perfect scenery: Located in a bay, the wide white Railay Beach West stretches for about 500 meters. From the beach you look out onto a limestone cliff that juts out from the sea, and the traditional longtail boats cross the water. The fine sand invites you to take a bath in the Andaman Sea. There are no rocks or corals in the sea, so you can be sure of the perfect bathing experience. If that’s not paradise, where else?
From Railay Beach West you can attend a fire show in the evening or watch the sunset in a romantic atmosphere. If you want to be more active, you can also explore the bay with a kayak (price depends on the rental period: first hour for 200 baht, then it will be more leisurely, 800 baht for a day).
Railay Beach East
On the opposite side of the peninsula is the Railay Beach East. The eastern Railay Beach is unfortunately not suitable for swimming, because it is overgrown to a large extent with mangroves and falls very flat. Nevertheless, a detour is worthwhile. In the south of Railay Beach East is a rock that challenges climbers. In addition, the route leads to three other attractions on the peninsula past this beach: View Point, Princess Lagoon and Phra Nang Beach.
Railay View Point
A ten-minute climb is necessary to make the sweaty climb to the viewpoint. Along the path you have to pull yourself up on roots, ropes and rocks. At the end of the path, you will be rewarded for all your efforts. A look at the unique landscape with the two Railay beaches is waiting for you. Really worthwhile!
I strongly recommend that you wear sturdy shoes.
If you still have strength and are ready for even more challenging climbing adventures, then you should continue from View Point towards the Princess Lagoon. To reach the hidden lagoon of Tham Phra Nang, you have to climb down several steep rock faces, which are each several meters high. A basic level of fitness you should bring along for this way and solid shoes are mandatory! It is possible to cover the path, but you should know your limits.
The lagoon itself is an incredibly peaceful place and one of our favorite places in Thailand. Here you can escape the tourist streams. Try to reach the lagoon at high tide, because at low tide you will only stand in front of a muddy and rocky area.
It’s getting dark early on the Princess Lagoon. That’s why you should not set off too late. At 16:30, it is quite dark, because the lagoon is surrounded by high rocks. Be prepared to get dirty while climbing. The path is muddy, so you should not wear your best clothes.
Phra Nang Cave Beach
Once you’ve made it to the lagoon and you’re back on the paved path, you’ve earned a swim in the ocean. For this you go best to Phra Nang Cave Beach to the west. The beach is at least as beautiful as Railay West and in my opinion is even better for marveling at the sunset.
In the south, the beach is bordered by a huge mountain, at the foot of which there are two caves with huge wooden penises. The bigger cave is called Princess Cave and has a phallic shrine in the center. The cave is a sacred place for local fishermen. According to tradition, a mystical marine princess dwells in the cave and offerings protect fishermen from danger and promise greater success in fishing.
North of Railay Beach West is Tonsai Beach. The two beaches are separated by a hill, which you have conquered after about 20 minutes. At low tide, you can also climb over the sharp-edged rocks, but you should wear sturdy shoes. If both options are not suitable for you, then you can also take a longtail boat for 50 Baht (from 4 persons) on Railay Beach West.
In the past, many bars and guesthouses were right on the beach. Meanwhile, the small shops were displaced into the jungle, as a major investor wants to build a resort right on the beach. So you have to walk a bit to find most of the accommodation and restaurants on Tonsai Beach. The property of the future resort is surrounded by a wall, which is already creatively designed. In a few years, it probably will not be worthwhile to visit Tonsai Beach. That’s why I recommend you a timely detour – even now much of the previous atmosphere should have been lost.
The Tonsai Beach is quieter than Railay West – at least during the day. At night there are parties here. Alcohol and Mushroom cocktails are advertised in front of the bars. How this will develop in the future with the construction of the resort remains to be seen.
In the south of the Tonsai Beach are exciting rock faces for climbers. I would like to climb the cliffs in this magnificent setting – unfortunately we did not have enough time for that. A base camp for climbers is located in the jungle at the southern end of the Tonsai Beaches – there you will get all the information you need if you want to do a climbing tour yourself.
Stay overnight on the Railay Peninsula
On the Railay Peninsula you can spend a good two days if you want to see all the beaches and the lagoon. The accommodations on Railay are very expensive compared to the rest of Thailand. Especially resorts are located between Railay West and East:
- Macaque and Languor Villa: Luxurious suites with pool on Phra Nang beach
- Railay Bay Resort & Spa: Poolside hotel with beautiful views directly onto Western Railay Beach
- Sunrise Tropical Resort: Cozy accommodations on eastern Railay Beach
There used to be more rustic and affordable huts on Tonsai Beach, where electricity often worked only at night (6:00 pm – 6:00 am). But these are increasingly being replaced.
If you do not want to sleep on Tonsai Beach or Railay Beach, you can go on day trips from Ao Nang. In Ao Nang I can recommend you two accommodations.
If you want to relax, Aonang Cliff Beach Resort is the right choice for you. The comfortable rooms offer a first-class view over Ao Nang. On the balconies there are even bathtubs overlooking the sea. The hotel boasts an infinity pool, a private beach, a fitness corner, and a rooftop bar, which is by the way the highest point of Ao Nang. The hotel is highly recommended and we think it’s a pity that we could only spend two nights there. Here you can book a room directly.
A cheaper alternative for backpackers, the Luna Guest House offers good Wifi and bright rooms in which we felt very comfortable. The beach is a good 20 minutes walk. A total of three nights we stayed in this accommodation. One morning we were even surprised by a complimentary breakfast buffet.
The entire Railay Peninsula is only accessible by boat. Because of the high mountains, there is no road that connects the popular beaches with the rest of Thailand. Longtail boats depart from Ao Nang and cost 100 baht (150 baht with return). In the evening from 18 o’clock it can be a bit more expensive to motivate a boat driver for the return journey.
What questions or tips do you have to the Railay Peninsula in Krabi with all the beautiful beaches? Write us in the comments!
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Hey! Nice that you pass us by. We are Bina & Francis – globetrotters, adventurers and drone freaks. Since January 2015 we travel with camera drone in the luggage around the world. We love to explore our Earth from a new perspective!
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About the author
Hey, I’m Francis – globetrotter, blogger and drone pilot. Since January 2015 I travel around the world with Bina. Always in the luggage is a camera drone, with which we capture the most beautiful places from the air. On our blog we share with you the best tips for your next trip. Do you still have questions about this article? Then write us in the comments!
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Discussions on the topic
Hi you two and thanks for this great report. We probably want to go to Railey Beach for a few days tomorrow and would also like to visit the Ko Phi Phi Islands for a day. Can you recommend tours or go directly from Railey Beach?
thanks for your comment. I’m afraid my answer is too late. But there are certainly ways to organize a trip from Railey Beach. Unfortunately, I can not recommend a specific tour for you.
Best regards, Francis
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