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Embracing Tranquility: 12 Best Things to Do in Railay in 2024

Embracing Tranquility: 12 Best Things to Do in Railay in 2024

Located just a short long-tail boat ride away from Ao Nang, Railay is a beautiful natural sanctuary, untouched by major construction.

Here you can truly embrace the tranquillity of a slow life and find a few beaches framed by dramatic limestone cliffs, jungle hikes, stunning viewpoints, cute cafes and boutique shops.

Railay gives you real tropical island vibes without even being an island!

Whilst Railay is only small there is a lot to do here and most of it is tucked away off the beaten path and can easily be missed.

If you are visiting then ensure to use this guide to discover the best things to do in Railay and its hidden gems.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and purchase something I have recommended I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay but helps me to keep Travels by Izzy going.

12 Best Things to Do in Railay 

Visit the Beaches

Railay Beach 

Railay Beach is a beautiful spot on the west side, here there is clear blue water, soft white sand and great swimming conditions. 

It is usually the most popular spot in Railay, this is often because the long tail boats drop you off here and most of the time due to the heat visitors just see the beach and set themselves down for the day on the sand. 

🙋🏻‍♀️ Whilst this is a very beautiful beach I encourage you to discover more! The first time we visited we didn’t do much other that what was right near the beach and the second time I went I discovered truly how much Railay has to offer.

Tonsai Beach

If you are standing on Railay Beach looking at the ocean Tonsai Beach is to your right located on the other side of a rock, here it is just as nice and much quieter. 

To get there either walk around the large rock during low tide or you can climb over it.

Phra Nang Cave Beach 

This beach can either be reached via Kayak from Railay Beach or on foot.

To kayak just head straight out and left and on foot walk on the main path off of the beach and keep going until you reach the bay on the other side, once here head right and follow the path past the hotels and limestone cliffs until you reach the opening at the beach.

This beach is by far my favourite in Railay, it is often quite busy but if you walk away from the main path a little it gets quieter.

Here the beach is framed by large limestone cliffs and you can find crystal clear water, plenty of corals to explore whilst snorkelling and beautifully soft white sand.

Phra Nang Cave

When you get to Phra Nang Cave Beach head left and visit the Phra Nang Cave located at the end of the beach.

The cave here has been dedicated to a princess goddess called Phra Nang, legend says that Phra Nang was an Indian princess who died in a shipwreck or that she was the wife of a fisherman who was lost at sea so she waited the rest of her days in a cave for his return.

Today local fishermen and boatmen bring offerings to the Phra Nang princess at the cave to ask for protection at sea and to bring them great success in their fishing. The offerings they bring are called “lingams’, which are often flowers, jewels, candles etc but in this case, they resemble penises. 

The Phra Nang Princess is not only popular for bringing safety and luck at sea but is also called upon to help with fertility. This is where the phallic sculptures come from, the hand-crafted penis sculptures now crowd the cave.

‼️ Please when visiting the cave do not touch any of the offerings, this is a sacred place and should be treated with respect at all times.

Visit Phra Nang Beach Viewpoint 

On the other side of the beach to Phra Nang Cave is another set of caves, these are beautiful to explore and give you a great view back over the beach.

When you reach the beach head right to the end, once you reach a large rock and don’t think you can go any further look for a small tunnel through the bushes on your right and head into the jungle.

Through here you will find a rope to help guide you up to the top and walkways into the caves, there is a ladder to help you get to the highest part and some incredible stalactites to admire!

Hike to Railay Viewpoint & Lagoon

The start of this trail is easily missed! Located about halfway down the path from the town to Phra Nang Cave beach there is a small shelter on the right and opposite a very steep path with a rope hanging down to climb up.

💡 Make sure you are wearing proper shoes here and I wouldn’t recommend wearing white due to the colour of the soil it gets everywhere are could stain!

Follow the path to the top, once there head left for the viewpoint and right for the lagoon.

Visit Phra Nang Nai Cave (Diamond Cave)

Diamond Cave as it’s more commonly known is a popular spot to see bats clinging to the ceilings! 

This is only a small cave and will take you around 10 minutes to walk through but it offers some amazing scenery of stalactites and stalagmites. 

Note that this cave is not free as is 200 baht (£4.50) per person.

Go Rock Climbing up the Limestone Cliffs

Rock climbing in Railay is a very popular activity, with stunning cliffs like this all around you how could you not! 

To give it a go head to one of the many climbing shops around the island where you can book a half or full-day climbing or if you are experienced already rent the gear.

If you are not already familiar with climbing but want to give it a go check out this “Half-Day Rock Climbing Tour on Get Your Guide“.

Go Kayaking Around the Limestone Cliffs

Kayaking is a must-do in Railay!

The waters here can be so calm and beautifully clear offering you some great views of the fish and corals below.

Renting your kayak from Railay’s main beach is the easiest, here you can rent them by the hour and prices are:

  • 1 hour – 200 baht (£2)
  • 2 hours – 300 baht (£4.50)
  • 3 hours – 400 baht (£6.50)
  • 4 hours – 500 baht (£9)

Once you have your kayak the most popular, and definitely most scenic, route to take when kayaking is to head into the water and left around the corner.

Here you can kayak through caves and come out into the ocean just off Phra Nang Cave Beach, from here you can continue across to the limestone cliffs in the ocean and explore all around these. 

Keep an eye out because you can often see swifts perched on the edges or collecting insects off the surface of the water. You might also catch a glimpse of a snake working its way around the greenery or jagged rock face.

If you fancy a little break and want to visit the beach it’s also nice to paddle up and stop off for an hour or so before making your journey back.

Eat Some Local Food

Of course what better to do in Thailand than eat some of their delicious food? Throughout Railay is a large selection of local restaurants to choose from.

Some great ones to check out are:

  • Mangrove
  • Local Thai Food Restaurant
  • Railay Thai Cuisine
  • Summer Fresh @ Railay Beach
  • Railay Beach Cafe
Pad Thai

Take a Day Trip to Phi Phi

Whilst you are staying in Railay a wonderful way to see more of the area is to take a day trip to some of the surrounding islands and Phi Phi.

We took this Phi Phi Islands Tour from Krabi and visited the famous Maya Bay, snorkelled around the Phi Phi Islands and visited the beautiful Bamboo Beach.

If you’re interested in booking make sure to check out my full guide and breakdown of the day.

Relax in a Local Reggae Bar

A bit similar to Pai and some of the islands in Thailand, Railay has a very relaxed reggae vibe, here you can find loads of quirky bars with amazing artwork in them and some cool chill-out areas.

Most of them have full bars where you can order all your favourite cocktails as well as a fully stocked weed selection!

Railay amongst jungles

How to Get There

Railay is not accessible via car and can only be reached by boat. 

If you are not planning on staying in Railay the best way to visit for the day is from Ao Nang.

When coming over from Ao Nang the best way to get there is by longtail boat, to catch one you just need to head down to Ao Nang Beach and visit the boat booking office, here you can purchase a one-way ticket if you are staying for a few days or a return if you are just heading over for the day.

‼️ If you are going for a few days and taking all of your bags with you, note that you will have to carry them into the ocean to board the longtail boat! We had to do this with our 2 backpacks each and I am quite short… we made it all ok and dry but it was an experience we won’t forget for sure!

Alternatively, if you are coming over from Phuket, Phi Phi or Koh Lanta you will come via ferry, due to the shallow water the ferries cannot reach the floating pier on the east side of Railay so once you are just offshore you will be transferred to a longtail boat and taken to the pier.

‼️ Another note! Make sure you keep an eye on your bags and make sure all of your belongings make it onto the longtail boat, when we did this someone’s bag got left behind!

Longtail Boats on railay beach

Best Time to Visit

Railay is located in Krabi in South Thailand.

In South Thailand the typical high season is between November and December, however, October tends to be the worst month to visit due to the monsoon season, because of this some of the weather can be expected to overflow into November. 

November/December – April are seen as the dry season. 

Whilst May to October is the monsoon season, although there are still plenty of sunny days. 

Because it is the quieter season you can get some great cheap accommodation from May – July.

🙋🏻‍♀️ Personally, I think the best time to visit Railay and South Thailand is between January and April if you are looking for calm waters and mostly sunny conditions.

Where to Stay 

Luxury: Sand Sea Resort Railay

Sand Sea Resort reception is located along Railays East Beach but the size of the resort stretches to the beach on the west coast too. They have a wide range of room variations from Deluxe Bungalows, Grand Deluxe Double Rooms, Tropical Plus Villas and Cottages with jacuzzis. The resort hosts 3 pools, each dotted around with the largest on Railay West Beach overlooking the ocean. There is also a beautiful flower walk through the resort where you can see a wide variety of local plants and flowers. Sand Sea Resort includes a free buffet breakfast, free wifi throughout, a minibar, TV with cable channels and hot shower facilities you can also eat lunch and dinner from their beachfront restaurant. Sand Sea Resort are also on hand to help you book snorkelling or fishing trips, and arrange a relaxing Thai massage. 

Mid Range: Avatar Railay

Avatar Railay is located on the East Coast, here you can choose from Deluxe Double rooms with pool views or pool access and Suites with private pools. All rooms come with private bathrooms are some include seating areas where you can sit and enjoy the view. Breakfast is not included in the room rates but is served daily at the restaurant as well as lunch, dinner and drinks throughout the day. Avatar Railay also offers laundry services and luggage storage and can help you arrange tours and onward travel. 

Budget: Blanco Hideout Railay

For those looking to visit Railay but still keep to their backpacker budget, Blanco Hideout Railay is a great option. Offering dorm accommodation here you can choose from either a 4, 6, 8 or 10-person mixed dorm. Rooms either come with a shared ensuite bathroom or communal facilities. Blanco Hideout has a sun terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding area as well as a swimming pool, on-site restaurant and 2 bars, giving you the perfect opportunity to mix with some other travellers. All rooms have air conditioning and each bunk comes with a plug socket, reading light, towel and personal locker. Blanco Hideout also offers pool and boat parties, they can also assist you in arranging tours in the surrounding area.