"Travel Experiences from Railay Krabi - some of the
most tranquil beaches in Thailand"
Travel tale from Railay by Mari Bekkevold &
Photo courtesy of Jorn Bekkevold
Railay visited in Dec 2012 to Jan 2013
Have you heard about Railay?
I stayed at Railey for two weeks and spent Christmas and New Year's with my family. Since it was the peak season, there were a lot of tourists. Scandinavians obviously like this place.
It was crowded, but it didn't become annoying if you know what I mean.
Compared to for instance Koh Chang, which I visited in 2007/2008, Railey is a tiny and quiet place.
Our base was Bhu Nga Thani Resort on the east side, where long-tail boat would arrive with hotel guests. Except for this bay, Railey was surrounded by crystal clear water.
The beaches on the west side and Phra Nang beach was no exception - gorgeous beaches!
Beach in Railay Bay at low tide
Most of my time, I spent beach-bumming and sampling the food on the west side where Railey's finest beaches are located.
CLICK ON ONE OF THE PICTURES TO START THE PHOTO GALLERY!
There are several ways of getting to Railey, and it's commonly done by long-tail boats from Ao Nang or Krabi.
We were accompanied all the way from Krabi airport to Railey. From Krabi airport we drove about 40 minutes to a small harbor. There was a lot of long-tail boats at the harbor, and one was waiting for us to continue our journey to the final destination, Railey. The boat trip took about 30 minutes.
The long-tail boats arrived at the east side and since it was the dry season, the water level was too low for the boats to get on land. So, we were met by a tractor with a trailer that picked us up and hauled us into land.
Tractor transporting boats
Another tractor pic with limestone cliffs in the background
Getting transported by a tractor may sound like a lot of hassle but it all went really well. And like I mentioned earlier this is the only bay that does not have crystal clear water.
Random room at Bhu Nga Thani Resort in Railay Krabi
The resort was stunning and the staff helpful. I tried their pool a couple of times and once in a while I would grab a drink from the pool bar. Liked the drinks by the way ;-)
The only thing that should be improved is the cleanliness. The room wasn't dirty, but not clean either. It seemed like they had swiped the floor, but not actually washed it. It was more like "surface cleaning." So my thoughts is that they could have done it more thoroughly.
But otherwise, a good resort!
The west side of Railay has a so called "walking street", minimart and plenty of restaurants and shopping stalls. My dad thought it was odd that it was called a walking street since there were no cars there.
One of the restaurants on West Side
At the minimart, you could get bikinis, sandals, beach mattresses, food, alcohol - you name it.
I love wine, and eyed some at the minimart but boy, they're expensive! One bottle of wine cost like 2000B. But it makes sense, because they have to import this stuff. It's not like Thailand is known for wine-producing. Selection of wine is good - who would have thought that they sell wine from New Zealand, Australia and Peru? :-)
Small bars and restaurants are sprinkled on the west side. But not all restaurants serve beer or alcohol here. But you can buy it in one of the shops and bring it with you to the restaurants.
I tried both Thai and Western food; spring rolls, chocolate pancakes fried in Thai style, various fish dishes and Italian food.
At one of the restaurants, we paid like 2000 B for four people, and that includes dinner and a glass of beer or wine. That would mean 500 B each and it's affordable. A glass of wine cost 200 B.
In the evening, restaurants and bars would set out mats on the beach so people can lay down and have a good time drinking and listening to the sea breeze.
The bars play a lot of "hippie" music like Bob Marley which can be cool, but I got a little sick of it after 14 days of repeat.
View of East Side from "Viewpoint"
The west side beach is only at spitting distance from the east side. There are small roads linking these two sides together and I used about 5 minutes to cross. There was no traffic on the road, only golf cars transporting visitors' luggage from each side of the island.
I usually started my day with breakfast at the resort, and then lunch and dinner on the west side.
Rooms on the east side are cheaper than the top accommodations on the west side, and you'll have access to restaurants and shops. But no real beach here.
Click here to find more about East Railay (opens in a new window)
Phra Nang beach on Railay
A trip to Railey requires a visit to Phra Nang beach. Phra Nang is a long and beautiful strip of sand, and I really enjoyed my time here. Phra Nang is the best beach of all.
There were no restaurants here, only food vendors selling stuff from their long-tail boats, like flat bread with chicken, spring rolls, beverages and more.
Long-tail boats on Phra Nang beach in Railay Krabi
Monkeys on the road to Phra Nang beach
Rayavadee Resort is the only accommodation on Phra Nang, and it's just fantastic, but really expensive.
An interesting thing I must tell you about what I saw at Phra Nang beach. Outside one of the caves, Tham Phra Nang, there was a sign with some fact information on it, about locals worshipping a God before they left for sea to hunt and fish.
They prayed to this God that they will return home again, safely. But there was also some weird wood statues inside the mountain entrance, resembling a man's genitals. If it wasn't for the sign, I would have thought that the locals were worshiping a fertility god or something.
OK seriously speaking, Tham Phra Nang is an important shrine for the local fishermen in Railay.
It's no exaggeration when I say that climbing is the highlight of Railey. It's the hotspot for travelers who love to climb. You'll clearly notice this when you're walking around in Railey and spotting climbing shop after climbing shop.
We didn't climb the traditional way, but we did some steep hiking to the "Viewpoint" which was at close distance to the resort. The trip up to Viewpoint was hard and I was completely soaked by my sweat when me and my brother made it to the top. I should probably exercise more.
But once we got to the top, it was so worth it. The view over the limestone cliffs and the ocean was precious. We could see both sides of the peninsula from where we were standing.
View of west side from "Viewpoint"
Another thing we did on Railey was exploring the caves inside the mountains. You could hear the sound of bats "whirling" and it was kind of creepy. We also rented a kayak and paddled around the cliffs and beach. We paid 800 B for the whole day, but I noticed that others shops offered different rental prices.
At Railey beach on the west side, you can book day excursion to James Bond island, Ko Phi Phi and more. We took a boat trip from Railey to Ao Nang one day. The trip took about 15 minutes and for four people it cost 400 B.
Railay is a beautiful place and I really got to know the place since I was there for two weeks. But frankly, staying there for 14 days was too long and I got restless. I saw people come and go, and you could easily notice that this is a popular place for backpackers.
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