Rai Leh, more commonly known as Railay, is an amazing small peninsula on the Andaman Coast in Southern Thailand, Krabi Province. Located between Ao Nang and Krabi Town, it is accessible only by boats due to high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. These stunning cliffs are one of world's top rock climbing destinations attracting climbers from all over the world all year around. Nevertheless, Railay is also popular due to its pristine beaches surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters and its quiet relaxing atmosphere in a breathtaking landscape among the most beautiful on the planet. In fact, the peninsula houses two of South East Asia's finest beaches, namely West Railay Beach and Phra Nang Cave Beach. The four main areas of Railay Peninsula consist of West Railay, East Railay, Tonsai Bay and Ao Tham Phra Nang, the small cove hidden on the southernmost tip of peninsula which houses the Cave Beach. West Railay Beach, also known as Rai Leh Sunset Beach, is the most popular beach within the peninsula, as well as the most developed along with opposite East Railay Beach. It is connected to the east side by short paths through the several resorts and bungalow-style accommodations or by trails through the lush vegetation. There is also a 2km uphill trail that winds through the jungle and reaching Ton Sai Bay, however it is not a good idea attempt this trek at night. Framed at each end by huge limestone cliffs, the 600-metre-long beach is rather wide and boasts soft white sand, which descends gently into shallow and crystalline waters shading towards the turquoise colour. The northern end of beach is the best spot to swim and relax, as the southern end is often crowded by several longtail boats that dock here to pick up and drop off passengers of day trips. In addition to rock climbing, the main activities at West Railay are sunbathing, kayaking, swimming and snorkelling, although at low tide there are many rocks and corals emerging. Kayaks can be rented along the beach; prices vary from 200 Baht per an hour to 800 Baht throughout the day. In the darkest nights, the midnight swims will allow you to observe amazing brilliant-blue bioluminescence surrounding your body. Bioluminescence is a rare natural phenomenon where marine micro organisms produce and emit light through chemical reactions. Along the shore line they are organized daily tournaments of football and takraw, a sort of volleyball played with the feet. At sunset, the beach is perfect for taking a stroll in a beautiful and surreal landscape with the limestone cliffs surrounding the white sand, while the bars and restaurants beachfront are the perfect place to end the day enjoying a drink.
Accommodation & Facility: Almost unknown until the 1970s, after the 1990s, with the development of tourism in Thailand, Railay peninsula grew up in hotel accommodations and facility while maintaining its quiet relaxing atmosphere. The area primarily caters to two groups of visitors: honeymooners/families and rock climbing backpackers. There are accommodations to suit both, they ranges from bamboo bungalows to concrete three storey hotels. Bungalows and medium-priced resorts are mostly located in East Railay, while high end hotels are focused on West Railay. Four hotels are settled directly on beachfront: Railay Village Resort & Spa, Railay Bay Resort & Spa, Sand Sea Resort, and Rayavadee Resort, which spans on both waterfronts and also has a beachfront restaurant at Ao Phra Nang. Railay has also a good variety of restaurants to choose from. Some are located between the vegetation north of the beach, while most bars and beachfront restaurants are located within the resort grounds. Cheap food is also available from the vendors that walk up and down the beach and selling drinks, fruit, ice-creams and corn. The focal point of West Railay Beach is the Walking Street, a short promenade lined with a few shops, bar and restaurants, including the Flame Tree Restaurant & Bar that serves real coffee and both western and Thai food. There are many other restaurants and bars located at East Railay Beach.
Getting there: Railay Peninsula is accessible only by boats due to high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. Long-tails boats toward Railay depart from Ao Nang, 15-minute boat ride for 100 Baht per person, minimum 8 people, and Krabi on demand, 30-minute boat ride. It's also possible to access Railay via the regular ferries that run between Koh Lanta, Phi Phi Islands and Phuket Town, more frequent during the high season, November-April. For more information on timetable and fares please refer to the page: Krabi Ferries.
West Railay Beach Events
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