First Time in Railay: Which Beach is Best for Me?

Beaches and Hotels on Railay Peninsula in Krabi

Commonly called Railay Beach, Railay is in fact a peninsula located a 10-minute’s long-tail boat ride south of Ao Nang, the prime resort town in Krabi Province. Railay is an intriguing place due to its remoteness, and to the fact it can only be accessed by boat. The land access is technically impossible because of the huge limestone cliffs that effectively cut off this exotic paradise from the rest of the mainland.

Railay Peninsula hosts four beaches a walking distance from each other: Railay Beach West and East, Phra Nang Beach, and Tonsai Beach; the latter can be reached on foot from Railay Beach West only at low tide. Each of them has their own assets. Most Railay hotels are located in the central part of the headland just a stroll away from the beaches, except for Tonsai Beach which is on the side of the peninsula, and has its own accommodation choices.

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Should I book my hotel in Railay Beach West

How to decide

Railay Beach West is the main port of arrival on Railay Peninsula when coming from Ao Nang. It’s one of the most stunningly beautiful beaches in Thailand. This beach is about 650 metres long and almost 40 metres wide in its central part. A good choice of hotels such as Railay Village Resort & Spa and Railay Bay Resort & Spa have their outdoor restaurants right on the beach. You also find Railay Walking Street here, the main commercial hub in Railay, which consists of convenience stores, rock climbing schools, beachwear shops, and restaurants. After sunset, once day trippers return to their hotels in Ao Nang, Railay Beach West is very peaceful.

What's good?

  • Stunning scenery
  • Beachfront restaurants
  • Island-hopping opportunities
  • Sea kayaks rental
  • Good beach for sunbathing and swimming

What’s not so good?

  • The central area of the beach is pretty busy during day time with arriving and departing visitors
  • No sun-loungers and umbrellas on the sand

Recommended hotels in Railay Beach West!

Should I book my hotel in Railay Beach East

How to decide

Railay Beach East is not really a beach. Fringed by patches of mangrove trees all along the shore, it features a stone and cement walkway as well as a long floating jetty that permits long-tail boats to drop here goods and passengers coming from Ao Nam Mao and Krabi Town. There are some hotels such as Bhu Nga Thani resort & Spa, Anyavee Railay Resort, and Railay Viewpoint Resort settled on the seaside; and the northern part of the beach is home to the heart of Railay nightlife with lively venues including Joy Bar, Lucky Restaurant and Last Bar, Tew lay Bar, Skunk Bar, and more.

What's good?

  • Rock climbing schools with good training walls at the southern end of the beach
  • Convenience stores and restaurants at hand
  • The one-kilometre long seaside walkway is great for strolls early morning or late afternoon
  • Easy access to Diamond Cave and to the ‘Hidden Lagoon’

What’s not so good?

  • Brackish waters due to the mangrove forest
  • Not a beach to sunbath or swim

Recommended hotels in Railay Beach East!

Should I book my hotel in Phra Nang Beach

How to decide

Located at the southern tip of Railay, Phra Nang Beach is, by day, the busiest strip of sand on the peninsula. Day trippers and vacationers love this 500-metre long strip of sand which offers the perfect spot for sunbathing and swimming. You can visit caves – The Princess Cave is especially famous - at both ends of the beach and, at low tide, you can walk to Koh Rang Nok, the huge limestone rock facing the beach. Rayavadee is the only hotel that has direct access to Phra Nang Beach; two of its restaurants, including the outstanding Grotto Restaurant settled in a cave, are overlooking the beach. Long-tail boats transformed into kitchens are available to serve a great range of dishes to beachgoers for lunch.

What's good?

  • Food and drink at hand from the long-tail boats
  • Caves to explore
  • Good beach for sunbathing and swimming
  • Short distance to the challenging trail that leads to the ‘Hidden Lagoon’

What’s not so good?

  • As many day tours stop by Phra Nang Beach, it can be a bit crowded at certain times of the day

Recommended hotels in Phra Nang Beach!

Top 10 Hotels in Railay

Top 10 Hotels in Railay

Our Top 10 Hotels in Ralay list sorts out the best from the rest, and features the most recommended establishments in Read More...

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Should I book my hotel in Tonsai Beach

How to decide

Even though Tonsai Beach is located just at the start of the peninsula, its uneasy access puts it slightly apart. Railay already has a hippie vibe, but Tonsai is really a step back to the roots of tourism. Featuring a few mid-range and budget hotels such as Tonsai Bay Resort, Banyan Tree Resort, and Dream Valley Resort, to name just a few, Tonsai Beach is the perfect place to get away from it all and take a real break. The main activities at hand here are rock climbing, sea-kayaking, and scuba diving (a few dive shops take you to the most popular nearby dive sites).

What's good?

  • Laid-back atmosphere
  • Natural surroundings
  • Enough shops and restaurants to agreeably spend a few days
  • Proximity with the other beaches of the peninsula despite the seclusive feel of the place

What’s not so good?

  • Uneasy access
  • Limited nightlife
  • Some guesthouses switch their generators off in the daytime so it’s worth checking before you book

Recommended hotels in Tonsai Beach!

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