Guesthouses, hotels and resorts
Accommodation is abundant on Railay East, but don't be fooled into thinking that this side of the peninsula is blessed by a beautiful beach. If on a budget, we'd instead opt for one of the inland options that put you within easy walking distance to anywhere on the peninsula. Railay West is stunning but expensive, while Ao Tonsai has long been a backpacker favourite.
Railay’s largest and most popular beach is a prime spot for swimming, beach lounging and soaking in sunsets, but you'll need to pay for the privilege of staying here. If the beach club and three mid- to upper-range resorts aren’t luxurious enough for you, rates at Rayavadee start at 15,000 baht in high season, with the top-end villas fetching a mere 139,000 a night.
How about a beach house?Railay West
T: (086) 685 9359; F: (075) 819 445
Spanning the entire northern half of the beach and continuing far into the peninsula’s lush interior, this community of beach houses was established in 1985 and was the first development to appear ... Read the full review of Railei Beach Club .4,000B to 8,000B 1 vote Toprange
Plush rooms, two poolsRailay West
T: (075) 819 412-3; F: (075) 819 414
Not in the luxury league of Rayavadee but a definite step up from Railay Bay and Sand Sea, Railay Village is an all-round excellent upscale resort. The reception area, minimart, coffee shop, ... Read the full review of Railay Village Resort.4,000B to 8,000B 1 vote Toprange
Comfy but blandRailay West
T: (075) 819 463-4; F: (075) 819 470
There aren’t many bad things that we can say about Sand Sea, but it’s not the most memorable resort on Railay either. The cheapest detached superior bungalows with green tin roofs overlook an old ... Read the full review of Sand Sea Resort.1,500B to 4,000B 4 votes Midrange
Railay’s long east coast has been almost entirely filled in by resorts that run the gamut from 500 baht mattress-on-the-floor rooms to 12,000 baht luxury pool villas. Our two favourite resorts also happen to be the most isolated. Note that both Rayavadee and Railay Bay resorts cut all the way across to Railay East but have their reception areas on Railay West.
Secluded cabanasFar northern end of Railay East
T: (075) 819 472-3; F: (075) 819 474
The aptly named Great View marks the end of the walkway at the northern end of Railay East, so you might as well stop reading now if you want a central location. For seclusion seekers, the gorgeous ... Read the full review of Railay Great View Resort & Spa.1,500B to 4,000B 1 vote Midrange
Hillside retreatFar northern end of Railay East
T: (085) 888 5143; F: (075) 662 191
The owners of this isolated hilltop bungalow joint may have sold themselves short by naming it Garden View when, in fact, many of the bungalows afford sweeping ocean views as well. Like a simpler ... Read the full review of Railay Garden View Resort.
Classy villasSouth side of Railay East
T: (075) 819 418-20; F: (075) 819 421
The best part about Sunrise Tropical is how it blends into the natural scenery rather than erases it in a frenzy of concrete. At the back of the leafy grounds, a two-storey hotel block contains the ... Read the full review of Sunrise Tropical Resort.1,500B to 4,000B 3 votes Midrange
Comfort amid the concreteRailay East
T: (075) 819 555; F: (075) 819 574
The newish Princess is a bland but comfortable large-scale resort with huge three-storey concrete stacks stretching far into the peninsula’s interior. The location puts you in the middle of Railay ... Read the full review of Railay Princess Resort.1,500B to 4,000B 1 vote Midrange
If everywhere else is fullRailay East
T: (075) 819 428; F: (075) 819 429
Railay East has four bland but large midrange resorts: Anyavee, Diamond Cave, Diamond Private, and Viewpoint. We opted to list the latter because it struck us as the lesser of four evils, but it’s ... Read the full review of Railay Viewpoint Resort .600B to 1,500B 3 votes Flashpacker
IMproved budget digsTowards the northern end of Railay East
T: (075) 622 586;
Rapala showed noticeable improvements since our previous visit, sporting fresh coats of dark violet paint on the coconut-wood bungalows and hammocks strung to porches that used to have only cracked ... Read the full review of Rapala Rockwood Resort.Under 600B 5 votes Backpacker
A couple of decent budget to midrange resorts are located on the inland road past Phra Nang Nai Cave and on the way to the forest path to Ao Tonsai. They put you within a five- to 10-minute walk of either Railay West or Railay East, and around 20 minutes to Haad Phra Nang and Tonsai. Both are good choices for a quiet atmosphere and reasonable rates.
A good mix of roomsInland past Phra Nang Nai Cave, Railay
T: (075) 819 479; F: (075) 819 478
Phutawan has gradually evolved over the years to offer a wide mix of rooms for everyone from budget solo travellers up to midrange-budget families. Spread around a frangipani-filled hill, ... Read the full review of Railay Phutawan Resort.
For nature-loving backpackersInland from Railay East just past Phra Nang Nai Cave
T: (075) 621 733;
Located just past Phutawan where the trail to Tonsai begins, Cabana Garden is the antithesis of Railay’s sprawling upscale resorts. A small collection of rustic but well-kept bamboo and coconut ... Read the full review of Railay Cabana Garden Bungalows.Under 600B 4 votes Backpacker
Tonsai has long danced to its own hippie-rock-climber drum, but at time of writing preparations were being made for the construction of a large resort that, we were told, will cover nearly all of the beachfront land and drastically alter the vibe. A handful of the reggae shacks had already been pushed back towards the woods, where bare-bones huts are still readily available. Most of the resorts run electricity only from around 18:00 to 06:00, with some of the cheaper places shutting it down around midnight. Rates are almost always negotiable, especially if you’re staying for a few nights or more.
The name says it allAo Tonsai
T: (084) 186 8138;
We arrived at Chill Out to find the soft-spoken dreadlocked owner patiently trying to tell a pair of not-so-happy backpackers that the big concrete wall out front was not his idea. The wall now looms ... Read the full review of Chill Out Bar and Bungalow.
A range of optionsOn the hill road to Railay, Ao Tonsai
T: (081) 149 9745;
One of Railay’s best-known rock climbing outfits has expanded in recent years to take over management of The Forest Resort while offering a couple of other rooms types on the adjacent property. If ... Read the full review of Basecamp Tonsai and The Forest Resort.
Thai sweets for allOn the hill road to Railay, Ao Tonsai
Tiew Khao is one of a few small and simple bungalow outfits peppered amid the wooded hills on either side of the inland road that links with the forest trail to Railay. Half an hour after receiving a ... Read the full review of Tiew Khao Bungalow.
Creature comforts in TonsaiAo Tonsai
T: (075) 819 810;
Dream Valley is the only resort in Tonsai to offer a swimming pool -- and it's an attractive one with two tiers and spacious decks. Aiming squarely for flashpackers who appreciate their comforts, the ... Read the full review of Dream Valley Resort.
Good vibes and cheap hutsAo Tonsai
T: (081) 979 6050;
The centrally located Andaman Nature has been around for a long time and remains one of the better options for a really cheap room. Bungalows stretch back in rows behind a large restaurant where you ... Read the full review of Andaman Nature Resort.
Simple jungle serenityOn the hill road to Railay, Ao Tonsai
The bed of an old, broken-down Mazda pick-up truck serves as a big flower pot in front of Sai Thong's reception shack, setting the mood for this chilled out jungle retreat. It was the first basic ... Read the full review of Sai Thong Bungalow.
Cliff-side retreatAoTon Sai
T: (075) 622 610-3;
A large resort by Tonsai’s standards, Mountain View’s bungalows are set amid a tree-lined hill at the foot of a towering cliff and a five-minute stroll from the beach. The cheapest wooden ... Read the full review of Mountain View Resort.
Garden setup.Ao Tonsai
T: (089) 645 3013;
Paasook offers a slightly shorter walk to the beach than other options thanks to its location at the far corner of main lane through Tonsai. The cheapest rooms are set in an attached building and are ... Read the full review of Paasook Resort.
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