Great collection of beach homes
Fronting the entire northern half of Railay West and continuing hundreds of metres into the peninsula’s lush interior, this community of beach house owners at Railei Beach Club was established in 1985 as the first development on Railay. It remains one of our favourite midrange to upscale places to stay not only in the Krabi area, but also in Thailand’s entire Andaman region.
Hemmed in by towering vertical cliffs, the 25 fan-cooled houses dot a seven-hectare expanse draped in flowers and fruit trees where hornbills come to graze. The setting has changed little over the decades, in stark contrast to the rest of Railay’s flat terrain that’s now blanketed in concrete room blocks. Nearly all of the houses are made of wood, including several with detailed carvings and names like Baan Hollander and Baan Ling (“Monkey House”) painted on signs.
Privately owned and rented out by an organised management team when the owners aren’t around, each of the houses is unique in size and design. Some stand within sight of the beach while others are hidden in private spots near the cliffs. Most boast extensive outdoor chill areas and plenty of shade from the trees that cover the grounds. Kids can run off steam on wide stretches of sand and grass between houses.
Some of the largest houses have four bedrooms along with living space and kitchen found inside, plus more room to chill outside on decks and in salas. While large groups can rent entire houses, in many cases the owners rent out rooms in two or more separate wings and these can be good choices for couples and families looking to save some cash. If you’re a couple and don’t want to share space, several smaller houses have only one bedroom.
All houses were built in a natural style relying on numerous screened windows and wall-size doors that can be propped open. Some rooms have multiple bathrooms, most of them sporting a partially open-air design. Decoration varies based on owners’ tastes, but most interiors feature traditional Thai arts and textiles that join the darkwood walls to create an elegant ambience.
One of our favourites is Baan Garden of Heaven for its artistic design and location at the back of the property, draped in greenery near the foot of a cliff. Overlooking the beach, the high-end Baan Solly boasts a four-poster bed set in a screened-in loft high above the sand—you’ll be hard pressed to find a more romantic villa in Thailand. There was not a single house that did not look inviting to us after walking around the property.
The only rooms we’d avoid are the three doubles in the Hong Jan “clubhouse”, which are rented out individually and set in a longhouse right next to reception at the centre of the property. As the cheapest options at Railei Beach Club, these have very thin walls and partially open-air bathrooms that allow sound to carry from one room to the next. We could hear our neighbours, who stayed up late chatting, as though they were in the same room as us.
Also keep in mind that Railei Beach Club is not a resort in the traditional sense. While staffers were helpful to us, the office closes at 18:00 and there is no restaurant, swimming pool, fitness centre or tour booking office. The club does employ a private Thai chef and masseuse who can both be arranged in advance for private sessions at your house.
Homeowners come from several countries though mostly from Europe, we were told. To meet them, head to the little bar, free coffee station and sea-view lounge attached to the clubhouse. Benches, tables and a fence stand along the beachfront and anyone not staying here is forbidden from entering the grounds.
Each house is priced individually and rates change several times per year, so you’re best off browsing Railei Beach Club’s excellent website and inquiring directly. The club is not found on any third-party booking sites like Agoda. Note that there’s a three-day minimum stay in high season, and this jumps to a one-week minimum from mid December to mid January.
Below we’ve listed the peak season (December through February) rates, but rates for all houses drop significantly in the shoulder months of November, March and April.
Address: Railay West
T: (086) 685 9359;
Coordinates (for GPS): 98º50'15.44" E, 8º0'43.63" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 4,000B to 8,000B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Dbl fan private bathroom|
Hong Jan “clubhouse”
|2,400 baht||3,900 baht|
One bedroom house. Many other options available.
|3,500 baht||7,600 baht|
Two bedroom house. Many other options available. 13,000 baht + for a four bedroom house
|7,100 baht||16,000 baht|
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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