Railay Beach

Railay Beach

Rock climbing paradise

A climber ascends a final ledge, summiting to see brilliant beaches stretching beneath vertical limestone massifs as longtail boats and isles dot the Andaman Sea in three directions. Not an island, nor a beach town, the Railay peninsula is one of the most breathtaking spots in Thailand.

More on Railay Beach

Reaching from the coast of Krabi province like a hitchhiker’s thumb, Railay feels more like an island than part of the mainland due to a half-ring of impenetrable cliffs denying overland access. Unless you’re some sort of spider person, you will arrive by sea. Some of the cliffs rise to hundreds of metres and many are rigged with rock climbing routes. A bunch of climbing outfits offer assistance, education and gear, keeping up Railay’s status as a key waypoint for climbers in Southeast Asia.

The setting can be close to sublime. : David Luekens.
The setting can be close to sublime. Photo: David Luekens

Between the gnarly cliffs stretch four beaches that any lucky human could hope to visit once in their lives. They draw families, honeymooners, hippies and sand snobs from the world over and host around 25 places to stay, ranging from high-end luxury villas right on down to the humblest bamboo shacks.

Backpacking climbers set the tone for Railay’s tourism situation in the 1980s and ‘90s and while they remain in full force, the peninsula went through a phase of serious development starting in the 2000s. Much of the flat isthmus between beaches now contains tightly packed resorts made up of multi-floor concrete room blocks. If you can look past the cement walls, low-hanging wires and scavenging macaques, Railay can be enjoyable for strolling and it did look cleaner in May 2018 than on our ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,200 words.)

Log in to Travelfish

Please sign in to read the rest of this page. The full text is around 1,200 words.

Log in now
Become a Travelfish member

Choose from a free two-day pass right through to a lifetime membership.

Find out more

62 other destinations in Southern Thailand

Learn more about Ko Pha Ngan
Ko Pha Ngan

More to it than Full Moon Parties

Learn more about Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park

Wise old wilderness

Learn more about Ko Chang Noi
Ko Chang Noi

The other Ko Chang

Learn more about Ko Yao Noi
Ko Yao Noi

Leave the crowds behind

Learn more about Ko Yao Yai
Ko Yao Yai

A bay all to yourself.

Learn more about Ko Lao Liang
Ko Lao Liang

Let’s keep this one a secret

Learn more about Ko Jum
Ko Jum

Ready to relax?

Learn more about Ko Surin
Ko Surin

Breathtaking above and below the water

Learn more about Ko Ra
Ko Ra

Unspoilt island wilderness

Learn more about Ko Phra Thong
Ko Phra Thong

Golden Buddha island

Learn more about Natai
Natai

Fancy pants beach time

Learn more about Ko Rawi
Ko Rawi

Pristine beaches and jungle

Learn more about Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

Land of 300 peaks

Learn more about Ko Bulon Lae
Ko Bulon Lae

The tranquility runs deep

Learn more about Phetchaburi
Phetchaburi

Caves, beaches and a palace

Learn more about Ko Samui
Ko Samui

Dozens of beaches to choose from

Learn more about Ko Tao
Ko Tao

A popular spot to learn to dive

Learn more about Krabi
Krabi

Lively gateway to the islands

Learn more about Ko Phi Phi
Ko Phi Phi

Popular party island

Learn more about Ko Lanta
Ko Lanta

Where the beaches stretch for miles

Learn more about Ko Muk
Ko Muk

More to it than the Emerald Cave

Learn more about Ko Libong
Ko Libong

Great choice for the quiet life

Learn more about Songkhla
Songkhla

Relax by the sea

Learn more about Ko Phayam
Ko Phayam

One laid-back island

Learn more about Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan National Park

Thailand‘s largest national park

Learn more about Ko Sukorn
Ko Sukorn

Settle into a slower pace

Learn more about Ko Kradan
Ko Kradan

Great beaches, pricey food

Learn more about Prachuap Khiri Khan
Prachuap Khiri Khan

Mountains to the west, ocean to the east

Learn more about Ban Krut
Ban Krut

Set your internal clock to Thai time

Learn more about Khao Lak
Khao Lak

A family favourite

Learn more about Ko Kho Khao
Ko Kho Khao

No need to leave that beach chair

Learn more about Khanom and Sichon
Khanom and Sichon

Just kick back

Learn more about Similan Islands
Similan Islands

Say hi to the sea turtles

Learn more about Takua Pa
Takua Pa

Crossroad between islands and mountains

Learn more about Ko Rok
Ko Rok

Unspoilt twin islands

Learn more about Hua Hin
Hua Hin

Mainstream tourist hotspot

Learn more about Trang
Trang

Before you hit the islands... Eat!

Learn more about Ko Lipe
Ko Lipe

Welcome to paradise

Learn more about Ko Tarutao
Ko Tarutao

Awesome

Learn more about Ko Adang
Ko Adang

Ko Lipe’s wild neighbour

Learn more about Ranong
Ranong

Wave to Burma

Learn more about Ko Ngai
Ko Ngai

A comfortable island getaway

Learn more about Nakhon Si Thammarat
Nakhon Si Thammarat

Unadulterated Southern Thailand

Learn more about Phuket
Phuket

Thailand’s biggest and busiest island

Learn more about Narathiwat
Narathiwat

Muslim fishing life

Learn more about Bang Saphan Yai
Bang Saphan Yai

Low-key beach town

Learn more about Phattalung
Phattalung

Mountains, lakes and no tourists

Learn more about Ko Si Boya
Ko Si Boya

Take a break from it all

Learn more about Phang Nga Town
Phang Nga Town

Your base for Phang Nga Bay

Learn more about Hat Yai
Hat Yai

Largest city in Southern Thailand

Learn more about Satun
Satun

Don’t miss the local iced tea

Learn more about Cha-am
Cha-am

Like Hua Hin lite

Learn more about Chumphon
Chumphon

Gateway to Ko Tao

Learn more about Ao Nang
Ao Nang

Beach holiday hotspot

Learn more about Betong
Betong

Almost Malaysia

Learn more about Surat Thani
Surat Thani

Gulf coast island gateway

Learn more about Sungai Kolok
Sungai Kolok

Gateway to Malaysia

Learn more about Pattani
Pattani

Once a proud kingdom

Learn more about Khuraburi
Khuraburi

Gateway to little-known islands

Learn more about Pakbara
Pakbara

Gateway to the Satun islands

Learn more about Yala
Yala

Well off the beaten trail

Learn more about Tak Bai
Tak Bai

Historic for more than one reason