Photo: Spectacular.

Railay viewpoint and lagoon

Our rating:

“No base jumping off the cliff” reads a small sign along the path from Railay East to Haad Pha Nang. If it weren’t for that, you could easily miss the steep trail leading up to a breathtaking viewpoint and hidden lagoon amid the cliffs that rise towards the tip of the Railay peninsula. Those who suffer from acrophobia or a general lack of balance should give this one a pass.

Coloured by chalky brick-red clay and smoothed by the many feet that have ascended it, the “trail”—“wall” perhaps more accurate—begins by cutting upwards at around 70 degrees: steep enough for many to say, “yeah, I don’t think so.” Though I’m not a rock climber, I found it manageable thanks to the many notches and ropes. My upward refrain: “This isn’t so bad.”

The trail is not straightforward. Photo taken in or around Railay viewpoint and lagoon, Railay Beach, Thailand by David Luekens.

The trail is not straightforward. Photo: David Luekens

After the initial steep incline, the terrain levelled into a normal hiking trail. A sea breeze rustled the tropical growth. A side trail soon cut left before emerging at the crest of a sheer cliff that puts you high above Railay East. From here you can see almost the entire peninsula, including Ao Tonsai beyond the cliff that marks the end of Railay West. Feeling prematurely proud of my amateur climbing abilities, I took a few minutes to soak it in.

I then took a shortcut that, according to a sign, would drop me at Sa Phra Nang Lagoon after a mere 20 metres. Instead it led me into thick jungle brush and, having left my machete back in the bungalow, I was forced to turn back towards the main trail. After finding it, I enjoyed a leisurely stroll alongside limestone crags, tall reaching palms and the snaking roots of massive dectarocarp trees.

Pay attention to the warnings. Photo taken in or around Railay viewpoint and lagoon, Railay Beach, Thailand by David Luekens.

Pay attention to the warnings. Photo: David Luekens

A fellow hiker told me that the lagoon wasn’t far, just down another “little wall.” “Oh yeah, it’s easy,” he exclaimed with the confidence of a seasoned climber. “But I’m not, like, a mountain climber,” I responded. “Good luck then,” and he was gone ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

Don’t miss the boat!

Please subscribe to to read the rest of this article, or log in here.

Subscribing to Travelfish costs A$35 per year and it gets you access to more than 200 downloadable guides to specific destinations, fabulous discount coupons and 50% off our personalised travel planning service. Sign up here.


Book a flight, train, bus, taxi or ferry in Thailand with 12Go Asia

Start planning your holiday today

Sent every Monday, our newsletter is full of travel advice, news & special deals. Read past issues.


Popular attractions in Railay Beach

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Railay Beach.

Best places to stay in Railay Beach

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Railay Beach.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Railay Beach.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Railay Beach.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Railay Beach.
 Read up on how to get to Railay Beach, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Railay Beach? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

See below for more sights and activities in Railay Beach that are listed on

Top of page

Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Railay Beach? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

Top of page