Photo: Plenty of wow factor.

Railay's beaches

Our rating:

Railay’s four beaches are not made equal. In fact, one of them can hardly be called a beach at all. Another is more known for rock climbing and cheap bungalows than sun baking and swimming. The remaining two are gorgeous but host only mid- to top-range accommodation. The good news is that all of them can be enjoyed over a couple of days on Railay.

Haad Phra Nang From a purely aesthetic standpoint, we can’t argue with the many “best beaches in Thailand” lists that have placed Haad Phra Nang at or near the top. Climbers hang on to gnarly cliffs with long limestone fingers in shades of ice blue and burnt orange at either end of this 600-metre-long beach. The southerly outlook includes a nearby karst islet, Ko Rang Nok, standing like a guard tower—at low tide you can wade out to it for a view back across the beach.

Meet Haad Phra Nang. Photo taken in or around Railay's beaches, Railay Beach, Thailand by David Luekens.

Meet Haad Phra Nang. Photo: David Luekens

Security guards from the super-lux Rayavadee Resort suspiciously watch the beach goers, creating a vibe that we find a bit strange (non-guests are forbidden from entering resort grounds unless patronising one of the restaurants). This resort owns all of the beachfront land, and it’s the only place to stay with direct access to the sand.

In fact, Rayavadee’s owners tried to cut off all public, overland access to Haad Phra Nang when they were constructing the resort in the early 2000s, relenting only after sustained protests surrounded a sister hotel in Bangkok. The demonstrations coincided with a series of misfortunes that many locals believed to be the work of the local goddess: Phra Nang. Her spirit is thought to rest in a cave filled with phallic symbols at the southern corner of the beach. Be careful not to rouse her.

Just stunning. Photo taken in or around Railay's beaches, Railay Beach, Thailand by David Luekens.

Just stunning. Photo: David Luekens

At the eastern end of the beach near the cave, a public footpath runs inland and takes you past more of the wildly shaped rocks on the way to Railay East. On the way you’ll often spot monkeys that you’d think were celebrities given the crowds of tourists they draw. Many visitors also come on day trips by boat from Ao Nang and elsewhere, and the fine khaki sand does get crowded in high season. The beach’s western end usually offers more ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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

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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.

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