The closest airport is Krabi International, located some 30 kilometres east of Railay. To reach Railay from the airport you could catch the airport shuttle bus to Ao Nang or Ao Nammao pier for 150 baht and then hop on a boat. If going from Railay to the airport, travel agents sell group transfers including boat and van for 400 baht per person.
The interprovincial bus terminal in Krabi town can be reached by white songthaews that pick up at or near all three of the piers servicing public boats to Railay. You can also book transfers through Railay-based travel agents to tourist destinations that will include the boat ride from Railay plus a bus or minibus (van) ride and possibly another leg by ferry (see below).
To/from the mainland
Public longtail ferries to Railay depart from three places: Ao Nammao, Ao Nang and Krabi town. White songthaews circle around the area and will take you to any of these piers for 20 to 60 baht per person, the price depending on where they pick you up. Boats from Ao Nang and Ao Nammao take only 15 minutes, while it’s a roughly 40-minute ride from Krabi town.
From Ao Nammao, which is our preferred pier when heading to Railay, boats depart when full and cost 80 baht per person. In high season this tends to be at least once per hour from 08:00 to 18:00, but in low season the last boat may leave as early as 12:00. Public boats may run as late as 23:00 in high season, though you might get stuck paying 600 baht for a private boat. The sea on this eastern side of the peninsula tends to be calmer than on the Ao Nang (western) side in low season, making Ao Nammao more reliable if visiting then. On Railay, these boats use a floating pier off Railay East. Simply show up at this pier if heading back to Ao Nammao. If you arrive at Ao Nammao pier too late to catch a boat, nearby Thip Residence is a decent place to spend a night.
From Ao Nang, purchase tickets to Railay at a booth where the main drag meets the beach road, next to Phra Nang Inn. Boats depart when full from 08:00 to 18:00 and cost 100 baht per person. In high season, boats also run after dark until midnight, when the per-person price jumps to 150 baht, but at night you’ll usually have to wait longer or pay 800 baht for a private boat. Boats from Ao Nang can drop you at Railay West, Ao Tonsai or Haad Phra Nang—none of these beaches have piers so be prepared to wade ashore. Boats return to Ao Nang in the same timeframe and are not hard to find. Boats to/from Ao Nang stop running when the sea is rough in low season.
From Krabi town, boats depart from a pier off the downtown riverfront and you can purchase tickets for 150 baht from travel agents—a ticket desk in front of River View Hotel at the corner of Maharaj Soi 10 and Uttarakit Road puts you close to the pier. In high season these depart (in theory) at 08:30, 10:00, 12:30 and 14:30, returning from Railay at 09:30, 11:00, 14:00 and 17:00. Departures are less frequent in low season and nonexistent when the sea is rough. These boats use the floating pier at Railay East. Expect to pay around 1,200 baht for a private boat to/from Krabi town.
To/from islands and other destinations
It’s possible to reach some nearby islands directly from Railay via ferries originating in either Krabi town or Haad Noppharat Thara (near Ao Nang); these anchor offshore and longtail boats carry passengers out to meet them.
Ko Lanta: In high season, a ferry stops at Railay at 10:45 for 500 baht and takes around 1.5 hours, returning from Lanta at 13:30. Note that unlike the ferries from Krabi town, this one does not stop at Ko Jum. In low season you can book a transfer to Lanta, also for 500 baht, departing every two hours from 08:00 to 14:00; these will link you to a van that accesses Lanta via the car ferry.
Ko Phi Phi: A year-round ferry stops at Railay at 09:45 for 400 baht and takes around two hours, returning to Railay at 15:30.
Ko Yao Noi / Ko Yao Yai: In high season, a speedboat stops at Railay at 10:30 for 800 baht (to either island) and takes one to two hours. In low season you’ll have to head to Phuket or Tha Len (reachable by songthaew via Krabi town) to find a ferry heading to the Ko Yao twins.
Phuket: A year-round ferry stops at Railay at 15:00 for 650 baht and takes more than two hours, returning to Railay at 08:30. A high-season speedboat also departs for Phuket at 11:00 for 1,400 baht. Alternately you could book a boat/van transfer to Phuket at 10:00 for 400 baht, or just head to Krabi bus station to catch a minibus on on your own.
Railay is not on the high-season island-hopping routes that reach as far south as Langkawi in Malaysia, but you could head to Ko Lanta to catch up with them.
In addition, travel agents on Railay offer transfers to a bunch of other islands and mainland destinations that include the initial boat ride to the mainland followed by a minibus ride and another ferry if necessary. Options include:
Khao Lak / Khao Sok National Park: A transfer departs year-round at 10:00 for 500 baht (to either destination) and takes at least four hours.
Ko Jum: Departs at 09:00 and links to the local ferries at Laem Kruat for 600 baht, and takes around four hours.
Ko Kradan / Ko Muk / Ko Ngai: In high season, transfers depart at 06:00 for around 1,300 baht to any of these islands, and take at least five hours.
Ko Lipe: In high season, transfers depart at 06:00 and 09:00 for 1,200 baht and take at least seven hours. You could also use this service if heading to Pakbara pier to reach Ko Tarutao or Ko Bulon Lae. For low season we were told that the later departure is not available.
Ko Pha Ngan / Ko Samui / Ko Tao: From Railay there are several year-round departures from 06:00 to 13:00 with prices depending on your preferred ferry service to the final destination. These take at least six hours to Samui, longer to Pha Ngan and Tao.
Travel agents on Railay can also string together transfers to other destinations, such as Trang, Hat Yai, Satun, Ranong and even Bangkok, but we think you’re better off heading to Krabi bus station on your own.