Railay, a thin sliver of land close to the more established tourist centre of Krabi, is fast becoming the worst kept secret in Thailand.
For travelers who want that taste of Thailand without the hordes of shirtless backpackers, Railay is the place to be. This tiny peninsular seems to have remained a fairly closely guarded secret for so long partly because it is only accessible by sea. It is completely cut off from the mainland by dense jungle, and only gets a brief mention in guide books about the region. However, the fact that most travelers eschew this enclave in favor of its more extrovert cousins down the road such as Krabi and Phuket, only adds to Railay’s appeal.
Getting There and Where to Stay on Railay East
Railay is not a cheap destination, and this is one big plus point in favor of the types of travelers that generally choose to stay in the area. A taxi from the airport and transfer to the peninsula by long tail boat costs round 1000-1200 Baht, (40-50 USD,) and for solo travelers on a shoestring, this could be a big downside. Cheaper options are simply not available as the boat operators seem to have the market sewn up, and there is no other way to access the island.
Railay East has the cheapest accommodation options, with budget places not really much of an option on the main beaches of Railay West, certainly not compared to the rest of Thailand. Mid range options on Railay East, such as View Point Resort, are around 60 USD for double room with air con, a fridge and TV, and a small pool on site. More deluxe options, such as Bhu Nga Thani Resort and Spa on can be as much as 5100 Baht per night, approximately 200 USD.
Snorkeling, Swimming, Sunbathing in Southern Thailand
Railay is both the perfect Thai destination for those who just want to chill out with a book on the beach, and adventure seekers alike, as the island offers pristine beaches for swimming, snorkeling, sea-kayaking, rock climbing and scuba diving. In addition, there are many of the more well known activities that Thailand has to offer, such as Thai cooking classes and elephant treks on the mainland.
For those who want to take it a bit easier, the stunning back drop of dramatic cliffs, jungle paths and an easy stroll in Railay caves, make this area of southern Thailand an ideal place to explore for couples, singles or families.
Although a peninsula cut off from the mainland, Railay is not lacking in things to do, places to eat or things to buy. The usual array of traveler shopping can easily be found: beach dresses, hats, sarongs, snorkeling gear. Although there is obviously less selection than the mainland, prices are competitive and there is more than enough to choose from.
Food wise, all the usual Thai staples can be found, such a Thai Red and Green Curries and Pad Thai, but the real draw for foodies is the vast array of seafood available for very reasonable prices. Marlin, barracuda, salmon, tuna, sea bass, and many more, are all barbequed nightly in the selection of restaurants lining the muddy beach along Railay East. For a spectacular sunset, Railay West is a short walk away.