Backpackers guide to Railay Beach

Most of the popular tourist destinations of Thailand are located in the southern part of the country, from Bangkok to the Malaysian border. There is an island for everyone whether you are looking to party, relax, climb or explore the ocean wonders.

Railay is a peninsula surrounded by ocean and mountains that only can be  accessible by boat. It is not only a beautiful beach spot but also a well known rock climbing hot spot for its superb limestone cliffs.

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Railay has four primary areas:

Pranang is a white sand beach, on the southern tip of the peninsula. It has a nice scenery and is a good swimming beach when the tide is high.

Railay East is the mangrove side of the peninsula not good for swimming and mostly used by long-tails to and from Krabi. There are a few budget restaurants and bars.

Railey West is a fine beach of white sand and shallow water, where most long-tails arrive from Ao Nang. It is great for swimming when the tide is high and is a good sunset spot. The most expensive accommodation is located here.

Tonsai is a white sand beach separated from Railay West by a rocky path.  It is the cheapest place in the peninsula, where backpackers and rock climbers usually stay.

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How to get there: you can fly for about 25€ or take a night bus from Bangkok to Ao Nang and take a boat to Railay Beach from there, this should cost you about 16€ including the boat. There are 3 stops in Railay: Tonsai beach, Railay West and Railay East.

Where to sleep: In Tonsai you can find basic bamboo bungalows for 500 baht, about 12€ and Chill Out Bar and Bungalows has dorms for 6€ per night. Most places don´t have online bookings so just show up and haggle a good price.

Where to eat: Mama chicken in Tonsai  is great and good value for the money.

How to move around: there are no cars so you must walk everywhere.

What to do: rock climbing, island hopping tours and relaxing at the beach are the main activities here. I loved the sunset from Pranang Beach. There is a viewpoint and a hidden lagoon you can trek to.

The 4 islands hopping tour takes you to Poda Island, Chicken Island, Tup Islets and finish back in Railay, in Pranang Beach. They usually ask for 600 baht including lunch, but haggle and don´t pay more than 500 baht, it is not worth more than that. The spots are beautiful but really crowded and the last stop is back in Railay, so it should be called 3 islands tour. Also, the stop at Chicken Island is only to do snorkel. So you only visit Poda Island, that is the lunch stop, and the Tup Islets that are great when there is low tide but they took us there in the morning and the sandy path between islets was very narrow and felt very crowded and full of long tail boats.

IMG_6272Chicken Island

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Tup Islets

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