Railay Beach Thailand – Average Daily Cost $29/Day
Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand – Average Daily Cost $29 Per Day
We had heard great things about the small west coast Thai beach called Railay Beach. Our friend Jason whom we respect in many aspects of life — especially Thai travel —
recommended insisted that we check out Railay Beach.
We decided to move north from Langkawi, Malaysia and our first stop was Railay Beach in Krabi.
About Railay Beach (Krabi), Thailand
Railay Beach is a hidden gem. The type of spot veteran backpackers try to keep a secret. This tiny paradise
island peninsula is hidden on the West Coast of Thailand and is only accessible by boat because of the monstrous limestone cliffs that barricade it.
Railay Beach features beautiful white sand beaches and the gorgeous, crystal clear waters Andaman Sea. Railay Beach is located between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang in Thailand. The limestone cliffs of Railay Beach make for some of the best climbing in the world.
Railay Beach is also popular due to its quiet relaxing atmosphere. Accommodation ranges from bungalows and medium-priced resorts in East Railay to a collection of five-star resorts focused on West Railay. The four main areas of Railay consist of Tonsaid, East Railay, West Railay and Pranang. Backpackers tend to congregate and lodge in the Tonsai portion of the beautiful, remote peninsula.
Where is Railay Beach
Railay Beach is in the Southwestern part of Thailand, 120 miles north of the Malaysian border and 100 miles south or the Burmese (Mynamar) border. Railay Beach is 25 miles east of Phuket.
Getting to Krabi, Thailand and Railay Beach from Malaysia
If you want to bus from central Malaysia, take a bus to Hat Yai, Thailand. In Hat Yai you will probably be dropped at a tourist transport office – they will always be looking to help you there. From there jump on a bus to Krabi.
How we did it: We caught a ferry from Langkawi to Satun, Thailand. There we bought minivan tickets to van us to Krabi (5 hrs, 230 Baht, $7.5 USD). This was very simple as opposed to the first option.
Beware that there will be several “pointless stops” along the way. If you’ve ever traveled in Thailand, you know that the buses stop every 30 miles or so for no reason at all. The driver lets everyone out in the hopes that you’ll buy something from the store. The drivers no doubt receive kickbacks from the store for these “pointless stops.” It got to the point where I would say to Brian, “Another pointless stop?” and Brian would laugh and reply, “Yeppp.”
From Krabi you get to take a small fishtail boat (with a lawnmower engine) over to Railay Peninsula (100 Baht, $3 USD). This was quite an experience for us because a thunderstorm erupted on our way over. For a few seconds, we thought about ditching our backpacks and jumping overboard!
Getting to Krabi, Thailand and Railay Beach from Bangkok, Thailand
There a few ways to get to Krabi from Bangkok.
First option: Sleeper bus. While it takes 12 hours to get there, a price point around 500 Baht ($17 USD) is not a bad option.
Second option: Train. Krabi does not have a railway station, but it’s easy to get there using a comfortable train to Surat Thani and then an air-conditioned bus. Using the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok (8.5 hrs), the train & bus to Krabi takes the same amount of time — it’s just much more interesting and inexpensive. (800 baht/$27 USD)
You will find buses to Krabi waiting at Surat Thani station once your train arrives. The bus fare is about 200 baht ($6.5 USD), the journey time from Surat Thani to Krabi takes 3 hours. You can purchase a train+bus combo ticket from Bangkok to Krabi.
From Krabi you get to take a small fishtail boat over to Railay Peninsula (100 Baht, 3 USD). You will arrive at East Railay Beach.
This is where your driver might stop the boat. The water gets very shallow (about .5 meters or 1.5 feet) — the engine would get ruined if he drove it up to shore. Be sure to have sandals (and good balance) for this walk!
What’s Unique About Railay Beach Thailand?
- The method of entry (Thai fishtail boat followed by a walk through shallow waters as depicted above).
- There are no vehicles on the peninsula (in fact, there are no roads)
- Friendly monkeys 🙂
- Enormous limestone cliffs submerged from the water (very close to the shore)
- Topless women on beach
How Long to Stay on Railay Beach Thailand
You can explore the whole island in 4-5 days so it depends on what type of experience you’re looking for. We’re always in favor of traveling slow. We were content with reading books on the beach and casually exploring every little nook and cranny the island had to offer. You could easily stay here for a month if you’re a traveler that likes to take things slowly but we found that one week was a nice stay.
Where to Stay, Railay Beach Thailand
Railay has not been a major backpacking destination for a long time (this place was the undiscovered and a backpacking mecca in the 70’s and 80’s), so there are not many formal hostels. We were able to find cheap accomodation ($10 USD per night) but opted to stay in a slightly nicer place for $15 USD per night.
Be aware that the 1st of November prices at Railay are still at low season rates so it might be worth shopping around once you arrive. Have a walk around to see what you can get deal wise. It is a very small place so it won’t take long.
Getting Around Railay Beach
You’ll arrive via fishtail boat at East Railay Beach. You cannot swim or climb here but you’ll likely spend the bulk of your time here (lodging, eating, shopping, bars, etc.). For climbing and beach lounging, you’ll be on West Railay Beach. Not to worry, the entire peninsula is 2 square miles or 3.5 square kilometers.
Top 5 things to do on Railay Beach
1. Railay Beach Rock Climbing. Enough said. Scale the cliff or watch some of the world’s greatest climbers scale the challenging cliffs of Railay.
2. Chill out on the Phra Nang portion of Railay West Beach (a short walk from Tonsai where you’ll probably stay if you’re a backpacker)
3. Walk through Phra Nang Cave (this is how you get from East Railay to West Railay Beach)
4. Shop for unique, inexpensive local handicrafts and clothing on East Railay Beach
5. Go to the Rasta bar called “The Last Bar” for a Rasta music, a drink, and to see the Rasta Man and his pet otter
What to Eat on Railay Beach:
Fresh seafood from the fisherman and local fruit. Also, don’t miss the indian rotis! Sit right on the water on East Railay as you enjoy tea, indian roti with banana and peanut butter along with the perfect sea breeze of the Andaman Sea.
Average Daily Cost of Travel in Railay Beach Thailand: $29 Per Day
Hostel: $15 USD
Food: $14 USD
Transportation: $0 USD (no roads or vehicles on the entire peninsula)
Railay is a bit more expensive than comprable areas probably because the difficulties in transporting food to the peninsula. Think about it — every item of food that does not grow on the
island peninsula, has to be transported on a small fishtail boat with a lawnmower engine. It’s really quite a unique process!
Overall, Railay is a very laid back (no roads!), beautiful, interesting place with great food and friendly people.
Check out our other travel posts:
- Backpacking Langkawi Malaysia
- Traveling in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
- Tips for Traveling Osa Peninsula Costa Rica
Traveling to Thailand for the first time? Post a question in the comments section below, we’ll respond with advice!
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