Visiting Railay Beach
Railay (pronounced Rai Led) is the most famous location for rock climbing in Southern Thailand. It is also known for the stunning beaches and being a remote destination. You can only access Railay via boat due to the towering limestone cliffs which I believe adds to the appeal.
We decided to visit Railay on one of the days I was feeling poorly (I will touch on this subject in a future post) - I am not sure it was the best of ideas but we made it and I survived. After some research, we decided to head down to Ao Nang beach and jump on a taxi longtail boat service which cost 200 bhat both ways. The boat trip was around 15 minutes and it was a beautiful and scenic view en route.
The arrival point was Railay West which I heard wasn't the nicest of beaches - however I really liked this beach and thought it was quintessentially Thai. We decided to take a quick little walk along the beach and found a little walkway followed by a steep climb which led to some beautiful caves and a jungle type feel. It was a dead end after around 10 minutes of exploring but we noticed this was an area for rock climbing.
Following this little exploration, we set off in search for the renowned Phra Nang Beach. Luckily there are local maps of the island which directed us towards East Railway which then would lead us to Phra Nang Beach. The walk to East Railay I found quite hard, I was very dehydrated and lacking energy but I persevered on. I am so glad I did as I got to see monkeys en route just hanging around on the fencing. We reached East Railay which was basically a mangrove swamp and full of trash - it wasn't the prettiest of locations and it smelt pretty bad. We kept following the signs for Phra Nang Beach.....
Finally, we made it.
Phra Nang is an enviable location on the tip of the headland looking out to the crystal clear Andaman Sea. Phra Nang is a sacred place and should be treated with respect by anybody visiting there. Phallic symbols / gestures are in prominence at the entrance to the cave (pictured) are associated with fertility and virility.
We walked though breathtaking surroundings of caves and vines, it really was very beautiful walk. We arrived at the iconic Phra Nang beach which was to no surprise very busy. The first thing I noticed were the cute monkeys (Dusky Langurs) eating in the trees. The beach was just beautiful and the sand was almost like white dust, I could imagine this being extremely breathtaking when quiet. It is still well worth a visit.
My overall experience was very positive and I would highly recommend visiting Railay if you are visiting Krabi or able to visit as part of a tour. My favourite beach was actually Railay West - very traditional and although it was busy, it wasn't cramped which made it more chilled out. The caves were absolutley stunning and well worth the trip.