After 4 wonderful days on Phi Phi Islands, we jumped on a ferry and moved to Krabi province, to a small, but quite well known bay- the Railay Beach.
We arrived around 5.30 PM and had about 10 minute walk to our resort. To be honest, after seeing Phi Phi Islands, it would have been difficult to impress me in any way. So, when we got off the boat, my first impression was a slight dissapointment. For no particular reason… Maybe because the village here is really small and not exactly urbanised. The main „road” from west to east is a just a sandy path.
When we got to the hotel, The Anyavee Resort, it turned out that they upgraded our room! This was a nice surprise 😉 The room was even a better one. Clearly the European standard, with spacious bedroom and a nice bathroom. It had all the fascilities, including air-conditioning, the hair-dryer (if somebody needs one here 😉 ), a fridge, a kettle with daily supply of tea and coffee even a TV with many international chanels (just in case… you know… you get bored in Thailand or something 😉 ). We probably would never have stayed here, as it did cost a lot, for Thai standards (from 65 euro), but we got it for free due to the reward program of our company (YEY 😉 ).
Just to end up with the hotel, it does have a nice swimming pool with a view to the east coast. Another really excellent feature is a breakfast here. In other places we stayed in, our breakfast included 2 pieces of bread, an egg or two and a bit of jam. Here, we’ve had a full continental breakfast with a large choice of both european and thai food. It also incuded a wide supply of local fruit, meaning the pineapple, watermelon and dragon fruit, and vegetables.
As life often shows, first impressions are not always correct. Right after our arrival, I went running (oh yeah, I even found a 1,5 km path to run back and forth here!) and, by accident, got to Phra Nang beach. The way to that beach itself is breathtaking! The misterious, surrounded by rocks path offers you so many views that I actually had to stop every couple of meters!
After such a start I got to Phra Nang Beach. And it was even better. The wide, sandy beach surrounded by rocks with the most outstanding formations you could possible imagine with two small islands right in front. And what a sunset! It made me change my opinion about the place on the spot! It really is beautiful here.
As for the sunset, you have two major places to watch it here: the Phra Nang beach and the main western Railay Beach. Each of them, we had a chance to see and admired a lot! It’s inceredibly charming and romantic, and I think that numerous viewers will support my opinion 😉
The reality check- PRICES!
I wrote another short article upon this subject, but prices in Railay can shock you! We were told by our Thai hosts that the Phi Phi Islands are expensive. Well… not in comparison to Railay 😉 During our first visit in a local supermarket we paid 250 bahts (around 6euro) for a bottle of coke, 1 breezer and a bag of crisps O_O Thinking that we were simply ripped off, we checked prices in other markets- all pretty much the same.
When it comes restaurants, the pricwes are twice the ones on Phi Phi. It is not uncommon here to find some dishes for even 600 bahts. In avarage, for not a sophisticated dish, prepare yourself to spend 250 bahts at least. Luckily, you have some street food available here, although only a small variety: mainly thai pancakes (40-60 bahts), kebab (or should I say wraps) which costs around 80-120 bahts, some spring rolls (80-100 bahts) and not many more really.
In the next village of Ton Sai, the prices in the markets and restaurants are pretty much the same, although the accomodation is half-price.For better deals, get yourself a boat to Ao Nang (100 bahts one way) and go to 7 eleven. That’ll be the best option for buying some essentials like water, other drinks and snacks to eat here.
Rock climbing in Railay
We would never have chosen coming to Railay if not for the rock climbing here. This is also the sole reason, we decided to stay here for 5 nights in the first place.
A few words about rock climbing here… This place, along with the Ton Sai bay is one of the most famous climbing spots in the world. However, the heat and generally high difficulty of the routes make it probably not the best place for everyone.
I mean, sure, you have climbing schools on every corner here and a lot of people give it a try for the very first time in Railay, but if you come here for longer and just begin your adventure with rock climbing, you may be disappointed. As we needed to find some sectors with easy routes for Konrad, we found only 3 that had any routes graded with 5. And one of them is marked as „no fall zone” in the guide and suggested to be done by somebody more experienced leaving the top-rope, just in case. The other 2: „one-two-three” and „diamond-cave” offer some pretty nice warm up, but they are generally occupied by the climbing schools. Even if you arrive really early,like we did, after 9 o’clock, you will have to leave the place for the locals and their clients… This is a rule here.
For more advanced climbers, there’s a wide variety of routes both sports and multi-pitch. The bolting is generally good enough, just check in the guide just in case. All in all, in my opinion, a nice spot for climbers doing 7a and more.
Don’t miss the sunrise
We lived in the east coast of Railay and had a marvelous opportunity of watching sunrise every day here. Ok, we woke up around 6 o’clock (sick O_O ), but it was well worth it. Surprisingly, we were not the only ones, as there was always a small crowd waiting for the amazing view that woke the bay. There are basically two best spots for watching a sunrise- one is a pier, which is almost 150 meters long , and the other one is around 100 metres south from it, from the main path on the eastern side.
Word of advise, check the weather forecast and, if it’s good, sacrifice one of your mornings- it’s well worth it!!! Actually, we would highly recomend sacrificing most of your mornings, as the days are short here…
The Lagoon and Railay Beach view point
I include these two under one subchapter, as the beggining of the way there is common, so you’ll probably be doing the one after another. The entrance to the path is on the path for the Phra Nang beach and it’s marked with a large sign warning you agains taking it in the bad weather conditions and after the sunset. And PLEASE take these warnings seriously, no matter how fit you are!
The path is extremely steap, frequently supported by the ropes and, in the last part to the Lagoon, with bamboo ledders. The soil here gets extremely slippery, when wet, therefore mind your steps. It’s not a route for flip-flops, so take good hiking shoes, it’ll make your life much easier here.
After around 10-15 minutes of going straight up, you’ll get to the fork. On the left, there is Railay viewpoint. It is actually quite charming and worth seeing, however can be pretty busy. And there is really not much place for many people here. Mind yourself, as there’s no protection or barrier and the cliff is a couple of hundreds metres high!
After that, we headed towards the path to the famous lagoon. You have to go down all the way you just climbed up. And it’s interesting 😉 All the way down, you’re either aided by the thick ropes or use the bamboo ledders.
The view of the lagoon demends mostly on the tide. If it’s low, what you’ll see is a field of mud surrounded by outstanding cliffs. It’s still probably nice, but getting there when the water is in the lagoon is much much more rewarding. Unless the tide is too high, you can take a walk around for almost half of the area, which will allow views from different angles.
Visiting these places is a definite must-do when you come to Railay!
Ton Sai is another bay, just about 10 minute walk from Railay. It is a very popular place among the climbers and other budget travellers, as the accomodation here is very cheap. We met 2 couples that got bungalows for 300 bahts and a guy from Canada, who managed to find one for 250 (but he got out of there after only 2 nights and moved to a higher standard…)!
However, the sanitary conditions in that place are undeniably worse. The bars and restaurants are definitefinitely offer a unique atmosphere, but we weren’t tempted that much to give them a try, especially with the common illness, the Tonsai Tummy, around here.
Right from Ton Sai, we took a taxi-boat to Ao Nang. We actually visited it twice: the first time for food supplies and the second for more general shopping and looking around.
We admit, after seeing the prices in markets in Railay and Ton Sai, we wanted to find some cheaper options. Ao Nang is quite a big town, with a well developped infrastructure and shopping industry. Apart from uncountable services, clothing boutiques and street spots, enormous amount of restaurants offering food from many cultures, you can also find such places as McDonald’s (we found 2 O_O), Burger King or Starbucks, if you miss some more familiar tastes. But most imporatantly, it has many 7 elevens! 😉
Just for comparison, for 5 bags (!!!) of food and drinks: coke, water, breezers and snacks, which were enough for us for 5 days, we paid around 800 bahts! Yeah… That’s the difference between Ao Nang and Railay…
As far as the clothing is concern, there is quite a lage amount of small shops offering thai goods as well as the ones immitating the clothes of well known brands. To get better deals, move away of the main harbour, the prices can drop even by half.
Ao Nang is also famous for its night markets, which happen every late evening. Unfortunatelly, we weren’t able to take part in any of them, as the last taxi boat leaves at 6 PM.
Dinmond cave is one of the major tourist attractions of Railay. Frankly speaking, we weren’t that much interested to visit it, but changed our minds just the last day. The entrance fee is supposed to be 200 bahts per person, but in reality you’ll pay 100 bhts.
I’m extremely happy for including this place in our itinarary, as it trully is unique. Although not too big, the cave offers an enormous amount of stalactites and stalagmites forming extraordinary shapes. The cave is very well maintained and pleasant to visit.
Apart from the tourist, it has some other residents as well, the bats.
There are 3 main beaches in Railay: the main western Raily Beach, Phra Nang Beach and Railay East. The last one is used mainly for transportation and can hardly be used for any other reasons.
The two others, however, are considered to be among the most beautiful in Thailand! The main beach is wide and quite big. The central part of it is reserved for the boats, but it still leaves enough place for the visitors to enjoy. The sand reminds the incredibly soft one from the Maya Beach and is trully very pleasant to walk or have a sit at. Suprisingly, despite its beauty, it is also not too crowded. The only visibly flaw for us was the water. It’s really shallow for a very long time and when you try to get to deaper waters, you’ll find rocks and stones, which makes it very hard to swim.
Yet, there’s also another beach, the Phra Nang Beach. Very well known for its climbing areas, less for the undeniable beauty. In our opinion, it’s the un questionable number one here. The sand quality is the same as on the main beach. It is also almost equally huge. However, the views from here are irreplaceable! Another important thing, for us at least, is that it gets much deeper than other beaches around and allows comfortable swimming.
Although it’s not as widely recognised as the proper Railay Beach, the locals seem to appreciate its value. Whem we arrived here during the busiest hours, we found a lot of food boats stationing around O_O. None of us has ever seen anything like this, and, to our surprise, the prices were exactly the same as in the city. When the tide is low, it gives you also 2 other options for visiting. Firstly, it allows you to walk to one of the nearest islands. The second option is to go further behind the rocks on the left. There is a path leading to some climbing spots as well as to some charming little caves and formations.
Another attraction, which cannot be overlooked here is a Phra Nang cave, which is a place of worship for Thai people. Young couples come here and leave their prayers for fertility. It’s also packed with penises of different shapes, sizes and colours, which are left here as sacrifices for the godess.
Watch the tides!
The tides in Railay can surprise, I think, everyone. They change quickly and on the daily bases. Apart from curiosity, there are some places in Railay accessible only when the tide is low, therefore make sure that you don’t end up cut-off from the main land!
There’s also a phenomenal thing that Krabi gets its name for. When the tide is extremely low, thousands and thousands of little crabs go around the empty beach! The impression is so surreal, it’s like the entire soil is moving! If you get a chance, don’t miss that!
We’re leaving Railay Beach now and heading back to Phuket province, to see some more of Thai culture. See you :))