How do you get around the Railay Beach area? 2024 Guide

Railey beach krabi the backpacking family

The Railay Beach area in Krabi is one of the most beautiful coastlines in Thailand. This iconic coastline has steep limestone peaks covered in dense jungle and beautiful golden sand beaches with small stunning islets and turquoise waters. It really is a dreamy destination!

Many people visit Krabi just to see these stunning beaches. There are four main beaches in the Railay Beach area (Tonsai, Railay East and West Beach & the Phra Nang Cave Beach). However, there are no roads, bikes, cars, or buses connecting the beaches. So, how do you get around in the Railay Beach area?

In this article, we will describe and explain the best ways to get around the Railay Beach area and also include a super helpful map with some things to do in the area and the routes to get between the different features.

WHY NOT STAY AROUND RAILAY?Amazing hotels in the Railay Beach area

LEARN MORE ABOUT KRABI BEACHESDon’t miss the BEST beaches in Krabi

How do you get to the Railay Beach area?

Landmark beach longtail boats

There are no roads leading to the Railay Beach area. The only way to access these popular yet remote beaches is to use a boat, traveling from Ao Nang. The cheapest option is to take a shared taxi boat, with a standard and fixed price of 100 baht per person each way. There is no way to pre-book your tickets, and no return tickets are available, so you need to purchase your return ticket on Railay Beach. To purchase a ticket, you just need to show up at one of the taxi boat pickup points, pay for a ticket, and then wait for about 20 minutes for the boat to fill up. Taxi boats drop off at Tonsai Beach and Railay West beach (or Railay East beach if you’re coming from the Ao Nam Mao pier).

Backpacking family longtrail boat Krabi
Longtail boat sunset Krabi

There are several locations where you can take shared taxi boats: the east side of Landmark Beach, at the Do Do River Bridge (between Landmark Beach and Ao Nang beach), the west side of Ao Nang Beach, the east side of Ao Nang Beach, and the Ao Nam Mao pier (boats to Railay East beach).

Here is a map of the shared taxi boat pick up points in Ao Nang:

The taxi boats are a fixed price from all of these destinations, so we recommend showing up at the nearest pick-up point. The boat journey from Ao Nang to Railay Beach is very beautiful; it takes around 20 minutes, and they use the iconic classic long boats. Have your camera ready for that iconic longtail boat shot!

For more details don’t miss this wonderful guideHow to Get to Tonsai and Railay Beach

WANT TO SPLASH OUT AND GO PRIVATE?

If you want a boat all to yourself – no waiting around – you can go to the same taxi boat pick up point and arrange a private taxi boat for 800baht each way (up to 8 people) This is roughly £16 or $20.

Which beach should you visit in the Railay Beach area?

Once you are in the Railay Beach area, there are four different beaches to experience. Here is a summary of each of the beaches. It is possible to walk between each of these four beaches; we will share more on this soon.

1 Tonsai Beach

Rope swing tonsai Beach

Tonsai Beach – This is the most peaceful, quiet, and tranquil beach. Tonsai beach is also the best place to go climbing (there is a climbing shop that offers kit rental and tours on Tonsai beach). The main disadvantage of Tonsai beach is the lack of return taxi boats. Although you can get a return taxi boat from here, they leave very rarely due to the quietness of this beach. There is one restaurant and one bar situated on the Tonsai beachfront.

2 Railay West Beach

Boats on Railay Beach

Railay West Beach – Railay West Beach is the most popular beach in the area. It is also very beautiful and a great place for kayaking, swimming, or just relaxing on the beach. There are plenty of taxi boats dropping off and picking up passengers on Railay Beach. There are also several resorts, cafes, restaurants, and bars in the Railay Beach area.

3 Railay East Beach

Alas, Railay East beach is not the prettiest beach in the area…

Railay East beach

Railay East Beach – Railay East Beach is not as beautiful as Railay West Beach. There are several cafes, shops, and restaurants situated on Railay East Beach. There is also a climbing spot located at the south side of Railay East beach. Railay East Beach has a public toilet, and you can also find the path leading to Phra Nang Beach (the path to Phra Nang Beach has a steep trail leading up to the Railay viewpoint and Princess Lagoon).

4 Phra Nang Beach

Princess Cave Phra Nang Beach Krabi

Phra Nang Beach – This is the most beautiful and iconic beach in the area. Although it is the most remote beach, it does get very busy. This beach is sometimes known as the cave beach due to the stunning caves and rocky overhangs. Make sure you visit the beautiful Princess Cave.

The best beach to visit depends on your aspirations. For example, if you are looking to chill out on a quiet beach in peace, then we recommend Tonsai Beach. If you are an avid climber, then we recommend Tonsai Beach or Railay East Beach. Or if you want to sunbathe, kayak, swim, or chill out at a restaurant, then Railay West Beach is a good option. Alternatively, if you are looking to visit a very impressive and iconic beach, then make sure you check out Phra Nang Beach.

How do you get between the beaches in Railay?

We mentioned that there are no roads, cars, taxis, or bikes in the Railay Beach area. The best way to travel between the beaches in this area is to walk. Each of the beaches is linked up by a path, and you can walk between all of the beaches relatively easily. Here is a summary of the main routes between each of the beaches.

TOP TIP: You may think that the taxi boats can drop you off between the beaches for a small fee; however, they are not allowed to do this. If you are hoping to travel between the beaches by boat, you will need to pay the full price for a private boat, which starts at around 800 baht (£16 or $20). This is a very high price for beaches that are relatively close to each other. However, this is the only option if you need to travel by boat. As always, we recommend bargaining for the best price.

1 Tonsai Beach to Railay West Beach

The path is beautiful and adventurous and easy to navigate. Just take care on the terrain…

trekking through the jungle tonsai to railay

You can walk from Tonsai Beach to Railay West Beach following a very beautiful jungle path for around 10 to 15 minutes. If you are starting on Tonsai beach, you need to walk to the southeast side of the beach, which is the opposite side of the taxi boat drop-off point. You will see a small trail leading into the jungle. Walk up the steps and follow the trail. There is one point where you will reach a junction. Each of the paths leads to Railey West Beach. If you take the path to the right, the route is slightly easier because there is less climbing. The path is relatively easy to follow; however, we do recommend wearing good shoes (trainers are better than flip-flops) and take care as there are lots of roots and rocks along the path.

Find out more about the route between Railay West Beach and Tonsai

2 Railay West Beach to Railay East Beach

Path between Railay east and west beach

Railay West Beach and Railay East Beach are situated on each side of the Railay Peninsula. The great news is that the walk is very flat, short, and easy between these beaches. There are several large resorts situated in the area of land between Railay East Beach and Railay West Beach. Unfortunately, some areas of these resorts are private, so you can get a little lost or you may find that you are not allowed to access some of the paths. We have marked the route of a path that is open to the public and leads directly between Railay East Beach and Railay West Beach. The walk takes around 5 or 10 minutes, and there are also signs to point you the right way.

3 Railay East Beach to Phra Nang Beach

Here is the start of the path to Phra Nang beach…

Shop and toilets path to Phra Nang beach and trail

The only way to get to Phra Nang Beach is to walk from Railay East Beach. There are no paths from any of the other beaches. The path leading to Phra Nang Beach is situated on the south side of Railay East Beach. The start of the path is pretty easy to find; it is right next to a snack shop. The path is well paved and well marked. Around halfway along this short path, you will see a steep trail leading up the mountain. This is the trail to the beautiful secluded Princess Lagoon and the Railay viewpoint. The path between Railay East Beach and Phra Nang Beach is only a few hundred meters and takes around 5 minutes to walk. When you reach the beautiful Phra Nang Beach, the cave is almost directly in front of you at the end of the path.

Beautiful path leads to the start of the jungle trail

TOP TIP: The best place to take return taxi boats to Ao Nang is on Railay West Beach. There are plenty of boats waiting in this area, and boats leave every few minutes, so you will not need to wait long to get back to Ao Nang. The last boat departs around 6 pm, so make sure you are at the beach on plenty of time so you don’t miss the last shared taxi back.

Can you stay in the Railay Beach area?

Railay Village Resort is one of the most beautiful resorts in the area…

Railay Village Resort

Yes, you can stay in the Railay Beach area. The great news is there are some stunning resorts in the Railay Beach area, which will allow you to make the most of your time here and experience this area when it is slightly quieter (remember the public shared taxi boats only run from 8 am – 6 pm, so the early mornings and evenings are LOVELY in this area!)

The cheapest place to find accommodation in the Railay Beach area is on Tonsai Beach. There are a couple of budget guest houses situated on Tonsai Beach with private fan rooms starting at around £20 per night. The most popular area for luxurious resorts is the beautiful area between Railay East Beach and Railay West Beach. You can find some absolutely stunning luxury resorts in this area. The main thing to be aware of if you’re planning to stay in the Railay Beach area is the lack of shops and restaurants. Although there are shops, restaurants, and cafes around, the choices are relatively limited, and the prices are higher in this area. It is also important to be aware that internet can be unreliable and slow in this area. This is even the case with some of the more expensive luxurious resorts.

What are the best places to stay in the Railay Beach area?

Rayavadee

Railay Village Resort – spacious luxurious paradise villas surrounding a beautiful pool immersed in lush green grounds. Reserve Railay Village on Agoda. Book Railay village on booking.com.

Railay Bay Resort & Spa – Large, beautiful, lush and luxurious Resort. Deluxe cottages and amazing facilities. Beachfront pool and sun loungers. Reserve Railay Bay Resort on Agoda. Book Railay Bay Resort on booking.com.

Railay Phutawan Resort – a great combination of luxury and value for money. Stunning jungle cliff location. Reserve Railay Phutawan on Agoda. Book Railay Phutawan on booking.com.

Bhu Nga Thani Resort Railay – check out the stylish contemporary resort – stunning location on the north side of Railay East beach. Reserve Bhu Nga on Agoda. Book Bhu Nga on booking.com.

Rayavadee resort – One of the BEST resorts in the area (see picture above) – don’t miss the superlative 5-star Rayavadee resort on the south side of Railey East Beach. Reserve Rayavadee on Agoda. Book Rayavadee on booking.com.

Garden view Resort Tonsai – Great option if you’re looking for a budget stay in the area. This tranquil guest house is clean, beautiful and tranquil. Great value for money. Reserve Garden view on Agoda. Book Garden view on booking.com.