Back in 2016 (who would say that it’s two years ago already), I spent some beautiful weeks in Thailand. Even though it was not a beach trip and I did manage to squeeze in some sun time. For that, I decided to go to Ao Nang, in Krabi, and from there, I spent a day or two visiting Railay Beach.
Where is Railay Beach
Located in the South peninsule of Thailand, Railay Beach is near Krabi. It can be reached by plane from Krabi airport. Even though it looks like an amazing beach and it could pass as an island, Railay beach is actually a very small peninsule. The beach can only be accessed by water and there are longboats going back and forth Ao Nang very frequently.
Where to stay to visit Railay Beach
Once you are there you can decide where to get your accomodation. I went for the cheaper option and spent three nights in Krabi town (in one of the worst hotels in which I have been, to be honest). Another possibility is to go to Ao Nang. This is slightly more expensive but the range of options is much wider. Moreover, you will be in a much better position to visit Railay Beach. Finally, if you can afford it or if you just want to splurge, there are a few resorts in the beach that are very nice. Some of them even have their own monkey family here and there. They are high end, but in special occasions I think it would be worth staying there.
How to get there
Of course you can get there with a private boat, but it is much easier to use the local system. If you are staying in Ao Nang, you only need to get to the “harbor” and take a longboat. They depart very often and the return ticket is no more than 5 euros (in 2016). The last one comes back a little bit before sunset so make sure you don’t get stranded there. If, like me, you decide to stay in Krabi Town, then you can get one of the white Sonthaew (vans) and then get to Ao Nang in 30min for a few Bahts.
Visiting other spots while in Railay Beach
Even though Railay beach is the main one, there are two other beaches you can visit, some small caves and even a view point. Leaving Railay Beach behind, you can take the walkway and continue until you reach the other beaches. You will pass through a few hotels and a couple of shops, but there is not much to do there. The beach right behind Railay is quite limited, and many private boats anchor there through the night (or a few days).
Then, if you continue walking, you can get to the third beach. This one is small but beautiful anyway. Hidden behind hovering rock cliffs, you can swim underneath the rocks and discover the fish that hide in their shadows. And it is at the end of this beach where you can find the Phallic Cave.
The Phallic Cave or the Phra Nang Princess Cave
This cave, although not big, is filled with penises. Usually made out of wood, they are supposed to be offerings from the local fishermen to the Princess in the Cave. Accordingly to the explanation found in the same cave, the symbols of fertility are supposed to be presented as an offering to ensure that they will come back with a good quantity of fish. Kind of a way to ensure their livelihood. In my humble opinion, this has become a popular turist attraction and so they have made sure to have a picturesque story behind it.
About the viewpoint in Railay Beach
Legends say that there is a viewpoint in Railay Beach. And I say that legend says because I did not have the balls to actually go up there. The following picture shows the path to it: an almost vertical wall where you need ropes to climb.
Open shoes are not an option. And the only girls I saw coming from there were covered in mud up to their waist. I could have thought of trying if I would have worn closed shoes, but my carrying flip-flops decided for me. Moreover, it had been raining the day before and if going up would have tough, I cannot imagine how hard it would have been to come back down. In any case, here you have a picture taken from up there (thank you internet).
Other things to do in Railay Beach
For those of you that like to be a bit more active, the geography of these beaches makes them perfect for climbing. There are several climbing schools in Ao Nang that will take you to Railay Beach every day to teach you how to climb. In the case that you are already good at it, a few local shops would lend you the equipment to climb safely. In any case, you can also pay someone to help you out if you are alone.
Another thing I observed when I was there was a yoga class. I do not know if it was just this random day. But when I was there, there was a group of people relaxedly doing some yoga in the beach. If you are a yogui and there’s noone, you can always do it on your own!
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