A Tropical and Remote Area only Accessible by Boat
Railey Peninsula, most commonly called Railey Beach, is one my favourite places in Thailand due to the fact that mass tourism facilities haven’t spoilt yet this uncommonly striking place.
Only ten minutes away by long-tailed boat from Ao Nang (150 Baht per person), green towering cliffs and long sandy beaches will open before your eyes approaching this area of lush vegetation.
The peninsula is composed by four beaches (Tonsai, Railay West, Railay East and Ao Phra Nang or Princess Bay). Boats will leave on the widest and main beach, Railey West, where you fill find smalls bars and convenience stores; from here you can take the Railey Walking street taking you to Riley East beach through a narrow passage passing by bungalows hotels and little shops.
Riley East consists in a long stretch of sand, the seabed is pretty muddy so not good for swimming and you can see fishing boats leaving from the shore and walk along the cement narrow walkway passing by little bars, shops and heading to the Diamond Cave, on the main attractions of this beach.
Diamond Cave features a well lighted wooden walkway leading to this little cave home to bats and starring impressive stalagmites and stalactites (the entrance fee is only 40 baht). It is a nice option to coll down a bit and take stunning pictures.
Tonsai Beach is known to be one the most authentic and hidden beaches for a good reason. Although it is easily reachable by foot from Riley West at low tide, pay attention to the time or schedule a boat to come back if you don’t want to stay there at high tide. The beach is 600 metres long and and it is protected by two giant limestone cliffs is the lesser known beach of Railay peninsula.
Although this area is less popular you cans till find a few hotels perfect for a relaxing retreat or a few hippy style huts. Stuck between two high limestone cliffs, it can be reached by foot from Railay West at low tide.
During high tide this place provides a nice spot for snorkelling, but beware of the rocks standing right in front of you; for this reason at low tide no, no boat can approach the area. This natural barrier made it impossible for big hotel chains to build imposing resorts and colonise the whole area as already happened elsewhere.
Last but least, my “Coup de Coeur”: Phra Nang Beach and its cave! It is reachable 10 minutes walking from Railey East or 20 minutes by boat by Ao Nang but it feels like another world. This typical tropical beach has powdery soft sand, gorgeous crystal waters, coral reefs by the shore to explore, luxuriant vegetation providing a bit of shade from the scorching sun (especially at midday) and a curious limestone cave.
This beach is protected by a huge limestone cliff providing the perfect spot for rock-climbers and the perfect habitat for lovely little white-faced gibbons. Remember that monitor lizards and monkeys coming from the jungle just behind have the bad habit of picking up all the trash and ingest all sort of food and drinks so please don’t leave any trash and don’ t feed them.
A long line of “floating restaurants” long-tailed boats will offer a huge varieties of Thai dishes, barbecues, drinks, ice-creams to hungry tourists: they truly have all you need to get some energy and eat some fresh fish in one of the most beautiful Thailand’s locations.
Princess Cave or Tham Phra Nang Nok has become a popular and unusual tourist a attraction due to the wooden carved phallic symbols lying inside. These decorations and statues representing fertility were made by fishermen before going out to sea to the ancient fertility goddess to increase food and prosperity. According to the legend, this cave is home to a sea princess (hence the name) who will protect them from storms if offerings are regularly made.
To end up your day, If you feel adventurous and you are not afraid of heights or getting dirty with mud, then pack suitable shoes and prepare to climb sharply for 50 minutes helped by ropes in a jungle setting to reach a hidden tidal lagoon, the “Sa Phra Nang” which means ‘Holy Princess Pool” and get some nice view over the Andaman sea. The surface is very slippery so don’t go there after the rain or alone and for the best lagoon views get there at high tide. Once you reach it you find a pool surrounded by cliffs and lush vegetation.
I recommend you t book at least 3 or 4 days in Krabi as there are many day trios that you can do to explore the nearby attractions such as thermal pool, Phi Phi islands, Hong Islands and much more. Check out the guided tours below:
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