Railay Beach Thailand is one of our favorite destinations in the country and perhaps the world. The pristine beaches, the soaring cliffs, the laidback vibe and the many things to do in Railay Beach are what Thailand dreams are made of.
And with so many things to do in Railay Beach, you may never want to leave! We’ve returned a few times over the years because we love all the awesome Railay activities you can find in this tropical Thai paradise!
Although Railay Beach is attached to mainland Thailand in Krabi province, it is not connected by any roads due to the tall limestone cliffs which surround it. This gives Railay an island vibe and also ensures there are no cars on the isolated peninsula. The only way in and out of Railay is by boat. So your means of transportation here is on foot, which adds to Railay’s simplicity and serenity.
This detachment from mainland Krabi also lends to Railay’s carefree and relaxed atmosphere. In fact, the whole vibe of Railay Beach, which has a number of Rastafarians, may leave you scratching your head and wondering whether you’re actually in the Caribbean.
And Railay can be a fairly budget-friendly destination in Thailand too! Visit Railay Beach during shoulder season (May is a good month) and you may find a perfect combo of great sunny weather plus incredible prices on accommodation, where you can stay at beautiful 4-star beach resorts for under $50 per night with breakfast included!
It’s this rare combination of affordable luxury, adventure activities, and incredible beauty that make Railay Beach one of our favorite destinations to vacation. But before you pack your bags, be sure to read through this Railay Beach travel guide that details all the awesome things to do in Railay Beach, Thailand!
The following 10 activities and excursions are what we recommend as the best things to do in Railay! We mentioned locations a lot throughout this post, so here is a handy map you can reference when figuring out where all these Railay Beach attractions are located.
1) Relax on Railay Beach
This is what you come to Railay for. It’s stunning beaches!
Even though there are lots of activities to pursue in Railay, the sole reason why some people come here is to just unwind on the beautiful beaches. That is an activity unto itself. And no judgment from us if the only thing you do in Railay is simply relaxing away the days on Railay Beach.
Railay really does boat such a picturesque beach, surrounded by those signature limestone cliffs on both sides of Railay Bay. During low and shoulder season, it never seems to get even a tad bit crowded and you’ll often find that you have this entire beautiful stretch of beach all to yourself. Plop down in the sand and enjoy the incredible surroundings!
During high season (December – April), we recommend arriving to Railay Beach early in the morning. Try coming before 10:00 am to enjoy this scenic beach without masses of people.
2) Take a Long-tail Boat on the Four Islands Tour
The 4-islands boat tour you can take from Railay is a classic trip that is a must-do activity from Railay Beach. It’s an awesome tour on a traditional long-tail boat that whisks visitors to some of the smaller, secluded islands that lie off the coast of Railay.
This longtail boat trip from Railay is similar in nature to the longtail boat tour that many travelers to Thailand take in Phi Phi Don. But here in Railay, you can do this island hopping trip without the tourist masses that descend on the Phi Phi’s Maya Bay.
And with the Maya Bay now being closed until 2021 for restoration efforts, Railay’s 4-island tour can be a great alternative to pursue instead. And this 4-island tour from Railay can be a much more relaxing experience overall compared to the lack of crowds that often swarmed Phi Phi’s Maya Bay.
During the 4-island tour, the first stop is to take a look at Chicken Island from a bit of a distance. Also known as Kai Island, Hua Khawan Island, or Poda Nok Island, you can see in the picture above why people now simply refer to it as Chicken Island.
After snapping a few photos, you’re taken closer to shore for an opportunity to snorkel. The reef here is not in great condition but there is a decent amount of small reef fish and an occasional giant clam. You can swim up to the island to live out a Robinson Crusoe fantasy, as you’ll likely be the only person on the tiny beach.
From here, it’s off to the second stop, which is actually two islands: Tup (or Tub) Island and Koh Mawr. Depending on the tide when you arrive, you may find two separate islands (high tide) or they may be connected by a long and skinny sand bar (low tide). We recommend trying to plan your island tour around low tide because the sandbar bridge is neat to experience.
Take the two minutes to climb to the top of Tup Island, more for the fun of it than for the views, which are hindered by trees. If it’s low tide, take a stroll over to Koh Mawr. But really, the thing to do on Tup Island chilling out on the beach to enjoy a tropical paradise.
The fourth island and final stop is Poda Island. Here you can take a quick trot around the island, go snorkeling, or just bask on the beach. The real treasure at Poda is admiring the big limestone outcropping that seems to shoot right up from the ocean floor.
💡 Timing Tip for Railay’s Four Islands Tour: There are many day tours that visit these islands from Ao Nang and Krabi, which tend to venture out in the morning hours. Instead, go in the afternoon to minimize crowds. Besides, in the afternoon it’s better timing to pack a few beers and have a little booze cruise during your tour! Or try to time your trip at low tide so you can experience the sandbar connecting Koh Tup to Koh Mawr. Note: your boat driver may change the order of islands during the four islands tour to best suit the tide and weather conditions.
How to Book the Four Island Tour the Inexpensive Way
You can organize a trip as part of a group tour or deal directly with the boatmen on Railay Beach to create a trip on your own. On a group tour, you pay per person. When booking a private boat, you pay for the entire boat regardless of how many people. Therefore, depending on how many people are in your group will determine whether joining a group or booking a private longtail boat is more cost effective.
Booking on Your Own: If you have three or more people, it will cost less to book this trip directly with the boatsmen on Railay Beach (This is also a good option if you just want a more private experience).
Booking as Part of a Tour: If there are just one or two of you going, it will be more cost effective to book the 4-island excursion as part of a tour (or book as part of a tour if you just want a more seamless experience that includes hotel pick-up and lunch).
Costs and How to Book Four Island Tour on Your Own
Organize a private trip directly with a longtail boat ‘captain’ by using the longtail stand on Railay Beach near the start of Walking Street. That is where you’ll be departing from. The ฿ 1,700 price (per boat, not per person) for a half-day trip (4 hours) is a fixed price with little room for any negotiation. So find a few friends to go with and split the cost, which converts to a total of about $53 USD or £42 GBP.
When booking on your own, be sure to inquire if mask & snorkel and National Park fees are included in the price. That’s where there is some room for negotiation. The National Park fee is now 400 baht extra per person. If arranging these payments at the longtail booth (under the table), you can work it out to be 50 baht extra per person instead of the 400 baht fee. This seemed like it could be a little scammy, but there is a sign on the island noting the National Park fee and money does exchange hands from the boat driver, so it’s all pretty legit. We’ve since read that many people have, in fact, been required to pay the full 400 baht fee, so we say it’s worthwhile to attempt working this park fee out in advance of your 4-island tour in Railay.
Costs and How to Book Four Island Tour as Part of a Tour
You can book this excursion as part of a tour for about $22 per person and you can even book it online here through Viator. The $24 per person tour even includes hotel pickup, lunch, and non-alcoholic drinks, making it a great value for one or two people. This particular tour receives excellent reviews too. Check the latest reviews and availability for your travel dates.
3) For Adventure in Railay: Go Rock Climbing
Railay is a rock climber’s paradise and many climbers head directly to Ton Sai, where much of the climbing activity is based. There are some great beginner routes here, even appropriate for those who are having there first ever climb.
Yet on the other end of the spectrum, experienced climbers may want to check out something known as deep water soloing (DWS). Railay is beginning to build a reputation behind this unique style of free climbing which occurs over cliffs dangling over the ocean in the open water. If you miss grabbing your next hold, you plunge down into the sea below. Deep water soloing is only for the true adventure junkie!
For a more introductory experience, try this half-day rock climbing tour in Railay that runs either in the morning or afternoon, includes your guide, equipment, and all fees for less than $30 USD. Rock climbing is definitely the best best for adventurous things to do in Railay Beach.
4) Venture to Phra Nang Beach & Pranang Cave (Princess Cave)
Phra Nang Beach is another beautiful beach in Railay that takes a little more effort to reach compared to Railay Beach itself.
Which beach is better, Railay Beach or Phra Nang Beach? That’s an intense debate that we’re not going to get in the middle of. The fact remains that they’re both awesome beaches right next to each other and each enclosed with Railay’s signature limestone cliffs. So we would encourage travelers to visit both!
Yet in addition to an incredible beach, Phra Nang Beach holds a peculiarity. On the southern side of Phra Nang Beach, you’ll find a strange little cove full of phalluses! These penis carvings are placed here by fisherman, other locals, and visitors as offerings to the princess of the cave who will hence bring them prosperity.
It’s a pretty odd sight and that’s part of what makes it so interesting. So take a peek inside this little cave and consider making an offering to the princess.
Here’s what the sign at the Princess Cave reads to explain the strange ritual:
Local people, fisherman and navigators believe and hold faith in the Princess of the Pranang Cave that she will preserve and protect their livelihood and fulfill one’s wishes. When their wishes are fulfilled, votive offerings would be made at the shrine. Common gifts are flowers and incense sticks, but usually the spirits of the Goddess are offered a special gift, the lingam, which is carved from wood. The belief of the lingam and holy womb shall create fertility and prosperity to the whole earth and mankind.”
How to get to Phra Nang Beach:
There are three perfectly good ways to get to Phra Nang Beach:
- Walk Southward along Railay East and make a right towards the trail to the viewpoint. Bypass the viewpoint and continue onward until the trail opens up to Phra Nang Beach.
- Paddle by kayak from Railay Beach West, 10-30 minutes around the point and to the Phra Nang Beach.
- Longtail boat: Hire a longtail boat to whiz you over Phra Nang Beach in a matter of minutes.
5) Hike Up to the Railay Beach Viewpoint and the Lagoon
The hike to the Railay Beach Viewpoint is a short but tough trek. Yet once at this stunning viewpoint, you’re rewarded with spectacular views of the isthmus below!
It’s not a far hike, less than a kilometer in total. But it’s a vertigo-inducing and intense climb, so just be prepared for that. If you’re afraid of heights, this is not the activity in Railay for you. Hoisting yourself up using nothing but a rope, you may begin to second-guess this idea, but just push yourself and keep going up!
If you felt comfortable with the viewpoint ascent, continue onward and down to the lagoon. You’ll see a sign to point you in the right direction. It’s only another 10 minutes or so down to the lagoon, but this section of the hike gets particularly steep and treacherous during the descent to the lagoon.
This saltwater lagoon in Railay is fed from the ocean, yet is fully enclosed, 360 degrees, leaving you in your own little world. Try to visit the Railay lagoon at high tide. During low tide, it can be a bit muddy and doesn’t make great swimming conditions.
How to Get to the Railay Beach Viewpoint:
Walk south along Railay East until you reach a limestone cliff. There, a path that splits into two directions. Take the right fork. Within a few minutes walk you’ll reach the trailhead to the Railay Lookout Point on your lefthand side. You’ll definitely know you’ve reached the trailhead because you’ll see ropes stringing down off the side of the mountain. You’ll be climbing nearly straight up. It isn’t rock climbing, as there’s no harness or clipping in. But it’s a heck of a hike. Have fun and be careful!
6) Go Kayaking in Railay Beach
It’s possible to rent kayaks on Railay West Beach from the resorts or right in front of Walking Street. Just look for the kayaks lined-up on the beach and pick one. Kayaks are rented by the hour or by the day. We suggest at least a two-hour trip to paddle around the coast and outcroppings south of Railay Beach.
As you leave Railay Beach, hug the rocky coastline and you’ll find some cave passageways to glide through, providing for a shortcut. If you’re skilled at paddling and the waves aren’t strong, go through this natural tunnel for a fun little thrill. Watch your head if it’s high tide!
This passageway will ultimately lead you to the beautiful Phra Nang Beach. But we’d suggest first taking some time to paddle around the small limestone islands just off the coast. For those who are decently fit, kayaking is one of the essential things to do in Railay Beach!
7) Watch an Epic Sunset on Railay Beach
Railay sunsets are magical. The formula of beach + ocean + cliffs becomes a perfect recipe when the sun is dropping down into the sea. Railay West is the obvious choice to watch the nightly spectacle and it’s a good place to do it.
Grab a drink and enjoy the show!
And while our next suggestion may seem counterintuitive, there is also some great sunset viewing on Railay East if you walk north past the Last Bar and towards the Great View Resort. The east-facing shoreline actually begins to curve back towards the Railay isthmus, affording amazing sunset opportunities. We suggest popping over to Tew Lay Bar for a sunset cocktail (see “Drinking in Railay” section).
Check the sunset times for Railay here. Be situated somewhere about one hour before actual sunset time in order to take in this entire colorful show.
8) Explore Phra Nang Cave (Diamond Cave)
See what all those limestone cliffs look like from the inside! You can get right in the middle of Railay’s signature cliffs by taking a quick stroll through Phra Nang Cave, also known as Diamond Cave.
You’ll see stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and even some bats!
There’s a smooth walkway with lighting, so this Railay activity really doesn’t require much effort. The lighting is dim, so we recommend bringing a flashlight (torch) to be able to really see the interior caverns in full.
This easily accessible cave in Railay is well worth the modest 5-minute walk to get there and the 40 baht entrance fee. This cave is also a great consideration for one of the few things to do in Railay on a rainy day, as you won’t get rained on inside here.
9) Search for Monkeys in Railay
You shouldn’t have to actually go searching very far to find monkeys on Railay. If you walk around the peninsula enough, you’ll certainly run into a group of those mischievous macaques.
These primates can often be spotted on the trail to the viewpoint or ransacking the dumpers behind Walking Street’s restaurants. Walk around Railay enough and you’re bound to have a rendezvous with these naughty little rascals.
Never feed the monkeys and keep any food and valuables close to you. These monkeys can be very snatch-happy.
10) Railay Cooking Class (Cookery School)
We’re firm believers that one of the best souvenirs you can buy for yourself is learning how to cook a local dish in its native place. Once you return home you can recreate that recipe you learned and have those flavors mentally transport you right back to that place you were taught these newfound skills. A Thai cooking course in Railay is a great place to learn how to cook a few Thai staples.
Cookery schools in Railay have come and gone. There have been periods over recent years where no cooking schools existed and you had to take a long tail boat taxi over to Ao Nang if you wanted to learn how to whip up some pad thai. But during our last visit to Railay, we discovered a semi-new place to hone in on your spring roll frying skills.
The Tew Lay Bar now holds cooking classes in Railay and it couldn’t be in a more awesome setting. Your class is held at a beautiful outdoor kitchen with stunning views of surrounding Railay. Just be careful not to gawk too much at the views while you slice up that onion!
11) Get a Massage in Railay
Oops did, I say “10 best things to do in Railay?” Well, you also need to get a massage, so let’s go on to #11. When traveling to Thailand it should be mandated by law to enjoy a massage every single day. In Railay, it’ll help slip you into the ultimate relax mode or help massage away your aching muscles from a day of climbing or paddling. Just sit back and enjoy!
While some things in Railay tend to be more expensive than the rest of Thailand, massages are not. The average cost for a Thai massage or foot massage tends to come in at about 300 baht for an hour at the roughly dozen places scattered across Railay East.
But if you go to one of the resorts on Railay Beach, the price will be about double or more. The treatment at the resort will be roughly the same (depending on the masseuse), but the environment and beach views may be a bit nicer. Our opinion is to stick with the non-resort local places, although you may find the resort’s pleasant atmosphere to be worth the splurge.
You can’t walk more than a few steps on Railay East before bumping into a massage place in Railay Beach. But if you’re based on Railay West and don’t want to walk the 5 minutes across the isthmus, try Bo Bo Thai Massage near the beginning of Walking Street.
Getting a massage in Thailand is almost a rite of passage and it may be the perfect way to round out this list of things to do in Railay Beach.
There are a handful of funky bars to drink at while in Railay. This is not the party epicenter like some of Railay’s hedonistic neighbors, such as Phuket or Phi Phi, but there are still a few places in Railay Beach to tie one off and have a really fun night.
Most of the livelier places to grab a drink are along Railay East but you may want to pop over to Railay West for a sunset cocktail.
An Important Note on Drink Prices in Railay
Compared to mainland Thailand, you’ll pay double the price for drinks and beers in Railay. So if you’re traveling to Railay Beach on a budget, it’s a good idea to stock up and take some brews or a bottle of liquor with you from the mainland. This small errand may end up saving you lots of baht, depending on your length of stay and your planned alcohol consumption.
Where to Find Cheap Beer in Railay
Beers on Railay tend to run about 80 baht per can at the convenience stores, which can really add up and put a dent in your wallet. But if you didn’t bring booze with you from the mainland, there’s only one other place in Railay where you can find Changs for 40 baht per can when you buy them by three at a time (e.g. 3 for 120 baht).
It’s just a tiny little convenience store with no name. On Railay East, go to the path South of Walking Street and this no name shop is just one-store down that path from the Railay East walkway. Locate it by the chalk-written sign advertising the beer deals or by the appropriately named “Mr. Chill” branded cooler. (See picture above).
Best Bars in Railay
If going out for drinks (and you should), here are a few of our favorite drinking places and bars in Railay.
Last Bar Railay
This Railay institution isn’t truly the last bar anymore, but it certainly deserves a stop. Go there for Happy Hour from 4:00-10:00 for 80-120 baht cocktails, 100 baht large Changs, and additional bucket specials. When happy hour stops, the party really starts. About every other night they put on a big show starting at some time after 10:00. Walk by during the day to see when the next one is. Expect to see live music, a fire show, and even Muay Thai boxing. If you’re looking for a party, Last Bar is definitely the place. If not looking to party, then stay far away from Last Bar.
Why Not Bar Railay
For a truly chilled experience, dip into the Why Not Bar, which is very close to Last Bar but set just a wee bit further back. Here the friendly bartenders often serve cold drinks along with a game or a brainteaser. Drink prices are cheap by Railay standards and the tunes are good. Why Not bar is a simple place, but you can’t ask for much more in a bar. That’s why it’s one of our favorites. It’s easy to get sucked into this cozy hole-in-the-wall for hours. “Why not” spend your entire night here?
Flame Tree Railay
The only place on Railay West truly worthy of a drink is the Flame Tree. Directly on the beach in front of Walking Street, Thai mats are strategically placed in the sand to provide you an excellent view for sunset. Flip through the extensive drink menu to pick your poison and sink into the sand as the sun sinks into the sea!
Tew Lay Bar Railay
This unique bar is our favorite spot to grab a drink in Railay and one of our favorite places to grab a drink in the world. At Tew Lay Bar there are tree-house-like platforms that jut right over into the Andaman Sea.
Just look at this place! It’s truly incredible.
To get to Tew Lay Bar, walk along Railay East and continue walking past the Last Bar, for about 5-10 minutes. Tew Lay Bar is a bit out of the way, but its remoteness adds to its charm and uniqueness. There’s nothing else around Tew Lay Bar, which is part of what makes this place so awesome.
And although Tew Lay is on Railay East, it still makes a fantastic place to watch a sunset in Railay. The land here actually curves around and you end up facing back towards the isthmus making for an unforgettable sunset.
Go here, order a drink, and wipe away all your cares in the world.
Drink On a Boat!
Hire a longtail boat to take you to some remote islands and beaches and pack a cooler full of beer to enjoy on a secluded sandbar. Some of the shops around Railay sell disposable coolers and you can buy ice at most of the hotels. If you do partake in a booze cruise, just be sure to take all those empty cans back with you.
There are also snack stands with cold beers and sodas on Tup and Poda islands should you decide you want refreshments while on the four islands tour.
While we wouldn’t suggest coming to Railay particularly for its food, there are some acceptable eats in the area.
Cheap Eats of Walking Street
Most resorts in Railay have their own restaurants. While eating at the resorts can be convenient, we’d recommend to instead take a stroll up Walking Street where there are a cluster of thatched roofed restaurants doling out some delicious cheap eats. They’re nothing fancy. Most of them have plastic chairs. But the Thai food they serve is good. They each have similar menus, but we found the cooking styles and quality to be different among them.
We visited each of the restaurants with a group of friends and there was easy consensus by all in order of preference:
1) Mangrove Restaurant
2) Local Thai Food Restaurant
But give them each a try and let us know what you think.
Note about alcohol: only Mangrove serves alcohol but the other two restaurants may allow you to bring in your own booze if you ask nicely with a smile. In that case, we recommend getting a “shake” of your choosing, which is a fruit & ice frozen drink, and then add some vodka or rum that you’ve brought in with you.
Resort Restaurants in Railay
Most of the resorts in Railay have their own restaurants and we’ve found them to be more of a miss than a hit. Surprisingly the mark-up on most menu items isn’t too outrageous though. But the beachfront resorts also push their iced-up “fresh” seafood which is charged by the kilogram. We found those seafood selections not only be way overpriced but also lacking in quality.
Instead of the pay-by-weight seafood on the beach, the reasonably priced crab dishes at the resort restaurants seemed to be the best bet on their menus for both value and taste. Otherwise, it may be best to eat elsewhere.
Longtail Boat Food “Delivery”
In addition to restaurants throughout Railay Beach, also keep an eye out for the longtail boats that come in droves delivering all sorts of local goodness. It’s like a food truck rally but with longtail boats!
There’s no shortage of places to stay in Railay, yet you only have four options if you want to stay on the beachside. Most hotels and resorts are located on Railay East which is not a beach and instead faces a mangrove swamp. If you want to be on or near the beach, then you must be sure to book a place at Railay West. While the walk from Railay East to the Railay West beach is only about 5-10 minutes, it can be nice to be close to the amazing beach on Railay West.
Again, here’s a map of Railay to help visualize the lay of the land.
Of the four resorts located on Railay West (Railay Beach), two of them look amazing but are usually crazy expensive (Rayavadee and Railay Village). The other two on this beach side of Railay are very nice, yet still affordable beach resorts and hence we personally recommend:
These two hotels are both great options and situated directly next to each other. But which should you choose? We’ve stayed at both Sand Sea Resort and Railay Bay Beach Resort, and find the two properties very comparable. So we say choose the one with the lowest price, which is usually Sand Sea.
Sand Sea Resort vs Railay Bay Beach Resort
There are some differences to consider. Sand Sea Resort is listed on booking sites as a 3-star resort while Railay Bay is listed as a 4-star resort. But we found the level of service, rooms, and amenities between the two hotels to be nearly identical. While Railay Bay is quite lovely, we didn’t find it to be a star-level above Sand Sea Resort.
The only two differences that we noticed between these two beachside hotels are:
(1) Railay Bay’s pool is opened up a bit more to the beach, and
(2) Railay Bay serves alcohol, while Sand Sea does not.
Other than those two distinctions, everything else was fairly indistinguishable.
And while Sand Sea doesn’t serve alcohol, you are permitted to bring your own booze to dinner with you or sip in a lounge chair overlooking the beach. Refrigerators come standard in all rooms at Railay Bay, so you can keep your drinks cold. Alcohol is not permitted at the Railay Bay pool, but this does not appear to be strictly enforced.
Given the similarities between these two Railay resorts, we suggest booking whichever of those two are offering a lower price during your travel dates. Sand Sea is likely to have a lower rate, but not always. So it’s worthwhile to check prices for both.
Where to Find the Best Deal for a Hotel in Railay
During the off-season in Railay, you may be able to find the Sand Sea listing at $40 per night (plus tax) including breakfast, which is an absolute steal. Rates such as this can be rare, so just know that if you’ve found a room for under $100 per night, you’ve done well and it is worth it to book! $100+ per night is the going rate during high season. We find those bargain rates on Railay using HotelsCombined to compare the prices at these two hotels across all major booking sites (Hotels.com, Agoda, Expedia, Booking, etc.).
Many booking sites often run specials for Railay hotels, particular during the off-season and shoulder season in Railay, so definitely search them all (or use the widget below). The best hotel deals in Railay tend to get scooped up early, so don’t wait to book. Most rates are cancelable too. See what deals you can find on a Railay hotel!
Alternatives to Staying on Railay Beach: Railay East or Tonsai
While we recommend staying at one of those two hotels (Sand Sea Resort or Railay Bay Beach Resort) so that you’re close to Railay’s gorgeous beach, you may want to consider other options if booking during high season in Railay. From around November into April, prices for these beachfront properties may exceed your budget. In that case, we recommend staying in Railay East, which still has some fantastic resorts that will likely cost much less. The only set back is having a short yet pleasant walk to get to the beach. Here are some to consider:
🏨 Avatar Railay – This resort receives rave reviews from its guests and often maintains affordable pricing even during high season. What makes Avatar a particularly attractive option is how the back of the rooms open up to the pool for some awesome affordable luxury!
🏨 Railay Princess Resort & Spa – This resort is often the least expensive 4-star resort on Railay, has a beautiful pool under the limestone cliffs, and central location on Railay East.
🏨 Railay Great View Resort – The name doesn’t lie – the views here are great! The cottages are secluded, tucked up in the jungle and offer views of Railay’s cliffs. So it’s certainly worth considering even if it is a hike to get to the beach and other parts of Railay.
🏨 Anavaylee – This may not be the nicest resort on Railay, but it is often the cheapest. If you’re looking for a bargain, this is a good place to check. This three-star hotel sometimes lists rooms for under $40 per night even during high season.
Meanwhile, backpackers, solo travelers, or those really on a tight budget may be served better by staying in neighboring Tonsai. It’s about a 30-minute (2km) walk from Tonsai to Railay. Tonsai has hostels, while Railay is more geared for hotels and resorts (although sometimes those can be had near hostel prices). If it’s a hostel you’re after, try the Chill Out Bar & Bungalow in Tonsai. Beds in shared rooms start at about $13/night and the Chill Out Bungalow is positioned on the trail to walk over to Railay for the day.
When coming to hot & humid Railay Beach, be sure to pack light and comfortable outfits for the warm climate. Railay Beach is very casual, so no need to bring clothes to dress up. T-shirts, bathing suits, and sandals are a must!
Rather than focus on clothing, here are a few items to pack for specifically for Railay that you may have not considered.
📱 A waterproof case for your mobile phone – You’ll definitely want to have one of these on the Railay four islands tour, so you can take pictures with your phone while not getting it wet. This waterproof phone case fits most sizes and can be submerged down to 100 feet! It’s great to have for kayaking or snorkeling in Railay.
🎒 A dry bag – Chances are you will be arriving to Railay by ferry or will be taking on longtail boat during your trip. Don’t run the risk of your camera and personal belongings getting wet. Pack a dry bag like this.
🥽 A mask and snorkel – There are some decent snorkeling opportunities in Railay and throughout Thailand. Rather than have to track down a place to rent a mask from, bring your own. If you don’t already own one, this is a great mask for a great price. Or try one of these cool new 180-degree full-face snorkel masks!
🍾 Why bring alcohol to Railay – While you can easily find beer and spirits in Railay, the prices are double compared to elsewhere in Thailand. So if you’re budget-sensitive, be sure to bring your own booze from mainland Thailand instead buying it at Railay Beach.
💵 Baht– Most places on Railay deal in cash, so make sure you have some. There are a few ATMs on Railay, so you’ll be fine if you plan to simply withdraw funds. But if you plan to exchange currency, do that before arriving to Railay Beach. Exchange rates are much higher here than on mainland Thailand.
🦟 Eco-friendly mosquito repellents – While mosquito repellent with DEET can be very effective, it also kills fish and marine life when it washes off in the ocean. So consider a natural mosquito repellent like this instead.
😎 Sun protection – Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats to keep away those harmful UV rays.
🔌 Power adapters – Thailand has the same outlets (Type C) as found through most of Europe. To keep your phone, camera, and gadgets charged, be sure to pack a few adapters. Or better yet, get a universal adapter to use virtually anywhere in the world.
🔦 Flashlight – When walking back to your hotel after a night out in Railay, you’ll find barren, dark, unlit walkways. A flashlight is a must! We love this small and inexpensive, yet super powerful flashlight.
🩲 Breathable underwear – Railay gets very hot and humid. Come prepared to avoid chafing. These ExOfficio underwear are a bit pricey, but they’re so worth it for guys to keep comfortable, not sweaty, and not stinky! ExOfficio also makes bikini briefs for the ladies.
💦 Lightweight quick-drying towel – You may not be permitted to bring the hotel’s towels with you to the beach or on island hopping excursions. So be sure to pack a beach towel that isn’t going to weigh you down. We love these lightweight quick-drying microfiber towels. Order the large one, which you can also use as a beach blanket.
🌧️ Rain jacket (if it’s the wet season) – If you’re traveling to Railay from May to October, you’ll likely experience some rain. Be sure to pack a rain jacket. We like these Columbia rain jackets for women and for men.
⚠️ Don’t Forget Travel Insurance – You never know what can happen during a trip to Thailand. We never travel through Thailand without travel insurance and highly recommend. It will protect you from unforeseen circumstances like getting sick, a flight gets canceled, a tsunami wrecks havoc on your trip, your phone falls in the water, you get hurt rock climbing, a monkey bites you, your camera gets stolen, a ferry accident, etc. We use and have been happy with World Nomads, with its good price and coverage combination.
Enter the dates for your trip to get a quick estimate. Consider upgrading to the Explorer plan if you’ll be rock climbing and snorkeling in Railay.
🧳 What Else To Pack for Your Thailand Trip? The packing suggestions above are just a few recommendations specific to Railay Beach Thailand. Be sure to check out our Ultimate Packing Checklist for other packing tips and to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything important!
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