Railay, Thailand

[ 3 ] July 16, 2012 |

There aren’t a lot of places on continental Thailand that are accessible only by boat. Irrespective of the trouble to get there we were excited to visit one of them, Railay.

We flew into Krabi, which is located on the west coast in southern Thailand along the Andaman Sea, from there we road a bus to the Ao Nang Pier. Finally, we waded waist deep in semi-rough seawater to climb into a longtail boat for the final leg of the journey to Railay. Boarding the longtail wouldn’t have been half as exciting if we wern’t carrying all of our gear including computers and cameras in the water. Thankfully the waves cooperated for the most part and we avoided all major disasters.

heading to the longtail

hoping not to fall

climbing in the boat- 45 lbs on back and computer overhead

Just a fifteen-minute ride around the mountainous boulders that divide this sandy peninsula from the rest of the mainland, we arrived on West Railay Beach. We jumped out and waded to shore where we could really take in the view. Giant jungle covered limestone cliffs flank the beach. The cliff’s vertical jaggedness attracts rock climbers from all over the world. It was stunning to look at from the soft, clean sand below.

walking to shore

Pat and Justin- Railay, Thailand

Railay West Beach

To be easy on the budget, we decided to stay on East Railay Beach. East and West Railay are only a ten minute walk apart, and the very small beach vibe can be experienced from either side. The downside to staying on East Railay is that when the tide goes out the beach area is covered in mangroves making it less than pleasant for swimming. The good view and sand is definitely on West Railay.

With only one whole day in Railay, Pat and Justin booked a very full day of adventure activities. I opted out of the boy’s day and found my own perfect getaway.

It’s common knowledge that Phra Nang, the very best beach in Railay, is only accessible one of two ways. There is a small walkway on the edge of Krabi Marine National Park that allows you access to one end of it, but to fully enjoy it you pretty much have to be staying at the five-star private resort, Rayavadee, that has private rights to most of the beachfront.

I intended to walk to the public walkway to check out whatever I could of this beautiful stretch of sand. I had a towel and would have been completely happy to plant myself on the edge of the sand all day. I was alone finding my way and somehow I turned too soon and ended up working my way through the entire Rayavadee resort. It’s made up of 26 acres of coconut groves and individual villas. The paths winding around the residences are lush and manicured. I quickly realized I wasn’t on the public path, but I’d already made it past security so I just went with it. I was heading in the right direction. No fewer than ten staff members stopped as I walked past to greet me with the traditional and respectful Thai “Sawa de ka”- this includes prayer hands and a slight bow. I’ve decided that if you wear giant enough sunglasses and act slightly preoccupied with a book or the view or whatever- no one really questions your presence and I think they just assume you belong.  After a fifteen minute gorgeous stroll I arrived at their portion of Phra Nang Beach. It was definitely as beautiful as it had been described.

Phra Nang Beach

The resort was practically empty, so I took advantage of the nearly empty comfy beach seating right next to their beach bar. With a fresh mango smoothie in one hand, a good book in the other, and the random spray from waves crashing in from of me – I was set for the day.

After a few hours of relaxing under a palm tree it started to rain, so the staff at this beautiful resort offered for me to move into “The Grotto.” It’s just that- a Grotto in the side of a cave that happens to look on to this same beach and serve as one of the four restaurants on the property. The restaurants are open to the public as long as there is room- so I wasn’t being totally sneaky.

They quickly gathered my stuff up for me and took extra pillows to set me up comfortably inside this cave. No one else was there. So for a few more hours I gazed at the view, read and watched the rain from my private grotto. I ordered crab cakes and more smoothies and chuckled to myself knowing that while I missed the guys a bit, I was having my perfect girl day.

Grotto at Rayavadee

When I finally decided to drag myself away, I walked back through the resort, declined several golf cart rides and made my way back to the mangrove side of town. I even found the guys while they were still rock climbing and got to watch them master the cliffs for a bit.

That evening, each rejuvenated in our own way, we all went to Railay West to watch the sunset, play in the water and chase crabs in the sand. Some things you never outgrow.

Justin vs. Sea & Rain

crabs in Krabi

crazy crab patterns

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Category: Alison's Blog, Blog, Destinations, Featured Posts, Thailand

Comments (3)

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  1. Jordan Zander says:

    Ah Railay Beach, great place! We went there for our honeymoon and absolutely loved it! Brings back memories!

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