After a long, bumpy overnight ferry from Ko Tao, a few buses and a longboat ride from Krabi , we arrive at Railey, a peninsula just off the mainland. We land on Railey East, a muddy beach with mangroves growing out of the sand where most of the development on Railey has occurred. There is a main strip of backpacker resorts, eateries, numerous rock climbing shops and a few bars. But the real draw of Railey lies on the opposite side, just a short ten minute walk away.
We’ve now spent weeks lying on white sand beaches with crystal clear waters in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, but nothing even comes close to the jaw dropping natural beauty of Railey Beach. Parang or “Cave” beach on the south west side is like a scene out of “The Beach” when after days of searching you stumble across the most perfect stretch of sand imaginable. With giant limestone walls on one side perfect for rock climbers, the beach juts out and stretches around the peninsula, with several small mountainous islands just off the shore providing the perfect backdrop to your photos.
This beach caters to the high end crowd with a couple of very plush accommodations choices. If you’re on the shoestring budget plan, then both Ya-Ya Resort and The Viewpoint Resort have decent rooms starting at 350 baht for the night on the east side.
Rock climbers will easily loose weeks in a place like this, with dozens of routes to choose from each day. There are many travelers who have chosen to spend their entire Thailand visa here just climbing and hanging out at the beach. For those less interested in climbing, there are some great walks around the islands, and a few interesting caves worth checking out as well.
Due to a combination of not wanting to leave and some inclement weather, we end up spending 5 days on Railey, longer than anywhere else in Asia to date. In such a small place it’s easy to meet lots of other travellers and make plans to meet up later, since there are only a few main hangouts on the island
By the end of our time on Railey there is a large group of us regularly meeting up for cards, meals and drinks. The sun returns after a two day hiatus on our last day, perfect for more chance to lie on the beach here. Tomorrow it’s back on the road again (or the sea in this case) as we catch a boat to Ko Phi Phi. While Ko Phi Phi is legendary as being one of the most beautiful islands off of Thailand, it’s going to be challenge to beat out Railey as our favourite beach destination.