Find out everything you need to know about traveling from Ao Nang to Railay Beach. This island paradise is a must when you are in Southern Thailand. Let’s find out how to get to Railay Beach From Ao Nang!
Ao Nang is a fantastic holiday destination on the coast of Southern Thailand. It’s great for a wide range of travelers, from those on a budget to those who enjoy the finer things in life.
Though unfortunately even though Railay Beach is part of the mainland, it is not the easiest place to get to. It is not as simple as getting a taxi and driving a few minutes down the road. To get from Ao Nang to Railay Beach is actually only a few kilometers. But the journey does involve some time on the water which I will get into so you can find out how to get from Ao Nang to Railay Beach.
What all travelers can get behind is that a day trip to Railay Beach is one of the best things to do in Ao Nang. There are also quite a few hotels on Railay Beach as well so you can spend a couple of nights out here exploring the incredible scenery. Though be aware because there is limited accommodation that prices can get a lot higher than what you’ll find in the main towns of Ao Nang or Krabi.
How To Get To Railay Beach From Ao Nang
- How To Get To Ao Nang
- Ao Nang To Railay Beach
- Cost To Travel To Railay Beach From Ao Nang
- My Experience Traveling From Ao Nang To Railay Beach
- Things To Do In Railay Beach
- Where To Stay In Railay Beach
How To Get To Ao Nang
Ao Nang is a beautiful beachside town located in Southern Thailand looking out over the Andaman Sea. There are plenty of things to do here and it’s a great spot to spend a couple of days. There is also the nearby Khao Phanom National Park which has incredible waterfalls and nature sprawled across 50 square kilometers of untouched land.
I thoroughly enjoyed the three days I spent in Ao Nang which of course included a day trip to Railay Beach. It is definitely one of the most popular things to do in the area, for a reason.
Krabi To Ao Nang
It’s super easy to travel from Krabi to Ao Nang as they really aren’t that far apart. The short 15-kilometer journey is relatively easy to make and there are multiple different transport options to choose from.
Taxi: A taxi you can find all around the city and will cost you around $10.00. There is also Grab which is a mobile app similar to Uber which you can use all over Southeast Asia. This is great for navigating language barriers and so you can know you are not going to be scammed.
Songthaew: The cheapest way to travel between Krabi and Ao Nang is definitely by taking a songthaew. This is popular with both the locals and travelers. I have taken this songthaew on this journey and it was an awesome stress-free ride. The only minimally difficult part was finding the spot where you take the Songathew from. You will see the white songthaews either by the main mall or nearby the bus station. The journey only costs a couple of dollars and they will either let you off at Nopparathara Beach or right in the center of Ao Nang. Each one generally makes both the stops.
Bangkok To Ao Nang
If you are in the capital of Thailand and you are wanting to travel to Ao Nang the easiest, quickest, and the best way will be to fly. Krabi airport is the nearest airport to Ao Nang. Though if you are tight on money unfortunately a bus will be the cheapest option. It’s a long and pretty painful 11-hour journey along the roads.
Koh Saumi, Koh Phangan Or Koh Tao To Ao Nang
Before arriving in Ao Nang I was actually staying in the Gulf Of Thailand in Koh Phangan. So this was the journey I took and it was surprisingly straightforward. First of all, you will need to take a ferry from whichever island you are on to the mainland. From the mainland, you will be able to take a bus all the way to at least Krabi where you will need to take a transfer to Ao Nang. I actually did the entire journey with Lomprayah which even include a hotel transfer at the end which made the whole thing super stress-free.
The other alternative is getting yourself to Koh Samui where there is an airport. From there you can get a direct flight to Krabi and then get a transfer to your accommodation in Ao Nang. Though of course, this is the more pricey option.
Phuket To Ao Nang
Lastly, if you are staying in the popular tourist spot of Phuket you can still get to Ao Nang. In all honesty, the easiest way here will probably be getting a ferry across the sea to Krabi and then taking a songthaew to Ao Nang. There are plenty of ferry operators and they have multiple departure times per day. The cost of this is around $25.00 and generally includes a quick pick up/ drop off in Koh Phi Phi.
Ao Nang To Railay Beach
What makes Railay Beach the perfect day trip is how close it is to Ao Nang. All it takes is a simple long-tail boat trip to navigate between these two locations. Unfortunately, Railay Beach is not accessible via car or walking.
Though taking a long tail boat is still an affordable and speedy way to travel. You also get some incredible views of all the little picturesque bays and huge limestone cliff faces.
To buy a ticket to get from Ao Nang to Railay Beach you will need to go to the ticket counter. This is located in Ao Nang towards the end of Nopparathara Beach before you head into the township. Between Wai Sang Seafood and Coffee Beach before the corner into the township, just before crossing over the red bridge.
There is a small ticket counter when you turn down the driveway on the left-hand side. This is where you buy your ticket.
After you have purchased your ticket you can wait in the restaurant and boat for a boat driver to shout Railay. This is how you know it’s your turn.
Depending on the tide you may need to wander out quite a way to get onto the boat, over slippery rock pools. If it’s high tide you will need to get wet up to about your knees where you can then climb on board. The same thing happens at Railay Beach as well.
Cost To Travel To Railay Beach From Ao Nang
The ticket cost to Railay Beach from Ao Nang is $3.24 / 100 THB one way or $6.48 / 200 THB for a return trip. There is an additional $1.62 / 50 THB charge after 6.30pm.
At the ticket counter, you can choose whether you would like a one-way ticket or a return ticket. If you decide to book a return ticket be aware that there will be a set time for your return trip to Ao Nang. You can’t just hang around Railay Beach until you are ready to leave. Generally, this is around 3 hours after your arrival time.
Personally, this is not enough time to enjoy the paradise which is Railay Beach. There are plenty of things to do there which I will get into below. Though if you want to check out the scenery, grab a meal and swim at a couple of beaches you will be pushed for time. Even though it is a relatively small area there are quite a few things to do and explore while you are visiting.
You are able to book a one-way ticket to Railay Beach and once there and ready to leave book another ticket back to Ao Nang for $3.24 / 100 THB. This is actually a pretty good deal, as usual, things cost extra if you don’t book a return journey all at once.
My Experience Traveling To Railay Beach From Ao Nang
We decided to get up early to travel from Ao Nang to Railay Beach by catching the first long-tail boat out there at 8.30am. For some reason, I can never manage to sleep in. This meant waiting around for 15 minutes or so until enough people turned up to fill up the boat.
Once the driver was ready he called up down to the shoreline where we walked out into the water and jumped onboard. There were 8 or so of us on the longtail boat. The journey to Railay Beach only takes 10 minutes though the views are amazing you’ll have your eyes staring at the shoreline the entire time.
Once we arrived at Railay Beach the driver let us know what time to meet back at the beach. Looking back now everyone was late to this meeting time as you do need at least a full half a day to really experience Railay, rather than a few hours.
Things To Do In Railay Beach
Whether you are visiting for just a day trip to Railay Beach from Ao Nang or you’ve decided to stay here a couple of nights. There are plenty of things to do here to keep you entertained.
Railay West Beach
Railay West Beach will be where you arrive in Railay Beach from Ao Nang. Your long-tail boat will pull up alongside the beautiful white sand while you take in these mind-blowing surroundings. This is definitely one of the best sights in Thailand. And yes, the photos do look like that in real life.
The long tail boats all lined up with steep cliffs and palm tree-covered beaches surrounding them. At Railay West Beach you can swim on either side of where the long tail boats park. It’s definitely the perfect place to swim and there is so much space to spread out so it feels a lot more private. Be aware that you can snorkel here. Though, if you decide to do so it’s best to position yourself close to the rocks as the long tail boat zip in and out quite fast. You don’t want to get hit.
Railay East Beach
Railay East Beach is less of a swimming beach and one which you just wander past. There isn’t much going on here apart from the wharf where larger boats arrive at.
Railay is actually a rock climbing hot spot and one of the best places across Thailand to participate in the sport. Though don’t worry if you aren’t a professional. There are some smaller beginner-sized rock faces which you can learn to climb.
Phra Nang Beach
Phra Nang Beach seems to have a much different vibe than the main Railay Beaches. This is because it is a bit more secluded, tucked away through a little walk. Though that doesn’t mean it’s quiet. Not in the slightest.
Now I am not sure whether it was because we visited at high tide so there wasn’t much beach, but Phra Nang Beach was absolutely packed when I visited. It was actually hard to relax with so many people. Surprisingly the majority seemed to be Thai tourists, compared to the usual international traveler.
There is also quite an unusual feature of the penis cave. Yes, you read that correctly! The idea behind this is that these penis carvings are gifts by fishermen and locals as offerings to the princess of the cave who will bring them prosperity.
Railay Beach Viewpoint
As much as I love a good viewpoint, unfortunately, the Railay Beach Viewpoint is not the easiest to get to. Rather than a hike, it is more of a climb. This is because a lot of the way you will be using a rope to pull yourself up the cliffside. Even though the entire trail is only 1 kilometer long it is not something for the faint-hearted to attempt.
If you are feeling brave enough to take on the viewpoint just make sure you are equipped. You will need proper shoes with a semi-decent grip, you won’t get far in jandles. If you are extra brave, once at the top you can descend down into the secret lagoon. This is in no way safe, especially if there has been rain so proceed with caution.
Kayaking The Cliffsides
You can definitely go kayaking from Railay West to check out things slightly further afield. You can rent kayaks from Railay West Beach either by the hour or per day. There are lots of little tunnels and passages to explore on the rock faces which make it worth hiring a kayak for a couple of hours.
Rates start at $6.48 / 200 THB and increase by $3.24 / 100 THB for each additional hour. You can do a full-day hire for $25.93 / 800 THB.
Sunset On The Beach
What better way to finish your day trip to Railay Beach than by watching the sunset. Either gather down by the shoreline or time your boat ride back accordingly and watch the sun dip below the horizon.
Make Monkey Friends
There are plenty of monkeys around which call Railay Beach home. If you are wanting to find them your best bet will be along the trail to Phra Nang Beach. They seem to chill here and check out the tourists as they walk past. Be aware that you’re best not to carry food around them. Also, avoid plastic bags as they associate this was food.
As cute as monkeys are keep your distance and do not feed them.
Where To Stay In Railay Beach?
One thing I regret is not booking to stay at Railay Beach overnight. This secluded spot is absolutely incredible and I would love to watch the sunrise and have the beach all to myself. Therefore I highly recommend you stay one night if you can afford it. Just be prepared that prices here are more than other places on the mainland due to the isolation.
Unfortunately, you will not be spoilt for choice when booking accommodation in Railay. This is because it is only a small area with a limited number of accommodation options. Though luckily there should be something for nearly every budget.
The cheapest choice you’ll have is Rapala Rock Wood Resort. Here you can find a basic private room starting from $10.00. At this stage, there are not any hostels operating on Railay Beach. Though this is likely due to it being more of a honeymoon spot than a backpacker’s spot.
If you are looking for something a tad more luxurious you only need to up your budget to about $25.00 per night for plenty of other options. This includes Avatar Railay which is an adults-only resort.
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Beautiful and modern rooms for $60.00 per night with a pool.BOOK NOW
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