Railay Beach

Railay Beach, best known for its iconic karst cliffs, is an awesome spot to spend a few days before or after the southern Thai islands (i.e. Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, etc.). Railay’s got climbing, kayaking, swimming, caving, and just all around general exploring for any type of adventurer!

Getting to Railay

Contrary to popular belief, Railay beach isn’t that close to Krabi. We took a ferry from Koh Phi Phi to Krabi, which runs multiple times per day. However, Krabi is an expensive 30-minute drive from Ao Nang, which is where you want to be staying.

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Ao Nang is the beach just next to Railay. There are loads of accommodation options, and it’s easy to catch a long tail next-door for the day. Plus, most tours include pick up from your accommodation. We stayed in a chill hostel called The Moment, just a few minutes walk from the beach.

Rock Climbing

If you enjoy climbing even a little bit, or are looking for a good opportunity to start, THIS IS THE PLACE! The Krabi region is world renowned for its beautiful cliff landscapes, so grab a harness and get sendy.

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There are tons of companies that will take beginners and professionals alike to the best spots around Railay. DO some research before choosing what company to book with, and read their reviews. Experienced climbers have reported that not all routes in Railay are well-maintained, and some companies have been using worn-out, unsafe equipment. As such, we went with King Climbers, one of the oldest and most trusted companies in the area. We opted for a morning package, but there’s also an afternoon package, or full day for the brave-hearted.

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Beaches

Catching a long tail from Ao Nang beach is the easiest way to get to Railay. They will take you any time of the day, and all you have to do is buy a ticket at the window downtown. A boat driver will take you to his boat, fill it with other people, and zip you around the cliffs and onto West Railay beach.

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There are tons of activities to keep you occupied all day on Railay. We rented some kayaks and paddled around the cliffs for two hours.

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Check out Govinda’s at the Beach for some AMAZING veggie wraps! And stop by next door at Choop Coffee Break for some ice cream too!

Pranang Cave Shrine (Princess Cave)

It’s a penis shrine. A cave full of penises of all shapes, sizes, and colors. A penis shrine. Right at the end of the beach. You’ll see it.

Nearby Activities

We didn’t have enough time to really delve into the adventures in and around Railay, but here’s a list of recommendations we didn’t get to:

  • Sa Phra Nang (Hidden Lagoon), and the Railay Viewpoint on the way!

  • Tham Phra Nang Nai (Diamond Cave)

  • Monkey Trail - easy walk with great views and monkeys!

  • Any of the day tours to islands off the coast!

Laid Back Langkawi

Getting to Langkawi

If you’re in Penang already, Langkawi is just a boat ride away, albeit, a long, uncomfortable boat ride away. The boat only leaves from the Swettenham Pier twice a day, so be sure to book ahead of time.

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The boat is almost always full. It seats all 80-100 passengers below deck in tightly packed, 4-seater rows. There is barely any airflow and the windows are small, making for a rough 3-hour ride. Definitely take some dramamine if you get sea sick. The boat brings you to the Kuah ferry port. Most accommodation is on the west part of the islands, only a 20-minute Uber/taxi ride.

We stayed at the Honey Badger Hut Hostel. It’s a bit out of the main downtown area, but it’s quieter, supremely relaxing, and has beautiful lighting in the afternoon.

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Private rooms are uniquely built a-frame huts scattered around the property, making for a boutique resort vibe.Except for the resident cows that hang out with you around the patio at night, who are very friendly nonetheless.

Things to Do in Langkawi

Whether you’re here to cross the famous SkyBridge or just kick back on the beach for a few days, Langkawi is perfect to slow down for a little bit. The easiest way to get around is on a scooter, which can be rented anywhere on the island. We rented ours from Vila Thai, the big green hostel on Jalan Bohor Tempoyak. 

BE AWARE THAT SCOOTERS ARE DANGEROUS. This doesn’t mean you can’t use them, but BE FKN CAREFUL. We ended up at the local Langkawi hospital at 2 in the morning. Everyone’s fine, but just be careful on scooters.

SkyBridge

The SkyBridge is certainly the most popular attraction on Langkawi, so expect crowds and long queues. It’s on the north part of the island, about 25 minutes from downtown via scooter. BE AWARE that Wednesdays are scheduled maintenance days, so the the skycar doesn’t open until noon - which we didn’t realize until we got there at 10:30 in the morning.

First, buy a ticket for the skycar which will take you up to the top of the mountain. The ride up is beautiful and will make your fingers tingle at the shear height of the cabs. You can opt for a glass bottom car for a few extra bucks, but the regular ones give you spectacular views anyway. 

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Then at the top, you can buy a second ticket to take another cab across to the bridge for $10, or you can just walk for $5. The walk includes a LOT of stairs, which is fine getting to the bridge. But the walk back will be a sweaty one.

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The bridge is stunning. Predictably amazing views of the island and surrounding water, but stunning nonetheless. There are some areas of the bridge built with clear panes of glass so you can see through to the forest below. It’s a bit exhilarating to trick your body into stepping out onto the glass, but makes for cool pictures if you can brave it. The far end of the bridge has more beautiful views, so make sure to go all the way to the end.

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There are a bunch of shops and food options in the base village as well. You’ll have plenty other attractions to fill your day with if you so desire. Otherwise, if you’re just there for the sweeping blue skies and gondola rides, head to the Seven Wells for the afternoon instead.

Seven Wells

The Seven Wells are equally frequented by locals and tourists alike. They’re right nearby the SkyBridge on the north part of the island, so it’s the great stop for an afternoon dip. The place is like a naturally occurring waterpark. The slippery orange rocks create a network of smooth waterslides, complete with pockets of deep pools to float around and relax in - a perfect hotspot to cool off on any day.

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Scarsdale’s Fish Restaurant

If you’re already on the North side of the island, do NOT miss the opportunity to get fish and chips at Scarsdale’s. It’s right on the beach, and they make some awesome fried Dory.

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Great spot for a sunset dinner. Or show up for lunch, grab a beer and spend the afternoon soaking in the sun out front.

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Beach

This is where you’ll want to head to for some adrenaline-based activities. They have banana boats, parasailing, jet skiing, or plain old sunbathing for the slower-paced beachgoers. There are a bunch of dive shops and snack shacks along the beach, too.

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Head here for a stunning sunset, and stick around for the late-night fire dancers. Bars along the beach will set out mats and little tables around the main performance area for audience enjoyment. Feel free to order some snacks, fruity drinks, or even a hookah for the show.

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Digs on Langkawi

  • Scarsdale’s Fish Restaurant - reference above.
  • The Kasbah on Langkawi - amazing burgers, outdoor lounge seating, and all around chill vibes.
  • Thirstday Bar and Restaurant - modern vibes with outdoor seating on the beach, plenty of cocktails and legitimate pizza options
  • Yellow Beach Cafe - A yellow restaurant on the beach, surprised?
  • Honey Badger Hut Hostel on Langkawi - they have cool huts for private rooms and friendly bovine pets.
  • Vila Thai - huge hostel with big dorms, and they have scooter rentals and massages available even if you’re not staying there.

More Pictures!