Other than Ao Nang Beach and Nopparat Thara Beach, Railay Beach is very popular in Krabi as well. Railay Beach consists of four areas:
1. Railay West – This is a beautiful beach flanked by majestic limestone rocks on both ends. It has a great sea view, pristine sand, and houses several lively pubs and restaurants. However, it gets a lot busier (read: a lot) as the day goes by because it is the drop-off point for tourists coming to Railay. Therefore, you will see dozens of longtail boats parked along the beach. If you really want to enjoy the pristine scenic view of the beach, you would need to go early (before 9am) before the throngs of tourists start coming in.
2. Railay East – There are no sandy beaches here and when the tides goes out it is more of a muddy mangrove swamp. During high tide there is no beach at all. You can walk to Railay West beach from here in five minutes via a narrow track.
3. Phra Nang Beach – This is our favourite beach in Krabi! The soft white sand, emerald-green sea, and awe-inspiring limestone cliffs make this beach a must-visit for every tourist to Krabi. We arrived at the beach early and were able to enjoy its pristine beauty. The beach also houses the most expensive resort in Krabi: “Rayavadee Resort”. However, please note that throngs of tourists start coming in from about 9.30am onwards, so you would need to reach the beach early to beat the crowd!
4. Tonsai Bay – This is a popular area for backpackers as it provides various budget accommodations. However, it is pretty inaccessible and the beach is not as nice as Railay West or Phra Nang. To reach the beach, you need to waddle through the sea over rocks during low tide from Railay West, or climb over the cliff from Railay West. Alternatively, you can take a longtail boat from Ao Nang Beach straight to Tonsai Bay.
Directions to Railay Beach
If you are staying along Ao Nang/ Nopparat Thara Beach, you can catch a longtail boat from the boat stations. There are three boat stations along this stretch of beach. We took our longtail boat from the boat station at the end of Ao Nang Beach leading towards Phai Plong Beach. Above is a picture of the boat station. The longtail boats will only operate when there are enough people headed for your destination.
Phra Nang Beach is normally included as part of the Four Islands Tour. However, if you just want to visit the beach and skip the other islands, you can catch a longtail boat from any of the boat stations.