Railay Beach in Thailand surely has some of the most amazing scenery anywhere on the South East Asian peninsula. With amazing experiences like this, it is no wonder I’ve never bothered heading over to the other side to Koh Samui!
It’s been a long time since I last blogged about my adventures in Thailand, and since I am hot off the heels of debating some of the best beaches in Asia, I suddenly remembered the enigma that is Railay Beach in Krabi. Unlike most of my experiences at beaches, such as at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, or any of the beaches in Bali, my adventures at Railay Beach were notable for the fact that I encountered considerably less tourists than I am used to seeing! It made my experience all the more rewarding, as I was (for at least part of the day) able to enjoy the beauty of the beach and its surroundings without the vast swathes of sunbathers and water sports enthusiasts ruining the views! To get here at Railay, I took a 15 minute longtail boat trip from Ao Nang Beach, and it cost me only 50 Baht. There are also larger ferries sailing the seas in these parts, but I have no idea how much more they would cost. I think a longtail boat trip is much more authentic anyway. My journey to Railay Beach featured just me and two older Russian couples, plus the ‘guide’, obviously.
During my relative seclusion at one of the most famous beaches in Thailand, I saw many strange patterns on the sand, which I guessed could have been left by troublesome holidaymakers, but upon closer inspection I realised it was actually the work of a crab! Upon returning to hostel and sharing some photos from my Sony Cybershot, it seems many other backpackers have also seen this occurrence at Railay Beach. What a strange thing for a crab to do! Another sight you will undoubtedly see at Railay Beach – at any time of the day – is those pesky monkeys! There are many signs around the beach area and beyond that warn you to keep your belongings and food with you at all times in order to thwart the monkeys, as they CAN and WILL steal anything in their sight.
The only way to get to Railay Beach is by boat, and a bit like Maya Bay nearby, it is completely cut off from the rest of the land by roads. This all adds to the mystique and to the beauty. I would always recommend getting here in the early morning, ready to take the worst of the tropical sun. Usually, you would perhaps wait until the worst of the sun has passed, but to the southern beaches of Thailand, such as here at Railay Beach, you will see the crowds flock – and by mid-afternoon the beauty of the place can be slightly ruined by the sheer number of tourists on hand. True to form, about 90 minutes after having the beach almost to myself (only a few other groups that were well kept apart from the size of the coastline), I saw many raucous holidaymakers arrive in their speedboats as part of a tour, probably from their hostels. Soon after, Railay Beach became like many other beaches in the region.
However, what impressed me most with Railay Beach was its sheer picturesque sexiness. If I could guarantee some more seclusion upon my return, then I would go back there in an instant. But one thing that always irked me somewhat in Thailand was the sheer numbers of tourists, many of whom show disrespect to the surroundings by making excess noise and littering (I don’t want to sound like a killjoy, but I hate that kind of thing). Even at Ao Nang Beach, which is arguably even finer than Railay, the crowds are a bit of a problem. But still, I had an hour or two by myself (almost) wandering around a tropical beach and taking in the natural sights and sounds, so it can’t all be bad, right?