Thailand’s Railay peninsula looks and feels like an island but it’s actually part of the mainland. Accessible only by boat, this beautiful Andaman Sea getaway is isolated from the rest of Krabi province by monstrous limestone cliffs that tower over the jungle below.
Sure, Railay is a well-worn spot on the tourist trail but for good reason. There are four main stretches of beach. West Railay, in the middle, has several mid-range resorts and restaurants. To the north is Tonsai Beach — famous for its backpacker accommodation and lively-ish nightlife. East Railay, though home to a few decent resorts, is an unremarkable strip of coast primarily used as a drop-off point by boats.
The real prize is Phra Nang Bay in the south of the peninsula. This lane of golden sand, stunning cliffs and turquoise waters is home to Rayavadee, one of Thailand’s top luxury beach resorts, although the beach is open to anyone. The best time to visit is early morning before the day-trippers arrive, or around sunset when the sky lights up the cliffs with a glorious golden hue. Those towering karst cliffs have also earned Railay a reputation as Thailand’s top rock-climbing destination.