Hiding behind a layer of impenetrable cliffs, the gorgeous isthmus of Railay (also spelled Rai Leh) could easily serve as a fantasy cover for a Harlequin romance. It is possibly the most stunning beach location in all of Thailand, home to emerald silk water punctured by surreal limestone formations, honey-hued beaches and psychedelic sunsets. Railay may be just around the corner from Ao Nang and Krabi but it feels oceans away. Accessible only by boat, for now it remains a mellow place where serenity trumps chaos, there is no motorised transport and the beach is free of stalls selling knock-offs. Life is changing quickly. Construction was in full swing when we visited, and we doubt it will be long before Railay becomes Thailand’s new superstar.
For adventure seekers Railay is best known for the hundreds of excellent rock-climbing routes up the surrounding cliffs. Loads of climbing shops cater to visitors wishing to scramble up the karsts, providing equipment rental and instruction for beginners and advanced climbers alike.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009