Railay Beach is one of the most beautiful spots in the Krabi region. There are many tours and day trips by long-tail boat available to the island. However, I think the most adventurous way to explore this region is by kayak. In this blog post, I will share the details of my Kayak journey from Ao Nang to Railay Beach. I’ll also share everything you need to know about exploring this area and give you some insights into the tours available for Railay Beach and Ao Nang.
RAILAY BEACH BOAT TOUR
Before I share my experience of kayaking at Railay Beach. You may want to book yourself onto the most popular boat tours to explore Railay Beach.
The 4 Islands Tour is the top-rated tour in the region taking you to attractions:
- Visit Princess Cave at the famous Phra Nang Cave Beach
- Swim and snorkel in the crystal clear waters off Poda Island
- Enjoy a Thai-style buffet lunch on the beach
- Sail around the “head” of Chicken Island
- Walk along the sweeping three-pronged sandbar at Tub and Mor islets
AO NANG TO RAILAY BEACH BY KAYAK
One of the best days of my southeast Asia trip was in Thailand when I rented a kayak and made the solo voyage from Ao Nang to Railay Beach. I set off from Ao Nang at about around 11 am after renting a one-man kayak for $ 10 USD from a lovely old couple on the beach. They were smiling the whole time and let me take a dry bag at no charge and helped me buy a few bottles of water from their friend at the local price.
I watched a couple capsize as they tried to launch off and prayed that I wouldn’t be the next laughingstock of the beach. Cool calm and collected I launched off without a hitch and began my scenic paddle.
Pai Plong Beach
The first point of interest I passed was Pai Plong Beach. A small bay, attached only to Ao Nang by a wooden path, that winds through the mountains this is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery. I had ventured to Pai Plong the day before but this time I kept paddling to one of the islets further out in the bay.
I steered my Kayak onto the rocky shore of the small islet with some difficulty but I finally placed it where it wouldn’t float away. As I turned around I noticed a one-meter monitor lizard lying on a branch, staring straight at me. It was a bizarre stand-off and eventually, the lizard decided that this was a battle it didn’t want to be a part of and retreated to its hole. I continued to explore a little further had a quick swim and began paddling to my main destination Railay Beach.
Paddling below and besides these ginormous, limestone cliffs made me feel incredibly small. The orange, yellow, and silver tones of the cliffs stand out against the vibrant green of the trees in which they are draped.
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Ao Nang to Railay Beach
The paddle was about 40 minutes before I finally turned the corner, and got a glimpse of Railay Beach. It was absolutely amazing. One of the most beautiful spots I have ever seen. I cruised towards shore and had a successful landing in front of only 40 or so people who shared the long stretch of sand.
Not one to laze about on the sand I wandered down to check out the longboats and ask if anyone knows about cliff jumping at Railay Beach. I asked a number of people who all shook their heads and gave me stern disapproval. In terms of the beach if I was considering Ao Nang or Railay Beach I would definitely choose Railay as it is much more scenic, has nice water, and is a better spot to spend the day. If I couldn’t find a cliff jump I would go in search of the viewpoint I had read about.
Hiking to the Railay Viewpoint
Down the southern end of the beach where the longboats are parked, there are several pathways that lead up the cliff. I chose one that had a broken sign which had viewpoint written on it, which seemed like a good bet. The first ten minutes of the climb proved uneventful despite no clear path. It turned out that I didn’t hike to the main view which is muddier but a more well-maintained path.
I arrived at the steeper section of the hike, which in several parts involved climbing a vertical rock wall. There wasn’t an abundance of great footholds but several sturdy ropes guided me to what I will call the viewpoint. From where I stopped to enjoy the view there seemed to rope leader around the corner and higher. I decided I had met my match as it looked like it got a lot tougher if I was to continue further.
From that viewpoint, I could see Railay East Beach and the entirety of Railay Beach. I even managed to spot my little green kayak that was sitting safely on the beach. I sat up here for a while enjoying the view and dreading the challenge of scaling the vertical wall back down. I am not a rock climber by any means and this pushed me so far out of my comfort zone I was self-talking myself down the climb. I would suggest climbing to this viewpoint for people able to pull their own weight only with their arms and people with some climbing experience.
Ladder Lookout at Railay Beach
I made it down safely and then discovered another path leading to a lower-level lookout. This lookout had the luxury of a ladder, which was welcome news to me after I had only just finished collecting myself after the previous climb. This view was beautiful again but not as high or spectacular as the first viewpoint I visited. I could really look out over the ocean and see where I had paddled during my journey from Ao Nang to Railay Beach.
Phra Nang Cave
I asked one more local about cliff jumping and he told me to kayak to Phra Nang Cave around the corner. A bit more padding wouldn’t hurt. In ten minutes I had cruised around the bend and hit the shore of Phra Nang, Krabi. Wow! Another stunning beach. The drawcard for this beach other than the caves was the islet that is only yards from the shore, making for an amazing backdrop.
The cave was bizarre but held significant importance with the locals. It is full of wooden penises to put it blankly. People of Phra Nang believed when their prayers were answered and good things happened it was higher powers at work. They would leave offerings in the cave and the phallic symbols are tied in with fertility and creation among other things.
Phra Nang Cave to Ao Nang
One hour and twenty minutes of solid paddling got me back from Phra Nang to my starting point Ao Nang. This was one hell of a workout as I was battling against some decent waves, which I was headed straight into for most of the journey. I would suggest if you are up for a physical challenge this a great day but otherwise, there are several cheap longboats that can take you to both Railay Beach and Phra Nang Cave.
Railay Rock Climbing
One of the most popular things to do in Ao Nang, Krabi is to do rock climbing at Railay Beach with an instructor. One partner belays the other, as they try to scale the cliffs. This was common on Phra Nang Beach but there were several sites around the Railay region suitable for rock climbing. You can choose a half-day or full-day rock-climbing experience at Railay Beach.
Where to stay in Ao Nang Krabi
Ao Nang Cliff Beach Resort – Luxury: This resort has rooms all the way up the cliff with views of the entire ocean. The room had a bath on the balcony with sunset views! The infinity pool at Ao Nang Cliff Beach Resort was amazing at sunrise and sunset.
Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang – Value: The Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang has a pool that looks out to the limestone cliffs and it is just the perfect spot for sunset. You will find that this hotel has all of the trimmings, and is 3-star but only $60 for a night.
Link Hostel Ao Nang – Budget: For just $8 a night in a dormitory room you have cheap, budget accommodation. However, you also have a beautiful pool and really modern facilities.
What are my favorite pieces of gear for the beach?
There are three pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a beach adventure. These are three items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my beach essentials.
- PackTowl Quick-Dry Towel: A quick-dry towel is a must for travelers. It hardly takes up any room and dries in seconds.
- Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack: The beach can be a great place to ruin your precious gear so having this ultralight dry sack for cameras, phones and valuables mean you have a safe place to store everything.
- GoPro Hero 10: The best and easiest way to capture your underwater and snorkeling adventures.