Luxury and boutique hotels on Railay Beach

Hop on a longtail boat and drift south from Krabi town, coasting through aquamarine waters, and you’ll dock at Railay beach, a secluded sandy paradise only accessible by sea. It’s the stuff of Thai escapism legend, and while it became less of a secret in the Nineties (when Alex Garland’s The Beach was inspiring many a trip), it has kept its laidback bohemian feel: its four stretches of sand (Railay Beach West and East, Phra Nang Beach and Tonsai Beach) spread over 100 hectares, allowing room for even the most happening of late-night parties and the reggae bars and cocktail shacks have a throwback style. It’s a good launching point for hopping to and from the tiny isles surrounding it, but you may just want to kick back with something chilled and marvel at the soaring limestone cliffs sheltering the coast, edged with wild mangroves and palms.

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When to go

Avoid rain showers and searing heat by visiting from November to March.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Fly into Krabi International Airport, which is served by numerous direct daily flights from capital Bangkok. Private jet charters between Bangkok and Krabi can also be arranged. From there, it’s a 20-minute drive to Krabi town, from which you can get a boat to Railay.
  • Boats

    From Krabi Town hop on a boat from Nong Nuch Pier or Port Takola to reach Railay beach (a journey of around 20 minutes). Alternatively you can journey there from the pier on Ao Nam Mao beach.
  • Automobiles

    You can drive down to Krabi from Phuket (around a two-hour drive) if you can drop off your car, as you’ll have no need for it once on the road-free peninsula.