Tucked Away in Railay

Imagine, stepping off a boat into shallow waters to commence your beach holiday. What an arrival, right? Nothing says holiday like bare feet immediately tickled by sand, fish and surf…it’s in this way that we were greeted to Railay.

Railay is a short drive via longtail boat (5 mins) from the Krabi pier. A thin peninsula, rather than an island, there are two sides of the beach which are 5 minutes’ walk apart: the western resort bit with a white sand beach and the eastern backpacker bit with a muddy beach. We stayed on the eastern side as the room rates are easily half…and the walk to the other side is literally 5 minutes and were so happy with our choice. By the end of our time there, we were spending our beachy days on the western beach and our nights (for dining and drinks, etc) on the more authentic eastern side.

It worked perfectly for us as we don’t spend much time in our room and are more keen to spend our time and money on food and activities (coconut smoothies being the key splurge in Railay :)).

Comparatively, the views make Railay, and Krabi unique. The way in which the landmass has formed has created mammoth undercut mountains which tower near and at a distance, off shore. These towers of rubble make the region particularly picturesque and colourful with threads of orange clay and various greys running through. Combined with the crystal clear emerald waters, the traditional longtail boats on shore and the traffic free status, the backdrop couldn’t really be any lovelier.

The only shameful point is that the snorkeling is a bit rubbish. Sadly, overfishing, the use of dynamite fishing in previous years, anchor damage on the coral reefs, the fall out from the 2004 tsunami and general ocean health issues have led to a near empty sea with bleached coral fields. We did go out for a day of snorkeling and spent about 4-5 hours in the water, but what we saw around the Phi Phi islands and Railay saddened us. The fish that were there were ADORABLE and oh, so friendly and curious…they would literally follow you about, almost like puppies. But, after visiting a healthy and thriving reef in the Maldives last year, we did become a bit sad that the fish weren’t more numerous and that the coral reef was so incredible damaged. No wonder the fish we saw were curious and friendly, they were lonely…

On our final day, we rented a kayak to make our way around the peninsula and to explore some of the towering offshore mountains. It was fun to explore the caves, deserted beaches and crevices that we found. And, I was pretty impressed with my nearly 6-month pregnant self. We were out for two hours on the kayak in waters that were, at times, choppy and rough. Not only did we hold our own, but we passed two other kayaks, each with two grown men paddling. Not bad for a preggo /big strong man combo 🙂

Though it doesn’t fit nicely with any of the above, I also feel it worth mentioning our FAVOURITE restaurant and our FAVOURITE splurge in Railay. While during the first day or so, we stuck close to the western beach resorts for meals, we ventured a bit further by the end and found cheap, simple, delicious food in a stellar location on the East end. Like a tree house towering above the Eastern beach, our favourite place served Indian and Thai curries for about 1/3 of the price of meals on the other side. All served piping hot, the food is perfectly safe and absolutely delicious…and they even give you popcorn as an appetizer, free of charge! This, paired with an after drink (smoothie) at a chill overwater, open-air loungy place below and a banana rotee (kind of like a crepe) made for a perfect night, all for a total investment of under £10. So good, in fact, that we decided to repeat it…and we aren’t ones to repeat these types of things.

And our splurge…afternoon tea during a rainstorm on our final day (in the ‘Posh’ resort next door to our own). Not only was the food lovely and the surrounds in my favourite colour palette (plum, scarlett, harvest yellow, terracotta, lime), but they sent us away with a parting gift…a couple lovely fish origami made from palm leaves just before our eyes. We took our baby books and lounged, making us the first to arrive and the last to leave. Thereafter, we lingered alongside their koi ponds and made our way to their private beach for some sunset photos. Heaven, and a perfect end to our perfect stay! Hopefully, Baby will like Railay…as we may well be back…

Now, going big picture, our recent favourite beach destinations (Maldives, Croatia, Goa) are hard to beat. So, we kept our expectations suitably low during planning. But, while the competition is fierce, Railay has found a sound place in contention at the top of the list.

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