Find Adventure in Railay Thailand

Find Adventure in Railay Thailand

Although Railay, Thailand, certainly feels like a remote island, it’s actually a peninsula attached to the mainland. Getting there overland is nearly impossible, so you must take a 20-minute longtail boat hop from Ao Nang.

Railay began as a backpacker and rock climber’s paradise, however, in recent years huge upscale bungalow resorts have sprung up and pushed all budget travelers and accommodation to the farthest point along Railay East.

Railay Thailand Rock Climbing

Railay has over 700 bolted routes ranging from beginner to extremely advanced. You’ll find most of the advanced routes in Ao Ton Sai – a secluded bay with bars and accommodation that can only be reached via a 30-minute scramble or by boat. Taking your big backpack on the rocky scramble to Ton Sai can be a serious challenge.

Climbing schools are literally everywhere and will provide gear and instruction for around 800 baht for a half day. You can also hire just shoes, ropes, or equipment provided that you have prior climbing experience.

Longtail boats can be hired out to other islands where climbers can deepwater solo – climb as high as possible on the sea cliffs then jump into the water at the end of the climb.

Other Adventure

Even despite the amount of daytrippers and suitcase draggers you meet now, Railay is a beautiful place with adventure literally around every corner. You’ll find wild caves along the sea cliffs that can be explored extensively.

Two viewpoints (one on Railay East and one at the end of Phra Nang Beach) are excellent scrambling adventures and provide a view of the peninsula. A hidden lagoon inside of the rock outcrop at the end of Railay East is an excellent scramble for experienced climbers. Although fixed ropes are present, much of the scramble is slick, vertical, and you get the feeling of solo climbing (climbing without protection).

You’ll find a small cliff dive on Phra Nang Beach (the best beach) – but you can only jump at high tide. Rocks at the bottom will maim or kill you if you jump during the wrong time of day!

Sea kayaks can be hired to explore the other islands and rocks; the current can get quite strong depending on the status of the moon and time of day. Day trips can be booked with longtail boats to surrounding islands with private beaches.

Of course you will find diving and snorkeling, but prices are higher than you will encounter on Koh Phi Phi or Koh Lanta. Many of the dive sites are the same (i.e., the famous King Cruiser wreck).


Railay is more expensive than the islands. Perhaps because there is no proper jetty, so all supplies must be brought in by small boat, then hand carried ashore at low tide. You’ll see the price difference for food, beer, cigarettes, consumables, toiletries, etc. Buy whatever you can before you leave the islands or the mainland for Railay!

In Summary

Although it has it’s problems (the stripping of budget bungalows for new resorts, inflated prices, etc) Railay, Thailand, is probably the most adventurous and versatile destination that you’ll find in Thailand. Seriously, you’ll never run out of activities, places to explore, or things to do.

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