10 must-try activities and things to do on Railay Beach, Krabi

Tucked away along the coast of Krabi, Thailand, Railay used to be a spot for the true ‘off-the-beaten-track’ travellers. Blessed with towering limestone cliffs, bobbing longtail boats, lush greenery, and curious wildlife, it wasn’t until recently that the peninsula received a pier for day-trippers and overnight visitors to dock from.

Often confused for an island, the coastal strip is only accessible by boat due to the enormous cliffs surrounding it. These days, it’s relatively simple to head there for a couple of hours to explore, enjoy fresh seafood, sip on sunset cocktails, and fake a slice of island life.

So, why take the time to hop on a boat and make the short journey across the waters? With many of our team living part-time on Railay for years now, we’re pretty confident that we’ve got the best insider tips and gems. Let’s dive straight into our top 10 must-try activities and things to do on Railay Beach:

a climber looking over railay west beach from high up in the limestone cliffs

Rock climbing on Krabi’s iconic limestone cliffs

Without a doubt, one of the most popular things to do in Railay Beach is to rock climb. The cliffs here are so impressive that, at times, Red Bull have hosted climb and cliff jumping competitions here.

One of its biggest draws is that you don’t need to be a climbing pro to have a shot. Railay is littered with climb shops with local guides who have been clambering the rocks since they were children. Beginners can opt for guided climbing sessions, while seasoned climbers can challenge themselves with advanced routes. We recommend that you opt for a half day outing if you’re a newbie – while the beginner routes are shorter and much easier, climbing in the heat is still a tiring affair.

Top climb tip: Cut your nails! (both your toenails and fingernails). Climbing with long fingernails is incredibly difficult; you can’t get a good grip and they catch on the rocks. Similarly, climb shoes are designed to be tight so that you can get into the grooves of the cliffs, and so long toenails will leave you feeling uncomfortable.

a rock climber in railay thailand, a flat cliff with sea and island views from their high point

Pay a visit to the X-rated Phra Nang Cave

Railway has 3 beaches, and we’ve met many a traveller who has arrived via the west beach on a day trip, only to miss the best one (in our opinion). Be sure to head across to Phra Nang Beach (the only way to it is through an impressive jungle trail walk). There are two small caves here, adorned with colourful, phallic offerings to the goddess of the sea.

While good for a giggle and a unique photo, please remember that the Cave is a sacred place and should be treated with respect. Local fishermen and boatmen come here to give floral offerings, food gifts, and burn incense to ensure a safe sea journey.

limestone cliffs on railay phranang beach

Sunset Cruise around Krabi with a glowing plankton finale

Railay is one of the top launch points for a Krabi sunset cruise. The islands scattered nearby are a haven for marine life, and a boat tour should be on everyone’s Krabi itinerary.

Krabi Sunset Cruises end the day by sailing back towards the Railay Peninsula. Here, you’ll get to swim in the waters next to Phra Nang Beach and experience the bio-luminescence after dark. While you can see them glowing dimly from the boat, (for the best show) we recommend you jump in with a snorkel mask. Under water, the plankton glitter like stars as you move past them.

Visit the Diamond Cave

Not to be confused with Railay’s bungalow accommodation of the same name, the Railay Diamond Cave (Tham Phra Nang Nai) is nestled between the East and West beach. Now guarded by a National Park station, visitors will be charged 200 baht per foreign adult to enter (the price seems to be on the rise e ery year).

A large natural cavern in the peninsula’s limestone cliffs, a walk around the cave offers some welcome shade from the heat and will take about 15-20 minutes to explore. Visitors enter by a narrow passageway leading inside and can look forward to spotting the large Thai bats that have made the cliffs their home.

TOP VISITOR TIP: Visit in the late afternoon / evening when the crowds have dwindled. And, for an extra dose of magic and mystery, visit just after the rain when the water seeps through the rocks and makes the interiors sparkle.

Take a selfie at Tew lay Bar (Railay’s most Instagramable bar)

A much newer addition to Railay than most of the things to do on this list! Tew lay Bar has become quite the hit on Instagram, but it is often missed due to its slightly unusual location. Crossing to the east beach, follow the path to the left and continue past the ‘Last Bar’. Ironically, the Last Bar is no longer the last bar on this strip, and the slim path continues to wind past the mangroves, past jungle bungalows, finally opening out to a large waterside restaurant.

Alongside their extensive menu, Tew lay Bar provides multiple beachfront selfie opportunities for visitors, including a cocoon swing, treehouse platform, and over-water hammocks.

Get a massage

Find your inner zen amidst the serene surroundings of Railay with one of the many massage providers. One of the great things about Railay is that many of the therapist here have (at one time or another) worked/trained in the large hotels on the peninsula. For an opulent massage experience, treat yourself to a treatment at the majestic 5-Star Rayavadee. On a budget, you’ll find plenty of great Thai massage locations on both the Walking Street and the East beach.

Trek to Railay Viewpoint (and the Princess lagoon)

Lace up your hiking boots, this one is not for the faint hearted. Like most things on Railay, blink and you’ll miss the steep starting point up to Railay’s panoramic viewpoint! The route is marked about halfway down the path from the East Beach to Phra Nang Beach, a muddy climb that weaves between the rocks and offers rope supports for eager scramblers.

The first part of the climb is the easier of the two and climbers are rewarded with sweeping views of lush forests, towering cliffs, and shimmering seas. The viewpoint can be found by veering off to the left when you reach the top.

Feeling ambitious? Swing back and take the route to the right to descend back down, this time to a serene lagoon in the centre of the cliffs. This is best done at hide tide, as the water fills the lagoon and allows for swimming. The climb down is a difficult one – we’ve seen plenty of groups in their 20-30’s turn back. Be sure to have correct footwear and a backpack so that you can have both hands free to help guide yourself down the steep rocks and ropes.

Sunset on railway West or Phra Nang Beach

We mentioned earlier that many people catch a longtail boat from Ao Nang, Krabi, or Ao Nam Mao and spend a few hours on Railay before heading back to the mainland. However, if you have the time, we recommend you stay one night (or at least until after sunset).

The views for sunset on Railay are completely uninterrupted, the peninsula poking out in the water like a spearhead. Each night, tourist, locals and expats gather on one of these two beaches and watch the skies change from blue, to pink, to orange, longtail boats sputtering past on the horizon.

For a less crowded sunset, follow Phra Nang Beach all the way around to the very end, shuffle down into the powdery sand, and enjoy your sunset with rock formation frames. For a more sociable vibe, grab a lantern from the Beach Café at the front of the walking street and sip on cocktails to background music and island air.

Catch a fire show or boxing match at The Last Bar

The Last Bar has been a budget traveller favourite for decades now and, while its layout has changed hundreds of times over the years, their reputation as the party bar has never faltered.

Head round after dark to watch their nightly fire shows, where local performers showcase their skills with poi, staff, and fire hoops or keep an eye out for their Mauy Thai fights dates. Their boxing ring sits just off to the side of their restaurant.

Have dinner in a romantic cave grotto

One for couples, special parties, and Instagram lovers alike, Rayavadee’s Krabi Dining Grotto is another one from our list that has been gathering attention on TikTok and Instagram.

This magical dining spot (with premium views across Phran Nang Beach’s key sunset point) can only be accessed by Rayavadee Resort guests, or those who have made a reservation ahead of time. The Grotto is relatively small only 7 barstools and perhaps 15 tables, adding to its exclusivity and memorable feel.

Looking for more tips and tours around Krabi? You might like these:

krabi sunset cruise ship at sunset, framed by krabi's limestone islands

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