Krabi’s island-like Railay Beach peninsula is about as dreamy as southern Thailand gets. Swaying palms, wide stretches of white sand and warm azure waters – plus a renowned rock-climbing scene – make it a postcard-perfect paradise. It’s a short hop from Ao Nang, but soaring limestone cliffs cut it off from the rest of the mainland, so the only way in is by boat – adding an enticing seclusion. From bargain bungalows to splurge-worthy ultra-luxe resorts, these Railay Beach hotels, all bookable on Culture Trip, are where it’s at.
Typical of the upmarket move that has swept the Railay peninsula in recent years, Avatar in Railay East is fronted by posh dark-wood signage that looks particularly stunning framed by the gorgeous limestone karst landscape behind it. Plush, contemporary rooms are set around a particularly attractive central pool, and some have direct pool access, while others have floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto large balconies and, beyond that, an expanse of resplendent natural greenery.
Large-scale Railay Bay Resort & Spa, on popular Railay West beach, has 141 rooms in traditional Thai style, well appointed with modern amenities. Rooms stretch across a number of categories that make them convenient for various types of travellers, and feature handsome dark-wood interiors and large French doors that open onto gorgeous garden views. The best rooms have private pools, while there’s also an on-site pool, seafront restaurant and spa.
One of the most affordable options on Railay West, Sand Sea Resort offers the chance to holiday on Railay’s (ordinarily) priciest stretch of white sand without splashing a whole bunch of cash. Decor here might be on the more dated and somewhat less imaginative side in parts, but it’s still a comfortable stay – plus there’s a decent-sized swimming pool, and the best rooms offer sea views. There’s also a spa and gym, and the all-day beachfront restaurant specialises in grilled seafood dishes.
One of the more comfortable stays on Ao Tonsai beach, Tonsai Bay Resort has 72 rooms. Set both in conventional buildings and free-standing and semi-detached bungalows, these are among the only lodgings on this stretch of beach with air conditioning. That also means you can expect more well-appointed, hotel-style luxuries than are common elsewhere around here. In addition to the well-tended gardens, there’s an all-day beachfront restaurant, while Thai massages, laundry services and kayak rentals are also available.
This long-running, cheap-as-chips spot on Railay East might be stretching things by calling itself a “resort”, but it has certainly stood the test of time. Stay here to make your budget last: add a modicum of comfort by opting for one of the fan-cooled rooms with private cold-water bathrooms, or really go as cheap as it gets and plump for a basic room with shared facilities. Either way, the place is surprisingly well kept for the price range, and you’re not too far from the sand. There’s also a hot tub-sized pool and on-site restaurant.
Previously known as the Railay Highland Resort, this Railay East property is some way from the sand, but the trade-off is worth it for both lower rates and a gorgeous pool that offers views over the coast below. Comfortable, air-conditioned and well-appointed rooms range from those in uniform blocks to elegant freestanding bungalows, but things are stylish throughout. Other facilities at the Railay Phutawan Resort include a large, bright and attractively designed open-air restaurant.
Long-running Anyavee Railay Resort, on more affordable Railay East, is a large, older but nevertheless well-kept and comfortable property – a solid option even during the high season. All rooms are air-conditioned, and are set in a mixture of two-storey buildings and stand-alone bungalows dotted around a vibrant garden with a lovely infinity-edge pool offering beach views.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.