The islands of Thailand were a must for me. What’s not to love about the warm ocean water, salt in your hair, sand between your toes and watching the sunset into the water? Maybe it isn’t for everyone but there’s no denying the beauty of some of these beaches. I knew I would be spending some time in the north of Thailand and I wanted to end my trip in the beautiful beaches of the south.
I didn’t know exactly which islands I would end up going to prior to the start of my trip but I knew the last island would be Phuket so I opted to fly into Krabi so I can work my way to Phuket. I flew from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) to the Krabi Airport (KVB), an 80-minute flight. I took the airport shuttle to my hotel in Ao Nang for 150 baht. It was about 45 minute to one-hour ride. The shuttle first stops in Krabi Town so that the passengers going to their hotels in Krabi Town can take a separate shuttle from there.
My hotel was a five-minute walk from the beach and on the main street. My terrace had a view of the green beach mountains and a clear shot of the coast. I was near street food, a 7-11, a few massage places and a couple tour agencies where I was able to book my ferry to Koh Phi Phi. It was a little noisy at night with the sounds of live music from the bar across the street but that was probably because I was only on the second floor.
I arrived around 9pm and it was a rainy evening so I just ate, bought some water and snacks for the next couple days and walked around for a bit. My hotel gave me an umbrella to use so I was able to stay dry and comfortable. Railay Beach was on the agenda for the next day so I got ready for that.
The next day I walked to Ao Nang Beach to discover how I could get to Railay East so that I can hike to the Railay Beach Viewpoint. The trip via longboat to Railay West was 200 baht round trip. The boats ran until 6pm although the woman who sold me my ticket said 4pm perhaps to ensure I don’t miss my boat. There are boats that run later to and from Ao Nang to Railay but the ride is more expensive.
I took the boat from Ao Nang to Railay West. From there I proceeded inland towards the walking street, a row of vendors selling food, smoothies, souvenirs and more. I had a shawarma chicken wrap which was not very good. The chicken itself lacked flavor and when I was offered store-bought ketchup and mayonnaise as “sauce” I knew I wasn’t having an authentic shawarma chicken wrap.
Something to keep in mind is that everything is more expensive in Railay than Ao Nang. Everything is brought in via boats because there aren’t any roads for cars in Railay.
After a few minutes on the walking street, I hit a sign and a map that pointing me in the direction of Railay East. There aren’t many route options so it’s pretty easy to get to the east side. I also was able to pull up my Thailand Travel Guide app without a wifi connection. The app didn’t give me the exact location but once I got to the general area I confirmed where I was going with a couple locals.
The hike isn’t very long but it has a quick (and short) elevation gain. The trail is practically vertical the entire way until you get to the top. It’s generally muddy in this area and I wasn’t quite prepared for the mud. I had Nike running shoes and that was as prepared as I was. I wore a white swimsuit which I shouldn’t have done because the mud stained it. I also should have worn shorts instead of a sarong. I learned my lesson but enjoyed the journey nonetheless.
Once you reach the top where the ground flattens out, the viewpoint is a short distance away. There I was standing with the trees in my muddy shoes with a clear shot of both Railay West and Railway East. The skies were blue, the clouds were big and I can see the longboats traveling in the distance.
My hands were slightly muddy and I had some mud on my legs but I had made it and I was extremely happy. After you reach the Viewpoint you can turn around and go back down, but who wants to do that? I ended up making friends with some rock climbers on the way up and they were headed to the lagoon which is a climb down from the other side of the Viewpoint. Climbing gear was not needed for this but if you don’t know what you’re doing this could be dangerous. I have zero experience in rock climbing but I proceeded and told myself I would stop and turn around if I didn’t feel right. It wasn’t much of a hike at this point, it was mostly climbing down and this was a challenge for me. There aren’t as many ropes on this route as there are going up to the Viewpoint so it’s important to be cautious with your hands and footing.
I kept going and made it to the huge, secluded lagoon. I was covered in mud at this point but didn’t care because I was ecstatic to be in such a beautiful place. I slowly walked in. The ground was sharp at the rocky edges and the water went up to my waist. It was a great place to swim. The water is colder in comparison to the beach but it was refreshing. The mountain was a natural wall around the lagoon. It almost felt like you were in a cenote but with a larger opening.
I spent about an hour here and went back up and back down to the trailhead the exact opposite way. I felt accomplished! The scrapes and ruined swimsuit were totally worth my experience at the Railay Beach Viewpoint and the lagoon.
How To Get To The Railay Beach Viewpoint
From Ao Nang, take a longtail boat to Railay West. When you dock go down the walking street and proceed to Railay East. When you get to the end of the walking street. There will be a map and a sign. Keep walking past more vendors and restaurants. You’ll keep walking straight and make a right where it splits. You know you reached the trailhead when you see a warning sign that says “no parachuting or base jumping from the viewpoint.” The climb up takes about 10-20 minutes until it flattens out at the top. You’ll see a sign that says “to Viewpoint,” walk in that direction.
How To Get To The Railay Beach Lagoon
Do the above and after you reached the Viewpoint walk to the lagoon’s starting point of the climb down. I believe there was a sign pointing to the lagoon’s climb down point. It’s about a two-minute walk from the Viewpoint.
What Do You Need For The Hike/Climb?
Be prepared for the mud. Clothing should be comfortable and/or athletic. Dark colors are recommended so that the mud doesn’t ruin your clothes. Take water, small towel (optional), and swim gear!
Check out my video from Railay Beach Viewpoint and Lagoon!