Railay (Thai: อ่าวไร่เลย์) is a small peninsula located between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang in Thailand. Accessible only by boat due to the high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. These cliffs attract rock climbers from all over the world, but the area is also popular due to its beautiful beaches and quiet relaxing atmosphere. Accommodation ranges from bungalows and medium-priced resorts in East Railay to a collection of five-star resorts focussed on West Railay though one, Rajavadee, spans both waterfronts and also has a beachfront restaurant at Pranang. The four main areas of Railay consist of Pranang, West Railay, East Railay and Tonsai. Tonsai caters to climbers and the backpacker set and is more rustic in character than the glitz of West Railay and the shops and restaurants of the East Railay boardwalk.
East Railay Beach is the docking point for boats arriving from Krabi. The East Beach is primarily covered in dense mangrove which is unsuitable for swimming. On the northern end of the waterfront there is a commercial area along a boardwalk/promenade with many restaurants and bars and various services including a muay thai school, and lower-priced resorts than in West Railay. Above, on the trail that leads to Tonsai, is the Diamond Cave, which features a walkway into its depths.
West Railay Beach -- connected to the East side by paths through the large resorts or by trails through thin jungle cover -- is the primary destination for beach-goers in Railay. The beach, as pictured in the panorama below, is flanked by high limestone cliffs on either side. Long-tail boats are available to hire for transport to Ao Nang, 15 minutes north of Railay. In addition, ferries departing Railay for Koh Phi Phi and points west including Phuket depart from the West beach. The focal point of West Railay Beach is centered on a short promenade (walking street) lined with restaurants and shops.
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