Railay West beach is a slice of pure paradise. It’s the kind of Thai beach you picture in your mind, all limestone karsts, warm turquoise water, golden sands and long-tail boats puttering at the shoreline. Thanks to its relative inaccessibility (you have to get a long-tail from the nearest towns of Krabi or Ao Nang), it does a pretty good job of keeping the hoards away, and the vibe was relaxed and maybe even a little classy!
The island of Railay is divided into West and East – West having the best beach, and the fanciest beach-side bungalows (behind fences, leaving the beach untouched), and the West having cheaper resorts and backpacker digs. The two are separated by a mere 10 minute walk, so we got to stay somewhere super cheap (that still had its own pool, and the friendliest staff ever!) and hang out in the fancy beach part. It was ideal.
We met some fun people in our bungalows (we kind of had to, as the walls were PAPER thin) – including a nurse couple from Alaska of all places! – and had some good nights drinking more ‘rum’ (lighter fluid) and hitting up our favourite restaurant, where we repeatedly ordered our new obsession – DRUNKEN NOODLES.
Days melted together – blissful languid hours from early morning until dusk spent on the beach listening to podcasts, reading trashy books, dipping in and out of the perfect sea, all warm water, gentle waves and space to float out. Turning round and round to admire the beauty of the limestone karsts etched with gold and rusty browns, and the palm-tree fringed jungle inside.
Admittedly, we were there during low season, but most days there would come points when the beach was almost empty, and it felt like we had our own little utopia. It only rained twice – once for only 10 minutes, when we just waited it out in the sea as the posh tourists ran for their resorts – otherwise the weather was a perfect late 20s. Low season is GOOOOD.
Early evening was spent admiring the spectacular sunsets – truly the best I’ve seen on any beach – when the skies would turn pink, orange and purple, and reflect into the receding tide, as fire twirlers started doing their thing.
Other than generally blissing out, we also explored some other beaches on the island including Phra Nang which is super popular with day trippers who like to climb it’s nearby karsts (WAY too much effort if you ask me!), but we found it to be far too touristy, so after a quick photo op we sloped on back to our fave, Railay West.
We also – briefly before hitting the island – spent an enjoyable day in Krabi Town, where we hit up some markets and department stores (I finally got a new bikini, relieving my previous one of its 4 years of service!) and we ate some delicious duck noodle soup. Not much new there!