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West Railay Beach

railay, near ao nang, thailand


This beautiful beach is part of the Railay Peninsula, a 15 minute ride from Ao Nang by longtail boat. It is especially beautiful after sunset, when the silhouetted surrounding rock-faces give the place a totally unique and almost supernatural look. Idling on the beach whilst watching the antics of the rock climbers scaling the surrounding cliffs is about as relaxing an experience as can be found anywhere.


The Railay Bay Resort is blessed with an unbeatable location at the beach’s southern end and is a great place to stay, if you can put up with the slow restaurant service. The nearby Railay Village is also a great choice, and has a better restaurant.

West Railay beach is a long, broad strip of white sand framed at each end by huge cliffs.

railay, near ao nang, thailand


Just collapse onto a deck-chair by the beach-side pool for one of the best views in southeast Asia: to the left rock-climbers battle the magnificent Thaiwand Wall and to the right the bay stretches away past Tonsai to the massive Sleeping Indian cliffs, so named because that is exactly what they resemble, at night.



The place to catch the sunset is at Coco’s very comfortable bar, right in the middle of the beach. This, the only bar on West Railay, is always a quiet one and has to be a candidate for being southeast Asia’s best beach bar.



After sunset West Railay beach starts to empty and by midnight is usually almost completely deserted, except for the occasional party of illicit skinny-dippers, enjoying a dip au naturel at the northern end of the beach, where there are no resorts and so no people around.


Midnight swims, au naturel or otherwise, are sensational on dark nights, when the brilliant-blue bioluminescence in the water lights up disturbed water like a neon-lit Christmas tree. To best appreciate this amazing phenomenon, bring a pair of swimming goggles along and swim underwater for a while: the bioluminescence will wreath your body in a million tiny blue lights, in surely the loveliest clothes you’ve ever worn.


Railay West Beach is part of the Railay Peninsula, which is located a 15 minutes boat ride from Ao Nang.


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