A beach that is only accessible by boat

Published on 10 August 2023 at 22:34

Railay Beach is located on a small peninsula south of Ao Nang.  It is cut off from the surrounding area by the towering limestone cliffs, so this impressive spot can only be accessed by boat.   

For this day we got up and underway reasonably early, so we could beat the rush to spend the day at Railay Beach, which was on my bucket list for this tour.   From Ao Nang it is a short cruise around the bay (via Longtail taxi) which costs 100 Baht per person one way, and you have to wait until they have around 8 people for a full boat.  You'll have to wade out to your boat, so dress appropriately including beach shoes and don't carry too much stuff.

Railay Beach is a great spot to base yourself for the day as there are many sights and activities in the same area. It is home to a few of the best viewpoints in Ao Nang and is a popular spot for adventure rock climbers to test their skills on the limestone cliffs, on steep faces such as these:

On arrival at the main beach, you will again step off the boat into the water for a short walk to the shore.  There you will find a few beachside resorts, and then a main strip that runs perpendicular to the beach which has souvenir shops and around 20 small cafes and bars. We did the short walk-through the strip to the opposite side of the peninsula, and then a short walk along the cliffs to find our way to Phra Nang Cave, better-known as Princess Cave. 

This is a sacred place where fishermen and boatmen still make offerings in the form of incense and flowers to ensure a safe journey. More curious though, are the phallic symbols or lingams that are in prominence at the entrance to the cave. Lingams are a symbol of the Hindu god Shiva and are associated with fertility and virility. Over the centuries, Phra Nang cave has become associated with fertility and the lingams placed here take the form of carved wooden penises.

Tony: Many, many, wooden penises.  More wooden penises than you could shake a penis-shaped stick at (a kiwi farming phrase).  Detailed, colorful, of all shapes and sizes penises, all sharing one cave.  Like an Amazonian version of a Peaches and Cream store.  Some religions are just more interesting than Catholicism.  There were no such artifacts in sight at St Mary's Primary School, although the teachers did play dress up occasionally on Fridays after school.  Probably to decompress after having to keep kids like me in line all week. My best mate was the son of a teacher, so we saw some stuff.  But I digress....

As well as the cave, this side of Railay has a very nice beach where we spent a bit of time enjoying the warm clear waters and wading out to explore a small island just off the beach.

By this time, we were hungry having foregone breakfast for an early start, so we headed back to the main strip to grab a bite to eat.  We timed our run perfectly as we found our seats and placed our early lunch order before a sudden downpour had everyone else scrambling to get off the beach for shelter.  All those people can’t fit into 20 cafés at the same time.  After lunch we felt that we'd had our fun, so found our return voucher for the longtail and headed back to Ao Nang and our little apartment to relax for the rest of the day.  After all, this exploring new places is hard work.

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Linda Barnard
10 months ago

Looks really beautiful and quiet.
Lovely pics and update thanks for sharing.

8 months ago

Hope you had a decent rest after all the adventuring.