Having spent the night in a Bangkok airport hotel, we flew to Krabi and caught a quick bus to Ao Nang followed by a long tail boat to Railay. This has been my tried and tested route into the West coast Islands of Southern Thailand since my first visit in ‘99. I like the small island vibe to Railay and you can feel like you’ve escaped the real world in a little under three hours from Bangkok. These days Railay is heavily built up and seems to be under constant re-development. The usual West Beach complexes are still there, however the East side seems to be springing up a few luxury resorts.
Railay is a climbers haven; I’ve never gone any further than an introduction course but I’m told it’s great. Nightlife is still ok, especially if you’re a Bob Marley fan (which seems to be on repeat in nearly every bar).
Loads of day trips run from the island, and I recommend you convince a long-tail driver to take you out to Bamboo Island if you’re not planning on making it to Phi Phi. There’s a small path at the South end of East Beach that will lead you past some impressive caves and the resident troop of monkeys to a great beach. It fills up in the daytime with Ao Nang day trippers so don’t expect solitude.
Accommodation on the island still generally keeps to the rule pricey on West Beach, cheaper on the East, and the outfits spiraling up into the middle and back of the island is where you can find the budget huts.
After two nights, we were on a ferry heading to Phi Phi for a bucket.