Railay with Kids — The Best Vacation Spot In Thailand?

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Thailand has many phenomenal beaches but perhaps my favorites are found at Railay in Krabi Province on the west coast of the country. The town is reachable only by boat and is surrounded by water on 3 sides. The small peninsula makes a great family vacation destination owing to it’s slow pace, lack of cars, kid-friendly hotels and incredible mix of great activities for the more active and adventurous. It takes a little effort to get to Railay — usually by flying to Krabi airport, taxi to Ao Nang and then boat to Railay — but this resort town is well worth the trip.

Hanging out at one of Railay’s 2 great beaches. This one is called Railay West and it forms the social hub of the town with a majority of its restaurants, cafes and hotels residing here.
A family relaxing on one of Thailand's best beaches.

Phra Nang beach — a short walk from the main part of Railay — is without a doubt one of the best beaches in Thailand. Secluded and very swimmable it’s very kid friendly as well.
Children at the beach in Krabi, Thailand.

Railay East is the 3rd — and least appealing — beach on Railay. As you can see the beach turns to mud flats during low tide and though it can make a pretty background to an evening meal is almost never an appealing option for swimming. Staying on the east side though can be a good way to save money as the hotels tend to be a bit cheaper and offer larger discounts during the off-season.
The Children playing at the beach during low tide.

Boats are the only way of getting to Railay and the longtail variety form the backdrop to just about every view that looks out to sea.
Boats are the main form of transportation around Railay.

The different sides of Railay are connected by a web of paved lanes and dirt paths. It takes about 3 or 4 minutes to walk from one side to the other.
Pulling the luggage through the lanes and alleys of Railay in Thailand.

Leaving Railay to return to Krabi and a flight to Bangkok. When it’s low tide tractors transport guests and their bags out to waiting boats in the bay.
A mom and her kids taking a long tail boat in Thailand.

7 questions and comments

  1. Nightlife/Activity in Railay

    Hi Dave,

    I am planning a trip to Thailand in Feb and looking at Krabi as our final stop after some island hopping. Just trying to work out where to stay and why.

    Now we don’t have children, but I always turn to your website so thought you could help anyway!

    We plan to stay in Krabi for three nights-I first thought of Railay Beach as I know it is supposed to be beautiful, however, I am concerned about there being enough there for us. we do enjoy to go out in the evenings and enjoy places that have a good atmosphere. are there enough bars/restaurant to keep us entertained or does everything die down early? Also, if we wanted to go into Ao Nang/Krabi Town for an evening is this easily achievable do you know? Would a boat be able to bring us back late for example?

    Does it sound like Railay is the place for us or do you think we should look at somewhere else? Maybe stay somewhere else and visit Railay beach at some point? (We want beauty, good standard of hotel and within walking distance of bars/restaurants.

    Thank you in advance!


    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Railay is great but don’t go there for nightlife or a huge choice in restaurants (but there are a handful of bars playing music and always something going on during Full Moon in high season). Railay is a place to relax and chill out for 3 to 7 days. Ao Nang has a bit more going on but hard to get a boat back to Railay after sunset (you’d likely have to pay for all 8 fares to get the boat to go). And it’s dark out on the water in a long tail boat – I wouldn’t want to be out there at night, especially after having some drinks.

  2. Boat to Railay with Small Kids

    Thank you for this helpful post. Railay seems to be a very nice place. I am just concerned about the longtail boat to reach there. We have 2 daughters, 3 and 1. Is it safe? What about our baby stroller? Can we bring it on the boat?
    Lastly can we find some bar /cheap restaurant /souvenirs shop/ small market ?
    We are planning to stay there 3 or 4 nights in end October.
    Thank you for your advice!

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Railay does not have a lot of shopping or souvenir shops. For that, Ao Nang or Krabi are better. The food tends to be a little more expensive on Railay but walk to the east beach and then turn north and you’ll find some good value restaurants. Baby stroller is no problem on the boats. Be sure the boat you get on has small life jackets – though not sure if that will include one for a 1 year old. You might want to look into buying a small one and bringing it with you from home.

  3. Krabi in July

    Hi 🙂 thanks for all your posts. They are really interesting and helpful.
    We are a family of 4. Two girls aged 4 &7. Last year we had a fabulous trip to Vietnam for two weeks, mostly around Hoi An. This year we have booked flights to Kuala Lumpur for three weeks from mid July. We plan to book onward flights to somewhere within Asia for that time. We love getting active and all love the idea of krabi area but wonder about the weather at that time ???
    Any other suggestions that would be good at that time of year would be very much appreciated!
    Thanks 🙂

    Claire Rae

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      Typically the weather is nice in July (with a little rain) but the sea can be rough and not safe for swimming. So it’s fine if you just want to sit around the pool.

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