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Rai Leh (Railey), Thailand

by admin on May 16th, 2010

The small Rai Leh peninsula is a tourist resort in the Krabi province, known for the gorgeous beaches and limestone cliffs, which make it a “climber’s paradise” (but you need a strong heart to do rock climbing in great heat!).  The “dry season” for Thailand’s Andaman coast is from January to April, and from May to December they have the “rainy” season (rainy just means lightening and thundering and pouring from the sky for a couple of hours a day, but temperatures remain high!).  We heard it can get awfully crowded at peak season but it was just perfect when we were there at the end of April.

It is very hard to get out of the “tourist bubble” in Rai Leh, and in general, in Thailand’s famous island-resorts.  This is to be expected, since the only people who live in Rai Leh are the workers at hotels/restaurants. BUT, even for someone who doesn’t like touristy places, Rai Leh is just beautiful. The white sand, the clear green water shaded by the limestone cliffs, it feels surreal.

This being said, if you wonder off into the parts of Rai Leh where workers are hosted, you cannot stay as happy looking at the conditions they are provided with. A concrete wall separates the nice tourist bungalows from the downright shacks workers live in.  Also, a part of the east beach of the peninsula, that is used mainly for boats and not for swimming, uncovers a pile of garbage at low tide… Quite understandably, Thai workers here seem rather fed up with tourists (or “farang” or “fareng” as they call foreigners) and if you long for a display of that famed Thai hospitality, Rai Leh is not the place you’ll get it.

“Long boats” have been traditionally used in Thailand for fishing; they have a particular shape and most of the times luck-bringing colourful cloths are tied to the front. Nowadays they have an added engine at the back and they are used a lot for tourism as well as fishing. The next picture is from our long-boat ride from Krabi to Rai Leh:

Phra Nang beach, the most beautiful in Rai Leh; the bay is shaded in the morning, the water is always warm (around 30 C) – it is the kind of place that makes you lose track of time:

Local bird, spotted from the water:

The next picture is at our hotel (actually a set of bungalows spreading from the West Beach towards the inside of the peninsula):

The West Beach:

Rai Leh being such a touristy place, food is generally safe, but not too delicious (for Thai food)…This place is the exception, with the greatest food (and view)! The first picture is the view, the second the food: fragrant coconut chicken soup served in a coconut, pineapple rice served in a pineapple, green Thai curry, coconut milk straight from the coconut…mmmm. Seriously, this was among the best food we’ve ever had.

On a less happy note, the garbage I was talking about, uncovered by low tide on the East side:

Practical Advice
It’s unlikely that you will find cheap decent conditions in Rai Leh. We recommend the West Beach for accommodation – even if a bit more expensive, you will be away from the somewhat unpleasant east side… plus the west beach is very nice at night. Just look around and ask for prices. Conditions are more or less similar.

A bit hard to find, up the hill, past the cave, but the best in Rai Leh: Rock Restaurant

Must See
Phra Nang Beach

From → South East Asia

One Comment
  1. alm permalink

    hhehehhe good to see u around!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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