I met another traveler at the Pak-Up Hostel whom wanted to go climbing at Railay Beach and so we decided to join forces and travel together to find some glorious limestone. After getting on the long-tail boat and riding to Railey Beach East, we decided to pay an additional $50Baht to get to Tonsai Beach. If you have never been to Railay Beach before it can be slightly confusing as to where you should go. Railay Beach East is lined with very expensive resorts, if that is your thing then you should get off at Railay Beach East. If you are more of a budget traveler and then I would suggest going to Tonsai Beach. Alternatively, if you do not want to pay an additional $50BHT, you can get off at Railay Beach East and walk to Tonsai Beach.
Personally, I would just pay the $50BHT and get over to the beach. Tonsai is next to Railay Beach West and within walking distance. You will find inexpensive beach bungalows. I split a bungalow for $500BHT, therefore paying $250BHT or $8.33 US per night… for a beach bungalow…close to the beach… OR you can pay up to $20,000BHT per night at Railay Beach East. Basically, you can pay as much or as little as your budget can accommodate.
I had not made reservations but was able to find accommodations at the 1st place that I stopped. Keep in mind that it is also the low season so there are not as many travelers to compete with.
The Railay Beach area is amazing! There are activities for everyone! These include, laying on the beach, tanning on the beach, swimming, kayaking, free water soloing, rock climbing and hiking to a lagoon. I had originally planned to stay for one night but ended up staying for 5 nights and want to go back!
Renting equipment for different activities is really affordable. Here is a break-down of prices when I was there.
Renting Double Kayak for 4 hours: $300BHT or $10US
Renting Climbing Equipment for half-day: $800BHT or $26US
Deep Water Soloing for a day: $700BHT or $23US
Laying on the beach: FREE
Walking to lagoon: FREE
The food on the beach is also relatively inexpensive. I got the best chicken burger ever for $70BHT or $2.33US. There is a variety of cheap and delicious street food or nice restaurants that are also decently priced comparatively to western standards.
The rock climbing is out of this world. There are routes for beginners to experts. There are single pitch and multi pitch. If you are coming here for the climbing, obviously bring your own gear. If you want to climb everyday then it is more economical to have your own equipment. I am traveling light and therefore rented equipment for two days. I was able to split the cost with other climbers so it was not too expensive. You can rent from Viking Climbing which is on the far left side of Tonsai Beach when looking at the beach.
Lastly, if you make it to Railay Beach, you must try deep water soloing. It is amazing! A boat takes you out to an island across from Tonsai and you rock climb above the water. There are opportunities to jump from 30ft if you so desire. It was the best thing that I did while at Railay Beach and is really fun!