Below: Other Andaman Coast Destinations - Best of the Rest
West Railay Beach
This beautiful beach is part of the Railay Peninsula, 15 minutes from Ao Nang by longtail boat. It is especially beautiful after sunset, when the silhouetted surrounding rock-faces give the place a totally unique and almost supernatural look. Idling on the beach whilst watching the antics of the rock climbers scaling the surrounding cliffs is about as relaxing an experience as can be found anywhere.
West Railay beach is majestic. A long, broad strip of white sand framed at each end by huge cliffs, West Railay has more activities going on than does nearby Phra Nang beach. On most days in high season there are games of football and beach volleyball, in which visitors are welcome to join in.
To the right the bay stretches away past Tonsai to the massive Sleeping Indian cliffs, so named because that is exactly what they resemble, at night. The kilometre-long Sleeping Indian (pictures below) is lying on his back, with his hands folded across his midriff, his feet sticking up and a feather sticking out of his headdress – it’s an uncanny resemblance, especially at night-time.
The place to catch the sunset is at Coco’s very comfortable bar, right in the middle of the beach. This, the only bar on West Railay, is always a quiet one and has to be a candidate for being southeast Asia’s best beach bar.
After sunset West Railay beach starts to empty and by midnight is usually almost completely deserted, except for the occasional party of illicit skinny-dippers, enjoying a dip au naturel at the northern end of the beach, where there are no resorts and so no people around.
Midnight swims, au naturel or otherwise, are sensational on dark nights, when the brilliant-blue bioluminescence in the water lights up disturbed water like a neon-lit Christmas tree. To best appreciate this amazing phenomenon, bring a pair of swimming goggles along and swim underwater for a while: the bioluminescence will wreath your body in a million tiny blue lights, in surely the loveliest clothes you’ve ever worn.
Railay West Beach is part of the Railay Peninsula, which is located a 15 minutes boat ride from Ao Nang.