Railay Beach and the Princess Lagoon – Krabi, Thailand

I love those hard-to-reach off-the-beaten path gems that are best found by word of mouth. Not that the Princess lagoon is a place you could only find on a treasure map, but I’d never heard of it. A new friend in Patong told me about a beach that you could only reach by boat, and the lagoon there that was completely cut off from the sea – The Princess Lagoon. It is surrounded by 100 meter sheer rock walls, and the only way in is up and over. But first you have to get there.

So, I took a bus to Krabi, and a boat to Railay Beach. From there you walk the coast of the bay to a paved path that connects to the more scenic side of Railay Beach. Between the two is a muddy landslide of a trail that goes straight up the cliff face. You literally have to climb roots, vines, and ropes to ascend. You are rewarded at the top, however, by a breathtaking viewpoint of both Railay Beaches – East and West. If you are brave, or crazy, you can scale the rock face to a peak that tops it all. Save some energy though. You still have to climb down into the Princess Lagoon, and back out. The path down being even more treacherous than the up.

However, the bounty is beautiful, and the lagoon is incredible! It feels like stepping deep into earths prehistoric past. The surrounding rock faces create a cavernous feel, with stalactites and stalagmites closing in like the jagged teeth of a gigantic jaw. The water is a tranquil blue with banks of deep red clay, and lumbering palms dipping lightly into the lagoon. The majority of the time I was there the deadly decent kept me in relative solitude, despite being dead center of a tourist hot spot.

When you finally do decide to climb you ass out and rejoin the present, one of Thailand’s most beautiful beaches awaits. It is book-ended by monolithic majesty with an island right in the center. At low tide you can actually walk across for a visit. There is amazing rock climbing on all sides. Next time, I am bringing my shoes for a traverse, if nothing else.

And it may be a secluded paradise, but fast food is still readily available. But since there are no roads to Railay Beach you get food boats instead of food trucks.

At the end of the day, I left beat-up, tired, and dirty, smiling the whole way home. From there, I had to figure out how to get to the airport in time for my flight to Chiang Mai, Three hours later…