Ao Nang, Thailand

Rai Leh (Railay) Peninsula


Other Activities

Rai Leh is not a major diving spot as the local coral and sea life here is not as diverse or spectacular as other areas of Thailand. Serious divers tend to prefer the Similan Islands, Ko Phi Phi or Ko Lanta for quality diving. However, there is a dive centre that will certify divers and take them on boat trips to decent dive sites including a sunken wreck. You can find more dive centres if staying in Ao Nang.

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A popular dive site in Rai Leh is where the King Cruiser (a car ferry) sank in 1997 - this is the most popular dive site around Rai Leh. The site is the only wreck in the area and located about 30 meters below the water. Unfortunately the condition of wreck is deteriorating fairly fast in the warm waters. Visibility is around 15 metres (29 feet) but in ideal conditions can be as far as 30 metres (98 feet). December to January generally offers the best diving conditions while September is the worst with the rainy monsoon and choppy waters.

Snorkeling is not a major draw for Rai Leh but possible to swim out and see corasl and fishes a few meters off the sandy beaches. Beware of the ever present long-tail boat traffic. Most looking for some snorkeling fun rent a long-tail and head for the islands south and west of Rai Leh (such as Poda Island) but even there snorkelling is only moderate. Some hotels organise snorkelling trips or you may prefer to charter your own boat. A one way trip usually takes less than 25 minutes.

Sea around Rai Leh by Deror Avi

While not as good as at Phang Nga, kayaking around the peninsula at Rai Leh affords an alternative to rock climbing. Several of the limestone islets off Phra Nang Beach have sea caves eroded into their bases, including a few large enough to beach the kayaks and explore the caves. Paddling into the caves and through subterranean passages is particularly interesting but watch out for the low jagged ceilings. For those with ambition, a short open-water crossing leads to the island of Ko Poda with its beautiful and relatively isolated beaches.

Several bungalow resorts on the Rai Leh West offer sea kayaks for rent for around 600 baht for half-day and 1,000 baht for full-day (including life-vests). The kayaks are simple two-seat plastic models but perform generally well on the millpond-smooth water of the bay. A half-day is usually long enough to explore the waters around Rai Leh. A bottle of water, a hat and plenty of sun protection are essential!

Kayaking in Rai Leh by plusgood

Rai Leh itself does not offer many opportunities for trekking, since the peninsula is quite small. Along a paved path running from Rai Leh East to Phra Nang Beach, a so-called "trail" leads up a slippery, rocky embankment to a jungle-covered plateau. A narrow, indistinct trail circles the top of the southern tower, with a left turn offering access to the highest point (navigable only with climbing gear), offering a fantastic lookout point over the peninsula.

A right turn on the path leads downward to a glen and further down to a secret lagoon called Sa Phra Nang (Holy Princess Pool). The path down from the glen to the lagoon is treacherous (even for the experienced) being steep and slippery. Furthermore, the knotted nylon ropes are often more dangerous than they are helpful. The lagoon itself is breathtakingly beautiful, but try not to step in, as the soft bottomless muck has quite a penchant for trekkers' footwear.

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Ao Nang
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