Rocks, on Rocks, on Rocks: Railay Beach
I’ve gotten multiple inquiries about how to climb to see the Viewpoint and Lagoon on Railay, Krabi. I was trying to write one post about all of Krabi, but to spare everyone the lengthy novel, for now, I’ll only be talking about the rocks, on rocks, on rocks!
Railay Beach is known for its rock climbing scene, and I'm not a rock climber whatsoever, but I found getting to the Viewpoint and Lagoon isn't rock climbing in the typical sense - you'll hold on to ropes without a harness, and use them to gain leverage. On Railay Beach [west], walk through the street, with all the food stands, to East Railay. Then, turn right and follow the main path around the bend. Eventually, there will be a sign on your left with some benches on your right. Just behind the sign is the first part of the climb up to the Viewpoint and Lagoon; you do not need a tour or to pay anything to do this! If you reach the penises at Phra Nang Beach and Cave, you’ve gone too far…
The first [relatively easy] part up!
I really recommend wearing gym shoes, stretchy yoga capris, and your swim suit under your clothes (for guys, gym shoes with your swim trunks and a t-shirt would be fine). That is what I wore and - though I got super dirty - the shoes made it much easier, and my legs felt protected while climbing to and from the lagoon. I saw people try to do this in flip flops, and everyone ended up having to go barefoot. I also had a small backpack with me to hold my towel, water, and phone, but make sure to have only a small backpack.
PSA: everything you bring and wear will get dirty with a rust-colored mud, so you end up like this:
To get up the first part of the climb, it’s pretty steep, but most of the way you don’t really even need the rope - just good balance! If it’s been raining recently (like even within three days) it will be slippery, and you need to be careful! After the majority of the way up, you’ll come to a fork in the path with two signs: left is to the Viewpoint, and right is to the Lagoon. I started with the Viewpoint because it’s much easier.
After a few more minutes to the left, you come to a small opening with a gorgeous view! It takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the Viewpoint from the ground. Even though it’s “easier,” you’ll probably still be really sweaty. I do recommend bringing water, even if it’s just a small bottle, at least to this point. If you don’t want to carry anything extra, maybe set the bottle down before the Lagoon and pick it up later. *Please don’t leave garbage!*
If and when you’re daring to try, head back the same way you came to the fork in the path (or there’s a shortcut to the other path, towards the Lagoon, just before you’re back at the fork). Again, right is to the Lagoon if you’re facing the fork in the path! This is where you will spend probably two hours getting down and back up - with maybe 20 minutes to chill in the Lagoon. You walk a little bit before you come to the first drop. If memory serves, there are four tiers down to the Lagoon. Please remember that whatever you do down, you will have to do back up. I felt that going back up was easier, but you need a decent amount of upper body strength, especially with a backpack.
At any time, if you feel like you’re really doubting if you can do it, (like you’re in the middle of a drop and you can’t reach the footing for the life of you) it’s better to turn around rather than get hurt! There was a woman I was walking with from the Viewpoint to the Lagoon, and she had to climb back up and leave because she couldn’t do the second drop.
Now, this is hard work, but I think that’s part of the experience! I swear, the Lagoon is worth it! There will be other people climbing up and down, and people will say “oh, it’s so worth it,” or “be careful with this one; it’s slippery.” So, you can approach this solo (I did), but you’ll probably meet some buds along the way! I met three Americans, who helped me on the way down, and I honestly don’t think I could’ve done this without them!
The first part of the way down is the easiest. You'll walk down a steep hill for a little, then there will be the first drop. Also, you won’t see the Lagoon at all until you get to the top of the last drop, but I think that builds some nice anticipation! This is what you’ll see:
Before this, there are three potentially tricky parts; one is a big drop with more difficult footing (I believe on the second tier). You should go in the space between the two rocks - where the rope is - and switching sides may help you! Then, there is one part where you have to go through a pretty tight opening in some rocks. When going down, you walk to the right and there is a rope through a hole - be careful with backpacks here! Lastly, there is another spot (I believe the last tier) where there is a big drop at the end of the rope. Either use the loop at the end of the rope for footing, or stretch to use the rocks on the left.
FINALLY, you’ll be rewarded with this!
The Lagoon is magical! It’s completely enclosed in cliffs, which are covered by foliage, and it’s a stunning display of nature. Yes, you can swim in the Lagoon! I recommend going to the center and floating on your back in the peaceful, quiet bliss - nothing but the birds chirping.
Once you’re done hanging out here, you have to climb all the way back up! Again, I think this is easier because you can see where you’re going. When you are going down, you have no idea where you are putting your feet. For climbing up, you just need the upper body strength, and the ability to stretch your legs (or being tall really helps)!
After you climb back up the tiers, walk back the same way you came from the ground originally while feelin’ like a champ! ;)
Comment with questions or suggestions for a post. If you do the Viewpoint/Lagoon, comment to tell me about it! I’d love to hear the story!