It all started with a romantic getaway at Rayavadee Resort
My wife and I spent Valentine's Day holidays as special guests (aka a complemented stay) at the resort. After visiting 20+ different resorts and hotels and Phuket, we took a 2-hour roadtrip to the edge of Krabi, and then boarded a small ferry to what would later take us to Rayavadee.
This excursion was the ulimate blend of luxury getaway and an eco adventure. We were invited as potential event partners since at the time, the year before the Thai Tourism government branch invited us as guests since we ran our own destination wedding and events company.
But then the pandemic (and a pregnancy) caused that business to grind to a hault.
And our time as destination event professionals were exciting, though they were sometimes trecherously on-the-go years.
The constant monthly grind of hosting events and seeking new venue partners did enable us special opporunitieis to stay at several incredible resorts in Southeast Asia.
Ravayadee Resort in Krabi to me was the most memorable experience of all stays.
There was never and still has not been a place I've enjoyed that has matched up to Rayavadee's versatility of a jungle-like atmosphere. Its activities, exquisite Thai food, a bungalow village, and friendly wildlife, all at the shores by caves, cliffs, and karsts, makes me long to go back.
Railay Beach’s surf and turf
Accessible only by boat due to its enclosed surrounding by giant cliffs, Railay Beach is a smaller beachside coast with enough to see and do for a day or days, depending on your tastes. The views are majestic, with rocky cliffs looking back at you from the sand.
All spectators can’t miss the *ahem* “childbirth cave” a shrine which promises to aid visitors in fertility and reproduction, embedded in the towering cliff that protrudes into the ocean.
Phra Nang Beach is perhaps the most frequented of all sections of Railay, and the entire beach is open to the public.
Be sure to check out Railay Beach’s little tourist village street with enough shops and restaurants to enjoy for all times of the day. Inland, there are options for rock-climbing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
The friendly jungle of Rayavadee Resort
Spread over 26 acres of lush tropical forests and enshrouded by soaring limestone cliffs is the conversation park of Rayavadee Resort.
This people-friendly jungle park is paved with long winding trails. And if not mindful of where you’re heading, you could find yourself circling the paths for an hour or two.
Although you likely won’t miss spotting any monkeys.
Spectacled Langurs (called “Spectacles” because of the black rings around their eye sockets which resemble spherical sunglasses) and Macaque monkeys can be seen frolicking the palm trees’ limbs above, as shown above too.
You might even wake up to them running across the rooftop of your pavilion if staying overnight. If you’re lucky you may encounter a monitor lizard crossing your path. For bio-diversity enthusiasts, Rayavadee is home to 20 types of plants and tropical trees, and over 250 types of ferns and herbal trees.
Coastal kayaking around caves and boulders
Paddle along the rugged rocky cliffs of Krabi’s famed lime stones, or better yet, go inside some with wondrous sea caves and lagoons. Some of the most oddly shaped boulders can be boated up to all at the same time with aquatic lifeforms teeming beneath.
PS I love this kind of kayaking! (me foot modeling in the below pic)
Be sure to bring a Go Pro or at least have your phone protected in a water=resistant case to capture some truly indescribably amazing beings of nature. With nothing but crystal clear ocean waters and the sky, kayaking and snorkeling along these rocks’ ridges is a must.
Kayaking outside of Rayavadee Resort; To embark on a group kakaying or larger boating adventure, you’ll need to go through a tour operator. Where are some of the most recommendable kayaking areas? Some are In the waters right outside of the property.
Where to stay in Railay? Rayavadee.
For the eco-councious luxury traveler, Rayavadee Resort is an immaculate destination.
First, you'll need to arrive to a pier and wait for the yacht/speedboat to take you there. After maybe 20-30 minutes (or shorter, it just felt longer) you arrive. When we went, tractors had to pull in our boats because the tide was too low. Thankfully they did because those shores were muddy as hell.
Fresh off the boat, we felt as if we'd been transported to The Jungle Book. Rayavadee Resort offers pavilions that make the perfect jungle house, along with fine dining and watersports, and private boat transportation. And Rayadee has front end access to the beach, complete with a cafe that is right on the sand with an exlcusve cave for special dining. You can also walk out beyond Rayavadee's shore and enjoy the beautiful views of the rest of the beach.
A Krabi Insider's Travel Tips
Getting to Krabi from Bangkok is (almost) very simple. Direct flights run daily, although you may have to transfer airports if coming in internationally from outside of Thailand. Just be sure you give yourself at least 5 hours between flights if coming in the same day. Locally if you're traveling within Thailand, airfare is relatively affordable depending on the season. Fortunately, Krabi's airport is only 30-45 minutes away from Ao Nang and easy to get to. If staying in Railay, expect a water transfer and possibly a few tractors to pull your boat from the shallow beach's muddy banks of Rayavadee Resort.
Food & Fun
Again, Krabi is far calmer than its neighbor to the left, Phuket (only because in comparison, Phuket is a global tourism megacenter) but nevertheless bustling with plenty of options in culinary entertainment. Ao Nang is the place to be for food. A lively street packed with bars, restaurants, and the coveted night market. Be sure to enjoy a glass of Thai Milk Tea, too. Walking the main street of Ao Nang, expect prices to be double or triple what they are in restaurants further from the epicenter.
Krabi isn't limited to Ao Nang of course. Railey Beach is quieter, and there are other beaches with even lesser tourists. If you're looking to do a stint in Railey and then venture to Ao Nang, there is only one way: a fisherman boat. Just be aware that these are the same boats used for island hopping and not your comfy ferries with docks. Ideal if you're a backpacker. Less ideal if you lugging a heavy suitcase that needs to be wheeled onto the sand and hoisted above your shoulder as you walk into the ocean to your boat: not advised, but a fun story to tell.
If you are a natural paradise love like me, Krabi could be your ultimate tropical adventure in southern Thailand. Krabi is relatively quieter compared to its western neighbor of Phuket. Not far from its livelier neighbor, Ao Nang Beach, Railay Beach is a secluded coastline of boundless natural wonder. From limestone boulders in the beach to wildlife in lush jungles, there’s much to explore in this subterranean paradise. Keep reading on if you want to know more about Rayavadee though...
Definitely consider booking a stay at Rayavadee Resort if you're venturing to Krabi (or Thailand for that matter)
Here's more about this luscious jungle of a resort...
Located at the edge of the Phranang Peninsula, Rayavadee sits on Krabi's Andaman coastline, aka, Krabi province. Rayavdee opened over two decades ago and perfectly balances co-habitational living with its tropical surroundings.
The architecture has been acclaimed for its striking recreation of an idyllic south Thai village, and Rayavadee has won awards for its five-star rated accommodation, including spas, restaurants, and excellent room service. The natural paradise offers 26 acres of garden, jungle, and beach land to keep guests relaxed, with activities such as jungle treks to the mountain available.
Rayavadee also offers special deals such as 'Pay 2 Nights and enjoy the 3rd Night for free' on all room categories - visit www.rayavadee.com/ for more info on that.
*4 source: https://www.uniqhotels.com/rayavadee-krabi
1. How to get to Rayavadee Resort by plane?
The most convenient way to get to Krabi is by flying into Krabi International Airport (KBV). From the airport, you can take a taxi or a shuttle bus to the resort, which is located in the town of Ao Nang. The taxi ride takes about 30 minutes and costs around 400-500 THB.
2. What wild speciies are Rayavadee Resort home to?
As Rayavadee is situated in a tropical setting, surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife. The resort is home to a variety of animal species, including:
Birds: The resort is home to a wide variety of bird species, including kingfishers, hornbills, parakeets, and woodpeckers.
Monkeys: The resort is located near a monkey sanctuary, and it is not uncommon to see monkeys on the property.
Reptiles: The resort is home to a variety of reptiles, including snakes, lizards, and geckos.
Insects: The resort is home to a wide variety of insects, including butterflies, beetles, and grasshoppers.
Fish: The resort has several pools and lagoons on the property, which are home to a variety of fish species.
Sea Mammals: The resort is located near the Andaman Sea, and it is not uncommon to see dolphins, whales, and other marine mammals in the area.
Rayavadee Resort is home to a diverse array of animal species be seen on the hotel's property or in the surrounding area.
3. What sports or activities can I look forward to at Rayavadee Resort?
Guests can book a variety of tours, excursions and activities such as a tour by water on a luxury speedboat to Koh Phi Phi or Phuket or an excursion by land to the jungle and lake of Khao.
The resort is situated in a tropical setting and offers a wide variety of activities and amenities for guests to enjoy. Some potential activities that you might be able to do at the resort include:
Swimming: The resort has 12 swimming pools altogether, including a infinity pool and a children's pool, as well as a private beach with crystal-clear waters.
Water sports: The resort offers a variety of water sports, including snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Spa treatments: The resort has a spa that offers a variety of treatments, including massages, body wraps, and facials.
Fitness: The resort has a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment, as well as a tennis court and a yoga pavilion.
Dining: The resort has several restaurants and bars that offer a variety of cuisines and drinks.
Cultural activities: The resort offers a range of cultural activities, including Thai cooking classes and cultural shows.
Excursions: The resort can help you arrange excursions to nearby attractions, such as temples, islands, and national parks.
There's plenty to do, trust me.
4. What types of accomodations or rooms can I book at Rayavadee Resort?
The sprawilng property houses 94 two-story pavilions and 7 high-end villas, all of which are situated throughout its pathed gardens, tropical jungle (with free-roaming, friendly monkeys) and coconut trees and groves, some enshrouded by high cliffs. No matter where you're staying, Railay and Phranang Beaches are a mere few minutes' stroll.
The resort offers a variety of accommodations, including:
- Deluxe Cottages: These cottages are set in lush tropical gardens and feature a private balcony or terrace with views of the gardens, pool, or sea.
- Grand Deluxe Cottages: These cottages are larger and more luxurious than the Deluxe Cottages, and feature a private balcony or terrace with panoramic views of the sea.
- Pool Pavilions: These pavilions feature a private plunge pool and a spacious living area with a private balcony or terrace.
- Two-Bedroom Pool Pavilions: These pavilions are larger than the standard Pool Pavilions and feature two bedrooms, each with its own en-suite bathroom. They also have a private plunge pool and a spacious living area with a private balcony or terrace.
- The Rayavadee Residence: This luxurious three-bedroom villa features a private pool, a large living and dining area, and a fully equipped kitchen.
5. What cuisines can I look forward to eating at Rayavadee Resort?
The resort offers a range of dining options for guests, indluding four restaurants and three bars, each with its own unique atmosphere and cuisine.
- The Grotto: This restaurant serves Thai and international cuisine and is located in a beautiful cave-like setting that's right on the beach! (photo below)
- The Krua Phranang: This restaurant offers a range of Thai dishes, including traditional seafood specialties and spicy southern Thai cuisine.
- The Raya Dining: This restaurant serves a range of international dishes, including seafood, meats, and vegetarian options.
- The Raya Club: This restaurant is only open to guests staying in the Grand Deluxe Cottages or higher and offers a range of international dishes and a daily changing menu.
In addition to these restaurants, the resort also has three bars: The Raya Bar, which serves a range of cocktails and light snacks; The Pool Bar, which offers refreshing drinks and light meals by the pool; and The Beach Bar, which is located on the beach and serves a range of drinks and snacks.
The resort also offers a range of private dining experiences, including beach dinners, candlelit dinners on the resort's private pier, and in-villa dining options.
Part of this story orginally appeared in my article featured in the print version of Hai Life, by Hainan Airlines