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Leam Nang

Rai Lei Beach, Krabi | Photo by McKay Savage/commons.wikimedia.org
Rai Lei Beach, Krabi | Photo by McKay Savage/commons.wikimedia.org
Laem Nang, Krabi, Thailand
  • A

RAI LEI BEACH

1 mile from Ao Nang, Krabi

RAI LEI BEACH. 8°00.637N, 98°50.094E

Anchorage is in 4-5 metres on sand in the centre of the bay. This bay has spectacular stacks of rock forming headlands to the north and south.

In the shade of the coconut palms fringing the beach, restaurants and bungalows tend to be frequented by educated budget travellers, contributing to the easygoing ambiance. Some comfortable private houses are set back from the north end of the beach, for rent on a daily basis.

A reef, easily seen in the clear waters and a magnet for snorkellers, extends into the bay at the southern end of the beach. Walk along the headland at low tide, and find several caves, fissures and spectacular overhangs. Going to the right on the beach, there are longtail boats for hire; there is no road access to this area due to the enclosing rock walls.

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  • B

THAM PHRA NANG

1.5 miles from Ao Nang, Krabi

THAM PHRA NANG. 8°00.214N, 98°50.252E

Just around the corner from the tall stack which forms Koh Nang is the most strikingly attractive palm-fringed bay in the region. Anchorage with reasonable swinging room is possible for three or four vessels in 5-6 metres on a sandy bottom in the northeast monsoon season.

Between Koh Nang and the beach is a colourful coral reef, excellent for snorkelling. This passage is definitely impassable for keel-boats, and even for dinghies it’s advisable only at high water, whatever the activities of the local longtail boats might seem to suggest.

Princess Cave with colourful Phallic shrine at Tham Phra Nang | Photo by Grenville Fordham
Princess Cave with phallic shrine at Tham Phra Nang | Photo by Grenville Fordham

The famous ‘Princess Cave’, with a colourful phallic shrine inside, is at the south end of the beach. Lots of rocky overhangs and outcrops make for great exploring. Behind the beach lies the Rayavadee Resort in a spectacular coconut-grove setting. Hotel facilities are for guests only. There is no access by road.

On the path from East Rai Lei to Tham Phra Nang is the track to the Pool Cave. Although there are ropes to assist with the almost vertical climb, this is not for the faint-hearted or the unfit.

Sport rock climbing has been thriving here on the steep-sided limestone pillars. Tour companies based in East Rai Lei on the other side of the Laem Nang headland or in Ao Nang can arrange equipment and guides as well as climbing tuition.

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  • C

EAST RAI LEI

3 miles from Ao Nang, Krabi

EAST RAI LEI. 8°00.586N, 98°50.619E

This anchorage provides reasonable shelter, particularly during wind or swells from the west, and is the one used by supply boats that service the hotels and bungalows on the rock-enclosed peninsula as well as hordes of noisy island day trip long tail boats.

To the east, past Ao Nam Mao, is the famous fossil shell beach locally known as the Su San Hoi which has huge slabs that look like poured concrete embedded with 75 million-year-old shells.

For shore access tie your dinghy toward the seaward end of the long floating pontoon. Watch your step on this pontoon; wear appropriate footwear and bring a torch if going ashore after dark. The road joining the bays is paved accessing the middle ground, now a mish-mash of supermarkets, restaurants and lively bars. From the pontoon base, turn right then next left for the quickest path to Rai Lei’s ‘Sunset Beach’.

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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

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