Rai Leh is an “island” off the west coast of Thailand; I say “island” because Rai Leh is part of the mainland but only accessible via boat as there are no roads built through the mainland jungle before Rai Leh. Either a ferry plus longtail or just a longtail boat will take you to Rai Leh, depending on where you depart from. The longtail is required when the tide is out as the shore is left too shallow. Despite transferal to a long tail you still get dropped off 100m from the shore and required to wade through the water towards the shore which boasts illegitimate smoke from the jungle and a mud bath beach.
Rai Leh is a quiet “island” with a few large luxury resort hotels, not much for the backpacking budget. We managed to find a bungalow with shared bathroom for 150thb each (around $5) each we couldn’t really complain about our wooden hut, full of bugs/flying insects, the 3mm thick mattress, dodgy coloured “white” towels that i’m pretty sure was originally one ripped into two and the “bathroom” a.k.a hole in the floor to pee/freezing cold shower squirting out of one hole. By far the worst accommodation I’ve stayed in in my life, if you’re on a budget 9minimum accommodation $10-15 each) and not comfortable with ‘roughing’ it I’d probably skip Rai Leh.
Rai Leh has the most picturesque beaches I visited in Thailand mainly due to the lack of “party scene,” there’s no straws, buckets, plastic cups or piles of miscellaneous clothes strewn across the beach;it’s a great place to relax, sip cocktails and indulge in a new book.
For the active: There is a lot of Rock Climbing on the island as well as day trips cliff jumping around the island. On our last day, I decided it would be a good idea to trek up to the view point of the island, after a 20 minute, no exaggeration, actual rock climb – this is not for the faint hearted I’d reached the summit and successfully looked over the “island” definitely worth a trek up especially when on the main beach you can pay $20 for an actual rock climb which is pretty much the same thing as climbing up to the view point except you’re not harnessed in.