I asked the girl at the information counter in Krabi airport about shuttle buses to Krabi town, where I can find a transpotation to beaches. Instead of giving me the info she tried to talk me into taking a taxi. Even shuttles are affiliated with restaurants and travel agencies; shuttles take you to a travel agency where you can order some food while you are waiting for boats/cars from their affiliations. You can take a long tail boat from Krabi town to Railay Beach (100Bhat/person, departs when 8 people aboard) then to Ao Nang Beach or Tonsai Beach, 60Bhat/person (80Bhat/person after the sunset); or you can take a car from Krabi town to Ao Nang Beach and then take long tail boats to beaches.
A flat path that connects the West and East sides of Railay beach makes it irresistible: two distinct atmospheres with magical lighting changes by both sunrise and sunset can be seen in one beach. Boats from Krabi town drop off passengers at the East side of the beach. Surounded by cliffs, water on the East side of the beach is calm which provides a great spot for trees to grow in the huge tidal flat. Boats to Ao Nang and Tonsai beach are waiting at the West side of the beach where the soft white sand lures everyone to take off clothes and enjoy the touch of the sun. Restaurant waiters serve their customers candles after the sunset, the blinking candle lights resonate with changes of hue of the sky until it turns black. As for dinner, you can't beat Yaya's. It's on the east side of Railay. Their BBQ corn is amazing, highly recommended.
By accident, I got off a boat to Railay at Tonsai Beach and immediately I was distracted by the breathtaking scenery and didn't notice it was not Railay beach. I couldn't stop taking photos until the sun had set then I realized that it wasTonsai Beach. Tonsai Beach is the place for hip Bob Marley loving young people who like a rock climbing, mellow hammock style with a whiff of ganja wafting through the air after sunset. I had the pleasure to witness one rock climber make it all the way to the top of one hong (a steep rock facade jutting out of the sea) and at sunset he jumped off, with a parachute of course, floating down blissfully onto the beach. Style does count and I was impressed, it was a very Zen moment.
I had Deja Vu when I saw Ao Nang Beach, it's like what you might see in any Hollywood beach movie: shops and pubs along the road on one side and a sandy beach, colored gold by sunset on the other side. If there were people on rollerblades and no long tail boats, I would have been convinced that I was in Venice beach, Ca.