We departed the train in Surat Thani and hopped a 2 hour bus to Krabi, where we were dropped off at the bus station. The bus station was seemingly in the middle of nowhere, so we were at the mercy of the services there at the station to get us where we needed to go.. To get to the Krabi pier, we got a ride in the back of a pickup truck, turned bus, where we boarded a longtail for Railay.. It started raining as soon as we got near the beach (I guess that’s why there’s less people during the monsoon season)..
The rain was refreshing after the overnight train/bus/pickup truck/longtail journey, and finally, we were at our destination. Railay was recommended by Pius, and so far, it did not disappoint. Although Railay is technically attached to the Krabi peninsula, it is cutoff by sheer limestone cliffs to the north, and as such, is only accessible via boat. We waited out the storm for a bit, and then headed out to explore the area a bit and find a hotel..
We headed to West Railay, which has a nicer beach than East Railay, and also some of the nicer resorts.. We stayed at the Railay Village Resort, which was recently renovated, and reopened in September 2007. As in.. it reopened the month that we got to Railay — we were the first ones to stay in the newly renovated rooms, so that was pretty frikkin’ awesome. There were a few quirks with the rooms, as to be expected in any brand new place.. like.. our original room smelled like swamp gas or something, so we moved to another room… and little design details hadn’t been thought about.. like the fact that the bathroom had *clear* windows which afforded everyone in the main room a nice view of you on the pooper. I mean, they were relatively small quirks — overall, the rooms were large, clean, and comfortable.. some details were great, like the heated bathroom floors, and the nice darkwood decor.. Good stuff, overall.
The second day, Korby and I decided to go on a dive trip. We headed out on a longtail to Koh Si. It was monsoon season though, so visibility wasn’t going to be great — these were my 10th and 11th dives ever, so I’m still fascinated by the sheer prospect of being able to breathe underwater, so honestly, as long I’m there, I’m happy. Half of our first dive was spent doing some refresher exercises, clearing the mask, removing regulator, etc.. and then we swam around for a bit. We saw some cool wildlife, including a black tipped reef shark. Sweet. The second dive, we went around the back of Koh Si, and for the first 10 meters, visibility was awful. We descended and lost Korby somewhere along the way, so we had to resurface to find him again. After that, Korby decided to go back to the boat, so Koa and I finished up the dive… we didn’t see anything much different than the first dive, but it was still damn fun. Besides us, there was only the two other people in our longtail diving at this spot, so it was pretty nice to have this dive site all to ourselves…
Railay is well known as a climbing destination, so I had hoped to get some climbing in during my time there — but, we got back a little late from the dive, and I frankly was a bit tired, so I opted for a massage overlooking the beach instead. So nice, and you can’t beat the $6 price.
The next day, we planned to hop on the ferry to Phi Phi, so I decided to take an early morning hike to Phra Nang, the beach on the southern tip of the peninsula. Access is somewhat limited since the ultra-luxury resort, Rayavadee basically blocks access from West Railay. I figured that at 6am, the guards wouldn’t be there.. I was wrong. I tried to sweet talk my way into Rayavadee, but he would have no part of it. So, I had to walk all the way back to East Railay and then walk south down the beach until I found the little path to Phra Nang..
I can see why Rayavadee wants to have Phra Nang all to itself — it’s pretty fecking nice.. White sands welcome you to a lovely south-facing beach, guarded by several huge karst (limestone) formations.. Aside from the security guard policing the southern side of Rayavadee, I was the only person on the beach. And then, a rainbow appeared as if I didn’t know that this beach was something special…
Yah — Railay is awesome. I’ll be back, soon, hopefully.
Thailand Tip #5: Go to Railay.
Thanks Pius, for your recommendation, you have staved off your punch in the gut for a little while longer.