Sun, sand, sea and cliffs
Trip Start Aug 24, 2009
52Trip End Jan 19, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Ton Sai Green Valley Resort
Railay is a peninsula off Krabi in Thailand which can only be reached by boat due to the incredibly steep cliffs preventing any road access to the area. It's split into three main beaches: Rai Leh East, the cheaper, dirty beach side with all the bars playing plenty of reggae, showing bob marley memorabilia, and a certain popular plant offered to you before you cross the threshold; then there's Rai Leh West, the richer resort area with the gorgeous beach; and lastly there's Ton Sai, the climbers' hangout (boom boom..) with plenty of cheap bungalows and more of the same Jamaican themed bars.
The walk from Rai Leh East to West is a simple 10 minute walk through a thin forest, but the walk from Rai Leh over to Ton Sai offers a few options..
There's not much to do in Railay if you don't want to climb every hour of the day or sit on the beach all day, but there was the Sunset boat tour. Alex and I made it up in time (unlike the Aussies..) and despite having gone on a few similar trips over the last couple of weeks, went along for the ride. As it happened, it was a great trip. The best snorkeling I've done to date, with fields of coral over the sea bed, and thousands of fish of all different shapes, colours and sizes just sitting there ignoring you and enjoying the strong current - spectacular. There was also snorkeling through a few 'caves' under an island, the first time I've ever felt even slightly claustrophobic, purely because of the strong current and waves rather than any confined spaces, but a great experience. Then we got dropped off on a tiny idyllic island to watch the sun go down over a meal of green curry, veg and rice. There was a rainbow over the mainland behind us, sailing ship silhouettes in the foreground, and a thunderstorm out to sea - pretty good way to have dinner (although some of our tour group was more interested in throwing rocks around in the shallows than looking at the view, BOCs)
After a few days I moved over to Ton Sai to meet up with Maria from earlier in my travels through Laos, and to do some climbing with Steve. We sorted out a beginners' half day course with a Thai guy called Zak and headed out to the cliffs. After a short knot tying lesson and a 'how to keep your instructor alive while he attaches your safety rope to the top of the climb' lesson, we were ready to go. Zak, and all his 40kg, scurried up the rockface and attached the safety line. Then it was my turn... A good 10 minutes of technique-free, leg-wobbly climbing, and I managed the first climb. The second was not so easy, requiring a good bit of arm-work at the very top while my arms had died after the first climb. The third climb involved starting on a stalactite - lifting yourself about 6 feet before the actual climb started. Only with a massive leg up and a good pull on the safety line from Zak did we manage to get up there... the climb itself was the highest of the lot, a good 25 metres or so. By the end of the day my hands were so knackered that I literally couldn't even squeeze the trigger on a can of deodorant!
Soon after getting to Ton Sai we bumped into Alex in the 'street' (different one... London Alex) completely unexpectedly - the Laos crew was starting to get back together again, with several more arriving on the islands over the next few days
Jungle bar is a classic Thai bamboo bar down on the beach with a fire show, BBQ, cheap beers if you get on with the barman, and bongs being passed round all night. A great place to spend the whole night playing various drinking card games. An insane game called 'chancho' (spanish for 'pig') took the prize for the night - literally fighting over cards in order to get a matching set. So glad they weren't my cards...
Getting a bit bored of lying on the beach (hard life..), Alex, Maria and I took out a longtail boat (long wooden boat with a 4 cylinder engine as the outboard) for some snorkeling on the island just off-shore. After an hour or so of pretty good snorkeling just off a gorgeous beach, the boatmen came over to us and rushed us back into the boat - it turns out there was a storm approaching and they wanted to start heading back straight away
After a few days on Ton Sai we got confirmation that Devas and Izzy were on Ko Phi Phi - back to Phi Phi it was to meet up again! Good bye Railay!