RAILAY BEACH - KRABIJune 29, 2014
The journey from England to Thailand was a long and tedious one. It took well over 24 hours and utilised pretty much every single form of transport ever created by man, including: plane, bus, boat and tuktuk (when in Thailand, right?). However once I had finally reached my destination, I knew straight away that it had been a worthwhile pursuit. Setting foot on Railay beach instantly sobered me from the haze of sleep deprivation and jet lag and filled me with excitement. With sand under my feet and palm trees on the horizon, I knew that I had finally arrived in Thailand!
I kicked off my time in Thailand in the South as it's home to a collection of stunning islands and some of the best beaches in the whole of the country. There are a variety of ways to get to south Thailand from Bangkok including a sleeper trains and buses. They generally takes upwards of ten hours depending on where in south Thailand you want to go. Flying is of course the most direct and comfortable option and there are some pretty reasonably priced flights to be had. I flew straight from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Krabi Airport.
The best way to get from Krabi to Railay beach is to take a long-tail boat. I caught one form Ao Nam Mao Pier, but there are also long tail boats going to Railay beach from Ao Nang Pier.
The short, 15 minute voyage takes you past some beautiful limestone hills which are an unmissable feature of Thailand's topography. Railay beach is a small peninsula that is blocked off from the rest of Krabi by similar limestone hills; these are easily circumvented by taking a long tail boat around to Railay beach.
Railay itself is pretty small and has two main beaches. Railay West is characterised by its delicate white sand and crystal blue waters whereas Railay East is pebbly and has mangroves and is the main docking point for boats.
We came across The Viewpoint Resort which has a restaurant located right on the beach just a five minute walk from where we docked. It's quite hard to see in these pictures but the restaurant itself is on the deck of a boat that is permanently marooned upon the beach amongst the mangroves.
Now let's get on to the good stuff...the food. Time and time again, I have heard resounding assurance that Thai food is one of the country's greatest attributes. Not only is it delicious but it's cheap compared with what you would typically pay back in the UK. This place certainly lived up to my preconceived expectations. 800 baht (around £15) brought us freshly barbecued king prawns, steak and vegetables, not to mention a buffet with a whole selection of Thai dishes. You could easily blow double that amount on something equivalent back in the UK
Initially I had planned to travel around South Thailand on my own however a well travelled Bangkok friend of mine joined me last minute. I always find that first-hand accounts of adventure and misadventure to be unparalleled travel advice. You will always learn things from people's gritty and honest travel stories that you will never read in travel guides.
Despite being severely sleep deprived, I was too excited about the fact that I was finally in Thailand to get an early night, so on went the exploration of Railay.
I couldn't resist a late night swim on Railay West beach. If you get the opportunity to visit a nice beach in Thailand, I highly recommend going for a late night swim, particularly if it's a clear night and the stars are out. It's an incredible experience.
The next morning after a much needed lie-in, the weather wasn't the glorious tropical sunshine that I had hoped for. Instead it was quite overcast. This was because it's currently the low season (also known as the rainy season) which runs from May to October. During the rainy season downpours and overcast conditions are very common and temperatures aren't as Satanically hot as they are during the high season, which comes as a relief to some. The high season runs from November to February and correlates with the busy tourist season. Accommodation and other things that are geared towards the tourism trade tend to be significantly cheaper this time of year. This is not to say that the weather is never clear during low season - just always be prepared for an unexpected drench.
Waking up in paradise.
Real Coffee is located on Railay East's beach front and is one of the many great places to grab food in the area. It's a particularly good place to go to get your morning caffeine fix and breakfast.
By midday the sun had come out to play so it was back to Railay West for a swim and a sunbathe.