24.04.2010 - 28.05.2010 35 °C
I really think I found my place in Thailand. From the moment I arrived on the ferry from Koh Lanta I was completely jaw-droppingly in awe of the scenery, the beaches, the atmosphere, the people. Everything just seemed to fall into place for me in this place and I reached new levels of pure chillaxing.
I spent the first day there with a group of Canadians that I met on the ferry, Christina, Sarah and Kyle and we were later joined on the beach by Chris who had travelled ahead earlier. The ferry stops quite a way out in the sea and it was a pretty hairy affair getting our luggage onto the longtail boats for transfer to Railay beach in the choppy sea. Railay is a small peninsula in the Krabi province of Thailand, cut off from the mainland by limestone cliffs, hence can only be reached by boat and feels more like being on an island. It is actually made up of four very separate beaches each with very distinct character, so take your pick, there is possibly something for everybody here.. For the splurgers we have the most well known beach, Railay West, quite expensive luxury digs and caters mostly for honeymooners, then the oh very exclusive, beautiful, quiet (and f**king expensive) Pranang beach. For the budget conscious we have the bargain-basement backpackers beach of Tonsai, and finally Railay East, where I stayed, not much of a beach but a relaxed vibe, special atmosphere and good value digs up in the cliffs with the most incredible views.
The boat dropped us off at Railay West, and yikes it was so shallow they drop you out quite a way out so just a bit of a trek through knee deep sea with backpack was quite interesting. As we decided to stay on Railay East this was then followed by a hot sweaty 20 minute trek with backpack across to the very far end beach of the East beach then up a steep steep path to get to the bungalows. Straight in the shower then to the pool for much needed cooling off. YES we had a pool and a Jacuzzi, underneath the limestone cliffs and in beautiful gardens with butterflies and dragonflies. Mango shake in the pool, I was in heaven The 5 of us then walked to Railay West, with beers, to watch the sunset, so so nice. When the sun had gone down I joined the others for a Thai massage which turned out to be quite hilarious. As there were a few of us, we were separated into two groups and I went with Chris who i had literally just met about an hour ago. We walked into the massage place together and were put straight into the private backroom for a ‘couples’ massage. I did try and explain ‘no we are not together’ but they were having none of it, lost in translation. Cue being partially unclothed, limbs entwined with a stranger, getting pummelled, walked on twisted round by a couple of Thai girls. I could not stop laughing. Luckily, we both just found it funny so it wasn’t too awkward. Hilarious!
The others left the next day for some scuba diving on an Island so i set out to explore the beaches and a little light trekking (bloody ankle though, i was so desperate to hike to the hidden lagoon but sadly no chance). With binoculars in hand I explored some of the cliffs, Diamond cave (the interior walls glisten and look like they are covered in tiny diamonds), the mangroves, and finally made my way round to Pranang beach. I was not prepared for how stunning and peaceful this place was. Towering limestone cliffs and rocks, milky turquoise seas and the whitest of sand. With very little warning though, the heavens opened and it absolutely chucked it down so I dived for cover in a cave, to be greeted by.........HUNDREDS of colourful painted penises wrapped in flowers, and ribbons, burning incense and a shrine. WTF!!!!!! Trust me to stumble on a cave full of cocks, it was very surreal!! I did of course google this later and it is actually the Pranang shrine, dedicated to some beautiful Princess who drowned here. It is believed that by placing a wooden cock in this cave, where her spirit resides, you will be blessed with fertility. Anyway there was a penis here for any size and colour, some over a metre long, some tiny, some really skinny. I amused myself for quite a while waiting for the rain to stop.
My last evening in Railay I had dinner up in the mountains and met a local who runs a climbing and coffee shop. His name was ‘Sun’, dreadlocked and covered in tattoos, he was an interesting character. We then went down to the beach area, stopping to talk to so many people on the way as he seemed to know everybody and played a few games of pool in the reggae bar. He then introduced me to his sweet ‘mama’ who runs a restaurant on the beach and then ended up with some others having a few beers back in the mountains. Was a great way to end my time here and I learnt quite a bit about the lidyllic life in Railay, so different to my life back at home. Definitely my kind of place, the ‘life of Railay’!!..