04.01.2013 - 04.01.2013 31 °C
Thankfully when we woke up this morning it had stopped raining so we could go ahead with our plans to visit the beach. We got up early to make a day of it and was sat eating our breakfast on the river by 10am.
One if the most popular beaches in this area is Railay, which is actually two beaches, east and west. Although it is on the mainland the only way to access it is by boat. There are a number of longboats that dock on the riverside that cost 150 baht (£3) per person each way. We tried to negotiate with them but they were having none of it. We think that it is expensive, it is only a 45 minute boat ride and the boat can easily hold around a dozen people so they must be making a killing. Or maybe we are just becoming tight? When boarding the boat Chelsea slipped on the wet jetty and fell dramatically, her feet went over her head before she even started to come back down to earth, luckily the boat and the boatman cushioned her fall and she came away unscathed apart from a little embarressment.
The journey itself is nice but wet, the boat is slow and the small engine is very loud but it is smooth and you pass a very scenic shoreline of limestone cliffs, tiny seculded beaches and caves. At then end of Krabi Town is a fishing area, where small trawler boats were parked up delivering the daily catch and there are several small houses or huts built over the river where people live.
The arrival area on Railay beach is a small beaching and docking area hemmed in by large limestone cliffs and trees. Unfortunately the tide was out and the boat had to stop about 20 feet from shore and we had to wade through the sea onto shore. The sea in this area is very opaque due to the boats so it was a bit unnerving as it felt muddy and like jelly on your feet.
Once on dry ground we headed accross the land past some very up market resorts onto Railay West beach. We were not expecting there to be so many people. The beach is long, and surronded by more tall limestone peaks, more boats are moored to take you to other beaches around the area. There are a few shops on Walking Street and a couple of bars and activity shops. We walked along the beach to the north end where thankfully it was a little quiter and there were no boats so the sea was turqouise and very clear. The beach is stunning, white sand and clear water with huge cliffs however the amount of people and boats spoils it a little. The boats are noisy and it is difficult to find a private spot on the beach.
We found a place under a tree and sat in the sun until we couldn't take the heat anymore. It goes without saying that Liam was the first to cave and crawled back into the shade. We sat there for a couple of hours then decided to go for a swim. As the water was so clear we were a little braver than we had been in the jellyfish waters off Langkawi. By the time we came out it had just started to rain so we dried off under the tree and left the beach.
As there are so many large limestone cliffs around, the area is a favorite place for rock climbers. We went to another of the beaches before leaving and on the way we saw dozens of people attempting climbs. You walk right alongside the steep cliffs and small caves on the way to the beaches. The walk to the other beach is very interesting, the cliffs have eroded and there are little caves and huge overhangs with vines and trees entwined into the rock. There is a 'path' you can take to the left which leads to a viewpoint up on the tops but it is basically a vertal climb up a steep hill with a rope and tree roots as steps and our footwear (and stamina) was not up for it. We were stunned when we got to the second beach, it is an extemely pretty beach where you can swim right upto the cliffs, the beach itself was quite long but narrow but there were so many people crammed onto the sand, practically sat on each others laps. We watched some of the rock climbers at the rear of the beach but it was far too busy for us so after a couple of photos we made our way back to the boat. Luckily another couple was waiting for a boat back to town so we shared the boat with them.
We came back to the guesthouse to research our next stop Ko Lanta, because we still had no where to stay. We have researched it for two days, everything seemed full, we sent a couple of email enquires but no one has come back to us. Our guesthouse even has a few bungalows to promote - even they were all full. We even got our nice guest house owner to phone around all is contact but nothing within our budgget was available. It got late and in the end we had to concede defeat, we are not going to Ko Lanta as it is peek season we can't risk just turning up with nowhere to stay. Instead we have decided to go further north, we will travel tomorrow to Ranong, stay one night, before getting a ferry to the island of Ko Phayam. Ko Phayam is a sleepy little island, with no cars, no ATM's and even sporadic electricity (solar by day, generator by night). There are a few bars and plenty of beach and the best part, not many people (we are so unsociable). Lucikly we rang up this evening and booked a bamboo bungalow for a week at £6 a night. It claims to have WIFI (not sure how good this will be) so we can continue to update this blog. We had talked about going to Ko Phayam after Ko Lanta, so we will just go earlier and plan another island (at the minute Ko Tao in the Gulf of Thailand) before we jump into the chaos that is Bangkok.
Sorting out the above really stressed us out and we were really hungry by the time we had finished. We went to the street food area we went yesterday and visited a different stall. The place sits you down, gives you a menu with some simple English translations and a pad, you write down what you want and when its done they bring it you. It was just as incredible as yesterday, Chelsea had a Spicy Chinese Sausage Salad and Liam had Noodle Soup with Seafood. Both were some of the best food we have had so far... delicious, fresh and quick. What makes it even better is the table condiments, additional soy sauce, sugar, dried and fresh chilli's so you can spice up your meal. On the way back we walked past a stall selling spicy freshly BBQ'd chicken on a stick, we could not resist so we had a stick each for the walk home for 20p.
We have a really early start in the morning to make an 8am bus to Ranong. We have enjoyed Krabi, there are quite alot of things further afield that we have not had time to see but we have loved the town. There is great food, cheap bars and although a working town, really laid back. We are looking forward to the rest of Thailand. We are expecting Ranong to be quite different as it is right next to the border with Myanmar and if we like it may stay a few nights after our island retreat.