From Chiang Mai, we flew down to Krabi with a short layover in Bangkok. Once in Krabi, we were met by our driver and started heading down to the coast, where we were to take a longtail boat to Railay. As we were driving, we could see the tall vertical limestone cliffs…like nothing I have seen before! So magestic and ominous at the same time. My mouth was drooling at how many potential climbing routes are there, waiting to be discovered. And although it would be wonderful if someone developed them, I can appreciate them just as they are. Just amazing.
We got on out first long tail boat ride to Railay, which was only about 10 minutes from Krabi. We landed at Railay East at low tide, which basically meant we had to wade in the mud and water with our packs over our heads to shore. We checked into Railay Garden View Resort, which is a year-old development built on the farthest end of Railay East, past the Last Bar. The trail is still being developed, and the actual bungalows are perched high up steep steps in the jungle, which was a bit of a problem at times coming back in the dark after a long day. There is no AC and only cold water is pumped in from the Andaman Sea. Needless to say our showers were nice and brisk!
After we checked in we walked over to Railay West, which is only a 15 minute walk to the other side of the peninsula. Railay West was more of a beachy beach, and developed with newer, fancier accomodations. Along our walk we decided to change our overnight train back to Bangkok in a few days to an actual flight on Thai Airways. We decided we were done with the 14hr train rides! Once we made arrangements online, we were able to relax. We sat on some woven mats and were able to catch the somewhat overcast sunset, Chang in hand and Paad Thai in our bellies.
Railay has an overall chill vibe, and reminded me a lot of my trip to the Philippines in 2004 to the little island of Boracay. Laid back atmosphere, carefree attitude, cool breeze, dredlocked locals, reggae music, and local beer.Â Many of the locals live in nearby Ao Nang and Krabi town, because Railay is too expensive. Whenever I ask them what they think of Bangkok, many of them respond in the same way. “Too many people. Too much pollution.” They all prefer life on the coast.
The storm clouds rolled in soon after the sun set, and we relocated under the thatched roof of the Flametree Bar. We sat for a bit perusing the walls lined with books in all languages and sketches donated by fleeting tourists, then made the hike back to our bungalow by headlamp.