Railay Beach = Gorgeous beaches, rock climbing, cayaking, hiking...
04.08.2008 - 04.11.2008
After a couple of weeks in Phuket we decided we needed a vacation from our vacation and headed to Railay Beach in the Krabi province. Yes, we left one gorgeous beach for another...
Railay is isolated from the mainland by huge rocky limestone cliffs that create the peninsula where we headed. It is surrounded by the luke warm waters of the Andaman Sea, lush jungle (full of mosquitos), and twisted rock which I later learned Carlos and I would rock climb! Since Railay is only accessible by boat, we took a 3 hour boat ride from Phuket then a long tail boat ride to Railay, which not so smoothly "delivered" us on the beach. As we jumped off the boat and got soaked by the clear, emerald green-blue waters, it didn't seem too bad after all.
From the first glimpse one realizes that Railay is one of the most stunning beaches in Thailand. This place is often the gorgeous shots featured on tourist posters of Thailand and there are endless postcard quality pictures to snap.
Once we were on the beach, we walked through the beaches towards our hotel (if you can call it that - a better word would be huts). The fine white sand between our toes was the softest I ever remember feeling and the limestone formations from the surrounding cliffs made the magic of the place even more surreal. Relaxation seeps into your pores from the first few steps we took, although Carlos had us climbing the cliffs within 30 minutes after arriving and after being half eaten alive by the vicious Railay mosquitos we got to one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been to - Pranang.
Mom in Au Nang
After lazying around the beach we headed back to our huts and took showers to head to dinner. At night, Railay is fairly quiet, with a few small beach bars that are mostly rasta-style with live music and fire shows that we checked out. The fire shows are mesmerizing - with a Singha (yummy Thai beer) in your hand, the trance-like music and the fire you seem to go into a kind of timeless, dreamy state. We were home and in bed by 10:00 pm, but I would have sworn it was the wee hours of the morning...
Relaxing on the bamboo hammock
The next morning, after a great breakfast cosisting of banana pancakes and fresh squeezed papaya juice we headed to Wee's Climbing School to go rock climb for the day. Mom was like papparazi and took about a million shots of us (thanks mom!)
Getting our gear on!
After a boat ride and a long hike, we got to our climbing spot and joined about 15 other climbers. Alex, our climbing guru, gave me a step-by-step, rules and guidelines, 5-minute talk about how to do what I was about to do. Since Carlos has climbed a few times before, I was the only newby to worry about. After learning how to tie the knots that would save my life if I fell, we started our first climb. Los went first and did great - making it look easy for his little sister. Little did I know how hard it was! My poor limbs were hurting within the first 60 seconds, but Alex knew every inch of that rock and guided us the whole way "reach up to your right 30 degrees and hook your arm around the rock and find the hole to hang onto..." and voila! you had your next hold. The view from the top was incredible and coming down was the best part of the climb. After our fifth climb, Carlos and I could barely stand or grip anything, but we were so proud and exhilarated to have done it. We can't wait to do it again!!
[i]Almost to the top!
Alex, Carlos and I
Dinner that night was challenging as we could barely lift our forks to our mouths, but we found a great restaurant that was playing latin music in the background, lit by soft lanterns and had tables close to the ground where you sat on oversized pillows, laid back and relaxed. All restaurants should be set up this way!! What a relaxing way to eat and enjoy food.
The next day, mom and I were ready to be beach bums, but Carlos insisted on going kayaking. We just about voted him off the island....but finally agreed to do it. Of course, he was so right! We had a blast (although I honestly don't know how my arms answered to my brain). We kayaked all alongside the awesome cliffs, found a huge cave-like area where the water was calm and the three of us laid down on the kayaks and floated, feeling like we were almost flying, staring up at the cliffs and contemplating life. It was very Zen. We found a few more spots where we repeated this and decided to head back. How we made it back to the beach after being out so long is beyond me, but we did it.
Railay Beach in the background heading towards the cliffs
After another crazy hike through the forest, we gathered our things and headed for the boat to take us back "home" (Carlos' hotel in Patong Beach). Needless to say, we loved Railay!!