This post is titled Krabi and Railay but in reality, our time in Krabi was spent drinking coffee and in an internet cafe booking our flights for future destinations. Sometimes, travelling cannot be a holiday. We have to work. After a day of planning, Team Plan decided we would catch a long tail boat over to Railay first thing in the morning.
Railay is a small peninsula located between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang and accessible only by boat due to the high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. Just because there was sea pretty much ‘all’ the way around, and we arrived by boat, don’t let that fool you, like one member of the team (who shall remain nameless), Railay is not an island.
The main attraction for our visit, and many others, was the limestone cliffs which attracts rock climbers from all over the world. The four main areas of Railay consist of Pranang, West Railay, East Railay and Tonsai. Tonsai caters to climbers and the backpacker set and is more rustic in character than the glitz of West Railay and the shops and restaurants of the East Railay boardwalk.
Arriving into East Railay Beach, following a short boat journey over, we scoped out our accommodation and finally settled on somewhere to stay. Greg and Issy paid more for a slightly nicer room, Natalie and I slummed it at the back of the resort with the poorer folk.
We had planned for two nights in Railay, but with this ‘island’ high on Isabel’s itinerary before they travelled, she wasted no time in getting us booked for rock climbing. She had previously done some climbing in Montreal and was beyond keen to start. Not wanting to play guessing games with the weather, we were straight out there within a few hours of arriving.
It was incredible, not the rock climbing, I hated that part, but seeing Isabel climb. She was amazing and just looked at home and so natural on the rock. I wasn’t particularly a fan. It didn’t quite grab me so I watched the others, who all were brave, athletic, and inspirational.
The others climbed until their arms were shaking, and their fingers sore, with the instructor continually changing routes and paths to add difficulty. Their last climb was over an inverted lip. Great strength from Greg and Issy. The pictures just do not do it justice. Amazing scenery too. We were very lucky to be climbing at Pranang beach, a world famous climbing site.
I am not sure if it did play any reason into my enjoyment on the rocks, but I was sulking. Not at anyone in particular, but more myself. It was race day and there was no TV on the whole island. I hated myself. I have become that person who is so dependent on technology. I found it embarrassing but it’s my one vice. Returning from the climb, we quickly got changed and with 30 minutes before lights out for the start of the race, Natalie and I were desperately scouring a handful of bars looking for the F1. Eventually, with 5 minutes to spare, a bar owner, in the local stoner bar, went upstairs to get his personal laptop, and let me stream the live race on his bar. I mean, what a legend! I was happy…very happy.
Whilst I sat glued to the laptop, the others were drinking some pretty strong and pricey cocktails. Then came the games, and tricks, which kept them amused for a good few hours. It even had my attention although that may have been the ‘loser buys a round’ call, that I heard. They were playing giant jenga, and Natalie is clumsy. She, nor Greg and Issy lost in the end, so win win!!!
After a bite to eat we wandered down to watch the fire show for a little while. As we pass from island to ‘island’ we have begun to notice how popular these fire shows are in resort areas like this.
The following morning after a quick breakfast together, Natalie and I were eager to just relax and sit by the pool and do diddly squat. Greg wanted to climb a mountain to see a lagoon. The climb was touted as being challenging, especially in wet season. Issy was torn. Loyalty to Greg or laze with the Drury’s. Two went into the room, but only one joined us at the pool, leaving Greg to trek alone. He did confirm upon his return that it was pretty challenging. The mud on his legs and shorts confirmed this as he told us how he had to walk vertically down, holding a rope. Not that we needed confirmation that our decision was right, but his tale provided it. One thing about Greg is that he is incredibly active and always wants to move and do things. I guess that’s what makes him such a great athlete… Maybe that drove him to hike to the lagoon, or just guilt after the gluttony from condensed milk. Hey, I am not judging. I am extremely tempted to insert a Google image of the lagoon to wind Greg up but I won’t, out of respect. However, if you click this link, you can see what he saw. http://markonthemap.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/p1030857.jpg
As the tide went out in the afternoon, we walked over to West Railay Beach, connected to the east side by paths through the large resorts or by trails through thin jungle cover. We chilled on the beach with some beers waiting for the tide to go out further in order to walk around the large limestone kasts, to reach the other side, known as Tonsai. Finally safe enough to walk around, we strolled the beach stopping for another drink at a beach front chill out bar, watching some incredible climbers, and some cheeky monkeys, literally.
We all decided it had been a few days since our last big night so stocked up on Samsong whisky and mixers, and settled down at the resort. We drank, chatted, conversation got deep and debated lots, for hours, until we realised perhaps we needed to go out. Greg and Issy wanted food but I stuck to my mantra of ‘eating is cheating’. This ‘mantra’ is only when drinking. The other times, I am a pig! I stayed strong, even as Issy was stuffing pizza into Natalie’s mouth… [Self five]. It did smell amazing.
We moved to a few bars before returning to our “regular” hangout to the call from the owner of ‘Welcome Home”. We ordered some drinks, and it didn’t take long before giant jenga came out. This time is was extreme. Multi levelled, with six packs. I, again, excused myself. I know I call Natalie clumsy, but me, I am on a whole different level. I just sat back with my Long Island Ice Tea and took photos. I even managed to cock that up and made the pictures blurry so had to rely on Isabel’s handy photography!
Again, we didn’t have to buy the shots, although I think it may have been worth the cost as the shot of the local spirit instantly hurt most of us, except Natalie who “spilt” hers on the floor.
Not a rowdy night but a fantastic one. Another one to add to the list with these two amazing people.
Our meeting time in the morning was a little early for Greg and Issy as when we knocked on them in order to go and board our ferry to Phi Phi Island, an actual island, they were still in bed. Arriving a few minutes later, looking a little groggy, we boarded, for what was almost certainly going to be a queasy boat ride over to Phi Phi island, the final stop as a foursome.
I appreciate this post has followed others, in very quick concession. Please stick with us, just mark it for offline reading or the email unread. The next one may be an emotional one as we say goodbye to Greg and Isabel.
Flickr photos as usual.