Railay Beach

Welcome to my final post on Thailand, and perhaps my favorite day of the entire trip (okay, they were all kind of my favorite, but you get the idea). When you party as hard as we did (half a Heineken at 8:30, out like a light by 9:00), it can sometimes be difficult to get up early. Somehow we managed, and were on Ao Nang Beach (the one right near our resort) by 8:00, ready to catch our longboat to Railay Beach for the day.

We waded into the water and boarded our boat for Railay, a skinny peninsula that connects Krabi Town and Ao Nang. It also happens to have some of the most phenomenal beaches in Thailand/the world. We quickly learned that on the boat ride over…

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 All of this before 9 AM. Then we arrived at Phra Nang Beach, and it was gloriously empty.

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While Mercedes swam out to that rock/cliff, I read my book and sneaked a selfie…

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Unfortunately, our solitude didn’t last. As the morning wore on, more and more boats arrived with tourists and our private beach filled up. We decided to take a walk to the other side, to check out West Railay Beach.

In order to get there, we walked along Phra Nang at high tide. The beach was lined with resorts that had guards posted to make sure no one cut inland from the beach, so our only choice was to wade in the water. We clearly didn’t enjoy ourselves very much:

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We reached the end of the beach and found Phra Nang cave, which you can pay to enter…or just snap a few pictures as you walk by:

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When we finally reached West Railey Beach (it was quite a journey), we were starving. Mercedes was feeling adventurous, and ordered this:

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This is miang kham, a popular snack in northern Thailand. Chopped shallot, ginger, garlic, chili, lime in its rind, peanuts, dried shrimp, and ground coconut are wrapped in a betal leaf, and topped with palm sugar sauce. It was sweet and salty and crunchy and really delicious.

We grabbed some coconuts to-go and headed back to the beach.

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By mid-afternoon, it was unbearably hot and we were jumping in the water every five minutes to cool off. We said a sad goodbye to Railay Beach, but enjoyed our boat ride back to Ao Nang.

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That’s it for Thailand! I highly recommend Krabi to anyone who’s looking into traveling to Thailand. It’s beautiful, has plenty to do and is much less crowded than Phuket.

And if you’re not convinced, I’ll leave you with this:

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The perfect end to an excellent vacation!

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3 thoughts on “Railay Beach

  1. What a beautiful vacation! I’m so glad you had the opportunity to go. I can’t wait to hear more about it when we talk.

  2. Great to hear of all your vacation travels. The Krabi area does look beautiful. Of course, being interested in the land forms and geology I had to look up a bit more:

    The landscape in Krabi Province in southern Thailand is characterized by steep, limestone headland cliffs along its shoreline and by limestone (karst) towers both offshore from the headlands and inland along its alluvial plains. The coastal karst towers rise directly out of the shallow waters of Phang Nga Bay or emerge from mangrove-fringed tidal flats whereas the inland karst towers are surrounded by Quaternary alluvial and colluvial deposits.

    There was more, but a couple of relevant items: the limestone explains the presence of caves, and the vertical cliffs are formed by the shearing off of limestone into the water.

    Now, to give you a bit to work on, tell us something about elephants. Are they wild in Thailand, or are they only domesticated? How do you mount one? When they eat bananas, is it with the skin on or off? Would they pick on their own? Can you feel the ground shake when they pass by? See, we need all the little details that give your story texture and meaning.

    And the monkeys. Are they wild? Where do they sleep at night? Do they collaborate to steal your camera? (kind of like urban street criminals)

    And the people. When you go to a Hindu shrine, do you see it visited by ethnic Chinese or Malay/Muslims? Do the populations mix much or at all? It would appear the ethnic Indians have been there for several centuries, and their rolls vis-à-vis the Malays should be well established. Do you find some groups in some occupations and not other?

    It’s all the details that give us a flavor of what your world is like. I’m looking forward to tasting more!

    • Elephants:
      1) Both wild and domesticated
      2) We climbed into a tree house to get on their level
      3) Bananas are eaten, peel and all
      4) Their trunks are amazingly sucky, so they just sort of take the banana out of our hand. My guess is that they have no trouble getting it off the ground.
      5) No ground shaking that I could notice, but they were definitely large and in charge.

      Monkeys:
      1) Definitely wild, though frequently fed by the tourists
      2) In the trees? Maybe?
      3) Luckily I didn’t have my camera stolen so I don’t know for sure, but it seemed they got visibly upset when someone tried to take their picture. I wouldn’t be surprised if they rallied together to mess with a particularly annoying tourist.

      People:
      I would say the Hindu shrines are mostly visited by Indians, but there are tourists who are Malay or Chinese-Malay who also visit. There is a great divide between the ethnic Malay and the Indian and Chinese populations here. The latter are often treated like second-class citizens, and don’t necessarily get equal representation in government. Also, both the Chinese and Indians engage in certain behaviors that are considered “haram” (opposite of halal; meaning “bad” or “forbidden”), like drinking, which is looked down upon by certain Malays.

      Hope I was able to answer some of your questions!

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