Posts Tagged With: Railay beach

Railay Round Two

The Bowl was empty – and it was filled with delicious offerings for our monk-in-residence, Steph

RAILAY has to  be one of my absolute favourite places on earth – so glad we made it back for a second stop to re-visit the memories and meet some awesome new people, including the newest batch of Beach Travellers!

After getting in on a (rainy) longboat, we checked into our pad (sweet porch included!) and unpacked. I tried Crocodile at the buffet at the  Viewpoint resort that night. Tastes like chicken, but chewier…lol. Also ingested large amounts of salad – a rare treat after so much rice and curry!

A local friend of the guides had opened a new bar just down the road (path) and we stopped to check it out. It was perfect! Good chilling areas and tunes, a dance floor, busy bar and even an indoor fire show 😉 crazy! We caught the fire show at Last Bar later on as well, and a free bucket for being the first (craziest) girls on the dance floor!  Oh Railay, how I love thee!

We crashed the BT boat trip the next day, glad we did cause it gave us the chance to get to know the new peeps – they were nice enough to let us in on the party! We floated, snorkelled, cliff jumped, iced each other and got up to all the usual boat trip shenanegans, and ended up on the beach for dinner and an epic sunset.

Loving up my leo portside

Islands we had dinner on

The next few days were about as perfect as I could have imagined – good friends, fire spinning, crazy party nights (Anything but clothes? why not?) and a healthy dose of sun, fun and sand.  We only got to spend three nights in Railay this time, but they cemented my love for this beautiful, hidden gem of a place.  For the rest of my trip, I couldn’t help but gush about to every fellow traveller I met – and when I had heard they’d been there themselves, it was always the same response: they had loved it as much as I did!

We left Railay for Krabi with sad hearts – I know it will be a while before I make it back there, but I can’t wait to bring some new friends there to experience it themselves!

Me in the water in Railay

A view of the West Beach from the water

Railay Beach West – see that cave up in the Karsts? I rapelled down from there 18 m onto the beach!

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Koh Li Pe and the end of the world

The next morning, a speedboat took us (quickly!) On the two-hour journey through a perfect blue ocean, we stared at the gorgeous scenery and made friends, drinking (messy) beers with them on the boat.

I have never been so amazed by a place upon first arrival as I was when we landed on the bay at Li Pe. The water was turquoise blue, the kind of blue that exists only in postcards. Green mountains rose out of the water on the neighbouring island (a national park) and a pristine white sandy beach laid before us in the water, populated only by many colorful long tails floating serenely.

Our resort was called, appropriately, Castaway, and after a short bumpy ride on a converted moto/taxi, we arrived at what I can only describe as paradise on earth. Our two-story beach hut was cosy, clean and right by the ocean, the eatery overlooked the water as well, and there were wooden cabanas placed along the beachfront with little cushions so you could lounge and relax on the beach away from the fierce sun.

Luckily for us, we had tons of friends visiting the island during that same time – the 36 day BT group, some guides having their much-needed time off, and a group of fun guys who we had gotten to know on our BT trip as well.  There was always someone to hang out with, and this made our deserted resort feel like one big house that you live in with all of your friends 🙂

Our first night on the beach, we partied right on the sand, sitting on mats and low tables watching each other spin fire and listening to music. I got to spin that night and every night after, which of course made me the happiest girl in the world! We adventured off into the night and ended up at OMG bar, run by the ever-smiling Oh and his gracious wife. The bar would end up being our local haunt, and that first night I may or may not have hit the buckets too hard…I’d like to thank Camille for helping me home that first night or I might still be wandering around the island!

The second day in paradise brought clear skies, a scorching sun, and good food at the local bakery. Since it was low season, there were hardly any other tourists there and it felt as if we were the last people on earth, sitting at the end of the world in the Andaman sea.

That night we had a handcuff party (where all the names of our friends were placed in a hat and randomly drawn out in pairs, destined to be tied together with fishing cords by the wrist for the rest of the night) and I drew Ben, a tour guide on the 36 day tour. Lol. I knew I was in for a funny night!  We all got paired off and the drinking olympics began.  There must have been something in our giant “thai-size” buckets, because we all partied like crazy people that night. I even got Ben to spin fire around me somehow while we were still attached!

That night brought an ocean dip, and a bit of bed swapping to accommodate the more aggressively competitive among us (me) who wanted to win the contest and stay tied together. DAMN YOU CHELSEEEEEAA! Her and carter ended up being the lucky winners – but we got second place!

The next day I had what might be the worst hangover of my life, but since there’s not much to do on the beach but nap, shower, tan, repeat, I did just that and felt much better. I didn’t even miss the “yoohoo” lady, who walks down the beach every afternoon calling “yoo hoo! Yoo hoo!” And carrying a tray of amazing baked goods and samosas. It was hilarious to see the tourists flock to the cheery, smiling lady as she hawked her wares, feeding hungry falang in the afternoon sun.

That night was quieter than the last, we shared (smaller) buckets at OMG and wasted the night away joking, laughing and poking fun at each other about the events of the night before. I even had a porch party!!

We were so sad to leave the next day, although since everyone was leaving it was bittersweet – not as much fun on paradise island if you don’t have some people to share it with! Our speedboat brought us back to (uuuaaaghh) Pak Bara, and Nikki, Carter,Chelsea, Alex and I took a minibus to Krabi after a tearful goodbye to Ben and his group, and my beautiful roomie/partner in crime Camille, who would be flying back to Canada (wah!)

I so wished she could have been there to be with me and Chelsea for our next adventures, but next year is another trip and another wild ride, right baby?? 😀

The rainy bus ride brought us to Krabi, and one choppy long tail ride later we were back – in Railay!!

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Three Nights in Bangkok

Leaving Railay was sad because I loved it there so much, and also didn’t want to put my shoes back on and face another night train. I actually slept 12 of the 14 hours it took us to get back, but it wasn’t too bad in the end. We got to stay at our old guesthouse, too, which made it feel like more of a homecoming instead of a goodbye. We had a lot of stuff to do, though, before the end of our trip! First up was bowling and karaoke together (hilarious video to follow), and a super yum group lunch where I tried some new food, and cabbed it back to our place to get ready for what would be an epic night on Khao San road.

So epic, in fact, that I missed the temple tour the next day ;-( but I did make it out for the weekend market and a full day (literally a whole day) of shopping, I must have spent about 3000 baht, which seems like a lot but is actually about 100 dollars CAD.

On our last day we gathered for a group dinner on top of one of the tallest buildings in Bangkok. We had sushi, salad and all kinds of other Western food we had been missing on our trip. We took a bunch of great group pics and enjoyed our last full night together! Of course, Khao San road was just as fun as the previous night, but bittersweet cause we knew it would be our last night to party together 😦

I feel really blessed to have ended up with such a great group of people on my tour, we were all such good friends by the end of our time together, and I definitely made new friendships that will last me a lifetime 🙂 I was also so happy to have found some adventurous girls who were ready to head out with me on the next part of our journey. We gathered together for final speeches and goodbyes on our last night, and reminisced about our awesome trip and got to thank our amazing guides Jon and Nikki for taking us seamlessly through such an incredible trip!!

But of course for me the fun was only beginning! Our last day in Bangkok, I set out with a lady friend to walk and get lost and possibly find the Grand Palace, which we eventually did, after finding a university graduation and a museum (which was closed,boo) The Palace was, of course, unbelievable, so glad I got to fit it in, it was a spot not to be missed, you could feel in the air how important and sacred a space it was. We got slightly lost on our way back (fun!) and met these two adorable German girls who asked us about where they should stay. We took them under our wing, got them un-lost and even got them all the way back to our decent guesthouse so they could check it out. We ended up eating with them later at an Indian Restaurant with my friend Chris, an Aussie who I had met recently in Toronto (small world!) Who just so happened to be in Bangkok at the same time as me. That night the five of us tore up Khao San one last time, and the rest of our friends left either for home or other exotic destinations. It was time for my “solo” adventure to begin!

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Railay Beach – Round One

We took a short ferry to our next stop, Railay Beach, which is not an island but is cut off from the mainland  by a mountain range, and only accessible by boat. We arrived at low tide so the longtails had to tow us  in to the pier, and honestly the beach didn’t look that great – I will later go on to retract this statement, because I hadn’t seen the two amaaazing beaches on the other side!

I was immediately charmed by the main little walking street, though. There were no cars or even bikes on the path (street) up to our hotel. There was a big sign welcoming the beach travellers “home”, and it really would feel that way by the end of our five nights here!

We explored Railay after we got settled, and it was so charming, since it was low season it was also not very touristy, there were just enough people around to make the place lively.  There were beautiful walking paths (with monkeys crashing through your path sometimes), climbing walls, two beautiful beaches, little roti stands, a main “walking street” that was kind of like the centre of town, and lots of hidden places that our guides would show us.

There was literally only one bar that got busy and played pretty good tunes and featured an amazing fire show every night at eleven!   At this point I had seen fire spinning a few times on Bottle Beach and in Kanchanaburi, and played around with the stick on the beach a few times, but I had no idea that  first night when  I watched the show that by the time I left I  would light up and spin fire myself for the first time…and be changed by the experience forever!!

On Railay beach there is an awesome group of locals who spin fire, teach  rock climbing, dj at the clubs and meet people from all over the world who want to experience their home. It was such a great experience to have friendships with the people who make it such a fun and welcoming place.

Our first night everyone was super tired from partying in Phi Phi, so it was only me and Camille left to watch the fire show that night and experience The Last Bar, which literally feels like the last bar on earth. It sits at the end of the east beach, and is literally the last thing on the little strip. We would have both a Halloween in July party and a handcuff party (where you are handcuffed together for a whole evening, lol) in the bar, it was definitely the local watering hole.

We also had a cooking class one afternoon, a fire spinning lesson, a whole AWESOME day of rock climbing courtesy of Hot Rocks Climbing school, and many many beachy days in the sun.

I loved Railay so much the first time around, I decided I wanted to make it back a second time on my trip, which I did!

Railay round two was just as much fun as the first time around, but there was still Bangkok. Chiang Mai, Koh Lipe, to  go before I would make my way back there. Our group still had three final days in Bangkok together before we would all say goodbye and my solo journey would begin!

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Dives and Hunts in Phi Leh Bay

Our dive the next day was thankfully at 1pm, so we didn’t have to stress out too much about lost sleep or hangovers.

It was a good thing too, cause the dive was not to be missed! After a lesson on diving at the shop, we headed out on the boat to Phi Leh bay, the island which is the smaller (and more beautiful) sister of Phi Phi, untouched by development as it is a national park. It is also the site where The Beach was filmed, we got to see the real beauty of this little island the next day, but today was for exploring under the waves!

I was nervous and a bit claustrophobic in the dive suit on land, but as soon as we got in the water our dive instructors totally put us at ease!
It was amazing to swim through the depths, watching the neon fish swim in schools, the nemo fish dart in and out of the sea anemones, and we even saw a sea turtle feeding on the wall!! Our two dives were over too soon, and lunch on the boat was super good as well.

The next day we went on a boat trip, where we had an ocean swim party in a secluded bay, and climbed the (treacherous) rocks into Maya Bay to gaze in wonder at the pristine beach. It was truly breathtaking, even though the weather wasnt perfect we could all appreciate how beautiful this place was, and how lucky we all were to be there together experiencing it.

The third stop on our boat trip narrowly got rained out, but not after a yummy lunch and several successful beach pyramids!  The ride back on the front of the speedboat in the pelting rain listening to loud hard rock was a fun, albeit very wet, memory from that day!

The night brought us back  to land and off on a scavenger hunt that would lead me to the piercing parlor, down the street on a piggyback ride, into a muy thai boxing ring, and off the club, to dance with my friends and fend off all the guys we had met on our various misadventures on the island during the night!!

Overall I’d say Phi Phi was crowded, touristy, and not my favorite place we’d visited even though the natural beauty of the island was incredible. Id hate to think of what that island would be like during the high season, if I found it too busy right now during low season!

I was happy to leave the next day for Railay, which rivals Bottle Beach as my absolute favorite place I’ve visited in Thailand so far!!!

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