Thursday, 9 February 2017


For the last few days in Thailand, we decided to head to Railay for a change of scenery and some more of what Thailand is most famous for: beautiful beaches.

With tall limestone cliffs and pillars towering out of the water, Railay is stunning and is the classic picture postcard image of Thailand, with wooden long tail boats floating in clear, turquoise water against a sunny backdrop of blue sky and vertical limestone cliffs.

Kev with all his bags
Railay beach

Railay is on the Thai mainland but is only reachable by boat due to the thick jungle interior. Because of its jungle location, there’s also quite a lot of wildlife in Railay: there are lots mosquitoes around, a constant roar of cicadas and we even saw a water monitor (a giant lizard with a forked tongue like a snake)

A water monitor dashes into the undergrowth
Electricity is only switched on at night and only a few of the higher-end resorts have generator power during the day. It’s funny how it feels more remote than Koh Lanta, despite being attached to the mainland.

We had a tip from the owner of one of our favourite beachfront restaurants in Koh Lanta to stay in the next beach along from Railay: a bay called Tonsai - which is as beautiful as the main beach in Railay but less touristy and much quieter. 
In fact, I think it might be a bit of a well-kept secret as there was nothing listed on Trip Advisor or about Tonsai, so if you were searching in advance for accommodation, Tonsai wouldn’t even be listed, despite the extensive options currently available. A top tip if you are considering heading to the region!

Tonsai beach

Railay and the surrounding area are most well-known amongst climbers and the limestone cliffs offer world-class climbing – but Kev didn't fancy the heights and I (with limited climbing experience and having only recently recovered from shoulder surgery) thought it might be too much too soon. 
It was also really hot and climbing in the full heat of the sun seemed a little too energetic for us! Instead, we opted for a few quiet days on the beach, preparing for our imminent return to the UK.

Limestone cliffs at Railay
At low tide, it’s possible to walk around the rocky shoreline to the main beach in Railay West, where there’s a walking street with cafes and a small market. 

The footpath leads on round to Railay East, where I had to face my fear of macaques and pass through a group of mischievous monkeys who were trying to steal food from the street vendors – we saw an alpha male steal a barbequed corn on the cob and run up a tree to eat it. 
It’s a constant battle between street-vendor and monkey – fortunately, it meant the monkeys weren’t too interested in the tourists, but I still didn’t want to get close enough to test out that theory as I’d left behind my monkey stick! I’ll be sure to pack the toy snake on the next leg of the trip!

A long-tailed macaque
From Railay we wended our way back to Bangkok via Phuket, treating ourselves to some nicer accommodation along the way – I think there are only so many days you can comfortably put up with a basic hut with a cold shower! On the plus side, any room with air con and a hot shower is relative luxury so needn’t break the bank!

So, it’s London for the next few weeks before we head out on leg two. We’re not looking forward to the cold weather, but it will at least be nice to sleep in our own bed and catch up with people. See you on the other side!