21 February 2009


We had said on a previous blog posting that Ko Phi Phi was probably one of the most beautiful places we've been to. We're going to have to update that statement as Railay is definitely the most beautiful. The beaches and scenery here are just stunning plus there's the added bonus of it being litter and effluent free!

Although Railay isn't an island it feels more like one than any of the Thai islands we've been to so far. Railay is actually a tiny peninsular jutting into the Andaman Sea from the mainland state of Krabi in Southern Thailand, not far from the Malaysian border. The peninsular is completely isolated from the mainland by an impenetrable wall of limestone cliffs. This means that there are no vehicles and the only access is by boat, giving the place a really isolated laid back feel.

The Railay isthmus is very small, not more than a few hundred meters wide and only a couple of kilometers long. There's only 4 beaches and a handful of accommodation options, including the ridiculously priced Rayavadee where rooms cost up to 55000 Baht per night, roughly equivalent to £1100. Needless to say . . . we're staying somewhere else!

Although our accommodation isn't quite as swanky as the Rayavadee, as a Valentine's Day treat, we're staying somewhere a little bit nicer than our usual standard. A beach front resort called Sand Sea right in the middle of the main beach, Hat Rai Leh West. The hotel and its location are great but it can be difficult getting the right drink at breakfast time.

For some strange reason the coffee is made in a tea urn, the tea is made in a filter coffee maker and the milk is kept in a tea pot . . . all very confusing first thing in the morning.

The sheer limestone cliffs that surround the peninsular make Railay one of the worlds top climbing destinations with over 700 bolted routes. The weathered limestone means that there's plenty of hand and foot holds but it can be quite sharp. The 300 meter vertical climb past Railay viewpoint to the top of the Muay Thai Wall is one of the most spectacular I've ever done with stunning views from the top.

There's also an interesting climb through the jungle to a hidden lagoon known as Sa Phra Nang (Holy Princess Pool). The climb down the ropes into the crater to the lagoon was like something out of the lost world of Jurassic Park . . . only with less veloceraptors.

We've also been out kayaking to have a closer look at some of rock formations out at sea. As well as Liz and I work together we just couldn't get our paddles synchronised on the Kayak and seemed to spend most of our time going round in large clockwise circles. I don't think we'll be putting our names down for mixed Kayak pairs at the London 2012 Olympics.

The sunsets here are pretty spectacular too. I know we've probably already put up lots of sunset pictures from other places . . . but here's some more!

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