Thailand: West Railay

Michael and I traveled to Thailand as part of our 2007 career break. The following is an excerpt from our travel blog.

[singlepic=664,200,,,right]One thing is for sure the Thais really have the tourist transportation down. Whether it’s by longtail, ferry or high-speed boat by water, or minivan, tuk tuk or bus on land, the various networks of getting from one destination to the next is relatively easy to do – even if you don’t speak the language.

Our next destination was West Railay beach, which is situated in the province on mainland Krabi. From Kho Ngai we took a high speek boat to Ko Lanta (1 hr.) where we met up with a ferry heading to Ao Nang – the drop off point for destinations to Krabi. And as West Railay was tucked in amongst massive limestone walls, the only way to get there is by longtail boat, which picked us up from the ferry.

After coming from quiet Kho Ngai, West Railay seemed like a city to us – they actually had a food market, ATM and even a few vendors. Other than that, the resorts are all bungalow style and tucked into the landscape, which still offers a sense of exclusiveness. But it is definitely a popular base camp for many travelers, as it is central to visiting just about any destination around the Andaman Coast, even day trips. And there were plenty on offer. And because of the massive limestone formations surrounding the headland, it is a hot spot for rock climbing – even beginners.

[singlepic=674,200,,,left]We decided we would spend our few days doing a little more relaxing on the beach. But we also decided to get out and explore some of the area by kayak. Protected from the Andaman Sea by Krabi and Phuket is Ao Phang Nga Bay, which is edged by mangroves and limestone karsts. It is also known for its hongs, which house tidal lagoons only accessible by kayaking through murky tunnels and past limestone outcrops.

We decided to venture through the Bor Tor area. In addition to kayaking through mangroves and entering one of these lagoons, whose entrance was obscured by vines, we also visited caves which housed pre-historic wall paintings by the sea gypsies. Now sitting way above the tree line, these caves were once at sea level and the sea gypsies would make living rooms and bedrooms amongst the crags in the caves ceiling.

[singlepic=652,200,,,right]Back on West Railay, we enjoyed our last sunset looking out at all of the soccer matches happening up and down the beach. Like clockwork as the sun is about to set, Thais who have ended their work day, take to the beach for massive matches. It seems that anyone can jump in and at some point there must have been almost 40 people on one particular “field”. While sipping a cold Chang from our beach side table, their silhouettes were book-ended by the limestone karsts, glowing pink in the setting sun.

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