The vibe and the scenery surrounding Railay reminds me of the many beautiful islands in the Philippines but with Thai food and more tourists. Shrugging the resemblance aside as a no-biggie, I feel excited bout being here. The fact that I am now one step closer to visiting Maya Bay, a majestic dot on this planet which has become a fascination of mine since I first watched the Danny Boyle film (based on Alex Garland's novel) all backpackers know well about, I consider Rai Leh as a perfect pit stop.
The boat ride from Krabi town took around 30 minutes and as we arrived under deep blue skies, I couldn't wait to wade through the sparkling green waters and plant my feet on the shining white sands that stretches as far as my eyes can see. We settled at Railay East opposite at where most of the expensive resorts are located and found what could be the cheapest accommodation in Railay mainland at just under 400 Baht.
The plan to stay here for a couple of days was extended to another day. I love the laid back environment which surprised me a bit considering that Railay is teeming with tourists. All three days was spent under the sun that by the third day my back feels like I laid down on a bed of burning charcoals because of the massive sunburn.
I went here with fellow travel blogger Angeline who accompanied me because she lives a couple of hours from Krabi where she works as an English teacher. The routine became like this, by morning I look forward to breakfast by the beach, afterward I try to read a few pages of my book while lying on the sands - then late lunch consisting of stir fried chicken and Thai fried rice with Tom Yum soup then more beach bumming and capping it with a dinner buffet.
Sandwiching the island hopping around Maya Bay and Phi Phi Island, getting burned by the scorching sun at Railay beach afforded me a few good days without worrying about the world out there. I quit checking my email and just enjoyed the beach as much as I could.
If it weren't for a bout of laziness I would have tried wall climbing at the many rock climbing routes found all over Railay. The towering limestone cliffs and protruding karst formations that envelops the beach provides a paradise setting for wall climbing junkies.
For beginners like me a three day rock climbing course can set you back $200 but advance you forward with a better experience of doing something other than beach lounging. I should do that next time I come back to Railay.
Fire dancers take center stage during the night as people gorge on sumptuous Thai food at the many diners and reggae bars lined up at Railay West and East. A group of young students from Canada were seated beside us one night and we learned that they are on a 21 day island hopping trip around Thailand for which they paid a bit over $1,000 Canadian dollars. They started the trip not knowing each other, but watching them at that time - one would notice the absence of strangeness. What a marvelous way to make new friends than to travel altogether.
At the Phranang beach side of Railay a phallus cave can be seen near its mouth. While a small lagoon nearby will hide you from the crowd for a short while. Still, at East Railay, just follow the path towards the end and you will see the "Last Bar", a joint perfect for hanging out with good music. Another nice side attraction are the hordes of monkeys hanging around along the pathway leading to the Phallus cave in Phranang beach.
Railay is a short boat ride away from Krabi Town. It is not an island as it is still part of the mainland but the only way here is by sea because land access are blocked by the towering limestone formation. Krabi Town is about 3 hours by van / bus from Phuket where Cebu Pacific flies thrice a week from Manila.