Beach Time

Trip Start Mar 06, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Phurit Valley Resort

Flag of Thailand  , Krabi,
Monday, March 19, 2012

• Trip day: 14

Beach Life

I don’t like intense sun & I am not one to lie out in it. I don’t particularly like being constantly (very) hot & (very) sweaty. Aside from using it to stay hydrated & clean I’m not all that fond of water, especially the salty kind, & thus I’m not a swimmer - I may have half-a-dozen polo shirts with me in my backpack but good luck trying to find a pair of swimmers. I don’t particularly like sand; it has a tendancy to get into places it shouldn't, like inside expensive camera equipment. Finally, I don’t like paying for things that are overpriced, especially necessities like food & beer (yes, the latter is very much a necessity). So all in all I really shouldn’t be commenting favourably on the last 3 days of Mave On The Move, 3 days which we’ve spent on Railay beach in Krabi. But I am.

The 2nd Coming (& Going)
I’d been to this part of the world before. Back in 2003 I spent almost 2 weeks in the region & back then toyed with the idea of staying in Railay but decided against it in favour of the nearby Phi Phi Islands & Phuket. But this time Railay was a go. It’s a strikingly beautiful place with, as far as I can tell, isolation its main appeal; the 4 beaches here, at best only mediocre by my beach standards (I've seen some nice ones), can only be reached by long-tail boat as they hide behind impenetrable limestone cliffs, cliffs that make this location a popular spot for rock-climbing enthuasists. It’s the sort of place you can easily wile away many a sleepy, lazy day while getting your fill of sweating, overpriced everything & evening sunsets (when they - the sunsets - decide to show up that is). We have & after 3 nights here we’re ready to move on. Tomorrow morning we head back to the mainland and countinue our odyssey south to Satun, a town very near the Thai-Malaysia border. From there we’ll get the ferry to Langkawi, another beach location, this one further down the Andaman Coast in Northern Malaysia... and also somewhere I visited back in 2003. We’ll be bidding ‘laa kawn’ (goodbye in Thai) to Thailand, Chang beers & Buddhist temples and ‘helo’ (hello in Malay... that’s easy enough) to Malaysia, Tiger beers & mosques. But for now our Thai beach days are numbered. But that’s ok; we probably don’t really like beaches anyway.

Trip Day 12-14 Observations

- 2004 Tsunami
Amongst the cocktails & swaying palm trees it’s easy to forget the horrors of the recent past. On December 26th 2004 the world’s second most powerful earthquake off-shore in the Indian Ocean caused a 15m-high tsunami wave that flattened entire communities along the Thai Andaman Coast & ruined, or at least put on hold, an entire industry (tourism). One of the worst hit areas was the aforementioned Phi Phi Islands and we were thinking of paying it a vist this time around to see how the place is today (we decided against it). We’re not quite sure how badly effected Railay Beach was by the tsunami but suffice to say these days there is no sign, assuming it came here at all, of the wave that claimed more than 6,000 lives all those years ago.

- Hot, Hot, Hot
I was going to comment in my last entry how we had adapted well to the Thai heat having come here from a chilly Korea. I’m glad I didn’t… because I would have spoken too soon. It’s hot here - a lot hotter than it was up north - & we’re sweating. A lot (but at least it makes the numerous cold, treated salt-water showers we have a day in our little bamboo bungalow that bit more enjoyable).

- Budget Busters
We’re on a budget. Of course we are; we have ambitious plans for this trip and need both a daily budget & to stick to it if we’ve any chance of seeing those plans come to fruition. But it hasn’t been going well. Thailand is more expensive than I remember it being. We were ok blaming Clare & Michael for overshooting our budget for the first week of the trip (they were bad influences & led us astray) but we can’t blame them anymore. We will blame Railay prices - 140 baht (€3.5/$5) Chang beers is enough to keep most people (although not us) sober in the evenings & 350 baht (€9/$11) for a small tube of sunscreen is enough to make one take their chances with sunstroke (definitely not Mel). We spent 5,000 baht (€120/$150) alone on Saint Paddy’s day. Money well spent of course but budget busting nonetheless.

- Jaded Thais
The 2007 version of Lonely Planet that we have with us says the following:

‘Thailand is an easy country to love: the pace of life is unhurried, the people are generally friendly and the pressures on the short-term visitor are relitively few. A smile goes a long way here, chitchat is more important than a to-do list and doling out complements is a national sport.
That doesn't mean every Thai is a cheery Pollyanna. So many foreigners pass through the country completely oblivious of the culture and customs that many Thais, especially in the tourist industry, suffer from ‘foreigner fatigue’. They have used up their patience on penny-pinchers, neocolonialists & paranoiacs.’

Maybe that explains why almost every Thai we interacted with here in Railay treated us with such indifference; it’s coming to the end of the highseason here in Railay so maybe they are jaded... all touristed-out. The only reaction of any kind that we got out of any Thai that served us over the past few days - be it in a bar, a restaurant or a shop - was an apologetic smile from a girl who waited 30 minutes to tell me the overpriced dish I had ordered on our first night here was not available. I wondered what the delay was for and she wondered what the fuss was all about.

- Keep track of our progress on my dMb Travel page.
- dMb blog: Railay Beach, March 19th 2012
Bogan On A Bus: Mel’s trip blog.
- dMb on flickr: Thailand
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