In Pursuit of Scaramanga

Trip Start Nov 01, 2011
Trip End Apr 12, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Krabi,
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It was time to leave the delicate, understated beaches of Koh Tao behind and hop over to the West coast islands of Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. First, we had to fit in a stopover on one of the most atmospheric and dramatic beaches in Thailand. Railay is a bit of a paradox, situated on the mainland, but only accessible by boat, giving it a distant, island-like feel anyway.

To say we were blown away by the scenery is an understatement. Practically every sight which bullies into your eye line is worthy of a postcard. Spectacular limestone promontories vie for attention, densely clustered above a skinny crescent of fairy-dust sand, all surrounded by sublime turquoise waters. All this on one of several beaches there. Hugely impressive I must say.

The settlement turned out to be heavily populated with tourists, families and other travellers, as we were visiting just after New Year, but we still had an incredible time at Railay.

Due to the vast number of limestone cliffs, the place is a rock-climbing haven, and we spent a lot of time gawping at the wiry, determined climbers scaling some fantastic, impossibly difficult routes.

By night we took in the chilled out vibes of many reggae bars around the place, getting grievously drunk while watching yet another excellent fire show one night.

Our daytimes were the usual chilled out affair that we had gotten used to recently, except for one day where we signed up to a tour. The main attraction was visiting Koh Tapu, also known as James Bond Island, the location where The Man With the Golden Gun was filmed. Ever since seeing the film as a child I thought the islands looked fantastic, so I was delighted when my Dad emailed saying he had read that it could be visited relatively easily. We had a thoroughly productive, immensely enjoyable day, spending a while exploring the island. Unfortunately I didn't find Scaramanga’s midget and get to chuck him off a boat, but we made up for this by taking in a few other activities. We also went out in a sea-canoe amongst some mangrove forest, exploring hidden lagoons whilst being guided under some very tight cavernous spaces. Most excellent.

In addition we visited a sprawling floating village, constructed entirely on stilts above the water, a complex entanglement of houses, restaurants and shops somehow all coexisting without the need for lands. The ingenuity certainly puts the zombified jakeys in Glasgow to shame!

With expert timing we began our journey back to Railay mere minutes after some lashing rains appeared, and so our day of being proper tourists came to an end.

Railay proved to be yet another stunning location in Thailand, but we had more to come. Next on the list, Koh Lanta.
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