Time for a Little Vacation in Paradise
Trip Start Jul 18, 2009
49Trip End Jun 08, 2011
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Where I stayed
Railay Gardenview Resort
I have finally completed the long recovery needed from a week of vacation and I feel tip top now and am ready to tell you guys all about it! Just to set the stage a little bit, obviously Thailand does not celebrate the Christian holidays nor the American holidays. Fortunately, as I teach at a Christian school, I get both Thai and Christian holidays off. But not surprisingly Thais don't celebrate Thanksgiving so there is really no major holiday in the fall months in Thailand. Therefore my school gives everyone a week off for "Fall Break," and that is what happened last week. I decided that I needed to get back to my true passion….. the beach!
The amazing part about Bangkok is travel to anywhere in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand is so cheap and easy. I booked a plane ticket and a bungalow at a nice resort, and headed to Railay Beach which is in South Thailand right near the major resort city of Krabi
I arrived in the Krabi airport at about 7pm Saturday night and took a shuttle to a pier where there was a long-tail boat waiting to bring me to my accommodations on Railay. Now I always seem to arrive at places at night. The boat ride to the resort was actually quite painless and non-traumatizing and when I pulled up to the beach, porters were waiting to take my bags. Now again, being about 8:30 at night, I really couldn’t tell what the resort looked like, but the bungalow was great. Basic, but really clean and well kept up and everything. The greatest things about this resort, and really the island in general, is that I came during “low season” when it typically rains a lot so very few tourists travel to the Thailand resorts, apart from a handful of backpackers. So for the first 3 days I was in Railay, I was probably the only person staying at the resort which meant the staff was waiting on me hand over foot. And the accommodations, due to the low season, were about $22 USD a night
In the morning, the resort was pretty flippin sweet and I quickly got ready so that I could explore the rest of Railay. I didn’t take a map with me or anything and kind of just explored Railay by the seat of my pants. I came across caves, rock climbers, hidden cliff restaurants, luxury resorts, but not one temple! Grrrrrrr (and BTW I posted over 100 pictures and not a single one is of a temple this time so HA! Injure face). I finally made it to Railay West- the beach that is in all of the guidebooks and all of the advertisements and is ranked as one of the best beaches in the world
When I finally made it through the cliff and to the other side, I quickly realized that my efforts weren’t in vain. This beach was gorgeous. There were a number of rock climbers scaling a near-by cliff and just a bunch of people, mostly backpackers, chilling on the beach and at the few restaurants on the beach. Of course I took a load off and grabbed a pint and just took it all in. After a short while I decided to head back, but then saw a sign that said “Jungle Trail to Railay East." Now in my life experience, I have learned never to trust anything that starts with the word “jungle” (jungle gym, jungle fever, jungle juice, etc.). But as it was vacation, I was bound and determined to go this way so of course I caved. Well guess what? Have you ever heard of the Bataan Death March? Well this would have rivaled that I think. It was about 1000 miles long, up the highest mountain in Railway, through thick jungle and all during about a 110 degree day
At night I headed out for a little more of the Railay East night life and saw that there was going to be a Mauy Thai (Thai style of boxing) match at one of the bars. So after an amazing dinner of fresh seafood kebabs, I scored myself a ring side seat for the match. At first they had a fire show which was really cool, and when the match finally started, it was clear that these guys were not professional fighters, and I am pretty sure that the “knockout” was staged, but it was still really cool to see nonetheless. Afterwards I hit up a pub right next to our resort, that really became my favorite of the week. It was called Skunk Bar. As I mentioned earlier, there were hardly any people at Railay besides a handful of backpackers. And for the record, as much as I despise dirty hippies, I really like the backpacking folk. Kinda wish I would have done that before college. Anyways, I was the only one at Skunk Bar and I was in the mood for quite the night cap. I mean I WAS on vacation. So I ordered a bucket, yes a bucket, of coke and a local Thai whiskey called “Sangsom.” Sangsom tastes very similar (albeit ghetto) to my favorite Southern Comfort. Well, needless to say the bartender got such a kick out of this westerner drinking this Thai Whiskey that he called me “Mr. Sangsom” for the rest of the week. He even made me a sign which I obliged him by wearing. The Thai really are a cool people. So yes, let the record show that I now hold the title of “Mr. Sangsom” at Railay beach. A proud moment in my life indeed.
I woke up really early the next morning because I had booked an Elephant trekking adventure
The next day was more of the same paradise. Relaxing at the beach, hitting up some new restaurants, and just really enjoying the vacation away from everything. Early in the night I decided to have a cocktail before dinner and struck up a conversation with a young British couple who were backpacking throughout Southeast Asia. They were really cool and really hit it off with them. While I was talking to them, I heard this other couple behind me talking, but it wasn’t in English. But yet I thought, “wait a tick, I KNOW that language. That’s sounds like the mother language!” And sure enough, I started talking to this other couple and found out the they were from the Netherlands
The next day, probably realizing that I hadn’t risked my life or put myself in any great physical danger in a couple days, I decided to rectify that and hike up to a famous lookout point and Lagoon in Railay. Now depending on who you asked, they would tell you that this is the easiest climb in the world, or that K2 is a piece of cake compared to this. Either way, I figured I would give it a go. Well….I quickly realized that it was a bit more treacherous than I bargained for. But never the one to turn away a death-defying challenge, I decided to climb the entire thing and see the lagoon and the lookout point. It was a great decision. The lagoon was beautiful. Never have I seen anything like that before in my life. Just this huge crystal-clear lake in the middle of some mountains. And the lookout point was phenomenal as well. It allowed you to see both sides of Railay at the same time. I also made some monkey friends when I was at the lookout point, but they became a little too friendly and I decided that I may need to leave. Anyways the climb kicked my butt so I decided to take a much needed siesta on the beach. Now the entire week on the beach, all of these locals come up to me and tried to sell me food and beach mats and massages etc.To be honest I didn’t care, because I had made best friends earlier in the week with a 9 year old boy who would constantly come around and try (successfully) to sell me beer. I think I put that kid through college when the week was over
Early Thursday afternoon I reluctantly headed back to the airport and caught a plane back to BKK. I wanted to have a few days back in BKK before I had to go to work so that I could just relax and recover from the Railay trip. And it was a good thing too. I don’t know if it was the millions of insect bites I got walking through the jungle or the $0.30 toliet curry that I ate during the vacation, but I was quite sick upon my return. Needless to say I was reminded of my journey to Railay for the next 3-5 days. It got me thinking that maybe I cant roll with the big dogs anymore? A wise person once told me that “you cant fly with the geese and expect to wake with the roosters.” Maybe I am just getting too old for this stuff. Naaaahh!
A great vacation to a beautiful location. It was certainly what I needed and really feel that I maximized my time there. I spent a lot of time thinking about where I would go next if I came back to Railay and the surrounding islands and I certainly have quite the itinerary planned. Would anybody care to join me? First Sangsom and Coke is on me.
Thanks for reading. Love you all so much.
Mr. S :-D