Last weekend a group of us from Super English decided to go away for our long weekend because most of us didn’t have to work on Monday for Constitution Day. Jade suggested we go to Railay Beach as he had been there a previous weekend with a different group of friends. I’m so grateful he made this suggestion as Railay Beach has to have been one of the most incredibly beautiful places I have ever been in my entire life.
Savannah, Levi, and I left Saturday morning because we missed the last Friday bus, and arrived in Railay around 11am or so. We were joined shortly thereafter by the rest of the group from SE, who had picked up some friends along the way. Wanting to do this trip on a budget, we decided to stay at the Rapala Rockwood bungalows atop a mountain of stairs, but only costing 500-600 baht. They have 300baht rooms with outside bathrooms, but those were all taken. The bungalows were decent, the little pool was great as were the common areas/restaurant, but the people who worked there were not the friendliest bunch. However, the price was right, so we stayed there both nights, and I would go back there again.
After checking in, we were all ready to go to the beach! We trekked our way past rock overhangs that made little caves and wild monkeys that hung out on the path. Our adventurous Alyssa really wanted to pet a monkey, but then I had to remind her of how a monkey tried to attack me in Malaysia so she backed down. When you are finally able to see the water in front of you, there are great rock climbing walls to the left, which you can climb for different prices. I think there are a some half day and day rental/excursion places for around 800baht or so. Railay Beach is very well-known for it’s rock climbing, which is something I want to investigate in the future.
After you pass the wooden phallic sculptures and small altar, you can start making your way down the beach where long boats are pulled up on the shore ready to serve you food and drinks galore. We parked ourselves in front of these boats (of course) and spent most of that first day swimming in the crystal clear waters and relaxing on the beach. There is a small rock island type structure that you can swim out to, which has more climbing and provides a nice shady spot. Be aware, the water has little sea lice which sting a bit. It’s nothing too irritating to make you not want to swim, but it is a bit unpleasant.
After we all decided we were sunburned enough for the day, we headed back to the bungalows. When everyone was showered and ready, we headed to Last Bar for dinner. Jade recommended this place saying it had the best Penang and Massaman curries he’s had in Thailand. We ended up eating there both nights we stayed. The first night I ordered Tom Kha Koong and the second night I ordered coconut curry seafood; they were the same thing, except the coconut curry had more seafood and baby corn in it. This is a lesson I learned in regards to Thai menus, there may be a lot of things listed, but most of them could be the same thing.
Non-variety aside, the food was delicious, especially the fried shrimp appetizers we ate both nights. That first night we had heard about a bar that was going to have cobra fights and fireworks, so we really wanted to catch the show. The bar was on Tonsai beach, which is a bit of a walk from Railay East where we were. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the beach, but we were able to watch some good entertainment on our side of Railay. Instead of cobra fighting, we saw real live people fighting Muay Thai, and then we were able to take in the amazing spectacle of fire spinning. I think the fire spinning was my favorite because the guys doing it were “gangsta” Thai dudes wearing flatbills and skate shoes, and were constantly drinking buckets of liquor ad smoking cigarettes while performing. It was great.
I called it a somewhat early night that night, as did most, because we were meeting in the morning for our next adventure. We had decided we wanted to go on one of the tour boats that would take us to 4 islands and go snorkeling. To our own fault, the boats filled up and sold out, but this actually worked out to our advantage. Instead of paying 450baht a person, we paid about 300-350baht to rent a private boat that took us snorkeling. We didn’t have to wear life jackets like the people on the tour boats, and we could skip the really crowded places we didn’t want to go to.
The driver of the boat took us to two snorkeling spots, the 1st before far superior to the 2nd. At the first spot, there were so many fish, you would go underwater and not be able to see anything but a school of colorfully striped fish swimming around you. It was quite surreal, however, because even though you were surrounded by fish, they would never touch you and you could never touch them. If your head was out of the water, you wouldn’t be able to tell they were around you. To add to the beauty, the ocean floor was covered in coral and sea urchin and some people in our group even saw a sea snake (I’m glad I missed that).
After coming back from the boat, we were going to try to hike to a lagoon, but ended up being distracted by the small pool at our bungalows. We stayed in the pool for pretty much the rest of the afternoon, having some cocktails or drinking delicious coffee shakes. As I said earlier, we ended up eating at the same restaurant and then played cards for most of the night. I ate myself into a coma that second night and went to bed extra early.
The next day, we all met downstairs from our bungalows at a place that served roti. We all wanted to try the savory rotis as most of the ones we have tried in Surat have been sweet. Roti is like a thin, crepe-like pastry that most Thai people call pancakes. I got one with egg, cheese, tomato, and onions and it was delicious and exactly what I wanted. Being so sunburnt from the past two days, I decided to stay at the bungalows and read in the common area until we had to leave to go back to Surat. Levi and Savannah decided to join me while Jade, Alicia, and Fiona wanted to go explore the lagoon. Savannah and I had been dying to try the Indian food at our bungalows the entire weekend and finally had our chance on this day. It was good, but not as good as at Last Bar where I friends had tried their more expensive Indian food the day before.
We all left Railay at 2:30pm that day, paying a travel agency 350baht to get us all the way to Surat. We took a longboat and then a minibus, in the rain, back to our home city. In a very Thai fashion, we were dropped off at a random bus station outside of town by Big C, a Walmart type store. Luckily we were able to find a tuk-tuk to take us to town for 200baht for everyone. This was the end to our amazing weekend. I am so glad I was able to go and spend time in such a beautiful place. It was very rejuvenating to go and relax in paradise. I can’t wait to go back.