Thursday, 30 May 2013

Railey & Phuket

Took a flight to a province of Krabi, which I think took it's name from the Russian word - Crabi, which mean crabs, since there are many many of them on the beach making various patterns with sand while they're trying to dig out their hole homes.
Took a shuttle bus from the airport to the pier, man it was going slow. It was dropping off and picking up everybody and everything on the way, and I started to get just a little bit stressed out. It took nearly 2 hours to reach the pier and we arrived 5 minutes before the last boat to Railey beach. We had 10 days on the beaches and wanted to do some island hopping. I told my mom to bring as little luggage as possible. Too bad "little" is a very relative term, and with 5 pieces of luggage which we had to carry in the water to the boat, from the boat through waste deep water to the beach, and from the beach to the pavement, we decided to spend all our time on Railey, and to take day trips out with just our beach bags.
We arrived at a very beautiful cliff enclosed beach with an amazing sunset on our way. It was almost getting dark. We asked for a way to the East beach, but got told to walk there on the sand which wasn't too comfortable. On the way there, we bumped into Russian tourists and just re-asked for directions, cause it was already quite dark, and we seemed to go completely into tree and mud covered trail. They asked us why did we decide to go to the East beach, the West beach is so much better. So we turned around, left our luggage and I run to all the hotels on the beach only to find out that they're either full or way too expensive. By that time it started to rain the famous tropical rain, where you can't even hear each other kind of rain. Even our luggage which was standing a meter inside a restaurant got completely soaked. We didn't know what to do, where go to, it's dark, there are no lights on the street, it's almost getting flooded and we're not in our best moods. We ate at a super expensive (Canadian prices) restaurant with a bad service to add to our disappointment.
At least the good thing is that mom got my life religion of not worrying or getting stressed, and this allowed us to deal with the situation calmly. I went and found the Russians in their resort. They were very happy to see me, and right away offered us to stay in one of their bungalows. The husband came to the restaurant to help us with the luggage. We stayed in 1 bungalow, and the 3 of them (a couple and woman's sister) slept on one bed in another bungalow.
Now, I know I'm writing a lot against Russians, but this is a major points plus plus plus ... it's the Russian hospitality! They didn't take any money and even invited us to a restaurant and brought rum for our friendship.
In the morning we went to the East beach that has a bunch of accommodations, all have space. We took one for $50 and it definitely was not worth it, it shouldn't be more than $20. The resort was very nice, below a cliff, with swimming pool and cute orange houses, but the rooms were plainer than plain. Food is overpriced everywhere, about 4 times the usual, the service and food are terrible and I'm in a cranky mood.
My mood got better though after I finally managed to catch up on my sleep. Mom was getting up, going to the beach before all the tourist boats came, and took amazing people-less and cloud-less pictures, while I was seeing all of that in my dreams :) Sometimes I would even wake up for breakfast, and head back to bed :)
I hiked up to the view point. LP says it's a hike, in reality it's a muddy climb using ropes. Up was pretty easy, just grab a rock and pull yourself up, but to go down, you look at this vertical wall and your heart starts to pump. The best way was to turn around, grab the rope and abseil down, which was very fun! and the view point was definitely worth it :) I looked at everyone who came back from the "hike", brown with mud head to toe, and made a very good decision of wearing my least favourite cloths for the adventure, and what a good decision that was, after a few washes already, they're still brown.
The whole week we pretty much spent on the 4 beaches, 1 we liked in particular, it has a small cave on one side which gave the beach it's amazing look, it has a penises cave, dedicated to some princess for luck, obviously it was made for good pictures :) We ate at the cheaper but still good boat restaurants, read, did beach massages, looked at monkeys stealing people's food, watched fire shows, and spent whole 5 minutes watching mui thai boxing where they were pretty much just hugging each other, so 5 minutes of male intimacy was more than I could handle. Saw a cave and went to another cheaper beach. There is a path that goes over a hill, and mom had a panic attack, apparently she doesn't like hills and a bunch of mosquitoes ... who knew?? I have to give it to her though, she was more that ready for all of my crazy ideas, riding a scooter for 10 hours a day in the rain, climbing waterfalls, rafting, walking over bridges (yes, it is a big deal!), caving - even though she doesn't like closed & dark spaces, and of course travelling without reservations, which is a big no no! Anyhow, we ended up going back, but later we crossed to the other beach at low tide. I couldn't believe it, the water went back more than 100 meters, maybe even 200! Railey is a world class rock climbing spot, so if anybody is a serious rock climber, I highly recommend going there, take your own gear though, as the rent is quite expensive. I climbed one wall on the beach, but it was an easy 5.6.
We took 2 tours of the nearby islands. On the first one we visited 4 islands, some are so dirty, I think they should be embarrassed to take tourists there. Did some snorkeling, saw a bunch of fish, but again, no corals, and the snorkel was terrible, I had to spit the water out every half a minute. Some islands were connected by sand with countless people walking between them, and I wondered whether jesus was born in Thailand? The trip was nice, gave us something to do, but still our beach is better. Railey beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, seems silly to take tours of the nearby islands doesn't it?
Too another tour to the Phi Phi island, mainly to see the Maya lagoon where the movie "Beach" was shot. I'm sure you wouldn't recognize the lagoon if no one would tell you where you're at, cause in the movie maybe there are 40 people living in their community and in reality there are 400 tourists walking back and forth not giving any opportunity to take any pictures.
I think if you live on Phi Phi, you can somehow arrange to camp on Maya bay and see all the beauty before the hordes of tourist arrive, but we weren't so lucky.
On the way back a storm has started, they cut our snorkeling short, gave us life jackets, hid all our bags in a closet and I sat in the front getting a salt water shower. I was constantly looking at nearby islands to see which island would be the closest one to swim to if the boat would flip. This is a speed boat, and it can only go in calm waters, I don't even know how it didn't break in 2 jumping on these waves.
Last 3 days we spent on Phuket. Probably everyone who's heard of Thailand, heard of Phuket. My piece of advice about Phuket for everyone who wants to go there ... don't!! It's overcrowded, it's dirty, you can't see the beach from the amount of beach chairs on it, the water is too dirty, we didn't even go in. On every step you're offered to go to a ping pong show, and there are no bar except sex bars ... so if you're into sex tourism then definitely Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket (Pattong) should be on your 3 cities to visit before you die list.
We rented a scooter to get out of Pattong, and scootered around nearby beaches. Most of them are pretty much like ours, long, wide, dirty and non-scenic, and we chose one of the furthest beaches - Kata Noi, which was smaller, cuter, with clean water, and nobody trying to sell you anything every second of your stay in there, though with huge waves which required a pretty advanced getting in and out technique.
Next day our escape from Pattong was a Siam Niramit show. It was super expensive ($50), but it included a free transport, a huge buffet from most of the world cuisines, a traditional village with people "living" the traditional ways of life, and a 2 hour long pre-show, which included dancing, elephant circus, Mui Thai boxing and a bunch of other stuff that we missed. The show itself was nice. Many people, many costumes, a river on stage, rain, thunder, elephants. It was showing the life of Thailand through thousands of years. It was nice, but nothing too exciting.
Next morning was exciting though when I woke up and our street has flooded. We had fun, but some scooters didn't. I hope the shops and scooters have flood insurance.
Last day before mom leaves, we went to a nice mall, did some last minute shopping, had Haagen Dazs ice cream and steak with red wine for dinner, packed up, went to sleep at 12. 4am wake up for mom, 6:30 wake up for me.


  1. Yana

    Another wonderful adventure.
    Love the picture of the little Hermit Crab


  2. ой, как мне захотелось опять на Рейлей!! Все-таки - это самый красивый пляж, а я была на многих пляжах и знаю, о чем говорю:)) и вообще, надо еше раз в Таиланд сьездить, досмотреть, что не успели "охватить".