International Vacations | Travel

Sun Soaked Days in Railay Bay

April 17, 2018

The last leg of our Thailand trip was in Krabi, more specifically Railay Beach. Getting there was a trek. We flew in from Chiang Mai on the first flight out. We had to take a car to the pier, then a long tail boat to get to our hotel, Railay Bay Resort and Spa. Railay Beach can only be reached by boat, it’s not an island, but the limestone formations make it only accessible by water. After seeing Ao Nang, I recommend staying here if you want a clean beach you can be in while you’re not island hopping. So what did we do in this tropical paradise?

Day 1: At the Resort

We arrived at 9:30a.m., but couldn’t check in until 2p.m. so we started with a beachside buffet breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Then changed into our swim wear and explored the water by kayak. The minute we touched the ocean we both let out a sigh of relief, it was only morning, but it was hot out and the water was the perfect bath-like temperature. The ocean was a stunning shade of blue-green and the rock formations were impressive. We were able to dock our kayak in one of the caves of the limestones to swim.

We spent the day in the sun until we could check in to our room, a deluxe cottage. It was very nice and after being in the sun for a few hours we needed a long nap. By the time we woke up it was almost sunset and we were really sunburnt. Our guess is from the hour we spent on the kayak because our legs had been hit hard. The Thai sun is not any ordinary sun and I recommend taking stronger sunscreen. Our 30 SPF didn’t last long as we had to reapply often. There’s also a chance it may have been expired. I am laughing at this fact now, but I was not laughing then. I also recommend packing Aloe Vera, regardless of sunscreen you’ll probably need it at home point. We bought some overpriced Aloe there and put it in the mini fridge, genius idea. 

Our hotel provided us with a straw beach mat and beach bag that we took to watch the sunset, which was the thing to do starting at 6 o’clock as there wasn’t much else going on in the evenings. We grabbed smoothies and a basic burger from the small walking street next to the hotel and ate on the beach while the sun set on day one. The sun looked unreal, like it was from Tatooine in Star Wars, a photo can’t capture that kind of beauty.

Day 2: Phi Phi Islands

We had island tours booked for the next three days, first was the Phi Phi Islands. We booked speed boat tours in lieu of long tail boat tours, if you choose to stay at the same hotel we did I recommend booking the tours online before arriving because it was cheaper and it made it easier to relax knowing it was taken care of.

The boat picked us up around 9:30a.m. and headed for Bamboo Island, the water changed here. It was crystal clear blue. Here’s some unedited pictures to prove it:Bamboo Island_Mercedes Santana_Passports and Papers

After swimming we went open water snorkeling. For anyone that knows me I have a weird relationship with the ocean, I think it’s the most beautiful thing on the planet, but I am also terrified of the powerful currents and I have an odd fascination with sharks. So Henri was shocked when I went snorkeling with easy. I do wear a life vest when I snorkel while Henri is able to swim like a fish, but I’m not a strong swimmer. This is also how I got a sunburn on my butt, I can not stress enough how different the sun is here. It is STRONG. The snorkeling was great, there was bright yellow tropical fish, sea urchins, and the biggest star fish I’ve ever seen. Don’t worry I plan to edit the hours of GoPro footage soon.

The tour followed this up by “sightseeing monkey beach”  as our guide said, which was totally disappointing because he literally meant staying on the boat and looking from afar while other boats were getting off on the island. We did see monkey’s from the boat, but make sure you’re getting off on the tour you book.

We did more snorkeling before going to the famous Maya Bay, known as the place where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed The Beach. It was beautiful, but really crowded. We found out later in the week that the Thailand national park is going to close this beach down from tourist for a rehab. That’s another important note, you’ll need to bring 600 Thai Baht per person to pay a national park fee that you’ll give to the tour guide.

Here’s a blurry picture of me, very happy to have a Magnum ice cream bar.

We watched the sunset again that evening and wrapped up the day American style: Netflix and Chill with ice cream bars, chips, and all.

Day 3: Four Islands

We started our mornings the same each day, with the buffet breakfast included in our hotel. Did I eat pancakes for 5 days straight? Yes, yes I did. With happy tummies we speed off on our next day trip: the 4 Islands.

This was the shortest of the trips and the first stop was just around the corner, Phranang Cave, also known as the penis cave. This cave is actually a shrine to a Thai Princess who passed away and worshipers believe her spirit will help with fertility so they leave offerings of phallic-shaped statues. No photos, because NSFW.

Chicken Island isn’t inhabitable, but you can spot it easily because it looks like a big chicken head or chicken leg. We did some more snorkeling and this time I actually applied sunscreen everywhere.

Post snorkeling we went to Tub Island which is famous for it’s huge sand bank that connects the two islands depending on the tide. At this point we also started using our beach towels to protect us from the sun. 

We ended the day trip in Poda Island where we spent 2 hours. We started with a picnic lunch provided by the tour company which was the classic Thai curried chicken, white rice, fried chicken, and fruit, all the tours seem to serve the same food. We swam and sun bathed in the rocky water. I took a life vest from the boat to float on. We even saw a monkey on this beach.

Day 4: Hong Islands and The Night We Dined & Dashed

The Hong Islands are breathtaking and a bit less crowded than the others so this ended up being our favorite tour. I can only say how stunning these places were so many times, at this point I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. I should note while snorkeling here we saw a striped water snake. I got out of the water immediately, luckily this was the last time we would be snorkeling on the trip so I tried not to be too freaked out.

“The Room” Lagoon

We got back early enough to relax and end the evening with a hike to the Railay viewpoint. This was not an easy hike like we thought it would be. It was short, but required some rock climbing up orange mud which got all over our shoes and clothes. 

The view of west and east Railay from the lookout.

We went to dinner at our hotel that evening where I had an amazing baked rice in a pineapple and a refreshing mango smoothie, Henri had Pad Thai. We watched the sunset and watched as kids from the resort played soccer on the beach. The waiter took our plates and we asked for our bill. Then we waited…for an hour. We thought maybe they had just charged it to our room. So we started to walk back to our room, the hostess said “Kob kun ka” (Thank You in Thai) we looked at each other and keep walking. When we checked out there was no charge for dinner that night. They had changed the waiters three times so there must have been a mix up and that’s how we officially dined and dashed.

Day 5: Full Day of Sun

Originally we were going to go on a tour to either James Bond Island or the Emerald Pools, but we were tired and a day of relaxing sounded better. So we lounged by the beach and waterfront pool all day.

We swam, we napped, and I finished reading Mindy Kaling’s second book (which is HILARIOUS ICYWW.) I read the magazines I brought from cover to cover while I continued to get gorgeously tan.

We decided we should check out Ao Nang, since it was nearby and most hotels were there. We grabbed a ticket for a long tail boat. Ao Nang was not impressive, if you know Los Angeles we compared it Santa Monica. It was more touristy, the water was dirty, the sand on the beach was gross, and there was graffiti on the walls. It’s a typical tourist beach town with souvenir shops, tour sales, restaurants, and McDonald’s. Traveling as a couple we preferred Railay Beach. However, if you want more to do in the evenings Ao Nang might be better for you. We were too tired by the evenings to do anything. The benefit to this side was there was our dependable 7-Elevens. So we grabbed some more sunscreen and ice cream bars before heading back.

Day 6: Goodbye Paradise

We went on one last trip to the buffet breakfast to load up on pancakes, scrambled eggs, and fruit. Then, we kayaked one last time. We checked out and lounged around until we left the resort at 4 p.m. to begin a 30 hour trip back to the U.S. The Krabi airport was a hot mess, it doesn’t have WiFi either, so we ate at a decent Thai restaurant until we could check in. We were flying back to Bangkok on Bangkok Airways and they hook you up! You can only check in an hour ahead, but even with an economy ticket they invite you into their lounge with WiFi, snacks, and drinks. AND they fed us a meal on the short one-hour flight. So the point is, fly Bangkok Airways when in Thailand. Our flight from Bangkok to Beijing was delayed, but it didn’t matter because we originally had a 6-hour layover . We made it back to Los Angeles at 9:00a.m. on Saturday morning. It felt good to be home and this was one of our best vacations yet.


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