A couple of days was enough in Patong, in fact we decided we had had enough of Phuket. Time for some rest and relaxation. Where better than Railay beach? A four hour journey, including a forty minute long-tail boat journey over to this kind of two beached, peninsula kind of thingy, with a rock outcrop at each end (I never claimed to be Shakespeare). Anyone who’s ever taken a long-tail will agree they are the best way to travel imaginable. If you ever have a choice, choose the long-tail every time.
There are two beaches on Railay: east and west. These run parallel to one another and are about a couple of hundred yards apart. The east side’s beach has strange rooty trees growing out of the sand and is not suitable for swimming. It has cheap accommodation (we payed 400 baht per night for a fanned hut), nice places to eat, again reasonably priced (between 80 and 120 baht for one dish) and a few nice little bars.
There’s a real reggae feel to the place with several themed bars and often a strange, sickly-sweet, herb-like aroma in the air – whatever that could be. One bar at the end, appropriately called ‘The Last Bar’, does a nightly show. Last night’s was a fire show, with several half naked, sweating Thais disproving the old adage: ‘if you play with fire, you get burnt’, in spectacular fashion. There’s also live music and Thai boxing on other nights.
The west side has a great beach, and resorts that I suspect would be expensive to eat and stay in. I visited here prior to the 2004 tsunami, and there has been a lot of changes. Some modern resorts have sprung up that are not necessarily entirely sympathic to the look and feel of the place; one cannot halt the march of progress, I suppose.
Still, Railay is largely unspoilt and a great place to visit if you like a relaxed, chilled out vibe. There’s skorkelling and rock climbing here, too. We have booked ourselves onto a night snorkelling tour for tomorrow, between 2pm and 8pm. Looking forward to it. Will keep you posted.