We arrived on this little hippy peninsula with slight bated breath. The reason we had decided to come here was based on numerous recommendations from our friends on Koh Lanta, and when a place has been raved about SO MUCH by so many people, the expectation can sometimes exceed the reality. But we needn’t have worried, on first sight this little bay was spectacular. Known as one of the best spots for climbers in the world, the mountains surrounding our beach (a 10 minute walk from one side to the other) were huge and beautiful. This was a place where we could truly embark on a mini adventure. With neither of us being seasoned climbers, we decided that the best bet for us would be an ‘easy’ route to a big lagoon, located right in the middle of a circle of mountains, like a cave with no ceiling. So, after a small set back in the form of a 24 hour sickness bug, we set out towards the lagoon the following day. The journey to the start of our climb was long enough, having to cross some big rocks to the next beach and then walk right from Railay East to Railay West. (Railay being the upmarket resort side of the peninsula and Ton Sai being the more laid back, less commercial side).
On the far side of West Railay we found the path to the lagoon, it was almost vertical with only a rope attached to help us up (it also had the odd monkey swinging with ease in the trees either side).
After about 40 minutes of going up and up and up, via an amazing viewpoint and with a little detour so Craig could pretend he was Tarzan, we got to the top of an almighty hill (again almost vertical) which led to the lagoon. We met some very hesitant trekkers who actually decided not to brave the descent in the end, I guess fearing for their lives/ankles. However, lucky for me there was no time for hesitation as Craig was down the first of three sheer drops before I could even say ‘hmmm’!! In all fairness for an actual climber this route is probably very easy but as someone who hasn’t climbed since the age of 7 in Wales, it was so much fun to be able to abseil down both man made and Tarzan ropes (my term for the natural ropes which are basically tree roots), maneuvering down the rocky slopes and feel like a ‘real climber’. Now with this lagoon we weren’t really sure what to expect, and knew that with the tide currently out, it was not going to be as spectacular as you might imagine when conjuring up an image of a lagoon. What we were actually faced with when we arrived was essentially a big muddy puddle. Don’t get me wrong, it was huge and enclosed completely by mountains so it still looked like a beautiful natural creation, but we couldn’t exactly cool down by going for a dip, if you know what I mean.If anyone reading this plans to go, I would definitely recommend going when the tide is high to get the most out of the experience, but for us it was still an action packed day out and certainly helped me take my mind off my still slightly weak stomach.
After the climb back up and then down to the beach, we saw loads of monkeys acting cheeky, probably to get the attention of all the tourists passing by, it worked on me!! I couldn’t believe it when one of the small monkeys got a water bottle, took the lid off and just started drinking from it like a person. Unsurprisingly some of the monkeys were a little sick of acting up to tourists and just looked grumpy, at one point Craig went to tap me on the shoulder to tell me that one of the grandad monkeys looked really mean, when right then it bared it’s teeth and chased after Craig touching the back of his leg. To my amusement Craig was worried that he might have rabies for half the walk home, until the fourth time I had looked and confirmed that in fact, no skin had been broken on his leg. Unfortunately the same thing cannot be said for the following day, when, proud of our adventurousness the day before, we decided to rent a kayak.
So we set off, slightly later than planned due to a late night drinking and playing cards with some English people we met, again towards Railay East where the most Kayak renting shops were. As the tide was waaaay out this time, we thought we would walk around the big rock rather than over it, presuming that a small wade through shallow water would me much easier. We were wrong, it was horrendous!!! The rocks were sharp as nails and slippy with moss, and Craig and I had decided not to wear shoes!! This was probably a good thing based on the day’s later events but at the time we felt quite foolish, especially when some girls in bikinis walked leisurely past us armed with flip flops on their feet!! Finally we got to the other side, breathed a sigh of relief and headed towards the kayak man. After some very pathetic and unsuccessful haggling we did not get the flippers and the snorkel for 100 Baht and instead just went for the snorkel, for the full 100 Baht, and this was on top of the 300B basic rate for renting the kayak for two hours. Although we needn’t have bothered as snorkeling was not the idealistic meander through the sea that we had imagined and should definitely come with hazard warnings, even in places like Thailand, where health and safety aren’t exactly top priority. We have decided to agree to disagree in the argument over whose fault it was that we capsized. We have compromised on it being the fault of a big chunk of shallow coral, which was also responsible for deep cuts in Craig’s feet and the loss of my beach dress. I will not bore you with the details of the panic and aggravation which tainted the serene beauty surrounding us, and will only tell you that we returned the kayak 40 minutes early, do not have any pictures of this day trip and now know for sure that kayaking is not for us.
- Double bed Hut – 500 Baht per night
- Kayaking 2 hours – 300 baht
- plus a snorkel- 100 baht
- Don’t feed the monkeys, no matter how darn cute
- Wear flip flops on rocks. You probably don’t yet have those permanent shoes you think you have
- Sleep in Ton Sai, it’s much cheaper than Railay West and East
- Don’t rock the kayak, or if you are going to, keep your clothes on before the sea steals them. Oh and bring a dry bag.