Thailand, Krabi: Trapped on rocky peninsular by a raging monsoon storm!

Mar 28, 2011 | by Neil

We arrived in Bangkok at 11.30pm on 21st March 2011 after a 17 hour journey from Cairns (for those who don’t know we had to cancel our trip to Japan due to recent events). By the time we arrived we were absolutely shattered so we treated ourselves to a taxi to our hotel in Phayathai (close to Siam - our favourite area of Bangkok). The next morning we were up early so we headed straight to the Siam area for some retail therapy; we both bought a couple of tops and Jimmy bought himself a new ring. We went to a sushi restaurant for lunch so we could have a taste of Japan (we’d been looking forward to munching sushi every day had we gone to Japan) and we went to a Thai restaurant for dinner. It was great to go out for the day and not worry about money; whilst we were in Australia we couldn’t afford to eat out (apart from at Subway, McDonald’s & Burger King) so it was a very welcome change! We also saw loads of TV crews interviewing a lady at the cinema complex in the Siam Paragon Centre so we papped her. We reckon she’s a famous Thai actress!

The following day we flew to Krabi. From the airport we got a bus transfer to Ao Nang pier and then we caught a longtail boat to Railay; a rocky peninsular with 3 bays in Krabi which is only accessible by boat. Our longtail boat journey reminded us of when we visited Railay back in 2006; it was absolutely pouring with rain so by the time we arrived in Railay we were drenched. We had booked to stay at Sand Sea resort (where we stayed in 2006) and the resort had very much gone down hill; the staff were rude, unwelcoming and treated customers as an unwanted distraction, the food from the restaurant was vile and our bungalow was at the back of the resort miles away from the beach. After 2 nights we’d had enough so we checked-out early and transferred to Railay Princess Resort & Spa and boy are we glad we did! The staff are fantastic and although the resort doesn’t have bungalows, we booked a deluxe room with a view of the lagoon and pool which is lovely. Railay is beautiful with sheer limestone cliffs, white sand beaches and emerald water and it is flanked by East and West Railay (which are only 500m apart). West Railay has a lovely beach and the resorts on the West side are quite posh. There’s also a great restaurant called Flame Tree which has brilliant views of the bay and we’ve had most of our meals there including Pad Thai, Som Tam, spring rolls and curries (Panang, Massaman, Thai Green & Red). East Railay doesn’t have a beach, it has mangrove swamps and a muddy shore instead, and the accommodation on the East side is cheaper and seperated by bars or rubbish and rubble. Needless to say we’ve spent most of our time on the West side or at our resort which is inland in the middle of the East and West. The only times we’ve really ventured to the East side is for a rotee (a Thai pancake) as there are loads of rotee stands and they’re yummy! At the south of the peninsular there is another beach called Tham Phra Nang or Princess Cave which we haven’t visited due to the weather but we spent time there back in 2006. The beach and cave are named after a princess, that the local fisherman believe lives there, who controls the fertility of the sea. To encourage large catches, wooden phalluses are left in the cave as offerings to her! The beach is therefore also known as Willy Beach.

Not much has changed in Railay since we were last here but everything has got much more expensive and a lot more tourists have discovered this small area of Krabi. When we stayed here in 2006 our bungalow was £25 per night (which was really expensive at the time) but now accommodation starts at around £45 per night which is cheap compared to back home but for Thailand it’s extortionate! There are also loads more people here, especially Russians. We are the only two English people staying at Railay Princess and everyone else (bar two Dutch ladies and an American couple) are Russian. We’ve been in Railay 5 nights now and the weather has very much not been on our side. We’ve had two afternoons of sun but the rest of the time there has been a monsoon storm. Krabi is only meant to get 3 days of rain for the whole month of March so we’ve been very unlucky with the weather. We’d planned to travel further South and visit the islands of Ko Lanta and Ko Lipe but we’ve checked the weather online and it looks like the monsoon is going to continue over the South of Thailand for the foreseeable future so we’ve had to change our plans. We’ve therefore decided to head back to Bangkok for a few days and then we’re hoping to go to Ko Mak (on the East coast only 5 hours from Bangkok) for a week. We were due to leave Railay today by longtail boat and then catch an overnight bus to Bangkok but the monsoon is raging so no boats are running as it’s too dangerous. We’ve booked another night at Railay Princess and then hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow so we can leave. We’ve already booked and paid for our accommodation in Bangkok (a luxury suite at a posh hotel!) so if we can get off Railay tomorrow, we’ll fly to Bangkok.

Although the weather hasn’t been great, we’re really enjoying being back in Thailand. We can afford to stay in nice hotels, eat out every meal, treat ourselves to massages etc. (I had a facial yesterday which was Amazing!) and generally live well. We can’t believe we fly back to the UK in 16 days! Hope everyone is well and keep your fingers crossed that we get some good weather; we want to come back with a tan!