Monday, April 19, 2010

Phuket to Krabi/Railay Bay Day 4: Shuttles and Long Tail Boats

{Longboats in the harbour}

We’d come to the end of our stay in Patong, so we got up packed out stuff, went down to breakfast and then waited for our shuttle to take us to Krabi and the Railay Bay Beach Resort. We left at about 9 and the trip took approximately 2.5 hours, not because Krabi is very far from Phuket, but because of the traffic and the fate that no one ever gets above 80km/h.

It was very interesting to see the difference between Phuket, Phang-Nga (which I still have no idea how to pronounce) and Krabi. Phuket is definitely the main tourist area and caters to every touristy whim, from go carting, to elephant rides to loads of shopping. There is a billboard on every corner (a huge billboard usually) advertising every leisure activity you could ever want. It is also more geared to the partying types. Phang-Nga, on the other hand, is much more rural and probably a truer representation of how the Thai people live their day to day lives. It is far less busy and populated and there are vast tracts of forests and farm land. Krabi is once again more tourist orientated, but geared more for family holidays and it retains a lot more of the natural beauty that makes Thailand so appealing.

When we saw the limestone cliffs that are so distinct to Thailand, I finally felt like we where were I’d pictured us being. Phuket was a lot of fun, but it didn’t really look like any of the photos you see in travel brochures. Phuket is definitely geared as a certain type of traveller (those that want to party and shop), but Krabi was much closer to what we were expecting to see.
We finally stopped at a little harbour and I wondered what was happening and if we had arrived at the hotel. But I saw our bags being loaded into a long tail boat and we were ushered on as well. And off we went.

Going out into the bay I was struck by how beautiful it was, with the crystal clear blue water, the green forest and the rising cliffs. There were quite a few long tail boats cruising by and we even saw a couple of pink jelly fish the size of dinner plate.

You arrive at Railay Bay on the east side of the peninsula, which is mostly mangroves, but still breathtaking. I felt like we had arrived in paradise and couldn’t wait to see what the west side looked like as that was where our hotel was and apparently much nicer than the east side.

{On our way to Railay Bay in a long tail boat}

The boat trip took about 15 minutes and when we got there we climbed off our boat and were loaded onto one of the hotel’s golf carts, to be driven to the reception. The Railay Bay Resort and Spa is beautiful, with lots of Thai style bungalows in wood, with palm leaf roofs.

As we checked in we got a little glimpse of the main beach (spectacular) and were then shown to our cottage, which is lovely, with modern fixtures, a very fancy bathroom and a big wooden canopy bed. We got settled as quickly as possible, threw on our costumes, grabbed the camera and headed for the beach.

{Railay West Beach}

{Our room}

I can’t possibly describe how beautiful the place is and how blown away we were. It was all I’d hoed for and more, Even the photos won’t do it justice. The white beach, crystal blue sea, great white cliffs and green forest.

{panorama of the beach}

We decided that we were hungry and went for lunch at the resort restaurant, which is right on the beach and where we dined on divine fruit smoothies (with real, perfectly ripe fruit). We then went for a stroll down the beach and had a had a swim in the (very) warm sea. This is the one thing we couldn’t get used to. It was really hot in Thailand, about 33 degrees with 100% humidity. All we wanted to do was jump into the cool sea or swimming pool, but the water is only a couple of degrees cooler than the air temp so the only escape is your lovely air-conditioned room.

{banana & watermelon smoothies}

The rest of the day we just lazed around, had a late afternoon nap, booked a tour to the Phi Phi Islands for the next day and went to look at the east side of Railay Bay (more the backpacking budget side). We rounded off the day with more fruit smoothies (which turned out to be a serious addiction and which we drank at least once a day if not two) at sunset.

{one of the beach restaurants}

{ Railay East}

{beautiful hotel at Railay East}

{my shoes outside our room}

{the sunset}

*One last note: We bought strawberry oreos at the little convenience store. They are very yummy! And also soon became a regular occurrence. They are way better than the originals

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