Railay is insanely beautiful. We hopped on a nicely air-conditioned boat for our 1.5 hr trek here from Ko Phi Phi (400 Baht each) and as we approached the island, we were speechless. Ushered onto a small taxi boat from our big boat, with all of our gear, we made it to the beach with 6 other frazzled passengers.
The ragged limestone cliffs surround the pristine white beach here at Railay West and the vibe is so cool. It was like the taxi boat dropped us off at paradise, just casually, without saying a word. People lounging in the sun, fishing boats just chilling in the bay, mellow music coming from the first cafe we approached and Rastafarians offering bamboo tattoos and rock climbing lessons. It was all so surreal to take in.
We headed down Walking Street (a sandy main path scattered with shops, cafes and a couple grocery marts) and kept grinning to ourselves at the beauty of our new home for the week. It was insanely humid and as trekked uphill to find our treehouse at the Railay Cabana Garden Bungalows, we were surrounded by monkeys. They were playing, fighting and one just had a cob of corn and was sitting cross legged on the cement wall mowing down. They are frightening and hilarious all at once.
We continued uphill, stopping briefly so I could snap photos of he limestone cliffs, diamond caves and tropical islandness of it all.
We finally reached our destination and were led up another path scattered with roosters, chickens and cats (talk about free range) by our wonderful Thai host. She showed us our treehouse (seriously, it's a rugged hut on stilts, complete with wooden floor, fan, mosquito net and lizards) and made sure the lights worked. We were happy to have found a decent place to stay and our Lonely Planet book deemed it 4/5 stars so we thought we'd give it a go. (Plus, for 450Baht a night on Railay you can't really beat it!)
We paid for two days (for now) and set out to explore, first, dousing ourselves in natural bug spray (because you know, dengue and stuff).
We walked down the beach a bit and then hunger settled in, so we stopped at the Fire Tree Restaurant (cute woodsy, kind of expensive place right on the beach of Railay West). We were too hungry to care about the prices and ordered a green mango salad (SO AMAZING: with red onion, baby tomatoes, fish sauce, cashews, coriander, chili spice and shredded green mango) and a chicken panang curry each. It cost 540Baht altogether, and was so worth every penny.
We grabbed delicious eats AND were also able to witness the most amazing sunset either of us has ever seen. As we were eating, people were gathering on the beach on mats, facing the ocean, so we knew something good was about to happen. The entertainment in Railay? The sunsets. And holy guacamole are they ever gorgeous! The skyline is lined with hills from nearby islands and the limestone cliffs make the bag sparkle and shine with light. The sky turns a brilliant orange and then as it slowly sets, if purples and reds across the horizon and water and is simply mesmerizing. The pictures really don't do it justice.
After dinner, we grabbed delicious fruit shakes (a mango banana one for me and kiwi coconut for Brandon) sans sugar and milk and grabbed a couple waters from the mini mart for the room. We headed back up the now dark, windy path to our home. We took cold showers in our dingy treehouse bathroom (more like a tiled box with toilet, nozzle shower, bucket and drain in the floor) and then we reminisced about our day.
Brandon is currently reading beside me as I write and I'm feeling so content as the fan blows cool air on my mosquito bitten legs. Our little lizard friend, French Toast Junior - or FTJ as we call him, is chilling on the roof, enjoying the quiet of this fantastic Sunday evening.
It's time to draw the mosquito net and get some much-needed sleep. We've got a few days of island life ahead of us and I can't wait to enjoy them in full!!