A night bus (and several minibuses- the system in Thailand is a bit strange) brought us to the area of Krabi and the secluded beaches of Railay.
Railay is a set of beaches on a peninsula just few minutes by boat from the beach of Ao Nang. It is impossible to arrive there from the land because of the high limestone cliffs that cut off the beaches from the mainland. The beaches are small but very beautiful.
The most touristic and biggest one is the Railay West , connected by a rocky path that you can cross on low tide you find Tonsai beach which is a famous rock climbing spot for the friends of this sport who practice everyday on the steep cliffs! The back drop is magnificent full of palm trees and green tropical plants, unfortunately thought with rubbish, plastic bottles and caps littering around at the back.
Just behind the beach is the laiback local village of Tonsai with the most affordable accommodation! After we arrived there from the jungle side deep in the high trees loaded up with our back packs! Sweating like crazy we found a good deal (200 baht per night) for a bamboo hut!
We spent there almost a week and living in the jungle was one of the best experiences. Sleeping at night we heard noises from strange insects and the monkeys were waking us up at night. The mosquitos were biting us day and night and we felt so thankful for the mosquito net over our bed!
Everyday we ate at Mama chicken’s place. The whole female members of the family were working there serving amazing coconut soups (Tom Ka) , mango sticky rice, cheap fresh fruit shakes and the bbq chicken among other dishes! Unfortunately a flu that had apparently spread in the whole area kept us in bed for 2 days, but we got on our feet pretty soon. A hidden treasure is the path to the beach of Phra Nang with a cave and the beautiful scenery!
We were soon ready to explore more. We hopped on a ferry (very full indeed) to the island of Koh Lanta. Koh Lanta is a big island 25 km from one side to the other.This island is more touristic with resorts and accommodation everywhere along the roads and the beach. The most famosu place is the Long Beach, where also one can find lots of backpackers places, unfortunately most of them were full, so we stayed in a room owned by a local lady moon aat the back of her restaurant. This was actually the thing in Koh Lanta, most of the locals had a restaurant and rooms at the back.
The beach was indeed long sandy and fortunately at last unaffected by tide! We took long walks up and down the beach and relaxed at the shade of the trees walking there barefoot from our room! A mini market and of course the restaurant of Mrs Moon, catered for our appetites, having fresh fruit with muesli , soups and noodles!
On our 3rd day there we found cheap bicycles for rent, our favourite means of transport and explored the rest of the island! Moving south we stopped in many beaches and for the most part the wy was touristic, the last km to the southern tip though were starting to be more green and not so crammed and high views from the hills compensated our exhaustion!
The best part was the Greek Reastaurant owned by Spiros in Khlong Khong beach. We ate a huge souvlaki that we will remember for a long time and had some good company! Even though the rain , the next days passed peacefully and just before we left we were lucky to attend the weekly meeting of an organisation called Trash Hero.
The volunteers are organising beach cleaning and try to raise awareness of the truly huge problem of littering around the islands not only from tourists,who are throwing their beer bottles at the beach, but also from locals. The team is trying to change the mentality about the issue of littering the ocean too. We met the Russian couple organising the activities on Koh Lanta and helped them around along with other. We chatted with them and felt equally passionate about stopping the destruction of our natural environment.
Unfortunately, the fatigue caught us the final day on Koh Lanta. We slept and missed bus to the border. We managed to rebook for the next day through Hat yai, a big city with not much interest but the first indication that it was about to get much hotter. It took us several hours before crossing again to Malaisia. In the days to come we would miss for sure the incredible moments we had in Thailand!