Published: January 28th 2006January 28th 2006
Life is hard. I've spent the last week on one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen, and my plans for the next month are much of the same... Hope the happy sunshiney thoughts of the blog and the beachy photos don't depress anyone in rainy Vancouver too much! (On that note, before I forget, exciting news! Landing at YVR March 18th, yay)
Cruised down south on the luxe overnight train that's becoming all-too familiar (it was my fifth time on that route), and randomly decided to head to Krabi rather than Phuket as it seemed to be where most of the other backpackers I met on the train happened to be going. Since I have so much time here (a little under a month on the Adaman coast) I can be pretty relaxed with travel plans. Hopped on a cramped bus across the peninsula and lost all the aforementioned backpackers, but cut my losses and spent the night in Krabi Town rather than being stuck having to pay for expensive beach accomodation all on my own. Krabi was nice enough, with really good food - people always laugh and say my trip is based on my stomach, but
Thai food is incredible, I can't help my excitement! - but I was eager to get to the beach so grabbed a longtail boat the next day and scooted along the peninsula, finally arriving at a beach called East Rai Leh. The Rai Leh area is divided into four beaches; East, which is a muddy mangrove forest and not all that nice, though affordable; West, which is beautiful and infinitely more expensive; Ton Sai, the budget-est, remotest, and least developped; and one which I simply called the 'resort beach', as the entire thing is monopolized by a massive pricey resort, which grudgingly allows unsavoury types (like me!) on the beach, but which has posted guards to ensure they don't go into the compound. I attempted to get to Ton Sai immediately, but was told by boatman a. that it was impossible to go there by boat at low tide, but that I could walk to it from East Rai Leh. Fine. Get to East Rai Leh, end up on the resort beach (to the chagrin of the pretty & polished resorters), and am told that not only do I HAVE to take a boat to get to Ton Sai, but
Limestone cliffs, and talcum-powder sand
that it'll cost me as much as it cost to get to the beach from Krabi. Argh. Slightly miffed, but also more than slightly sweaty and dreading the prospect of other options while lugging around the bag, I reluctantly agreed and zoomed across to Ton Sai.
Found a bungalow, ran into the Canadians I'd met on the train, and discovered that there were two land routes to the prettier beaches... I was definately ready to settle into the beach routine. Ton Sai is a cool little place, it's got a great community vibe considering the beach attracts rock climbers from all over, many of whom stay for weeks if not months, lending the entire area a really friendly vibe. People did seem a little amused when I explained that, no, I was not there to climb, I was one of those dreaded lazy people who prefer to spend their time at the beach on the beach. I briefly considered signing up for rock-climbing lessons, but they were quite expensive and I cannot think of a sport less suited to me than rock climbing (clumsy, not too fond of heights, easily cut and bruised, and with absolutely no upper body
Mangroves & Boats
The "worst" beach
strength)... maybe one day though, as rock climbers as a group have the most stunningly fit bodies I've seen. It was quite a quandry whether to gaze into the azure water, towards the limestone cliffs, or at the abs and arms of passing people. ;) That's not to say that I was entirely lazy during my time at Rai Leh, both routes to the nice beach involved some pretty difficult athletic endeavours - option a was scrambling/wading around the point on some very slippery and sharp rocks, and option b was climbing over the promontory, so much of a climb that the entry and exit points have ropes descending the face to help you up or down.
There's more I could say, but really, the photos should say it all.
There are more photos below