After a nice solid amount of time in Ko Phangan, it was time to move on to our next destination – Railay.
Railay is technically connected to the land at one point but it really feels like a large island, there are multiple beaches and it is home of some really world class rock climbing.
Everything on Railay had an extremely natural and mystical look to it. Even the path from the bungalow to the beach was amazing.
The beach of Railay had some extremely beautiful surrounding rock formations. Maybe the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It was really fun to swim all along and under these rocks and explore, there were thousands of little minnows swimming in schools too. But enough talk, check these pictures!
The only issue with the beach is that it was a little crowded. One of the downsides to Thailand becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. There was also a really weird little shop set up in the corner of the beach!
One of the bonus’s of it becoming a more popular beach to visit is that there were people selling corn on the cob and barbeque chicken on the beach, delicious!
Here’s a few more shots of the beach, and yes that is a pirate ship!.. probably.
Elsewhere in Railay we decided to take a cool hike, first we went up to the viewpoint which I don’t remember being that special, but then we took a hike down into the lagoon.
The hike was going relatively normal, but then two tourist passed by us and said “Guys don’t bother going further, its impossible to actually reach the lagoon,” we were a little disappointed but decided to check it out anyway. Eventually we reached a point that looked like the end and we couldn’t go any further. It was basically a big cliff… We looked over the edge and noticed there was a rope. “Wow, we’re supposed to climb down that!?” At the bottom of the rope was a bunch of sharp rocks, if we fell we would be in serious trouble.
It turns out there was actually 3 cliffs on the way down, our flipflops were muddy and unstable, and the rope was a little sheared at the top, it was quite scary. Almost all of us decided to go for it, we had made it this far, we wanted to reach the lagoon.
It was the first time I had climbed like that with just a rope to hold onto, knowing that if I slipped I could bash in my head on the rock below. But we all really took our time and made sure every foothold was solid and eventually made it. It was really awesome.
We were in Thailand during the dry season, so when we reached the lagoon, it wasn’t quite as we imagined. Instead of being full of beautiful blue water like it is at other times of the year it was dried up, muddy and gray.
It was a little disappointing that we couldn’t go for a swim in the lagoon after such a hike, but we did notice something really awesome down there. Mud creatures! Hundreds of them, it seems once you make it down the difficult climb to the lagoon you can leave a mud creature behind to show you were there! There was a bunch and some were really detailed and awesome!
I created my own mud creature to leave behind, I tried to make the face from the famous Edvard Munch scream painting.
One night in Railay the most popular reggae band in all of Thailand came to put on a concert! It was a really great concert experience because there was only about 100-150 people there, and you could get really front and center if you wanted. After the opening band played Job 2 Do came out to awesome applause, the lead singer named Job was very Bob Marley-ish and spread a message of love and peace.
It was awesome to hear the songs we had been hearing on the radio all over played live. Here’s a link to their signature song: <insert link>
Job was really friendly and he had no problem with you coming up and chatting to him after the show. The concert lasted way longer than a North American concert and they even played some of the favorite songs multiple times.
Railay is pretty famous for its rock climbing so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try it. I’ve never been rock climbing anywhere except on those fun walls with the plastic hand grips so I was really impressed when we arrived at the place we would be climbing.
Most impressive was how the Thai climbing instructor raced up the wall without a rope in no time. They never cease to amaze me. Once the rope was secured it was our turn. Climbing the wall was pretty thrilling, it was a long climb and it was always satisfying to reach a place where you don’t think you can make it any further but then to find a way.
I once read that the majority of failures result from people giving up right before succeeding. Quite the interesting quote… How many times have you attempted something and then given up, who knows if your success was right around the corner? I think the key to going for what you want is to simply give it everything you have, don’t stop pursuing something until your sure you’ve given it your best shot and then a little more. This however doesn’t mean to blindly keep trying something that isn’t working, its important after every attempt at accomplishing something that you reevaluate your approach, see what is working and what isn’t, and to learn from every mistake. I believe if you truly try your best at something, no matter what the result is, you will gain something valuable.
When we reached the top there was a nice ledge we could stand on to admire the view, it was quite stunning and really high up. I wish I had a picture… The scariest part was when you got to the top you had to lean backwards over the edge and then just let yourself go. It was really an exercise in trust for the guy lowering you down with the rope. Every part of your body wants you to stop leaning backwards over the edge because it thinks it will cause you to die. Repelling off the way is a blast though, you totally feel like a member of the swat unit on a mission!
At the end of the climbing we explored another large cave. The cave had a lot of ropes and latters and we realized we were generally moving upwards for most of it but when we reached the opening we were stunned by how high we had climbed. After admiring the view we got strapped in and self repelled down the side of the mountain, so awesome.
Next is… The Challenge!