Stop 1 in Southern Thailand

Emerging the Railay coast was striking. There are jutting cliffs over the beaches, hence why it is only accessible by boat. The long tail boat sliced through the water until we pulled up onto our destination. I couldn’t believe it. This is what all those photos are trying to capture. The colorful cliffs showed contrasting shades of orange, white, black, and red covered by lush green foliage growing someone on the vertical ledges, met with stark white beaches. 

Eager, I ran off the boat and along the coast. There were rock climbers gathered on the small coast and you could see their little specks high up on the walls. Holy crap this is beautiful! I couldn’t help but be awestruck. I’m so happy that I came here. This is the Thailand that everyone’s talking about. The rains and flooding just subsided conveniently with the timing of my arrival, but the lack of tourists showed the recent past. Mariah and Jeremy complained of packed beaches, but I am pretty comfortable here! 

Railay is overall pretty fancy. I was only able to get a tiny (misleading picture) soup for 140 Baht. Most meals I’ve been having have been from 25-45 Baht and this was just evidence of the upscale neighborhood I was in. Yet when I was eating the soup I was just staring at the trees. Oh my god! I can set up a slackline here! I thought. I wanted to set one up from a tree on the beach to a tree submerged in water. It looked like a 30m line and would be so fun! I think I could not fall… I asked if it would be okay. The tree was on the edge of the restaurant and got a resounding NO. 

Bummed, I reconsidered. I decided that I would just set up a really short rodeo line between two of the submerged trees. But it wasn’t as painless as I expected it to be. Stepping meticulously over underwater roots, I got to the foot of the tree that I anticipated would be easy to climb. I had already set the far anchor and was going to tension on this side. I was holding the line and the bag of webbing clumsily. I struggled to climb the tree. There were no good footholds in the waist deep and I couldn’t reach any branches. I was able to hang to bag with the webbing on a knub and then eventually I was get both my feet in a jug. I used all my force in my feet and hands to muscle my way up and was stoked that I did it until I looked down and saw a bloody footprint on the tree branch. Both of the bottom of my feet were bleeding furiously. Gobs of blood were streaming all over the tree. Frustrated that this wasn’t working out and worried since I have to do a lot of walking, I decided to sit at the top of the tree and wait it out.

My feet stopped bleeding pretty quickly. I decided that I was going to rig and walk this slackline anyways. Ignoring the discomfort in my feet, I wrapped a branch and set up a really loose prim rig. Both branches were high up and I wanted to line to be close to the water. I slid down the webbing awkwardly from the tree and mounted the line. Walking it was so fun! I didn’t even feel the pain on my feet. It was absolutely gorgeous, and this line was actually more challenging than I expected it to be. Low tension, lots of exposure, and my feet underwater at some points, I was stoked. I couldn’t get enough.

The tide started coming in faster, and several people warned me to derig. Getting up the tree was no problem, but I struggled with how to get the webbing down and myself without getting everything completely soaked or possibly losing gear. I was searching for low nubs to hang the webbing bag on, and awkwardly failed at finding anything. Finally, I just put the bag in a safe place and jumped down hoping I would be able to reach it or yank it and catch it. I could not get it to come free, I could not reach it, and I noticed my sunhat was far up in the top of the tree. Unfortunately I had to climb again. This time the climb up was easier. I didn’t slice my feet. I sunbathed in the tree for a bit, and then found a less bomber but good enough nub to hold the bag while I jumped down. As I was lowering myself into the water, another foot slice resulted in heavy bleeding again and even more pain than the first time. 

Limping out of the water, I continued my day grunting in pain with each meticulous step. I had to cross the Island to the west beach of Railay and then make my way North to Tonsai. When I walked out onto the west beach, I was in even more awe than before. Beautiful is an understatement. Soaring cliffs, 300 ft high, white sand and warm clear blue water… I was in disbelief and exuberance. Railay is amazing, but also way out of my price range. It’s full of fancy resorts and wealthy tourists. I wanted to go to Tonsai, which is where all the dirtbag climbers and backpackers stay. I was still expecting it to be pricier than the North or other less beautiful areas, but I was so happy that I decided to come. 

However, I nervously observed the high tide unsure if be able to cross the beach to Tonsai. I crashed down to let my feet refresh, and took in the stunning beauty of Railay. I soon found out that there was also a jungle path across to Tonsai. Thanks Maps.me (lifesaving offline navigation app)!! 

Tonsai had a very different feel than Railay. Everyone was walking around with chalk bags and harnesses around their waist. It was definitely more of the backpacker crowd, and immediately I could tell, more low budget. But if you could beleive it-possibly even more stunning.

I was searching for a Bungalow place I saw online that was only one money sign, and the bungalows were about 450 Baht, which is reasonable, about $13, although triple what I’ve been paying most places. Then as I was walking I saw a little place that said Green Valley Resort and for some reason I had the urge to go ask how much rooms were. I’m staying here now and it is the most wonderful!! For only 300 Baht ($8), i have a huge bed, a bathroom, and my own cute little hut!

 I couldnt’t have been happier to take a cold shower and lay fresh and clean in the bed. This is the first night I haven’t slept in a bunkbed hostel and I was so appreciative. It’s such a joy to have a big bed and my own space where Incan just spawl out and rest my aching feet. I don’t want to leave. Haha, so I decided I’m going to stay here for three nights, not just one! Hopefully that will give my feet time to heal and me enough time to enjoy this beautiful area. 

1 comment on “Stop 1 in Southern Thailand

  1. Carol McCready Kerner

    Raleigh- You are one amazing woman! Thank you for your blogs.


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