May 232011

Once again, Krabi Town had a distinctly different feel from any of our previous stops. Probably most similar to Ko Phangan in its clearly backpacker-oriented vibe, the waterfront area is loaded with young budget travelers hopping from guesthouse to guesthouse. It had quite a nice feel actually; the restaurant at KR Mansion, our lodging of choice, was full of backpackers all our own age.

And in typical fashion, the staff was fantastic. I mentioned once before how friendly Thai guesthouse staff always seems to be; smiley, playful, fun and helpful. They don’t just take your money and show you your room, but laugh and joke as if you were lifelong old friends. KR Mansion was no different – and the costs were mindbogglingly cheap compared to everywhere we’d been. Half the price of Bangkok, and a quarter of Patong. $10 for a room.

Since we were both pretty tired from getting up so early we just kicked back the first night, agreeing not to set an alarm the following morning.

We woke up at noon. Doh.

Although Krabi Town is quite nice, it’s mainly used as a jump-off point for some more famous surrounding areas, where accommodation is thinner and far more costly.

The region’s main draws are its three crescent beaches of Ao Nang (the only one accessible by land), Railay (the most expensive/resorty), and Tonsai (cheap, isolated, and world famous for rock climbing).

Because we’d started far too late for climbing, we figured we’d just head out and see what we found – so we caught a local bus to Ao Nang and hopped on the first longtail to Railay.

I should probably mention that both Railay and Tonsai are actually part of the mainland, yet because they’re completely cut off by huge towering cliffs, they have much more of an “island” feel than you might expect.

There are no cars or vehicles whatsoever, can only be reached by boat, and many of the bungalows are powered solely by generators. In fact, I guess they basically are two tiny islands, except for the fact that cliffs are what isolate them from the outside world rather than water all around.

And like many of Thailand’s tropical paradise islands, their industry seems to exist nearly entirely for tourism.

Honestly, it really is amazing how all throughout Thailand – nearly everywhere we’ve been so far – it seems like half the people are foreign. Is tourism the country’s biggest industry? It’s hard to imagine otherwise.

Anyway, the weather was fantastic – so finally, after a week on Koh Phangan and another on Phuket, we were graced with a bit of the tropical paradise we’d seen on so many travel postcards.

Our afternoon was really pretty casual. We started in Railay, packed with expensive beachfront resorts and tourist agencies offering snorkeling, kayaking, cliff diving, and any other “beachy” activity you can imagine. After strolling down the town’s one main walking “street” (aka sandy path),

We continued inland to explore a few caves

Before happening on a trail up and into the jungle.

Apparently you can hike all the way over the mountain from Railay to Tonsai, which we learned a short time later as the trail descended and began giving way to rustic jungle huts and eateries.

Like Railay, Tonsai is another small – but far less developed – beach cove, more oriented towards long-term professional rock climbers than package-resort tourists.

With no electricity during the day and few connections to the world, it isn’t exactly the kind of place I’d choose to stay – but pretty interesting nevertheless. The biggest problem was that despite our hunger, we found ourselves unable to get food until later that evening when the restaurants were scheduled to fire up their generators.

Oh, and there were these HUGE terrifying spiders absolutely everywhere. Yuck.

By the time we reached the water the tide had fully receded,

Revealing enough rock that we could scuttle back around to Railay, without having to hike all the way up and over.

This left just enough time for a bit of sunset photography before catching the very last “daytime” boat back to Ao Nang.

  21 Responses to “Krabi-Railay-Tonsai”

  1. Dude, starting with your picture “Longtails to Railay and Tongsai” I have stood in every single spot from where you took pictures (except the slippery cave rock.) I did the hike from Railay to Tongsai also, but I stopped along the way to take 2 hours of muay thai from a camp in the jungle. You must have passed it. What a small world. So cool.

  2. I especially liked those huts in the jungle “modest accomodations.” It was so weird to be walking along and suddenly see little huts with people stoned out of their mind just laying everywhere.

  3. Wow, that’s awesome – it really is a small world!

    Haha nobody was laying around stoned while we were there though, surprisingly 😆

  4. Is there a way to have the FB comments mirror the WP comments or vice versa?

  5. Wordbooker plugin – yep, it goes both ways (these should be on my blog in 56 minutes, the next time it’s scheduled to fetch)

  6. That spider is insane!! Looks like some mutant hybrid of grasshopper and spider…yuck!

  7. Wow I see it working. What happens when one side doesn’t have an account on the other?

  8. Oh, tying them in with the WP user account isn’t Wordbooker – that’s a function of my own plugin (WP-FB AutoConnect Premium); Wordbooker just assigns a preset email to imported comments, and shows the Facebook user’s name, but it isn’t actually attached to their account (aka as if you’d actually commented directly on the blog). And using the FB logo (rather than a flag) is something I implemented manually, not in any plugin.


  10. I always used WB-FB AUtoConnect plugin connector flag logo wordbooker import presets to accomplish my goals!

  11. Oh please, there’s nothing even half-technical in there, haha 😛

  12. Looks awesome! Except for the spider. Are you not into climbing? I bet it would have been fun

  13. R u in railay? im at koh lanta open my new salon there hope to cut your hair again:)

  14. Linda: Seriously! And they really were *everywhere*. Freaky.

    Andy: We wanted to climb, there just ended up not being time… 😐

  15. I have pictures of the *exact* same type of spider 🙂

    That pic of the climber in Tonsil is amazing.

  16. LOL Tonsil…somebody’s using autocorrect 😆

  17. Duh, you should know IE doesn’t *have* autocorrect 😛

  18. Haha well, it seemed far more likely that you’d be using a non-shit browser than had accidentally mistyped “Tonsai” -> “Tonsil” 😛

  19. Great pics! The colors look so much better here against your black background than they do on Facebook.

    You forgot to mention that we had the cat in the 2nd picture for dinner.

  20. Thanks 🙂 That’s actually one of the reasons I decided to go for a dark background – i.e. have a look at Photo of the Day (which hasn’t been updated for years, of course).

    Cat?? 😛

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