From Krabi we also went to Railey beach, an isolated peninsula jutting into the Andaman Sea. Arriving on the eastern shore, you have to climb out of the long tail boat and wade through mud to reach the beach, but your reward is access to one of the coolest places on earth.
Railey has three main beaches, the eastern one being the least inviting to most people, but rock climbers would disagree. The sheer cliffs, full of cracks and crevices, provide the perfect challenge for beginners and experts alike. The inspiring views from the top make the vertical scramble in the heat worth all the sweat and pain. This time around we only got to watch, but we will be back some day to take it on ourselves.
Phra Nang beach is the most breathtaking of the three, and undoubtedly one of the most spectacular in the world. The southern end of the beach is cut off by a limestone cliff with massive stalactites reaching down towards the cool blue sea like the fingers of a thirsty man grasping for a drink. There are also hundreds of caves dotting the cliffs, including one that has curiously been filled with thousands of lingam statues. The lingam is a phallic symbol sacred to Buddhists and represents power and fertility.
The beach was quite crowded, much more so than when Jen visited here six years earlier, but there was a festive air with locals selling wares on the beach and colorful long tails lined up along the shore. The monkeys were also enjoying the friendly atmosphere, jumping from limb to limb and grabbing bananas from wide eyed tourists.
Our final stop was Railey West, where we had ice cream for lunch and took a final dip in the sea. As if the place could be any more magical, it suddenly started to rain even though the sun was still burning brightly overhead. It felt like we were in a dream. On the way home, our long tail raced the storm back to Krabi. The sudden turn in the weather took us by surprise, but at least it made it a bit easier to leave such an extraordinary place.