19.01.2012 30 °C
A flight from Yangon to Bangkok then another to Krabi Thailand followed by a ½ hour cab ride to the boat pier and then a long tail boat to our new home for the next three nights. After the boat dropped us off close to shore we had to wheel our luggage down a path and then on the sand until we found our hotel. Our cabin was the last one down this long winding pathway lined with palm trees and tropical plants. It was so hot and humid we were drenched by the time we got to our room. Jane and I got unpacked and had our bathing suits on in five minutes flat and hit the pool. The water wasn’t really refreshing as it was almost warm but felt great. We headed to the beach for a walk on the sand that is white with the many small pieces of coral and shells . You can walk out in the water for a long time before you are up to your waist and the water is almost tepid. Close to shore it is actually hot.
We only have a fan in our room and it was so hot last night but we survived. A swim in the pool after a great and extensive breakfast was then followed by another long walk on the beach. We are really enjoying the fresh and clean air. Railay beach is well known for rock climbing and there are people from all over the world here to climb the steep faces of these jagged rocks. The water is a turquoise blue and the limestone karst rocks jut out over the landscape. It is breathtaking.
It is however noisy. There are many long tail boats all lined up in front of our hotel waiting to take tourists to various other beaches and snorkeling spots. It is a very popular spot for Europeans and many families with young children.
We decided to do an evening boat trip which left at 2:30PM. There were 12 Chinese who couldn’t swim and 9 others from all over the world. They put all the Chinese folk on one long tail boat and us on the other and we headed out to sea to one of the rocks jutting out of the water. We all got our snorkel gear on and spent the afternoon at three different snorkeling spots. The water is so warm and extremely salty, you float very easily. Lana has not been snorkelling for years but did really well. The fish were very colorful and interesting but unfortunately the coral was pretty much dead. The tsunami, tourists and boat anchors have killed a lot of it. So too has the heat in much of Thailand. The last couple of years the water temperature has risen a fair amount and bleached the coral. Jane and I both got stung by a jelly fish but it didn’t hurt for too long We headed to another beach to watch the sunset and then were served dinner. There were many huge bats flying over head, they looked like Eagles with a three foot wing span.
Night snorkeling was next on the agenda. We went to a spot behind one of the rock formations so as not to have any lights and jumped in the water with our snorkel gear on. The phosphorous was amazing. It was like little twinkle lights everywhere. I have seen phosphorous many times before but nothing like this, and never snorkeling. It was pretty cool.
It was a very long day however and we were very glad to wash all the salt and sand off in the evening.
Day 21. Today we chartered out own long tail boat and headed out snorkeling again to a different spot. We left close to an hour after all the other boats so when we arrived most of them were ready to leave. Before long we had the place to ourselves. Our driver had an old ladder that he hung over the side and we would fall off the side to go in and climb up the ladder to come back onto the boat. This place was amazing, the fish were so colorful and abundant and the coral had a lot more color. We spent over an hour there and were just mesmorized. The water was an emerald green and so clear you could see down for many meters. Back into the boat and off to Hong Island. We really weren’t sure what was there but that is where all the tours go so we thought we would check it out. Wall to wall long tail boats on the beach. Yes it looked like a beautiful beach but not what we were looking for so he drove around the island instead to show us all the limestone formations and hangings. It was very cool but we asked him to take us back to the first snorkel site. I think he thought we were nuts, he kept checking with us and we were adamant to take us back. The second time was even better. We went out further to some reefs and saw fish we had not seen before. These small yellow and black striped fish would come right up to your mask and check you out. We would stay still and there would be schools of tropical fish all around us. It is such an amazing world under the water we were just thrilled and we were the only ones there too. I saw this really cool fish close to the surface, about a foot or more wide that I thought was a puffer fish. I called out to Jane to come and see and just before she got there I realized it was a huge jelly fish! I yelled “Jane go back!” We both swam so fast I think we set a record. Another hour there and we were like prunes and unfortunately my sunscreen was not waterproof and the back of my legs are very sunburnt. Fortunately I had a long sleeve shirt on so it was just my legs.
Back to our hotel and a quick swim shower and freshen up and then a hike to the other side, Railay beach East. We are on Railay West (I think that is how it goes). We came to an area where they were rock climbing so watched that for a while. Some of them go up shelves and look like contortionists. You have to be in amazing shape to do this and everyone we saw were all under 30. A couple we met on the boat last night were from Switzerland and climbing places like this all over the world for the next year. They were a very adventuresome couple.
The path to the right took us past some fantastic limestone caves and formations until we came to a beach where there were lots of people swimming. We were dying to go in the water too as we were drenched but were wearing our street clothes. The temperature is only around 85 but the humidity is 100%. You cant dry your clothes on the line because it is so damp. There were lots of monkeys on the trail happily eating bananas that people were feeding them. One mom and her two little babies were especially cute and there were other monkeys that had these huge eyes with white rings around them and very adorable.
We needed a cold drink in the worst way so headed for the fancy hotel beside ours and ordered some Singha beer. He even brought it in an ice bucket which was great so we used the ice to cool down. There was a wedding reception happening on the beach so we ordered dinner and sat and gawked at that for a few hours. The sky was turning black however and getting darker and darker. Then the rain started. The wedding party ran indoors to finish off which was a shame as it looked so beautiful on the beach.
I am now sitting in our room listening to the torrential rain outside. There has been hours of thunder and lightning too, lots of sheet and fork lightning. It looked really cool on the beach to see the sky light up with the forks of light coming down. We are very relieved that we were not out on the boat tonight instead of last night.