Jethro: We weren’t expecting to get to do the west coast of Thailand on this trip, as the monsoon season is in full swing. In fact, I’m writing his further down the andaman coast, hiding from the rain that finally caught us up. But back in Khao Sok National Park we heard that some big storms had just smashed through the area and cleared out the weather. The report said that the mostly dry sunny weather would last a week or so.
And so we headed south, to a place I was disappointed I thought I was going to miss. Railay Beach: Rock climbers paradise. I call it a wannabe island, because it’s attached to the mainland but steep limestone cliffs make it only accessible by boat. It’s 10 minutes to walk across, and is absolutely gorgeous. Cool chill reggae bars (one with a resident free to roam baby monkey climbing on customer’s shoulders) nestle in rows amongst terrible restaurants. Everything is island price.
The cliffs here give some incredible multi pitch climbs for pros, and despite us being on the more basic walls that can be top roped, the climbing was great. Getting to the top of a long 6a to find monkeys amongst you in the trees is incredible. Trees here stubbornly climb vertically up the cliffs, so at the top of a tall climb you are still amongst a leafy monkey paradise playground. They don’t mind jumping between the tiny branches which swing and bounce wildly under the plummeting monkeys.
Hiking through a massive cave system which emerges halfway up one of the limestone cliffs was one of the highlights. I got to abseil down, all the while with a gorgeous birds eye view of the Railay west beach. Sooo good!
We met a cool couple (Marisa and Kyle) climbing and ended up hanging out at their (fancier than ours) resort. They travel with canadian tags on their bags etc.. but are secretly American but don’t want people to know. Later, we set up hammocks, filled coconuts with rum & lime, played frisbee at sunset, and had a good ukulele singalong. It was great hanging out with a couple who were very similar to us.
Peach: Meanwhile I was getting sick again, the nagging nausea feeling had been getting worse since we arrived in Khao Sok a few days earlier. Because of this I decided to remain firmly on the ground as the designated rock climbing photo taker rather than strap myself into climbing gear and swing around on ropes. It was pretty chilled out, relaxing on the rocky beach, happily snapping away and chatting to absolutely exhausted rock climbers – including the really cool couple of faux Canadians.
Determined not to let feeling sick hold me back for too long, the day after climbing day we went for a walk/climb up a muddy and rocky trail to a viewpoint. It was a pretty tough way up to the top, there were ropes to hold onto and also to show you the way you are meant to go. We both did it in flip flops and were fine although perhaps proper shoes would have been more sensible… some people clearly struggled with it but we are pretty good at scrambling over and up rocks now. The view at the top was worth the climb and the climb itself was worth the climb – because it was quite fun.
The next day we did another walk and scramble over some rocks and up a bamboo ladder to get into a really big and cool cave. A really big and cool and dirty cave full of bats, including some dead ones on the floor. The view was good though. Jethro had been here before on the second half of his climbing day.
However it wasn’t long before the sickness got to me – I had been resisting going to see a doctor but the walking and scrambling was enough for me to cave in (sorry) and go to the lone health clinic at Railay to get a professional opinion about what was wrong with me. Shortly after leaving the cave we arrived at said clinic which was full of staff just chilling and tapping (very quiet day). I was waved into the doctor’s office within minutes where the nice doctor lady poked my stomach a bit and asked how I felt, then said she could inject me with strong painkiller and give me some gaviscon… I wasn’t in much pain and I think gaviscon is for acid reflux which I also didn’t have so I thanked her for her time and we left after what felt a little bit like an unsuccessful visit.
But still, feeling unwell was just the perfect excuse to have some chilled out beach days…
It was about that moment that we decided we should go in search of a proper doctor so we chose our next place – Krabbi Town!