Friday, December 03, 2010

Railay & Ao Nang

Hi everyone! 

I think some of you might be reading this whilst it's snowing outside!! crazy writing that when it's 32 degrees here today and we have the air conditioning on full blast! 

On Tues 23rd we caught a 2 hour ferry from Phi Phi to Krabi - it was boiling on the boat and I pushed on with my tanning whilst listening to some Groove Armada on the top deck, was definitely one of our better journeys!

We got to Krabi and grabbed a little truck with a few other travellers to a  very very cheesy little town called Ao Nang - definitely felt like the Thai version of Blackpool... with loads of Irish pubs, r'n'b music being played, full english fry-ups and inflatables on sale at every cafe/shop! AND even had a McDonalds and Burger King haha.  But we decided to stay there as it was only 2 mins in a boat to Gem and James's gorgeous honeymoon hotel.

their resort, Centara - so beautiful, even had its own beach!

For those that don't know, Gemma and James are our friends from home who got married in Northamptonshire this August and have just taken their honeymoon in Thailand, so we'd been arranging to meet up at this point for ages!

We rocked up to the lovely Centara Resort late afternoon on Tuesday - was SO great to see them both, it felt realy surreal when we knocked on their hotel room door and they were both there, especially when it's basically just us two for the past 7 weeks! We had a full afternoon sat on their balcony chatting about our trips and drinking beers! Their resort was so stunning, they even had a little jacuzzi on their balcony looking over the beach, it was so romantic! Plus it was right next to the jungle/forest bit so monkeys kept coming onto their balcony and trying to open their room doors to get at the mini-bar inside! haha! Apparently they had to fully lock the doors as the monkeys know how to use the catches on the doors to let themselves in! Cheeky blighters!

We all got ready in their suite and headed out for some cocktails (my first Lychee Mojitos! SO good) at their resort and then onto a Japanese restaurant where Martin tried sushi for the first time... and nope, he still doesn't like it.. think it'll have to be McDonalds for him when we go to Tokyo in Feb! haha. 

The next day we all met up and caught a 10 min long tail boat over to a place called Railay to spend the day chilling on the beach together. 

We found an AMAZING beach called Phra Nang beach on Railay with loads of cliffs and caves around it.

Mart and James are swimming in there somewhere

Tsumani evacuation route..

Mart made a new friend

love this pic!

the girls hit the beach!

a boat selling lunch... rice and chicken,
rice and veggies, chicken noodles, pancakes.... all 60baht, 1pound! bargain!

We we also ended up finding a stunning restaurant set in the caves just off the beach, it started raining so the staff moved our table to be right inside the cave, was pretty cool eating our lunch whilst looking out at all the thunder and lightening!  

The weather since we got to the Ao Nang/Railay area has been really predictable, sunny in the day and then by 3/4pm the rain clouds start coming over and we get MASSIVE thunder storms, the thunder is so loud, big massive cracks and lightening all over the sea.  It's pretty cool to watch but no dinners on the beach for us, it's inside the restaurant with a brolly in our bags for the walk home. At least it's sunny in the daytime, that's the main thing.

We caught the long boat back about 4pm and said goodbye to them when the boat dropped them off at Centara.. .was really sad to see them go, would have been great if we could have all travelled together for a few weeks.  It was SO brilliant to see them! I'm already missing my girly chats with Gem and poor old Mart finallllllly got the chance to properly talk about footy and cricket to someone who knows what they're on about! Although, we're off to Sydney next week, and so I think I need to get myself 110% in the mood for cricket!!! Come on England!

After Gem and James left, we spent one more night in Ao Nang and the next morning caught a long tail boat over to Railay with our big rucksacks - what a mission that was getting them on and off those things whilst wading into the sea up to my thighs! So glad Mart's there to help me lug it over the side of the boat though, don't know how single travelling girls get around so easily... well actually, they probably packed less than me eh?!

10 mins later we arrived on Railay beach and heaved our rucksacks onto our backs and trekked for about 30 mins from the beach up into the mountain to a gorgeous little resort based in the hills, looking over the sea.  We were boiling by the time we got there, legs definitely got a good work out though and it was definitely worth it! Our little hut looked right out over the sea and we had jungle all around us with a cool little balcony that we read our books on every night after we got back from the beach.

This was us at brekky looking out over that amazing view. I actually felt really emotional
as I had that view on my work laptop as my desktop image for about 6 months - so couldn't believe I was looking at it in real life! amazing.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday we stayed at the mountain hut and it was perfect.  Waking up to the sea from our balcony, trotting down to breakfast where I had pancakes everyday (yep, not too healthy, but hey it's our honeymoon - gotta stop using that excuse or I'll be the size of a house by the time March comes around!!) and then grabbing our stuff and heading down to the beach.  

a strange chicken salad served in a pineapple!

We were on the East Side of Railay where it's not so developed, so there's lots of dirt tracks and hippy style bars and restaurants that look like they've been ramshackled together from random pieces of driftwood - we even walked past one restaurant in the morning where they had a dead skinned sheep just lying out on a wooden table, chopping it up in the 40degree heat for their menu that evening, it smelt rank! and.. nope, we didn't eat there!

Thai pancakes.... SO good!

Railay is also a massive destination for rock climbers who come from all over the world to climb within this area.  The cliffs are outstanding and range from dead easy climbs to mega challenging where you're basically hanging over the sea from limestone ledges - was really brilliant to watch everyone at it, especially the guides themselves who were so expert in knowing just where to reach and lock onto.  We didn't do it as we're saving our money for other stuff we'd rather do in Australia.  

Although one day Mart headed up to a view point on his own, which looked like a pretty challenging climb/trek as you had to use ropes to get up and down some parts with loads of slidey mud sections, and as we'd been having rain in the evenings he said these parts were really tricky. OH and he said on the way up he met a couple who had their BABY strapped to the front of the dad! Some people are just idiots!

that's looking UP the way Mart climbed..

view from the top

On Sunday evening we headed out for a bite to eat and then found a little reggae bar that was showing the Chelsea v's Newcastle game - so we settled in and ordered some thai whisky/red bull buckets, made friends with a dutch guy who knew loads about football, I think Martin wanted him to join us on the rest of the trip so he had a 'Football Friend' haha and also Slovenian couple, who were really nice. After the game finished (it was a draw :-() we all went over to a bar called the Last Bar where we all danced around like idiots for a while and eventually Mart and I climbed back up to our mountain hut at around 3.30am.

Clare, this one's for you

oh here's poor Mart reading up on the cricket, he's not been able to see one ball since we've been in Thailand!

On Monday we moved from the mountain hut down to a posher resort called Sand Sea on West Railay beach (the more developed side of Railay) and OHMYGOD...carrying my stupidly heavy rucksack in 40 degree heat down the mountain, along the dirt tracks AND with the hangover from hell was one of my worst experiences of the trip so far.. I had to keep on stopping to sit down as I kept thinking I was going to pass out!! Self inflicted I know!

We spent Monday and Tuesday night at the lovely Sand Sea resort and sat by the pool for two days and read our books... was brilliant! Oh and we saw 2 weddings taking place on the beach near our resort whilst we were there.. was such an amazing setting (even if they did choose Elton John 'Can you feel the love tonight' as their walking down the aisle song!)

what a setting though!

Mart keeping an eye on the cricket again


We left Railay this morning in torrential rain... which wasn't fun when we had to get a long tail boat from Railay beach out to meet a big ferry in the sea with about 100 other travellers and their big rucksacks.. was a mission and a half (especially as I had to listen to a big group of Aussies play eye spy on the ferry for 2 hours!) but we kept reminding ourselves that we're on holiday this Wednesday morning and not commuting in the snow and ice to work in England!!

So now we're back in Phi Phi for 4 days, hoping to do our snorkelling trip again tomorrow! (weather permitting!) On Sunday we're catching an overnight sleeper coach (12 hours! eek) from Phi Phi to Bangkok, arriving in Bangkok at 6am on Monday and then we fly to Sydney on Tuesday afternoon! We can't wait to see Australia now!! I absolutely love Thai food, but after our food poisoning incident, I CANNOT wait to get to Australia and get back to normal food again.. and I never thought I could be fed up with Pad Thai, but bring on the meat pies, fish and chips, nice salads and sausages!!! OH and a nice roast would go down nicely too! 

Will write again before we fly off to Aus


Lots of love
Ems & Mart 

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