Last Stop in Southeast Asia – Railay, Thailand

In many ways, it seemed fitting that Thailand was our last stop in Southeast Asia, seeing as it was our intro into traveling the region together. Devika had seen plenty of the country before  between working outside of Chang Mai, in the north, and going on a handful of trips to the south with friends and family. I, however, had only seen a small glimpse of the country as we bee-lined it to the Laotian border a few months before. The one area I really wanted to see before we left was a little bit of southern Thailand. First and foremost, a trip to the south would offer the opportunity to see a hometown friend who was making it in the culinary world outside of Pukhet along with the chance for us to finally meet his fiance. Then there was the natural allure of the area with its limestone karsts jutting out of tropical waters and the pristine white sand beaches that dotted the coastline… Fair to say, I was sold.

So, as in all good marriages, a compromise was struck and we found a perfect spot, which neither of us had visited before, to spend our last week in the region before we wrapped up this leg of our ‘honeytour’ – Railay.

One of the long tail boats commonly used to shuttle people up and down the coast.
One of the longtail boats commonly used to shuttle people up and down the coast and an example of one of the limestone karsts that scatter the coastline in the background.

Railay is located between Krabi and Ao Nang on the Andaman coast in southern Thailand. Situated on an isolated peninsula, this small beach town and its surrounding bays are cut off from the rest of the mainland roads and are only accessible by boat. The area itself is filled with lush green palm trees, towering limestone karsts, sandy jungle paths, pristine white sands, and transparent waters.  It is most popular with the rock climbing community who come from all over the world to scale these massive rock walls that line the coast. Just imagine, you are a rock climber, silhouetted, dangling over the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea… that image is what draws climbers of all ranges to the area. The idea of the perfect backdrop and that perfect image… For us, we were  less interested in hanging off the sides of mountains as we were with the beauty that having them as our backdrop would provide. We wanted a beautiful place on the beach where we could relax  and reflect for our final week in the region and Railay was a good fit.

A vantage point of the bays that comprise Railay, in southern Thailand. In the bottom right is Railay East, known more for its cheaper and restaurants and accommodation looking out over a mangrove. The treeline facing the water is Railay West, which is a prisitine beach tastefully filled with upmarket resorts dotted behind the palm tree beachfront. With its soft sands and warm waters, this is really the best real estate in Railay. On the opposite side of the bay, the small stretch of sand in the center under the cliff face is Ton Sai, which is yet another budget option. Best known within the climbing community for its vertical climbs right off the beach, it is a chilled out area to spend your time. Though, the beauty of the area is that there is a little bit of everything for everybody between these three spots and they are all within walking distance of each other.
A vantage point of the bays that make up Railay.
The main beach of Railay West. This beach provided some of the most stunning sunsets we have seen in Southeast Asia, which were a surprise considering we were there over the rainy season.
Sunset over the ANDAMAN Sea
Sunset from the southern most beach at Railay looking out over the Andaman Sea.
Ao Nang, back on the mainland. Many thanks to the lovebirds Alex & Jihan for showing us around. Good luck and safe travels!
Ao Nang – Many thanks to the lovebirds Alex & Jihan for showing us around!

After four months in the region, we had seen so many of the places that we used to daydream about. We had traveled through Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and a bit in Thailand and Railay was a great spot to conclude this leg of our trip. We were now ready to get back to India. We were really looking forward to some creature comforts and to seeing family. The ideas of home cooked meals, familiar faces and a familiar bed were consuming a lot of our thoughts. At the same time, our minds were gearing up for the great Himalayas, the wonders of the northern extremes of India and what this next leg of our ‘honeytour’ would bring for us…

Goodbye Southeast Asia. Next stop, Kolkata, India 🙂

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