Travel in Thailand: Rock Climbing on Railay and Boating in the Phi Phi Islands

This past week was Songkran, or Thai New Year, and we had a full week of holiday, so I flew down to Krabi in southern Thailand.

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30 USD for a one-hour flight with AirAsia 🙂

From Krabi airport, I took a minivan to Krabi town, where I stayed for three nights.
DSC_1803I chose Pak Up Hostel for my accommodation, since they had high ratings on hostelworld.com.
ffdKrabi town is small and quaint, and I made sure to leave my mark at the local coffee shop while visiting. Wisconsin ❤
DSC_1804coffeThe hardest task here was finding a new bikini, since there’s a large Muslim population, and no two-pieces in sight. Make sure to pack your own. 🙂IMG_9207Anyway, while in Krabi, I booked two tours through my hostel:

  1. Boating in the Phi Phi Islands
  2. Rock Climbing on Railay Beach

The packaged tour was actually cheaper than DIY, considering the high cost of ferries in these touristy towns. Both tours averaged 35 USD, including roundtrip transportation.

Tour #1: Koh Phi Phi Islands by Speed Boat

On day one I boated in the Phi Phi islands with the company, Sun-San Travel and Tour. Straightaway I met a girl named Miri- a solo traveler from South Korea. She was quirky and upbeat- the perfect travel companion. 😀2016-04-11 06.51.46The first hour of our tour was spent in a songtaew (a.k.a. a truck with wooden seats) to pick up all the passengers.

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I’m thinking, “I can’t feel my butt after sitting on this wooden bench.” 😥

Anyway, here was the speed boat tour itinerary:

  1. Bamboo Island
  2. Lo Samah Bay and Viking Cave
  3. Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Don
  4. Monkey Beach
  5. Lunch on Koh Phi Phi Ley
  6. Snorkeling

Our first stop was Bamboo Island– a gorgeous stretch of white sandy beach surrounded by pristine turquoise waters.
DSC_1812It’s less famous than surrounding beaches, so it felt like our own tropical paradise.12998411_10105186645752217_8540145071306770103_o Miri had a fear of swimming, so I told her I’d go with her in the water for a dip.
IMG_9151I noticed a bunch of jellyfish floating on the surface, but it didn’t seem to stop people from splashing around. :/
G0079554This is where I learned that pink jellyfish are high stinging, and although not deadly, the pain hurts just as bad. 😥IMG_9152Afterwards, we rode through Loh Samah Bay and Viking Cave for gorgeous views of the karst landscape.
IMG_9161IMG_9156Later, we made our way to Ko Phi Phi Don and Maya Bay– the set of the movie, “The Beach,” staring Leonardo DiCaprio.
0f08e1ee9ce2efdf5dd52bdf846cc7be8a0214fcThis beach has the potential to be absolutely stunning- a secluded alcove surrounded by towering cliffs on each side. IMG_9185Unfortunately though, it was so littered with people, it was hard enough to find a spot to stick your feet.

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I have no idea what these girls were doing. Hah. 😛

If possible, visit before tours arrive or camp overnight to escape the crowds.

IMG_9171
camping area near Maya Bay

Bathroom sign. 😕IMG_9205Anyway, despite the masses, I managed to find an isolated rock, and some space to call my own. 😀IMG_9191Feeling alive and free! 😀
IMG_9195After Maya Bay, we made a brief stop past Monkey Beach, which inhabits some fairly aggressive macaques. We watched as they ravaged a package of crackers from the hands of a hippie backpacker, and decided not to step foot off the boat.DSC_1819Next up, it was lunch time- a buffet style selection of local fare. This stir fry had a mixture of veggies, fish meatballs and pineapple- the typical combo of salty and sweet found in most Thai cuisine.
IMG_9198After lunch we hopped in the water for some snorkeling, which left something to be desired, but I was impressed by how well the kids behaved on the boat. What cuties! 😀IMG_9134Overall, the tour is one of the area’s most famous, but I found the destinations to be a bit too crowded. I guess I’ll just have to imagine myself and Leo alone in Maya Bay- if only in my dreams. 😛

Tour #2: Rock Climbing Railay Beach 

On day two, I was picked up in another songtaew by King Climbers, for a half-day rock climbing tour on Railay Beach.

Railay Beach is only accessible by sea- a 20-minute boat ride from Krabi pier.IMG_9360

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locals transporting goods to Railay by long-tail boat

While on the boat, I met a traveler named Yuki from China- my new buddy on this excursion. 🙂IMG_9217Once we arrived, we were fitted with harnesses, shoes, and powder, then taken to the west side of Railay to practice climbing.IMG_9248The limestone rock surrounding Railay beach is world-famous, and there are enough anchors bolted in these cliffs to occupy a climber for ages.IMG_9317We began with a beginner route, where things started out a little rocky- no pun intended. 😛
ROCKThat being said, my instructor, Sue, was mild-mannered, and gave me helpful suggestions about where to place my feet when climbing.
RCOK2With his guidance, I reached the top in no time. 😀 IMG_9295After, I advanced to climb the higher rock faces using my GoPro head mount. My video footage was super shaky, and at one point I smacked my camera against a boulder, so I’ll spare you the nausea, and leave you with some pics I snapped at the top. 😛fsdfNow, Railay Beach itself is absolutely stunning, and my favorite spot so far on this trip. 😀IMG_9210It has a great combination of kitschy shops, beach-side restaurants, and swank boutique hotels. I’d definitely recommend staying here if you get the chance. 😀

After climbing, I decided to venture to the viewpoint of Railay- a 30-minute uphill climb to the top.

The views were absolutely phenomenal! 😀IMG_20160411_141634Now, deciding to go up was optional, but going down was obligatory. What a pain in the rear that was! Hah! 😛

hh
I’m thinking, “What did I get myself into?” 😛

At least I spotted some local wildlife hanging in the trees on my way down. 🙂d2These are dusky langurs- a spectacled leaf monkey native to Malaysia and Thailand.PicsArt_04-12-09.17.47After my descent, I returned my climbing gear, took a long-tail boat back to Krabi, then hopped into a minivan towards Khao Lak– the next destination on my journey.

From there, I would be boarding a 4D/4N scuba diving liveaboard in the Similan and Surin Islands. Stay tuned to hear all about it! Until then. 😀

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