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.
25852336403_ae469325c2_cI chose Pak Up Hostel for my accommodation, since they had high ratings on hostelworld.com.
26387021052_a24aafbe28_zKrabi town is small and quaint, and I made sure to leave my mark at the local coffee shop while visiting. Wisconsin ❤
26389142581_950fa6803a_c25868390023_81b7dc44c7_bThe 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. 🙂26428846846_ef818318e2_cAnyway, 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. 😀26418775626_fe9f02d1dd_cThe 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.
26182421740_58322a42da_bIt’s less famous than surrounding beaches, so it felt like our own tropical paradise.25868390123_a6df1d906c_bMiri had a fear of swimming, so I told her I’d go with her in the water for a dip.
25852214383_b0bd92620b_cI noticed a bunch of jellyfish floating on the surface, but it didn’t seem to stop people from splashing around. :/
26362807702_6a724fc935_cThis is where I learned that pink jellyfish are high stinging, and although not deadly, the pain hurts just as bad. 😥25852214363_048835a702_cAfterwards, we rode through Loh Samah Bay and Viking Cave for gorgeous views of the karst landscape.
26182421720_b8cfed9526_c26182421730_25b129ee6c_cLater, we made our way to Ko Phi Phi Don and Maya Bay– the set of the movie, “The Beach,” staring Leonardo DiCaprio.
26479087685_ae1efd612d_bThis beach has the potential to be absolutely stunning- a secluded alcove surrounded by towering cliffs on each side. 26181970600_14dbd33b47_cUnfortunately 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.

25852404433_cd085b28ed_c
camping area near Maya Bay

Bathroom sign. 😕26472232345_0cc52104bb_bAnyway, despite the masses, I managed to find an isolated rock, and some space to call my own. 😀25852404403_837bcbba17_cFeeling alive and free! 😀
25852404373_b1fa843901_cAfter 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.26362807792_c09c473e30_cNext 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.
25852404353_8cf2ae18cd_cAfter 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! 😀25867550114_d891970792_bOverall, 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.26379750852_1143ed5550_b

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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. 🙂26379750772_ae94f82962_bOnce we arrived, we were fitted with harnesses, shoes, and powder, then taken to the west side of Railay to practice climbing.26379750832_9c4f8a63e1_bThe limestone rock surrounding Railay beach is world-famous, and there are enough anchors bolted in these cliffs to occupy a climber for ages.25867550134_99b4c37589_bWe began with a beginner route, where things started out a little rocky- no pun intended. 😛
26472232435_24301c0f0c_bThat being said, my instructor, Sue, was mild-mannered, and gave me helpful suggestions about where to place my feet when climbing.26446361846_a7c4ed463f_bWith his guidance, I reached the top in no time. 😀 26380005702_5aef19fd35_bAfter, 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. 😛26453918826_fd9eac7779_zNow, Railay Beach itself is absolutely stunning, and my favorite spot so far on this trip. 😀26379750742_0fb1c64227_bIt 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! :D<26418775686_228c6191c5_bNow, deciding to go up was optional, but going down was obligatory. What a pain in the rear that was! Hah! 😛

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

At least I spotted some local wildlife hanging in the trees on my way down. 🙂26363119732_34afe16256_bThese are dusky langurs- a spectacled leaf monkey native to Malaysia and Thailand.25868390103_905eca5761_bAfter 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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