We got released from quarantine and made last minute plans to fly to Krabi in Southern Thailand because Bangkok had been upgraded to a Red Zone due to a recent third wave of covid. If we entered Bangkok we would have been severely limited on where we could go in the country. Going straight from quarantine we were able to enter Krabi. We spent the first 2 nights hiding away in a bungalow in Ao Nang. On the third day when we went to extend our stay we were told that Krabi had turned into a Red Zone and the hotel was forced to close. Luckily we had a friend that knew of a small family run hotel that was staying open. We ended up renting a small bungalow a block from the ocean strip for $13 a night.
We spent 3 nights in the Ao Nang area catching sunsets and relaxing on beaches since the main tourist attractions were closed. Even most places to eat were closed. We came here to the same town 4 years ago when we first visited Thailand and were shocked to see how empty the place is now and how many business’ are closed. Even though all the bars are closed we found a restaurant/hostel/bar across from our hotel that isn’t following the no alcohol rules so we can still grab a drink when we want and the owner even cooked us a huge local meal one afternoon. The three restaurants along the beach strip have gotten to know us and look forward to the rare business each day.
With limited things to do open, we were ready to move around so we went to the shore in Ao Nang and hired a long tail boat to take us to Railay Beach, We left our suite cases with the family we have been staying with and only brought along small backpacks with just what we would need for 2 or 3 days.
Railay Beach is located on the tip of a peninsula that is cut off from the mainland by giant limestone cliffs. The cliffs make it impossible to reach the town of Railay by car. The only way in or out is by longtail boat. There are 3 main beaches separated by trails through the jungle. You get dropped off on Railay West and walk about 100 meters past bars and restaurants to reach Railay East where most of the accommodations are. Tonsai, the third beach is a short walk through the jungle. Railay offers rock climbing and water sports like paddleboarding as well as Diamond Cave, Emerald Cove, a scenic overlook, mangroves and even a cave(Princess Cave) filled with wooden penises of all shapes and sizes. The fisherman and locals leave them as offerings to the Princess of the cave in exchange for a year of prosperity. Railay is a small hippie town that during non-covid time is over-run by thousands of tourists and backpackers daily. Visiting now was surreal. We had one of the most popular and famous destinations in Thailand all to ourselves. Most hotels are closed but a few remain open in limited capacity ranging from hostels to resorts. We choose a $120 per night resort and got it for $22. With so few people visiting the vibe was super relaxed so we spent 2 nights. The highlight was a twilight kayaking trip in glass bottom kayaks that had lights underneath that lit the way after the sunset. The sunset was incredible from out on the water and exploring the caves after dark in illuminated kayaks was a lot of fun.
After a weekend in Railay we headed back to Ao Nang to stay with our local family again while we did laundry and prepared to set out on our scooter tour. Once again we will be leaving our luggage with our hosts and we will be taking just what we need for a week or so of exploring Phattalung, Trang and Koh Mook.