Krabi / Railay Beach, Thailand
Krabi area is in south / central part of Thailand, just about the troubled regions in the far south, and includes famous destinations like Ko Phi Phi, Phuket, and the climbing areas at Railay and Ton Sai Beach. We stayed on Railey East Beach, the slightly cheaper side of the main beach area. The beaches are located on a peninsula which can only be accessed by "longtail boats" which ferry people back and forth between Krabi Town and the beaches. Phil and I arrived Tuesday night around 6PM on the mainland and took a longtail over. We explored for ahile and eventually found a pleasant budget hostel called "Rapela" with outdoor bungalows for 400baht ($18).
The next morning we got an early start on climbing, catching the morning shade from 7-10AM before stopping for breakfast. The first few days of climbing left me really tired and drained all over, especially since most of the climbing sites require a pretty serious hike just to get there. People from all over the world converge on this place to test their skills on the climbing wall. We met tons of people from Canada, US, Austria, England, New Zealand, and more. By the 4th and 5th day I started to adjust to the muscle soreness and really enjoy the challenge.
On Thursday Cat and Bernice arrived from Singapore and joined us in the same hostel. For the next few days they explored the island while Phil and I continued to climb . We met up for some good Thai food, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
On Saturday we took a break to go scuba diving. Phil, Bernice and Cat had all dived before on their trip to Vietnam last month, so I was the onloy beginner. Visibility on the dive wasn't great but it was still wicked to swim and float with the fish and coral reef. Seems like everyone accept me has done an official diving course, which certifies you to dive without a special intro course and at a reduced fee. Maybe I'll do one in Canada... supposedly the great lakes have good shipwreck sites to see!
That night Phil and I indulged in classic Thai massages - painful but relaxing. Funny to note, while Drew and I were travelling China we were often be offered masages while waking the street, but never even considered taking one. But these massages were usually sketchy... and often being profered by taxi drivers who promised to find us a "nice girl" for a "massage". In Krabi it was much more legitimate and very inexpensive at 200baht ($8). Later we also enjoyed a Thai boxing match and fireshow at the local bar/restaurant. We decided it was probably staged, but it was still pretty entertaining to watch. Thai boxing is similar to kickboxing and enjoys extreme popularity as a national sport.
Overall the area was amazing! Although full of tourists, the locals were still very friendly and helpful. Prices were high but not as bad as I feared and the atmosphere was very chill. Definitely one of the best trip I've had so far!
Unfortunately, my time in Singapore is coming to an end - with barely 3 weeks left. Only one last trip to go, one design project and exams! Better get back to work!