Krabi Day 07 & 08 - Railay Lagoon & Phi Phi Island
Krabi Day 7
Ao Phang Nga National Park
I woke up pretty early that day so after purchasing two cans of Birdee robusta coffee (THB20 each), I made my way over to West Railay to pass the time. There are several ways to get across with most of them passing through alleys and paths until they merge with Walking Street. They are used quite frequently by both tourists and the locals alike and almost everyone can direct you if you have any uncertainties.
The lagoon was still very aesthetically pleasing since the tide had yet to go out. The turquoise water that dominated the area was surrounded by sheer rock faces towering 70 metres or so overhead. As the rest of the group began to wade towards the center the pool, I continued to circumnavigate the area by traversing the rock on the initial sections with a mixture of walking, scrambling and climbing on ledges later on. After spending some time bouldering a few of the sections, I entered the pool to join the rest of the group. I found the bottom of the lagoon to be quite muddy and it would have quickly engulfed the footwear of anyone who tried to go in wearing slippers. After some time spent leisurely lounging around and taking a bunch of photographs, we decided to make our way back since it was starting to get dark and we had yet to make our way to the viewpoint.
I found the scramble up to be far easier than the descent down but our progress was almost ponderous due to the cuts and bruises that a few of the group had sustained on the way to the lagoon. The injuries were all superficial though and none were serious enough to be cause for concern. Once we reached the junction, we turned right towards the viewpoint which we reached within minutes. It was already dark by then however so the view was somewhat diminished by the lack of ambient light so the group turned back almost immediately after and began to make our way back down to the start of the trail. As we were making our way down it began to rain. Although the rain was quite heavy, the canopy above lessened the severity somewhat although it didn't do much to keep us dry. I found the rain to be very reinvigorating and although it made the trail slippery, made for a nice ending to the trek as it washed away the mud and salt water that had been accruing as we progressed. The trek ended up covering a distance of 2 kilometres and took 1 hour and 37 minutes to complete.
Suunto Movescount Stats
The night culminated with dinner at Yam Yam (THB200) and fire poi performances and dancing at the Last Bar...
Krabi Day 8
Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park Phi Phi Islands
Despite the relentless rain of the night before that carried on well into the morning, the group gathered at the front of Anyavee Resort in order to make our way over to West Railay for the ferry to Phi Phi Island that was to depart at 09:30. When we reached West Railay however, we found to our dismay that the beach was completely devoid of boats as the waves were far too strong for any of the boats to safely dock. We were told to instead make our way back to East Railay in which we arrived just in time to secure our place on the 'Ao Nang Princess 7'. The one-way tickets from Railay to Phi Phi Island cost us THB400 each which included the shuttle via long-tailed boats from the shore to the ferry itself.
We made our way to the top deck as soon as we boarded the boat for what was to be a 1 hour 30 minute journey. As some dozed off and some looked at the deck in boredom, Jamie, Chopa and I remained at the bow of the top deck appreciating the wind and taking in the sights and smells of the ocean that surrounded us. The fact that the top deck was elevated seemed to exaggerate the feelings of paltry insignificance of oneself that the vast, almost boundless ocean tends to instigate, the same feeling that I get when looking up into the starry sky. A depth of sorts that one can almost fall into. Everyone began to make their way below to the sheltered lower decks as ominous storm clouds rapidly rolled in, bringing on heavy rain that shaped countless rows of roiling waves that formed corrugated patterns on the ocean before disappearing into the horizon. As the boat rounded the cove and made it's way to the Tonsai Bay jetty, Jamie, Chopa and I made our way down below, cold and drenched but strangely exhilarated.
We ducked into the first place we came across that seemed to have cheap, local, Thai food, a place called 'Esamtheroy'. This turned out to be a mistake but by the time we realized that it was the aromatic smells of the barbecued meat on sticks that permeated the air that had lured us in, it was too late. It turned out that the place had a huge order for take-away that they were preparing and despite this they had still encouraged us in to the establishment to take our seats. The communication and service were bad and the sheer time it took to prepare the meals was atrocious. The meal (which cost THB160 in total) and the barbecued meat were delicious but no where near made up for it.
Phi Phi Viewpoint
Since we were now starved for time (the boat returning to Railay departed at 15:30), the rest of the group made their way to the beach just South of the main pier on Tonsai Bay as I made my way in the opposite direction towards the viewpoint up in the hills. There were signs pointing the way strewn at various intervals in the alleyways and where there were not, friendly faces just pointed the way. The hike itself began with just over 300 steps that ended at a sign that stated something along the lines of "This is a Muslim owned area - no alcohol allowed", with a booth just after that charged an entrance fee of THB20. The path then carried on with a gradual slope up the hill for 10 minutes or so before reaching a small rocky outcrop that overlooked the island 186 metres above sea level. The shockingly narrow isthmus with Tonsai Bay on the South side and Loh Dalam Bay on the North was very conspicuous when looking in a south-westerly direction. I considered taking a 360-degree panorama but the sheer number of tourists that were constantly moving around caused me to quickly discard the idea.
Suunto Movescount Stats
Tonsai Village is a sprawling town of interlinking alleyways that is refreshingly devoid of all vehicles except for bicycles. The streets are lined with ubiquitous dive centers, coffee shops, and bars, and as you make your way down the narrow alleyways a microcosm of colourful sights and smells permeate the air and comes wafting towards you as you enter an almost bazaar-like atmosphere. I wandered around the town for a while before making my way to the jetty.
As the boat (THB400 one way) made it's way back towards Railay, I found myself gazing out to the vast ocean feeling small and insignificant. The ocean tends to do that to me; thoughts of the almost unending vastness of it and the mix between the horrible, violent storms and waves, and the serene sounds and the gentle breeze of a calm ocean always leave me somewhat humbled. I remained in a quiet contemplative mood for the rest of the journey, but wasn't too sure if it was because I was dissatisfied with the lack of time we had on Phi Phi Island or if it was just because I had grown weary.THB110), I extended the room for one more day (THB360). We then made our way down to Bamboo Bar to watch another one of Yaya's Thai Boxing fights. There was a good exchange of bouts between the two fighters in the first and second rounds. Yaya's opponent was knocked down in the third round but managed to get up before the count and somehow managed to make it through all 5 rounds despite the barrage of strikes including a number of spinning backfists and (what they call) chicken kicks. The fight ultimately went to the judges decision in favour of Yaya. The fight was then followed by another fire poi performance.