We left the hustle and bustle of Ko Phi Phi for Railay, a supposedly much calmer and tamer scene. When we arrived by long tail boat we happily found that Railay was like a sleepy little town compared to Ko Phi Phi. We ended up getting lucky and finding a nice secluded bungalow to stay in up the hill from the main waterfront. After getting settled we decided to go grab some food at a very local feeling restauraunt. We ended up running into an Israeli girl named Gal that we recognized from the boat. It was really great chatting with her about her home as I had never met an Israeli before. She also had a lot of stories to share about her travels as she had been already traveling for a couple of months. During our dinner a thunderstorm moved in bringing with it rain and pretty substantial winds and the power actually went out at the restaurant! Without flinching, and as if this was a normal occurrence, candles were brought to our table and suddenly we had a nice candlelit atmosphere. Some kids next to us who were playing with the candles reminded me of when I was little and got so excited whenever the power went out at home! I was able to capture this photo, which pretty much sums up their excitement I think!
Our second day on Railay we were able to start exploring! Railay is truly a magnificent place and a total brain overload for someone like myself who loves looking at rocks. Though Railay is technically part of the mainland it feels like an island because it is cut off by massive limestone cliffs. These cliffs are weathered in very precarious ways and littered with awesome looking tuffas!
One of my favorite things about Railay was the close proximity of
The ride from Bangkok to Krabi, where we would take a boat to the island of Ko Phi Phi, was an interesting one. The 13 hour bus ride through the night was quite a disorienting experience. I was understandably quite unsuccessful in getting much sleep as the bus hurdled through the night. The little bit of on and off dozing I was able to get further added to the disorientation. At one point we stopped for a meal at what appeared to be a giant solitary building amongst fields of rice. It was the only building in sight and was also producing the only light in the area which made for an interesting sight as I stumbled drowsily out of the bus.
Eventually I was able to get some solid sleep and woke up in Krabi. We walked through the town to get to the boat rather than pay for a taxi. While on the boat we got an idea of the kind of place we were going to by the passengers on the boat, all of whom were tourists.
I didn’t have much of any expectation before arriving at Ko Phi Phi because we embarked there mostly to meet up with some of Patrick’s buddies from UCSD. Long story short Ko Phi Phi is a strange place. The island is small. Really only composed of two cliffy mountainous parts connected by a strip of sand that is a mile or two long and probably half a mile wide. Crammed into this tiny area are shops, bars, backpacker hostels and even more bars.
We arrived tired, hungry and with no set plan on where to stay let alone any knowledge of how to get around the island. We wandered through the town and stumbled upon a restaurant named Papaya that was run by an Indian man by the name of Chris. As we sat down a group of fellow Americas said that this was the best place to eat in town and commended us for finding the place during our first hour on the island. We eventually found a nice bungalow to call home for the next couple of nights.
The rest of the stay on Ko Phi Phi convinced me that this was defiantly the wildest place I had ever been. The entire place is pretty much dedicated to partying. Most of the party happens on one of the beaches, which has bars lining it’s northern half. From 7:00pm to until about 3:00am these bars pump out enough dance music to be heard for miles around. The music is a hilarious variety of electronic dance music with a drop about every thirty seconds. Perfect if you are wasted and want to dance all night but that scene proved to be overwhelming for us. We only went out one night so that we could try what most of the people come to Ko Phi Phi for.
On our second day we met up with Patrick’s friends from school! That evening we rented a long tail boat to take us for a snorkeling tour around the entire island. This culminated with a sunset cruise back into party central. Rather than party We instead opted for an early night to bed because we were all going on a boat for a scuba/snorkel adventure tomorrow. I am not certified so did not scuba but had a fantastic time snorkeling with Patrick’s friend Ellie. We saw 3 turtles, a leopard shark and tons of cool fish. Snorkeling was probably the highlight of the trip to Phi Phi for me! Another highlight for me was going to a Muy Thai bar. They had a pretty legitimate ring and offered fighters a free bucket of alcohol if they competed in the ring. I wasn’t about to get up there and get my but kicked so Kevin and Patrick decided to fight each other. They ended up being the stars of the show and put up a pretty good fight for everyone in the bar!
After Ko Phi Phi we decided to head for Railay Beach for a change of pace and some peace and quiet.