Railay, Tonsai and My Last Days in Thailand

Well this is going to be my last post about Thailand. I spent my last few days in Ao Nang area and it was a nice spot to finish my holiday. It also gave a beginning to a new hobby.

We wanted to go to Railay but picked Ao Nang just to keep the accommodation costs low, since we thought Railay was slightly too expensive. I wouldn’t call Ao Nang an extremely exciting place, you can watch some nice sunsets from the beach and it’s got a decent restaurant choice but otherwise it’s nothing too special.

Ahhh and we got to observe an insane intensity rain there…

Anyway, the town’s got a good boat service to Railay, although it might be a long walk on the wet sand from/to the boat if the tide is low.

When we finally got to Railay it felt like a wee paradise, even if it’s a popular and even slightly crowded place. First thing we did there, we went up to the view point, although it wasn’t so much of a viewpoint for me since I couldn’t trust an old ladder and didn’t really get up to the top (Craig was kind enough to share his photos).

We also tried sea kayaking, but my sea sickness quickly kicked in so I was desperate to get out of water.

We also booked a climbing session for the next day. I’d never climbed before, but was keen to try. Craig used to climb and was really keen to do it in one of the top climbing locations in the world.

The next day when the time was to tackle my first route ever, I was really freaking out. I’m scared of heights and that fear really kicked in. I was hanging on the wall almost in tears. I felt weak and stupid that I agreed to do that sort of thing. But those feelings also made me angry and the anger turned into determination. When I went back to Scotland I was soon doing a proper training course and climbing twice a week. It’s been almost two years now, I’m still scared of heights but the climbing and the fear of it remind me that I’m alive and give me a sense of achievement.

After the day of climbing we were exhausted and decided to rent a scooter and explore Krabi town. When we got there we realised there wasn’t much to see. We ended up cruising around and enjoying the karst hill scenery. Somehow we ended up in this national park (would love if anyone could tell me where I was) with a couple of waterfalls and a view point. The waterfalls were ok, but I was not ready to go up to the viewpoint. I was wearing a dress and a pair of flip flops that were barely holding together and would pop out from time to time (Craig was amused by every “blow out”) so I ended up hiking barefoot. It was a really steep way up, I was sweating loads and when we nearly got to the top we met this German guy who looked exhausted and almost unable to speak. He was just shaking his head and saying noooooo on his way down. Soon we found out that the viewpoint is just a wee gap between the trees and it was so hazy that you couldn’t see anything. What a waste of effort!

Wouldn’t recommend going there, but I don’t know how the place is called so I just trust you not to get there by mistake.

For our last night we decided to move to Tonsai. You can walk there from Railay through water and over the rocks, which is a bit tricky when carrying large backpacks. There is this big wall separating private land near the beach and the houses. It’s a very chilled environment and loads of rock climbers like to stay there. The accommodation was basic but chilled so I really enjoyed it. We had a very trippy evening, swimming and watching rock climbers and base jumpers that so unexpectedly showed up when we decided to stay a bit longer in the water. We went to sleep early just to wake up early the next morning.

On the way to the beach that morning I spotted some dusky leaf monkeys sitting on the trees. It was the first time I saw them live and they looked really cute, but not when one of them climbed down and started showing its teeth. I was scared and thought it would attack me so ran away quickly. Never trusting any monkeys again!

It was a shame the tide was low that morning so we couldn’t go for a swim no matter how far in we were going. Anyway, it was time to pack and go home, the awesome holiday was over…

Koh Lanta

This island was such a treat! I always imagined the South of Thailand to be relaxed, with loads of beautiful beaches and nice atmosphere. Obviously Phuket was far from that image and when I finally got to Koh Lanta it made me appreciate the island even more.

Two things I learned there – I am terrified of scuba diving and I get sea sick! The latter shouldn’t have been such a huge surprise since I didn’t grow up near water. However, it was a very new and unpleasant sensation so to some extent it was nice to be surprised by my own body.

Anyway, I will start from the beginning. Craig wanted to do some scuba diving for his birthday, so I thought I would give it a go as well. Didn’t get any further than the swimming pool since I was totally freaking out about being unable to move freely and feeling that I couldn’t breathe as soon as I put my head under water. I don’t feel comfortable in water in the first place, I’ve never done any snorkeling either, so perhaps deciding to jump straight into scuba diving wasn’t a great decision. Me looking disappointed in the photo below.

I don’t like failing at things so obviously I was really frustrated, but I decided to give snorkeling a go instead. I met a Latvian girl and we decided to spend a day together snorkeling. We booked a three island tour, which was absolutely great (even if the boats seemed a bit crowded).

It was uncomfortable breathing through the snorkel at first, but I quickly got used to it and I could not believe how amazing it was to observe life under water. The amount of fish and their colours were so breathtaking that I couldn’t get enough.

We visited two spots and spent about 45min at each and then suddenly I started feeling unwell. I was lucky my Latvian friend had some tablets against motion sickness and that we were just about to jump out on the island for lunch. I quickly started feeling better and even managed to eat my lunch. Afterwards we went for a walk around the island which was magnificent – surrounded by white sands and bright blue waters. The island got really crowded in no time as more boats were arriving for lunch. It was still possible to take a photo pretending as if nobody else was around.

Craig enjoyed his scuba diving trip and during the rest of our time in Koh Lanta we spent some time exploring the island, its towns, cafes and beach bars. One day we just jumped on the scooter and went all around the island.

There were some great and very scenic roads through the hills to get to Lanta’s Old town. I really enjoyed wandering around the town, which had some beautiful old wooden houses built on stilts, although can’t really see that from my photos.

I also finally got to try some sticky mango rice there and absolutely loved it.

There was a lot of good food on the island and I couldn’t get enough of fresh fish. My happy face & fresh fish in photo below.

I loved the variety of beach bars there. Every one of them just felt so cosy and relaxing. Could spend all my days there reading and sipping fresh coconut juice.

The island hadsome amazing places where at night you could chill in hammocks and watch a random fire shows on the beach.

Koh Lanta was exactly how I imagined the south of Thailand to be and I absolutely loved my time there. I just hope one day I can overcome the fear of scuba diving which I now know exists.

Isle of Mull

Let me tell you about the trip during which I completely fell in love with Scotland. It was the summer 2013 and I was really keen to do some travelling. I convinced a friend to join me (I didn’t even know her that well, but she agreed to share a tent with me for three days!), so we packed our house, pumped up the tires and few hours later we were in Isle of Mull. It was the second time when I was on a cycling&camping trip in Scotland, so I knew what to expect and I was really excited (maybe I’ll tell you about my first trip one day as well)!

We didn’t cycle around the entire island, only the upper bit (starting from Craignure going to Tobermory, Dervaig and then back through Salen). I don’t want to talk much about how amazing the weather and how beautiful the island were and how much I enjoyed the whole trip.I think I’ll just leave you with some photos and hopefully they will do a better job explaining my experiences, than trying to put everything into words 🙂

The first day: Craignure, Duart Castle, Salen and camping a bit before Tobermory

The second day: Tobermory, Calgary & a campsite somewhere around Acharonich

The last day: from Acharonich, through Salen to Craignure and back to Oban

I’m definitely going back! 🙂