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To be fair, Railay is not a complete shit hole

30 °C
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After leaving Koh Lanta, we decided to move, with the Rymans, to another place on the Andaman Coast coast named Railay. The Lonely Planet made it sound amazing with their “favorite beach in Thailand” located here. Although not an island, it is not accessible by road so we all hopped on a large boat (holds about 60 passengers) for two hours then were met by a small longtail boat. After hauling our luggage and ourselves onto the longtail in the middle of the ocean, we roared off toward a very picturesque beach.

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Turns out that this beach is really nice but expensive beach; we had booked a place at the less nice, much cheaper “beach” a 10 minute walk across the peninsula based on a great recommendation from a Penticton family.

Everyone seemed to call the place we stayed a beach, which is at best a generous term for it. Technically most of the area is mangroves, with spaces cut from the mangroves where boats could land. When the tide was out there was a large gravel, swampy, yucky, icky place with mysterious tubes draining fluid and stink into what was referred to as a beach. The fact that the staff at our hotel routinely dumped garbage into a ravine right behind the Ryman's room added another little je ne sais quois to the ambiance.

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To be fair, Railay is not a complete shit hole, just the area we were staying at. The more expensive beach is much nicer, and the really expensive beach is the one the LP put as their nicest in Thailand. The very nice beach was indeed stunningly set in between two large outcroppings, but it was also packed with people. I suppose it is hard to pick a best beach, but my criteria for nicest beach is: very pretty and no people.

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Railay also has a lot of activities on offer. It is a mecca for rock climbers around the world and Chloe, Ciaran and I took 1/2 day rock climbing lesson. Turns out the “lesson” part involves making sure you have shoes that fit, then you walk to a rock down the beach, put on your harness and start climbing. It is amazing to see the number of rock climbing outfits that are putting people up on the rocks; I think there were at least five outfits at that one climbing spot that day. The three of us did several climbs, each one higher than the last until our hands were numb and shaking.

You see that little speck of orange. That is Dave.
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Ciaran climbed to the same height as well.
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Taro and Kiyoshi were keen to try as well.
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Taro watching Dave climb higher and higher.
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All of the kids (including Dave) did amazing with their climbs and I'm sure climbed higher than they thought they could. Imagine this, your 6 year old scaling 50 feet up a sheer rock cliff. Ciaran must have been the youngest kids to scale to this height. He was fearless. It brought tears to my eyes to see him climb all the way up and get down safely. What an accomplishment. I hope he will always remember this moment and how much he accomplished on this day. We were all very proud of him.

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Several Hollywood movies have been shot around here including The Beach and The Man With the Golden Gun (James Bond, 1974). Its funny seeing signs that say “trip to James Bond Island” in the travel agencies and it reminds you that this area has been well traveled for many years. To explore the scenic rock outcroppings around Railay the eight of us rented sea kayaks and paddled around for a half day. We casually paddled through caves, around islands and to beaches with our little ones in the front.

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Given the uninspiring accommodation and poor weather, we all decided to keep our time in Railay to a minimum and planned on leaving three days after we arrived. This meant we would need to bid farewell to the Rymans. The goodbye blows were softened by the fact that we will be seeing them in the spring when we visit Ottawa.

While with the Rymans, we stayed in some of the most scenic places in the world, and yet, the most memorable moments for me were the times we spent together on their porch, having dinner at Piccasa and just generally spending time together. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected to meet two people who we liked so much.

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In case you missed it the first time, here is the Ryman's blog. They have more pictures of our adventures together. They are now in Cambodia...

http://rymansatlarge.travellerspoint.com

Posted by McNouye 05:48 Archived in Thailand

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Comments

Nice! Um, Audrey, I didn't see your lifejacket on in your little kyaking photo... :)

by Selena

Ooops busted! At least they had life jackets that fit the kids. I won't even begin to tell you about the lack of car seats and seat belts...

by McNouye

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