Between a Rock and a Nice Place
This week Omar Samra writes about his travels to a little slice of paradise in Thailand..
Thailand is often discounted by the more intrepid traveller as a destination that has become far too crowded; flooded with uncreative packaged tour holidays and cheap thrills. But little do those seeking adventure and an authentic, off-the-beaten-path experience know that only an hour from the popular beach town of Krabi, lies a haven for the more sophisticated of adventurers.
Rai Lay is a beach paradise. However, its secrets not only lie in its white sandy beaches and delightfully fresh seafood cuisine but in something far more basic; how to get there!
After flying in to the bustling city of Bangkok, travellers need board another flight into Krabi airport. From there they travel by road for three quarters of an hour until the shore. The journey does not end there but one needs to hop onto a long tail motorized wooden boat that takes you all around the coast and over the tip of this beautiful peninsula and then into a bay where a beach lies completely inaccessible by road and only connected to land by a series of intimidating impassable cliffs that tower over the crystal blue water adjacent to it. They effectively turn Rai Lay into its own private island.
And this is only the beginning. Rai Lay’s charm not only lies in its location but what you can do once you get there. The granite sheer cliffs that infest and circle the island from every side render it into a rock climber’s utopia. Probably one of the world’s top sports climbing destinations, the rock puzzles are plenty to choose from and there is something for all levels; from beginner to advanced and some of the best instructors are there to show you how. There is enough there to entertain for a couple of hours or even days.
But the absolute cherry on top is an enigmatic lagoon that eludes the regular traveller as it lies at the heart of the island buried within its mountainous core. Don’t miss the chance to feel like a true Indiana Jones as you use both hands and feet to navigate your way through intricate cave systems, crawling up thick vines, mud and often-slippery rock until you get to your goal. And if that seemed discouraging think again; the serenity and beauty of the lagoon is something out of a high budget movie set and will astound you in every way.
And as you lie completely still on your back, floating over the warm turquoise waters and looking up over the cliffs and through the fish-eye volcano-esque opening above you, hearing nothing but your soft relaxed breathing, you will finally give yourself the proverbial tap on the back for dodging the herd and choosing to come here.