February 3, 2023
We’re off to a rainy start today so I’m moving pretty slow. I caught the tail end of breakfast, then wandered off to find the Phra Nang Nai cave. On my way there I met Thomas who’s visiting from Vancouver. He’s currently a sommelier (at Riley’s) and is originally from Slovakia. We decided to check out the sites together since we’re both traveling alone.
We each paid 100 baht to enter the cave, and I can report it was worth it. Quite a large cave with an elevated walking path throughout. Bats flew around near the top of the large cavern.
After the cave we walked across the island to find the lagoon. It’s the last spectacle I haven’t yet seen here at Railay Beach. As we walked towards Phra Nang Beach, Thomas found the route to the lagoon. I had walked past it several times thinking people were just rock climbing, because the trail goes almost straight up the hillside.
He is a rock climber, so no problem for him. For me, this is one of the few times I’ve scrambled over rocks. Definitely the first time scrambling over porous, volcanic rock. I used the ropes to help propel me up to the top, then down the other side. By the end I was dripping in sweat, mostly thanks to the humidity.
The lagoon was incredible. It’s completely enclosed by 360° cliffs. Because it’s challenging to get there, few people make it all the way to the lagoon. In my case, only 6 other people were there at the same time. We swam for about 20 minutes as a light rain came down. Pretty magical.
We climbed back out of the lagoon and scrambled back up the rocks. This time it was a little more difficult because the rocks were wet. All the more important to hang onto the ropes and pull yourself up.
By the end, we took our orange-stained shoes, shirts and shirts to lunch. We saw a monitor lizard along the way. I had seen one yesterday but didn’t get a picture because I nearly stepped on it and we both scattered.
Throughout the day Thomas and I talked a lot about our life philosophies. We spoke about the importance of doing what makes you happy and learning how to accept what is, both a constant work in progress. He, like many travelers I’ve met, has an eclectic and inspiring collection of life stories. He also shared lots of advice on foods to try, the best islands to dive, and wines to try in New Zealand (Cabernet Sauvignon).
We parted ways after lunch, expecting we’d run into each other later in the day. Railay Beach is not a big place. I went back to drop off laundry, book accommodations in Koh Yao Noi, and schedule a teeth cleaning in Bangkok. Now I only have to book places in Koh Lanta, Bangkok, and transportation in between.
I went out to the beach to go for a swim, but the air is a little cool and windy today so I talked myself out of it. Instead I opted to find some mango sticky rice and give it a proper try. Seems I’m the only one who doesn’t care for it. After my second round with the dish, I still just prefer the mango. Besides, rice is served at breakfast, lunch and dinner, so I’m not missing out on that.
For it being overcast and rainy all day, it was a much better day than expected. Instead of going to my hotel after dinner, I went to a place with live music. I enjoyed the singer’s acoustic songs for a while, then decided to call it a night.
On my way back to my hotel I met an Italian man named Michael. Italians can be refreshing because they are very direct. Not much is lost in translation. Italian Michael lives in the Canary Islands where he owns five rental units. He really dislikes Railay Beach because “there’s nothing to do.” I found this shocking because it’s extremely gorgeous with lots of beaches, cliffs and caves to explore. The longer we were out, though, the more I could see Michael likes to drink, smoke, party. He only eats at the hotel, and drinks from bottles so that he doesn’t get sick. And he’s not interested in the beach because he can go anytime in Tenerife. Frankly, I have no idea why he’s here.
I got back after midnight easily making this my latest night out. For a day that I thought might be a wash, it turned out pretty good.