I was up early for my mini van out of Lanta.
Waiting to board the two consecutive car ferries took over 90 minutes – for just two 10 minute ferries!
After nearly 4 hours (!) – it was only supposed to take 2 and a bit – the van dropped me in Ao Nang – a beach resort town near to Krabi.
The beach itself is nothing special – but it does have a lovely view across the Andaman Sea with some sea stacks dotted around in the distance.
Long tail boats are scattered down the beach and will leave when they are full for the 10 minute drive round the coast towards Railay.
Railay, despite being part of the mainland, is totally cut off by road and is only accessible by boat.
The small beaches are surrounded by towering limestone cliffs covered in jungle and photogenic long tail boats gathered on the shore – it’s really pretty.
The boats land onto Railay West and I headed off to explore!
Cutting across through a forested area you end up at Railay East (the East side beach, obviously!).
This one wasn’t quite as nice. It’s a mangrove, so there’s no beach as such, but what has ruined it is the extensive building work occurring.
Maybe 4 or 5 huge new resorts being built along the ‘beach’, leaving zero free land left. I had heard from people who have visited in the past what a lovely place Railay was as it was undeveloped and a lot quieter than elsewhere. Turns out not anymore!!!
Further around the headland, past East beach you have to cut inland again. There is a ‘path’ heading up to a viewpoint. I wanted to go, but this path was virtually 90 degrees upwards climbing tree roots and holding onto a rope for support….maybe not today!!!!
The path carries along, around a huge limestone karst, around the bottom of it small caves have formed which were interesting.
There is a large family of brown macaques living on the path. And a load of stupid people feeding them. As such, anyone walking past holding food will get attacked. I’m scared of monkeys, but there was no other way through other than to walk past them.
At the furthest end of the path, it opens out onto Phra Nang beach. At one end, the huge limestone karst has broken apart, leaving small caves and interesting rock formations.
At the other end of the beach, palm trees lean across the sand. The view out across the water is more small islands and long tail boats.
This area is stunning and such a pretty beach.
BUT it’s busy.
Really busy, you can barely see the sand.
And because its busy, it’s no longer pretty.
Legend has it that inside one of the small caves (named Tham Phra Nang), there is the spirit of a drowned Indian princess from a barge that sunk during a storm in the 3rd century.
Now, for good luck the local fishermen pay their respects by leaving offerings in the cave, in the form of carved wooden phalluses. Some of them were huge. Quite weird.