As we had had such an eventful journey to get there, we wanted to make the most of our time at Railay. The place has two points of interest - Railay west beach, where we landed; and Tonsai beach. Jono told us that Tonsai had the most spectacular cliffs he had seen. Railay beach itself was nice, and the backdrop was stunning, but we decided to head straight over to Tonsai to check it out. Not knowing how to get there, we followed the signposts, and headed up. And up. And up. Until we were exhausted and a bit higher than any beach could possibly be. The heat was becoming more intense, and allied to a lack of sleep and food this makes life quite uncomfortable. Especially as we had our backpacks on.
Still, an hour later we got to Tonsai. The beach itself wasn't fantastic in comparison to what we had seen at Railay west, but was still nice enough. But what captivates are the sheer cliffs either side of the sand. They are truly jaw-dropping. People who stay at Railay often to rock climbing sessions up them, and I can see why. Fantastic stuff.
We chatted to a few early risers on the beach and found out an alternative route back to Railay west. We were informed that we had to hurry, as it was only accessible during low tide. Then they pointed at a collection of dark, sharp rocks jutting out of the sea. Our way back. It wasn't too hazardous. I cut my foot, but that's because I was trying to go too fast.
Almost as soon as we had arrived, we were leaving for pastures new. In the searing heat of the midday sun, our boat departed for the two hour trip to Ko Lanta. Or so we thought. What actually happened initially was that three large boats anchored next to each other for a gossip session, with no island in the vicinity. This is the Thai way of transferring people. I think the transfer thing works better on trains myself. Still, at least those transferring didn't have to hop to a random island to do so. In the meantime we started talking to an American guy, also called Joe, sat next to us on the front of the boat. We had a long time to talk to him, as our boat steered itself to a random island and stayed perfectly still for about an hour, with no one getting off or on.
The heat was severe. The boat was packed, so there was no way of getting inside the small indoor area to escape its powerful rays. I was stupid in not wearing sun cream, but I never do, and never normally burn. I burnt once going around Europe, and didn't burn at all during my summer in the States. But this was something else. Kelly had put on SPF 30, yet turned out the same as me.
The same is not a good thing, either. The final half hour, after I had woken up from an impromptu nap, was painful. I could feel that my limbs were burnt, but couldn't really do anything about it. Well, I could have put sun cream on, but the horse had long bolted. Thankfully the boat soon pulled into Ko Lanta, and we were on a taxi heading south to the nicer beaches. The taxi was a pick-up truck, with a roof on the back.
We had been recommended a place called Nice Beach resort. No hostels on Ko Lanta. It is very much off the tourist track. If people go to beaches down here they normally hit Ko Phi Phi and Railay. The resort was fully booked, but they told us to try nextdoor, at a place called Sunset Bungalows. The owner seemed a bit wacky, but also very cheery, and he happily gave us the final remaining room for the two nights we planned on staying for. We wanted to find somewhere where Joe and his friend Jerome could also stay, but they told us to take this place as it looked pretty good.
It looked more than pretty good. It was sheer perfection. The main area, laden with hammocks in the shade, backed onto the beach. Part of the main area, which also served food and cocktails, was a massage centre. But the view. My goodness, the view. Words simply cannot describe it, but that doesn't get the point across in a blog. Breathtaking is a start, I guess. I probably took over 200 pictures of it, normally at sunset when trying and failing to be artistic, but never got tired of it. And never could.
Needless to say that this place of paradise put us in a rather relaxed mood, even with the deep burn settling in. One of our first missions, in fact our only mission that day, was to get aloe vera. Applying the stuff was not a nice feeling, but then we could just stare at the view and feel at peace.
Ko Lanta seems perfect for couples. Just about everyone we met was a couple, be it married, engaged or fresh love. We got that question a lot on this trip, which we found funny but was understandable. Some older couples had brought their families along. A lot of people were Swedish, which was very strange. It's a perfect getaway, really. It's also pretty cheap, considering the clientele. Most Thai food in a restaurant was between 80 and 150 baht. So no more than 3 quid for food on the beach at night? Yeah, I'll take that. Even with sunburn that turned my feet purple.
Love you all