The list of superlatives that could describe Railay Beach, Thailand hardly do its stop-you-in-your-tracks beauty justice. I’ve got to admit, after the unforgettable Maldives, it’s hard to be overwhelmed by even the loveliest beaches. So many are truly gorgeous, like Koh Kong, Cambodia, but few will be as pristine and unforgettable as those islands. And yet. There’s Railay.
The town and its beaches form an isthmus of sorts, a small nub jutting out into the sea from the coast, narrowing at the center, and flanked by beaches and looming limestone cliffs.
I spent my days lying in the shade of a fir tree, scrunching my toes in sand that felt downright silky, and reading. Maybe there’d be a dip in that turquoise bathtub of a sea, the Andaman.
The tiny town is a haven for rock climbers; the towering limestone rocks are no joke, and the hard bodies meandering about town make the kite surfers of Mui Ne look weak.
My activities were far less than athletic, though we did take a hike to Tonsai Beach, around the limestone cliff bend, that I thought would surely be the end of days for me – fears of heights, slippery steep paths, and nothing but flip flops and a sarong had a good deal of my phobias realized. Refusing to return the way I came, I opted instead to hike through the sea, around the rocky cliffs. Though not deep, damn rocks in the sea are slippery!
I took an epic, slow motion fall into the water, heroically saving my satchel back and the camera and Kindle tucked inside. I proudly showed off the resulting scratches on my hand. “I got these on some rocks!” I declared, only to hang my head, and add, “The rocks were 6 inches high.”
Oh, but I won’t soon forget my arrival here. (See more pictures here) That first moment, emerging from amidst the cliffs onto the beach, looking up at the craggy rock walls, and around at the cerulean water and sugary sands truly stopped my in my tracks, and left me gasping. This is perfection.