May 16 Hike to Railay Beach (Day 232)

The morning sun, rising behind us, cast a beautiful glow onto the cliff face and the distant island in the Andaman Sea.

As we walked to breakfast we heard loud hooting calls in the forest and asked the staff what was making the noise. They replied that the calls were made by monkeys in the forest behind the resort! After breakfast we strolled the grounds, enjoying the beauty and wondering how we will spend the day!

The pool looks very inviting, but we have a more adventurous plan for the day.

The limestone cliffs surround the property and the forest harbors the aforementioned noisy monkeys, lizards and tropical birds. We were warned when we checked in to lock the doors of the bungalow whenever we leave, not as protection against human thieves, but against the destruction the monkeys would cause if they got inside! Apparently they’ve learned to open unlocked doors!

We decided to hike the short trail along the beach and over a forested rocky ledge to the neighboring slightly larger Railay Beach, another beach accessible only by water or 2 trails from Tonsai Beach. The Beach hike can be accomplished only at low tide which was just an hour after our breakfast, so we packed a backpack and started our walk!

We passed another resort tucked up against the cliff as we walked to the end of Tonsai beach. We will cross through the forest that juts out into the water at the base of the cliff.

A 20 minute hike through the forest and a short climb down some rocks puts us on Railay Beach!

The number of longtail boats at the beach attest to Railay Beach’s popularity as a day trip from Ao Nang!

This beach seems bigger than Tonsai beach, with many more resorts and restaurants in a several hundred meter square shopping district! As we wandered along the main shopping street we spotted a tree that had been blown down during yesterday’s thunderstorm!

Luckily there was very little damage, the branches narrowly missing the huts lining the street. There were several workers with chain saws and ropes carefully cutting and cleaning up the debris.

Meanwhile, the commerce across the street continued! Thailand decriminalized marijuana in June 2022, the first Asian country to do so, but a new coalition conservative government is eying rescinding the laws allowing recreational sale and use of marijuana.

We continued the short distance to the end of the road, passing caves eroded into the limestone karst geology.

There are several caves around Railay Beach, some free to explore, others charge a fee.

The heat and humidity are oppressive! It’s almost as if the very rock is melting! We were reaching our limits hiking in the heat so we found some beers to quench our thirst along with several bottles of water and some salty chips! Thus revived we made our way back over the trail, luckily with the tide still out!

The trail on the Tonsai Beach side, along the cliff face where climbers were scaling the wall (not in the picture)! How they can do that in the heat is beyond us!

We repaired to our air conditioned bungalow to shower and recover from our adventure!

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