We have been in Railey beach for the better part of the three last weeks now. The climbing in this part of Thailand is just spectacular. There is enough here to climb for years, with grades from 5 (5.8/5.9) to 8c (5.14b). The limestone cliffs are jutting out of the ocean, right by the beach, making climbing very accessible and enjoyable. We are loving the place. Railey is sprinkled with resorts and populated by tourists looking for the best beaches in Thailand. It is an interesting mix of climbers and sunbathers that you would simply not find anywhere else. Thus, we are living in a small resort with T.V., pool, A/C, fridge, etc for a very good price (about 20$ a night). This makes climbing a bit more easy and makes the night much more pleasant.
Because of the amount of climbing around Railey and the relatively inexpensive lifestyle, you meet a lot of climbers from all over the world. Last week, we meet Etienne climbing at the 123 crag (On East Railey), who happened to be a doctor from Neuchatel, Switzerland. This made us wonder if he would know a friend of Bonnie who is also a doctor in Neuchatel – Agnes. To our surprise, he did and works with her from time to time. Therefore, we tagged along with Etienne and started climbing with him also. We also meet a couple from Halifax, Sally and Jason, at the pool of the Viewpoint who were also interested in learning how to rock climb. So we decided to teach them a little bit and climb with them for a couple of days.
Jason and Sally had planned to go to Phi Phi Don for a couple of days. They had been there before the Tsunami and wanted to see the post-tsunami Phi Phi Don and enjoy snorkeling from the beach. We had so much fun all five of us together that we all decided to go with them to Phi Phi. There is also some good climbing there and so we tough: “Why not!”. It turned out to be a very good idea because we decided to extend our stay to 6 days. We did some snorkeling and we saw: Clown fish, banded sea snake (Very deadly!), Yellow box fish, etc. The reef was literally only 10 minutes of swimming away from the beach and so we were able to return twice to the reef. It was incredible and yes we are bringing back pictures from jason’s digital camera!.
The day of separation had to eventually come and we all left for a different destination from Phi Phi. Etienne went to Bangkok to go to Hanoi for the end of his trip. Sally and Jason went to Phuket to meet up with one of Jason’s friend. Whereas Bonnie and I went back to Railey for climbing. The return to Viewpoint was very strange seeing as the low season had started while we were away in Phi Phi. So most of the restaurant were empty and there was nobody around the bars either. We were also pretty sad to leave all the friends behind. Fortunately, the next day was much better, since more people showed up in the restaurants and things were now pretty much back to normal in Railey.
We are now realising that the time to leave is coming soon and so we want to make the most of the couple of days we have left here in Railey. Climbing-wise, we will work on our project on phranang beach (today or tomorrow), for me a wicked 10m 6C (5.11b) and for Bonnie a little longer 12m 7A+ (5.12a). We will then move to Tonsai beach were we will work on a “real” project for the rest of the stay, for me a 7A and for Bonnie a 7B probably 🙂 Beach-wise, we of course need another day at the beach of phranang and some more time at the pool to come back all tanned. That’s the plan so far.
More news of our trips when we are back in Bangkok, on May 17th probably, for the meeting of Sally and Jason. Next destination, Angkor Wat, the biggest palace in East Asia. You can buy passes for a whole week to visit it. We will take a 3 day pass and then come back to Bangkok for our day of departure.