Day 22: The Islands

Today was island day! There are many islands around Railay Beach and we wanted to check some of them out, so we signed up for an adventure package where we would be able to see some of the islands and get to go snorkeling! It ended up being a beautiful day and we were so excited to be on the water. We were not sure if we were going to take a long tail boat or a speedboat, so we were very relieved when we saw the speed boat pull up. The long tail boats do not seem very reliable. We started our day at 9am and it took about 45 minutes to get to our first island. It was so relaxing to be able to sit on the boat with a nice breeze and great views. Anywhere you look it is just amazing!

It is beautiful at any time of day!

The first island we stopped at was actually a national park! We had to pay an enterance fee, but it was so worth it because this was our favorite part of the entire day! It was called Bamboo Beach and had soft white sand and bright blue-green water.  All of the places we went to today were filled with tourists, but we were usually able to find a little place all to ourselves.  It was high tide and the waves were so big! About five feet into the water, there was a drop off and we all of a sudden couldn’t touch! It was so different than yesterday when we were laying horizontal in the water because it was so shallow. It is so funny to people watch on the beach because you just see all kinds of kinds. There are the girls that don’t go into the water, the girls that go in but don’t get their hair wet, the girls that casually swim, and the girls that are literally washed up to shore and almost drowned by sand waves (That was us). It is so fun to just get out there and fully experience everything we do!

White sand, clear water, and bright sun! What more do you need?
We are still getting used to the salt water
We don’t understand why people don’t want to be by themselves, but appreciate the open beach!

There were some really strong waves on this beach that would just pull you back and forth if you would let them. It was really fun, but the waves were so sandy! We had handfuls of sand in our swimsuits and will be picking sand out of our hair for the next week at least. It was so worth it! We would have paid a lot of money for boogie boards today, the waves were perfect!

After our 40 minutes on Bamboo Beach, we went back to the boat and went to a few famous islands in the area. We saw the islands where one of the James Bond films were shot, and also went to Maya Beach where “The Beach” was shot. We are going to try watch those movies to see what they were like without all of the people; you could barely even see them with all of the boats! However, the water was just like the photos and so cool to look at!

Maya Beach was just packed with people. We would all have preferred to skip it, but we had about a half an hour to explore. We found a path to the other side of the island, so we decided to check it out. We had to cross a little lagoon and wooden bridge and found a monkey on the other side! There wasn’t a beach or anything over the other side, but it offered another beautiful view! However, we were very happy to leave the island and escape all of the people!

The view on the other side!

They are very literal here…

We were supposed to go snorkeling after Maya Beach, but there were too many jellyfish in the water, so we went to eat lunch and were told that we would go somewhere else after lunch. We were all secretly pumped because we were so hungry.  We went to eat on Phi Phi Don, which is one of the really famous islands. In our original plan, we were going to stay a few nights on the island. However, after seeing that this island resembled Maya Beach in terms of the enormous amounts of people, we were so glad that we decided to just stay on Railay Beach the entire five nights this time. So far the switch has been so worth it! After we got out of the boat, our guide told Beth to hold out her hand, and threw a jelly fish in it! We all exclaimed, “Cool!!!”  I don’t think it was the reaction he was expecting.

Part of our adventure package was a buffet lunch. It was so nice to eat some actual vegetables and protein because we have been eating a lot of crackers and pretzels because it is the only thing they sell on Railay Beach. We really miss peanut butter sandwiches!

Finally some nutrients!!

By the time we were done eating, we didn’t really have enough time to find a beach, so we got some ice cream and watched the many boats coming in and out. It is seriously amazing how many boats we saw. Easily over 100. We have realized that we just don’t like being where all the people are because again, we were happy to leave the craziness behind us.

You have to wash your feet to get into the bathrooms here!

On our way to one of our stops, our boat suddenly stopped and our guide told us to look over the edge. It was a whale shark! You can’t really see much from the photo, but it was really awesome to see an actual whale in real life!

Our last stop on our tour was snorkeling! I had been looking forward to snorkeling for so long, but had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be super awesome after seeing all of the boats (at least 20) at every stop we made. However, we remained hopeful. Unfortunately, it turned out exactly like we thought. There were probably 30 boats in our area and we had to swim through dirty water with garbage floating on top to even get to clean water. After getting past the gross stuff, we were able to see some fish, coral, and other sea creatures, but it definitely wasn’t what we were hoping for. Even though it is nice to not have to worry about coordinating your transportation and meals, we would all recommend coordinating your own trip with a personal boat driver, even if it was a little more expensive because the tours are just so crowded. We were going to do another tour in the area, but have actually decided it’s not worth it. Especially for us.

So much garbage. So sad!

Even though we spent most of our day with hundreds of other people, it was still really fun to see all of the islands in the area. We have learned some more about how we like to travel and our future plans will be better because of it! As you can see, there was still lots of giggling, so that is proof that we had a great time!

After getting some of the sand out of our pants (literally) we went to one of local restaurants for dinner. Yesterday we saw someone order a burger and it made us all really crave it.  I have been pretty skeptical of the beef here after seeing all of the skinny cows, but we decided it was worth a shot. It went down, but was probably at least 20% charcoal. We are definitely going to stay away from beef for the rest of our stay here.

After eating, we had just enough time to catch the sunset on the beach we watched it at last night. When I was looking into Railay Beach last night, I actually found out that this beach is rated one of the best in the entire world. We totally understand why! The words that come to mind when trying to describe it are mesmerizing, majestic, incredible, mind blowing etc.. Looking at these cliffs just doesn’t get old. When we looked out at the beach and saw barely anyone, we were again so thankful that we got away from all of the people on the popular islands. The low key energy is just what we want and need.

Laura went further up the beach to take some photos and Beth, Paige, and I were able to just enjoy the incredible view. After being with each other pretty much 24/7 for the last few weeks, we have learned to pick up on when someone needs to be left alone, when someone needs a laugh, when someone needs medical attention, when someone needs some food… After experiencing all of these amazing and crazy experiences together, we have created a very special bond with each other. Even though many of you have been reading the blog and we will share many stories of our adventures, only us four will truly know what it was like here. It is so special and I am so happy that the connection is with Beth, Paige, and Laura. They set the bar really high for future travel partners.

The next few days will be spent on our island. The weather is supposed to be pretty good, so we will just see what happens! There are many hikes around here and we are going to try kayak to some nearby islands! We have three more days to soak it all in!


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