We finally left Phuket on Monday the 2nd of September after spending eleven ‘easy’ days on the island. Easy in the sense that we didn’t really leave our comfort zone yet and no ‘culture shock’ due to all the other tourists and generally good English-speaking staff and hotels and restaurants.
We took a minivan to Krabi and then got on the back of ‘n pickup taxi to the Ao nam mao pier, but we soon realised that it might take forever, due the driver first going in the opposite direction looking for more passengers. We thus politely got off, paid the driver, and ordered a Grab Taxi at 5 times the cost of the Song-Thaew (this is what the pickup truck with benches are called).
We got to the pier in comfort and within 20 minutes. From the pier we got a long-tail boat to Rai Lay. A long-tail boat uses a normal car or truck engine above water with a long ‘tail’ extending into the water with a propeller at the end. It’s loud and not environmentally friendly, but it’s the only option available.
Rai Lay is technically part of the mainland of Thailand, but due to the high limestone cliffs the only way to reach it is by boat, thus making it a so-called ‘half-island’, also there’s ocean on three sides.
We stayed on Rai Lay for 4 nights in two different places next to each other. We first opted for a more expensive place, but the cheaper place the Diamond Cave Resort turned out to be the better one. We got our own standalone bungalow and the swimming pool was crystal clear and right next to a massive limestone cliff which housed the impressive phra nang nai cave.
In the mornings we went swimming and even snorkelling on Ao Phra Nang Beach before the day trippers arrive.
We hiked up to the viewpoint and walked on the forest path.
In the evenings we ate at different restaurants
It did rain during our stay, but there was mostly pleasant weather for swimming and lying on the beach. Despite Rai Lay still being a so called ‘tourist-trap’, we still enjoyed it a lot as it was much quieter and more relaxed compared to Phuket. On the flip side it is sad to see the pollution on the beaches, which is probably a direct result of tourism.
From Rai Lay we booked a ‘combined’ ticket (long-tail boat and two minivan transfers) all the way across the breadth of the country to Surat Thani, which is on the Gulf of Thailand. It only took four hours. And so our Andaman Sea run and first 15 days in Thailand came to an end. Up next, the slow way to Bangkok and some trains.