The boat left at 6am, which meant we had to be there for 5.30am which meant leaving the apartment at 5am which meant getting up at 4.45am! Just not a cool time in the morning. I had bought a cakey loaf thing and canned coffee for breakfast to help down the sea sickness tablets. I’m so glad I did take these because the crossing was very rough. We had booked the fastest ferry off the island but it was still 3 hours of lurching, swooping and buffeting to reach the main land. I did my best to remain unconscious as this was the only way I was keeping my loaf down.
Finally moored up at Donsak pier, the bags were unceremoniously tossed from the bow of the ship. Here Phil and I parted ways, boarding connecting coaches in different directions. He was headed to Bangkok to visit a friend shooting a climbing video. I was heading to Krabi, to a bay called Ton Sai to try and find some climbing to do.
With getting up so early and no real sleep on the boat again I slept on the coach. It was a lot more comfy than I had been expecting with enough leg room and air conditioning. Nearly reaching Krabi I woke properly to see towering limestone rockfaces littering the landscape. They seemed to shoot upwards intermittantly across the dead flat farmland surrounding them. Like sprouting weeds in a lawn that’s been abandoned. Trees and bushes clung to the steep ledges and covered the top like a leafy toupe’ plonked in an unnatural position.
The busses human cargo was ejected at a terminus away from anything interesting. Luckily they could arrange a transfer, for a fee. I overheard a couple looking to go in the same direction as me so i suggested we get a taxi together and share the cost. I was convinced, by nothing more than cynisism, that we could make the trip to Railay for less than this company was offering. A short walk along the road round us a private taxi, and then a longtail boat to our destination. It worked out 1/3rd cheaper doing it ourself.
Once in Railay, I found myself surrounded by resorts and package holiday makers. The beach was beautiful but rammed full. Now 2pm and not having eaten since 6am I searched for lunch. All the resorts were charging london prices so I wandered around till I found a shack called “Yummy”. For a bar built of cardboard it was well appointed and indeed a yummy meal. There was even Wifi!
I think I got too comfy there because by the time i left, to find a hostel, black clouds had rolled in and fat drops of rain started to fall. I had a short walk over some rocks to Ton Sai beach and the main climbing area. I was getting soaked and cold so hid under the rock roof with the other climbers. It occurred to me that the sea would be warmer and, already wet, i got into my trunks and went for a swim. It was a wonderfully strange feeling to have torrential rain falling on my head and warm salty water bathing my body. It trickled down my hair and mixed in my eyes as I watched some brave climbers try and finish their routes before the rock wetted through. It eased a little so I made a move to continue my search for a room.
Ton Sai bay has fallen victim to some unconciencious investors. They have bought up a large portion of the flat land fronting the ocean and i guess mean to build another faceless resort. However, for whatever reason they haven’t finished, or even started it. Just a 6ft wall surrounds their area, excluding people, ineffectively, from the land. The path I followed up the gentle slope from the beach went directly through this land to a bamboo ladder over the wall. No one bothers removing it so this is now the easiest way to the beach. The wall has been here for 3 years now segregating the land and is an example how investors can really mess a place up if not willing to do the work required to come good on their plans. I’m sure there are reasons for this length of time elapsing, but no one here knows, telling me that the company’s communication with the locals is poor. A bad start, if they ever do develop the site, as you need to get along with your neighbours to be able to integrate and build without resistance.
The rain had returned with full force, lashing down and making the climb over the wall slippery. I took refuge in the nearest bar, Andaman, and waited. It could only go on for so long right? I asked if they had any rooms for the night but no luck. An hour later, and nearing the end of my book, someone came back to me saying they had a room after all. I followed a small thai lady up the hill behind the bar as she sang to herself. She was accompanied by the heavy dripping of water and mooing of horney frogs splatting around the puddles looking for a mate.
She led me up to a wood and wicker shack, much like the rest on the row. Opening the door, I felt like a bull in a china shop. This structure was not built for robust westerners. It wobbled as I made my way around and the floor creaked and flexed wherever I stepped. The wooden beams were all insect eaten and holey. The door felt like paper, like one good slam and it would disintegrate. Kind of pointless to have a lock on such a door but i provided a key nonetheless. It was comfortable enough and the alternative being to wander around in the rain meant I accepted the rudimentary accommodation for the night.