Traveling to Railey Beach – A Comedy of Errors

Today we left Kata and headed to Railay Beach in Krabi. Also spelled Raileh. The journey here was certainly an adventure – let me tell you we are all wrecked – it is 7:30pm and we’re all in bed already.

Justin and I sit here under our mosquito net with the fans blowing. We are in one of the Railay Beach Club houses and it’s all open, the doors are all open, and we hear the waves crash just 50 meters in front of us. We have the limestone cliffs just behind us. We’ve already checked the Tsunami evacuation and all good – there are meeting points, and 2 hours of warning apparently and a high point on the east side of the peninsula to go to.

So today we took the following modes of transportation (in order) just to get here:

1. Minivan from Kata Palm Resort to Phuket Town.
2. Ao Nang Princess Ferry to Ao Nang.
3. Ute with converted back to accommodate seats from Ao Nang to jetty point.
4. Tuk Tuk back the same road we came down to another jetty point that we had already passed. The tuk tuk had 12 people on it as well as all our luggage. One poor guy just had to hang on to the back of it there was no room.
5. Long tail boat to Railey West.
6. Feet to walk to the east side of peninsula through Rayadee resort.
7. Golf buggy back to where we were dropped off.
8. Walk through high tide in the ocean to our accommodation. Finally!

Since we’re into lists right now, let me write the main things that made this little journey turn out to be the disaster it was:
1. Very high tide
2. Lots of heavy luggage
3. Miscommunication
There are other minor things too that didn’t help and as you will see in this story it was a true comedy of errors.

It was the weather you see. We were suppose to give the Railay Beach Club 72 hours notice of how and when we were going to arrive. This information was given to me 2 months ago when I booked it and of course I did not remember. We only booked the transfer the day before because we weren’t sure whether we were going to do a stopover in Phi Phi. It had been raining for a few days so they may cancel the boat from Phi Phi to Railay and we didn’t want to get stuck.

I did email Railay Beach Club after we booked it but it was after 5pm and their office was already closed so she couldn’t email me back before we left (I had GPRS on my phone but disabled it because for some reason it chewed through my 50 baht credit within hours). If she had emailed me, she would’ve told me to make sure that we were dropped off on the east side. If only we knew…

Apparently the ferry was suppose to go direct to the east side where there was a proper jetty. One of the Railay Beach Club staff was waiting for us with a sign. Carolyn told me she normally doesn’t do this since we did not give 72 hours notice, but she had made the assumption since that is where the ferry always dropped off passengers and in her 4 years of working here it had always done so… until today. All very ominous isn’t it?

So we were dropped off at Ao Nang thinking this was completely normal and the Thai don’t tell us anything. It is the language of course, but they also aren’t the best of communicators. Finally we get to the long tail boat with 10 people already in it. We have 4 big suitcases. Oh dear. The suitcases are hauled in. I step in and the boat nearly tips over – and I’m not a big person. The other passengers look at us disapprovingly, why would you bring all that luggage on this little boat, they think. A Thai man is up ahead on the tip of the long tail using it to get to another long tail before it heads out of the bay. He looks at us and waves and says “see you, goodbye”. Mark says “it seems so final” and we wonder about our future.

So the reason why the ferry didn’t go to Railay was because it was a very high tide – the highest for the year. Of course this is the day (and the time) we travel! Now this long tail we were on should not have landed on the west side because of the high tide but for some reason he did. The driver gets out of the boat and hops in the knee deep water. We look at him. How about our bags, we say. Where is our hotel, we ask. He looks at us shrugs his shoulders and continues holding on to the boat to prevent it from moving as the waves keep pushing it back. There are 3 Thai men sitting on the wall. They all converse with one another, look at our luggage, then laugh! We would have laughed too but at the time, it was just not funny. The only way out of this boat was to jump out. I probably spent a good couple of minutes sitting on the edge thinking, no way this can’t be right, before I jumped out.

We make it out but since we are on the opposite end we need to walk along the beach…. but it is high tide and the only other way is through the $1,000 / night resort that is smack bang in the middle of the peninsula. By this time the Railay Beach Club staff have found us and kept saying “only way on the beach”. We say, but how about all these bags? He heaves one of the bags on his head and proceeds to walk in the water and asks us to follow him, or at least wait there. We are tired, shocked and weary now. Poor Julie has had Thai Tummy for a few days now and is very weak. We think why can’t we just walk through the resort? So we try but there are “resort cops” everywhere who keep telling us not possible, private property. We have had enough and force him to take us to his manager at reception. He was very kind and try to explain to us with maps and reasoning, that it was simply not possible to walk through and the best and only way was through the beach.

So back we go on their private golf buggy. There are 2 Railay Beach Club staff now waiting and they take a bag each. Justin and Mark take one too and off we go into the water. Justin keeps the bag poised above his head. I really should have taken a picture.

At the house now, Carolyn was kind enough to come over and speak to everyone and explain the situation. At the end of the conversation she says, well that was an adventure, but trust me there have been much much worse. We laugh, and when she leaves, Julie says “what, did someone die?”. Of course it wasn’t that bad really, and now we can look back at this day, read this blog, and laugh.

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