Probably the shortest distance covered between 2 places on our journey brought us to Railay Beach. If I would have read up on this place I would have discovered an alarming issue that far too many visitors get food poisoning there. But I didn't, I've only checked some pretty photos and it suited us as a mid stop on our way to Malaysia. And guess what, I've been poisoned. I'm the living proof that the issue is still there. But I'm still here, so can't complain too much.
Other than the affair with what I suspect is the water supply, the stay was pretty good. Much more relaxed than Koh Phi Phi and more upmarket too. The rock formations of these beaches attract mainly the romantic souls that are after honeymoon type holiday and the backpackers that are after rock climbing. We fell somewhere between these two as neither of us is extremely fond of heights or adrenalin and the sweet kitschiness just didn't fit our wallet. Our new friends we have met in Bangkok have recommended a budget bamboo bungalow with a very reasonable price tag, however these were all taken. Luckily I set to explore and compare and came across a resort that has just been in the middle of being restored. The manager had a couple of rooms ready so for not much more than the price of the mentioned shabby bungalows we had a spacious and luxurious room with balcony and views. As a bonus it was set quite high up on the hill, which was bonus for the views and we got to work off our dinner before hitting the bed. So all in all it worked out pretty well.
Both of us had more than enough beach time these past few weeks. I must admit I had forgot there is winter back home. This last beach stop was necessary for more of those amazing cliffs and limestone formations and easier access of the land transports. As it turned out however even though Rai Leh is on a mainland peninsula it is only accessible by sea due to these very geological features we came to admire. Once again no cars and very few motorbikes which is always a big plus. There are several beaches in the west coast that are all amazing in different ways and some are only accessible by a long tail boat or during low tide, while others require a short trek or a little climbing through the jungle. The east coast beach is covered in a thick mangrove and for that reason is not suitable for swimming.
The peninsula of Rai Leh feels a bit in the middle of an identity crisis as it has a rustic backpackers look but the vibe had been slowly pushed out by upmarket resorts. It is quite difficult to find a place for a backpacker on budget, while fancy resorts were half empty and looking quite sad in my opinion. Maybe I'm just jealous?! Nope, my backpack holds all the comfort I need, my passport still has empty pages...