In which ‘time for relax’ becomes a marketable itinerary item
Starring Tarzan: King of the Baboons
From Khao Sok we got a mini bus transfer to some little restaurant on the outskirts of Krabi that was basically serving as a bus station with people coming and going, none of them clear where they are or why, providing maximum opportunity for over charging tired and irritable tourists to just get out of there. We sat around for ages before another mini bus appeared and transferred us to a boat station where there was more waiting and then finally we set off around a headland to get to Railay Beach which, although it is on the mainland is only accessible by boat. Clearly I was not yet in ‘relax’ mode.
That was quickly addressed by the various trips we went on over the next few days which almost unfailingly would say things like ‘On the beach there are 4 activities: snorkelling, swimming, walking and relax.’
Not quite yet finished with kayaking around limestone karsts we spent a morning just north of Krabi paddling through mangrove swamps and a canyon that wound inland through the cliffs. There was a surprising amount of wildlife – water monitor lizards and mudhoppers – but no birds or monkeys other than the American ape in one of the other canoes. His need to evenly tan his continually flexing pectoral muscles required him to lie horizontally in his canoe leaving him with little ability to steer and no friends amongst those of us he drove himself into again, and again and again. On the way back we stopped at a lovely little beach and he immediately marred the view by climbing up some vines (yes really!) to stand on a rocky ledge, bunching his arm muscles and yelling down at his wife to take pictures.
Returned from this and set off almost immediately on a four island snorkelling tour with time sunset beach barbeque and “activity of relax”. The snorkelling wasn’t fantastic. There are lots of fish especially colourfully little wrasses that follow you round in the hopes of being fed but the coral is incredibly smashed up and there’s very little new growth. After dinner sitting on mats on the beach with the sun going down we went out to a particularly dark bit of the sea (actually quite hard to find because of moonlight, islands and the squid boats which light up the whole horizon) – to swim in the phosphorescence.
You would have thought that all of this in one day would have worn out an elderly supposedly jet lagged couple, but apparently not. We had to head over to the Halloween Party at one of the posh hotels and watched an incredible fire show by a very serious juggler wore a lot of eye liner.
The next day we went out to Hong Island, quite a long way north, with a stop for snorkelling along the way. The island is famous for its huge lagoon in the centre which is full of star fish that the guides dig out of the sand with their feet and put onto the tourists heads for HILARIOUS photographs. There’s a little nature trail you can do which is also now the designated Tsunami evacuation route. Long boats that were washed right up amongst the trees have been left rotting there as a sort of memorial -30 people died just on this tiny little island. Aside from the obvious ‘relax’ activity of which I was a vocal advocate we also kayaked round the island which proved to be quite hard work – especially as all three of us were in a single canoe and Dad, seated at the back where no one could tell, was doing very little paddling. The caves on the outside are of the island are enormous some with sea gypsies still living in them.
More pictures: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150354455666058.353717.532581057&type=1&l=926466c105