Taking on Thailand Part III: Tonsai & Railay
From Chiang Mai, D and I booked two separate flights from the jungle back to Bangkok, and from Bangkok to Krabi, and then we took a boat to Tonsai, our next Thai destination.
I experienced culture shock when we first arrived in Bangkok and somehow, when we arrived on Tonsai Beach, I needed just as much time to adjust from city-life to nature. Cicadas were buzzing non-stop, loud enough that I felt like I had to yell so that D could hear me. Mosquitos and flies showed no shame and monkeys wandered the well-travelled paths, opening trash bags and having themselves a feeding frenzy.
I felt the change of pace and the low-key atmosphere right away...laid-back, tattooed rock climbers lounged on big cushions, sipping smoothies and beers. Hippies with dreads hanging low across their tanned backs. The food was delicious, and D and I agree that the first restaurant we went to on Tonsai served the best Massaman Curry we had during our whole trip.
We found a rugged, all-natural bungalow for a decent price a ways away from the beach. No air conditioning, a mosquito net around the bed and an outdoor bathroom... oh, how romantic.
The walk to the more beautiful side of Railay Beach took a solid 40 minutes, but we made the trek over barnacled rocks and jagged pieces of coral, across soft white sand and muddied tracks...and when we got there the trek was so worth it.
We promised ourselves we'd enjoy the official start of our beach holiday and we basked in burning sun for 15 minutes before realising it was pretty risky, what with our reflective skin and all. But sunburns happen quickly and yours truly ended up with the funkiest geometric red shapes on the back of just one leg because I skimped on the sun cream. That was one lesson learned.
Long-tail boats anchored in the heavenly blue water - seriously, the colour of the water was almost too good to be true - served cold bevvies, fresh smoothies, Thai specialities...and at some point on our second day (of four) we decided it was time for some lunch. We indulged in some lemon ice tea, a corn cob and some chicken skewers. All delicious and satisfying.
It wasn't until the next morning that I realised something was a little off. Too hot maybe? We made the trek yet again and not too long after situating ourselves in a shady spot on the beach my stomach decided it was a good time to alert me that it was not fond of our meal yesterday. Food poisoning got me. A few more pukes on the beach and I decided we needed to head back. But it was so hot and I was so dehydrated, I half-wished that I would fall and break my leg just so that I could be carried back to our bungalow. All dignity was lost that day as I leaned against a rock, my stomach turning itself inside out, a spectacle for people to giggle at as they walked past.
Six hours later, the food poisoning got to D too. Damn those chicken skewers! Another lesson learned.
And as we spent the next day, our final day, recovering by the pool, there are limited pictures to show and stories to share.
We're lucky we were each sick for only 10 hours...we've heard stories from people who were sick for much longer.
The take-away from Tonsai & Railay was the vibe. Chill and casual, this is where we saw the real backpackers - students who paid 15 CHF for three nights, travellers who roughed it and lived to tell the story. I was equally envious and in awe of these people!
Bars lined the shore on Tonsai, but they didn't play the loud electro dance music that we heard at our next two destinations. Instead, the soundtrack was a mix of Jack Johnson and Bob Marley. Lazy, relaxed and carefree...those are the words I associate with destination 3 of our adventure.
Lazy, relaxed, carefree and food poisoning. Ahhh.