Another good option for a getaway vacation in Southeast Asia away from the bustle of the big city is Railay Beach, Thailand. A major stop on the backpacker trail, Railay is a great choice if you’re into smoking pot on the beach with hippie backpackers, eating the always delicious Thai cuisine, and oh by the way, partaking in what some people think is the best rock climbing on Planet Earth.
Railay is not as convenient to get to as Langkawi, Malaysia, however. To get there you have to fly to Krabi on Air Asia or the like, then grab a bus to Ao Nang, and then take a short boat ride to Railay itself. The boats are a miracle of simplicity, just an engine on the end of a stick, basically, and made Railay officially the first destination I ever have been where I had to walk out into the ocean in order to board a boat to get somewhere. Leave your Gucci loafers at home when you go there.
But do bring your rock climbing shoes. There’s great climbing and if the weather is good enough you can go deep water solo climbing, which means take a boat to a rock overhanging deep water, and climb up from there. Without gear, you just climb till you get tired or too scared and then just jump off (or fall) into the water. This only really is possible in dry season when the water is calm enough to get the boats out there. Otherwise you can do regular climbing. You can rent gear there but the shoes are guaranteed to fit badly, and ill-fitting over-worn climbing shoes are painful and ineffective. I’m not much of a climber; I much prefer mountaineering to rock climbing as I’m a little afraid of heights, so I only climbed a little when I was there, but there are plenty of serious climbers who go to Railay indefinitely for the climbing. The climbing there can be extremely difficult, definitely harder than what I was used to from Colorado, and the rocks are razor-sharp, so a knee banger like me was covered in blood after the first couple of pitches.
Luckily, there’s plenty of ocean there to wash the blood off and plenty of weed to smoke to dull the pain as you eat the delicious cuisine and chill out for marathon sessions of relaxation and socializing with hippie backpackers from all around. It’s a great place to recharge your batteries.
But, it’s not a great place for chicks. As a major stop on the backpacker trail, the locals seem priced out, and there’s very few Thai people there, actually. You’re basically forced to hit on the hippie backpacker chicks, which is usually a lost cause.
A good rule for life is not to waste too much time or money trying to bang backpacker chicks. In my life I can count on one hand my successes with these chicks. Sure, they’ll be friendly, and chat with you all night, and smoke your weed and drink your booze, and party a bit, but there seems to be something in the backpacker chick DNA that makes them terrified of hookups. Maybe it’s stories they hear of random traveler chicks being murdered or something, or perhaps they’re just tired of constantly being hit on by dorky backpacker dudes who always outnumber them everywhere on the trail as the Hunger describes in his guest post on hostel chicks. Or maybe they’re just too young.
Another problem with the backpacker chicks is that they are rarely hot, and if they are even slightly bangable they will have an inflated sense of their value as a result of a) being hit on constantly on the road and b) being from Western countries and having someone coddle them enough to give them enough money to spend the year before or after Uni “discovering themselves” and “seeing the world” by traveling from backpacker spot to backpacker spot and socializing with other white privileged hippie backpackers. Don’t get me wrong, I generally like the hippie backpackers personally, but just take my word for it, rarely are these chicks as hot as they are trouble to bang.
I have also found that in the rare case when I actually meet an actually attractive and receptive backpacker chick, there is a high likelihood that she will be traveling with some other chick who will cockblock me with the ferocity of an NFL running back picking up the blitz with a chop block. When I went to Railay with my bro Seamus, he was making headway with a fairly cute red-haired Irish girl who thought she was twice as hot as she was. However she was with her “friend” who wouldn’t even entertain the idea of taking a hit off of one of Seamus’ perfectly rolled joints that we were passing around all night at the bar. Our conversation:
Me: “Want a hit?”
Her: “No, I don’t do that.”
Me: “Why not? It’s a beautiful night and it’s really nice and relaxing.”
“I don’t want to get in trouble and get arrested. It’s against the law.”
“But everyone is smoking and has been smoking here all day. If they arrested people for smoking half the people on the peninsula would be in jail!”
“It’s also bad for you. I don’t want to get addicted.”
“What? You’ve been smoking cigarettes all night! That’s way worse for you!”
“Look, I just don’t want to. Leave me alone!”
“Can you at least pass the joint to the next person so I don’t have to get up?”
(arms folded defiantly)
That was the end of my attempt at winging for Seamus. I’m not going to waste a night in Paradise trying to deal with an ugly defiant duffer just so my buddy can eventually strike out with her friend. I exited that situation and had the good fortune to actually meet a cute non hooker Thai girl and we got totally trashed on those Thai bucket drinks and went dancing. Seamus did pretty good work and managed to make out with his red-haired chick but of course was cockblocked in the end by guess-who. They even saw each other again back in KL and of course the friend did it again there. Fuck you, cockblock!
Anyway, Rilay is a great place to relax and climb and would be an excellent place to take a chick who wasn’t too high maintenance and a little sporty. Prices aren’t too bad, although Thailand is definitely becoming much more expensive these days. I’d say 20-30 bucks will get you a nice hotel room with a little table out front, 10 bucks for a delicious meal, and 3 for a drink.
Rilay has 2 main parts, the ocean side which is where the regular tourists and grown up types go, and then the bay side which is the hippie side. One of the coolest things you can do is watch the sunset on the tourist side, then go party all night, walk 5 minutes and then catch the sunrise on the hippie side, just like in that Corona commercial. If only life was always like the Corona commercials.
I’d make recommendations on places but I was too high the whole time to really make much in the way of notes on Rileay. It’s a tiny place, though, so there will be no problem finding the party there immediately. Because of travel time, I’d allot a long weekend there, 4 days, 3 nights to get the maximum fun out of it. Look for me there and don’t Bogart the joint.