Railay Beach has been called the most beautiful beach in Thailand and one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world on numerous travel blogs – it definitely lived up to the hype. But the beach just around the corner, Tonsai, was a very close contender!
After the party atmosphere on Koh Phi Phi we were ready to be welcomed to this slice of paradise, especially because our lovely Kiwi friends, Peach and April, had splashed out and shouted us a night in a resort!
Railay Bay Resort and Spa was the most beautiful place we have stayed in since beginning this trip. The room was big and the bed was so comfortable! Such a treat when you’re used to dorm rooms! Not to mention we had our own bathroom, with an actual toilet. Amazing.
I can’t let you know prices here as it was a gift, but I’m guessing it was way over our normal budget, we felt very spoilt – there was even a breakfast buffet. If you feel like a treat, book it here!
SUNSET, SWIMMING AND A SMALL JUNGLE TREK TO TONSAI:
It was an hour before sunset when we arrived. The calm clear water slowly splashing over the white sandy beach was a perfect place to watch the sun go down and it was all just on our front doorstep.
It was an amazing sunset with an incredible orange glow that made everyone look like that had a beautiful tan.
We had a lovely swim, lay on the sand and relaxed with a few drinks before swimming in the hotel pool until bed time.
The next day we tucked into the breakfast buffet, I think we all had at least four helpings (Neil about six!). Railay is a pretty small place so it didn’t take us long to wander through the small village. April and I stumbled upon a traveller from Mexico who had spent a lot of time in India and learned to do henna – we got our hands all done up!
While the boys were waiting they met another Kiwi at the pub beside the henna stall, he was good friends with the pub owner and put on some of Peach’s band, Chatchy, music! It was pretty cool hearing some Kiwi beats in Thailand.
After a few drinks and some good chat we decided to walk around the bay to the beach on the other side, Tonsai Beach. We hadn’t heard of this place before, but saw there was a track, it was a little jungle trek with ropes to help pull yourself up.
It only took us about 10 minutes and right on the beach there were massive cliffs and heaps of rock climbers. After doing a bit research and having a chat with some of the other backpackers we found out Tonsai is renown for having some of the best rock climbing in the world.
The vibe here was so different to Railay, even though it was literally just around the corner! Railay is full of resorts – there’s no hostels – it’s really “family holiday” or “couples getaway” orientated. Tonsai, on the other hand, was full of backpackers, most of who love to rock climb. There’s one bar on the beach that sits right beside a huge climbing cliff, you can lay down and look up at the climbers while enjoying a drink or dinner.
The beach itself is very beautiful, but a bit rockier than its neighbour and you can’t see as much of the sunset – the colours are still incredible though.
A SWEET BUNGALOW:
We wandered inland to look for accommodation and found a place called Dream Valley Resort, it looked pretty fancy so we weren’t sure whether it was worth asking but figured why not? Turns out it was only 600 Baht ($24NZ) for a bungalow per night! These little huts had a double bed, an ensuite, a wee balcony and wifi, not to mention it was in the jungle! There were monkeys everywhere! So awesome. Another bonus, there was a pool, everywhere is better with a pool. Book it!
THE VIKING BAR:
We spent most of our night at this wicked bar, reggae tunes, tight rope performers, fire dancers and a great atmosphere with almost every other backpacker on the beach. Just outside the bar there’s a massive wall, it’s the length of the beach and is covered in murals – we walked the whole thing admiring the artwork, wicked. This entire place was just unforgettable, I can’t recommend it enough.
We spent one night in each place as we were on a tight schedule with Peach and April only having a total of 10 days and we still had to see Koh Lanta! One night in Railay was enough for our budget, especially because you can still walk to the beach there at anytime from Tonsai. We definitely could have stayed a lot longer in Tonsai and are hoping we get to go back – there’s meant to be an incredible lagoon, Princess Lagoon, in between the beaches in the middle of the island that we would have loved to have seen, next time!