Is it Railay Love?

A travel love story – part II

This is part 2 of my travel love story, or how the guy I met casually on a ferry crossed a whole country to spend 2 more days with me in Railay Beach. It is the beginning of the rest of our love story. This is also the continuation of a corny soap opera, written by a latin drama queen, so heads-up for inappropriate language to those who are romance-intolerant.

Flying from Malaysia to Thailand

I was at the boarding gate in Kuala Lumpur, ready to fly back to Thailand and explore the west coast, which has some of the most iconic, picture-perfect beaches in the country, including Krabi, Railay Beach, the Phi Phi Islands and Maya Bay.

Railay Beach
Railay Beach – one of the prettiest and most iconic beaches in Thailand, with its dramatic cliffs, dense jungles and transparent water

Greg, the nice Kiwi guy I had met in Ko Samui (if you missed that story, you better read it first here), was going to continue living there, on the other side of the country, and we wouldn’t have anything to do with each other ever again (latin-drama-queen emphasis).

I was fine with it. I mean, I had met the love of my life and spent a couple of days with him. That’s better then never meeting him at all, isn’t it? That was exactly my philosophy during those days! Or at least what I was trying to convince myself of…

Railay Peninsula
Railay Peninsula – fairytale limestone formations

Just before boarding we started texting and I told him jokingly that he should join me in Krabi, to which he replied:

“OK I will”

Obviously, I didn’t believe it. It could only be a joke! A bad joke, by the way! But then he said:

“I’m being serious. I f*cking loved spending time with you and I am going to Krabi tomorrow to be with you”.

Railay cliffs
Railay beaches surrounded by cliffs

“OMG OMG OMG OMG”

That’s exactly what I wrote on my journal. And then this:

“I almost died!

I wanted to burst with joy!”

This guy changed his original plans of staying in Ko Samui, where he had settled in a nice apartment, or of moving to the neighbor island of Ko Phagnan, which he said he planned to do at some point. Instead, he bought a ticket for the next morning to cross to the other side of the country to spend a couple of days with me!!! How unbelievable is that? Is he freaking nuts?

En route to Railay Beach
En route to Railay Beach on a typical Thai Longtail boat

Please readjust your levels of acceptance of cheesiness

I drew little clouds in my journal and wrote inside:

“I am stupidly in love! It is him, I know it. And it doesn’t matter until when”.

“I wasn’t  looking for anyone, and then I found him”.

Blah! Ugh! Ew! Sorry… I’ll stop it now!

Accidentally in love
Accidentally in love: corny text, corny photo, corny legend – one’s gotta be consistent! =P

So powerful and yet so vulnerable

My flight from Kuala Lumpur lasted a couple of hours and I arrived in Aonang in the afternoon. Greg would only come the next day, so I stayed the night at a backpackers’, sharing a big dorm with around 10 other people. After settling in, I decided to go out explore the place and find something to eat. The little town turned out to be very lively, with hundreds of hotels, bars and restaurants.

Exploring Aonang
Exploring Aonang on my own: lively town with beautiful landscape

However, I didn’t feel very motivated to spend a big night out (mainly after all that had happened the day before in Kuala Lumpur), so I came back early to the hostel. In my room I met a nice American guy from San Louis Obispo. He gave me his business card, which said “Filmmaker and World Traveler” – and that was his first world trip. Quite optimistic, huh?

The next morning I went for breakfast with my world traveler friend and after that I went for a walk on the beach by myself. Greg would only arrive in the afternoon, so I had a few hours to kill in Aonang. I walked many miles, until I reached a neighbor fisherman’s village. The beaches were of an unimaginable beauty, with white sand, crystal clear water, high cliffs, and idyllic islands as far as the eye could see.

Aonang
The island I swam to in Aonang (on the left)

I found a quiet, beautiful beach and went for a swim alone until one of the islands. That gave me an incredible feeling of freedom and power. But also some butterflies in my stomach. It’s funny to feel at the same time so powerful and so vulnerable!

Rendezvous

Then I took a tuk-tuk to (new tongue-twister!) get back to the hostel, as I was already a bit late. Getting there, I quickly grabbed my backpack and left for the pier to wait for Greg.

We had agreed to meet at 14:30. I arrived a little early and lied down at a bench by the pier to wait for him. He was late and I started to get a little anxious. But there was not much I could do. I didn’t even have a Thai phone card! All I could do at that time was patiently wait for him.

:)
Longtail boats, cliffs, jungle and beach

And then he arrived (the driver had taken him to a different port!)

I could barely believe it! We kissed and hugged as if we were one of those desperate couples meeting again after the war 😀 I remember thinking that he was even more handsome than two days before! 🙂

Faux Pas

Greg in Railay Beach
Greg in Railay Beach

The boat ride was short, but absolutely stunning! When we got to Railay and I was getting off the boat, I fell back on the water (with my huge backpack on!!) and got completely wet. I almost died of laughter and shame! But it was good: this way Greg would get to know the real, clumsy Ana.

He had booked a room for one day in an amazing resort in Hat Railay West. It was probably the most exclusive hotel I had ever stayed (even though he claims it was much cheaper then any hotel in New Zealand). The resort had a big swimming pool and bar in front of this paradisiac beach, which was one of the most beautiful I had ever seen in my life (remember, I come from Brazil, which is famous for its beaches!). The beach was surrounded by huge cliffs and vibrant green nature. The sea water was warm and of a green and turquoise color. I couldn’t have conceived a prettier landscape in my wildest dreams!

Monkeys seen from our window
Monkeys seen from our window

Our apartment was a lodge in the middle of nature, with dozens of monkeys playing in the branches of the trees outside our balcony. This gave the whole experience a greater sense of adventure and exoticism.

In search of glow

We left to explore the village and have dinner. After a few Shingas (Thai beer) and piña coladas, we decided to look for a beach which supposedly had bioluminescent planktons. I had never heard about it, but Greg had read they were an off-the-beaten-track but somewhat famous attraction in Railay, so we decided to check it out.

Christchurch connection
Christchurch connection

Just outside our hotel we randomly met an English tourist, who took us to the east part of Railay Beach, which we didn’t even know existed. It happened to be a very pleasant surprise, with many cool bars and restaurants. On the way, we found a nice funky-looking bar and decided to stop for a beer. The barman was from Christchurch (Greg’s city) and there was a Filipino guy who loved Brazil and could sing many Brazilian songs in perfect Portuguese (particularly Garota de Ipanema and Mas Que Nada).

After a few beers, we decided to resume our search for the luminescent beach. Following the barman’s instructions, we eventually found the beach, which was completely deserted. The moon was full, which would’ve been perfect in any other occasion, just not when you want to see the minuscule luminescent planktons!

In search of the scintillant beach
Walking in Railay, in search of the scintillant beach

Still, they were there! We could see them! And they were an amazing spectacle! We stepped into the shallow part of the water and as we moved our feet, we could see many tiny little bright blue dots.

Sparkling happy

Because I was feeling like an adventurous, fearless girl, I decided shallow was not enough for me and just dove completely into the see. I know, I was probably disturbing the blue scintillating spectacle, but in that moment I just wanted to merge with nature. I felt like the luckiest person alive! The planktons, the warm water, the deserted beach, the full moon and, above all, the company!

Strangers on a honeymoon
Strangers on a honeymoon

I could feel Greg was a little bit reluctant to enter the water in the middle of the night. But he faced his fears and followed me. I dare say that was probably the most special night of my life (who was missing cheesiness here?).

I added those incredible moments to my “favorite memories ever” mental folder. We got back to the hotel after 5 am, happy and in love, like strangers on a honeymoon.

Let it go, let it go

Breakfast with a view
Breakfast with a view

Next day we had an unbelievably hearty breakfast and relaxed for a couple of hours by the swimming pool. While we were there, Greg got a notification on his phone from a girl who had just matched him on Tinder!

I thought “well, I better get used to the idea that we’re both free spirits and that in a couple of days I’ll be in India and he might be seeing her”. So I decided not to worry about it and instead just enjoy every moment we had together. (Carpe Diem, huh?)

Adventurous diving-hiking woman

Stalactites and monkeys
Stalactites, sea snakes and monkeys

We decided to quickly jump in the sea before checking out from the hotel. I spotted a little cave in the middle of a huge cliff. Obviously, I decided that for some obscure reason it would be a great idea to swim to the cave. So I dragged poor Greg for many hundred meters until we reached it. He was honestly freaking out a bit and watching out for sea snakes or whatever other threatening sea creatures.

I was so excited that I just rushed into the cave without even considering any risk. We swam under stalactites and tunnels, until we rose on the other side, where we sat on top of a rock for a few minutes, just to appreciate how spectacular and full of surprises life is.

Adventurous mountain woman hiking to the viewpoint
Adventurous mountain woman hiking to the viewpoint in Railay

To finish off our stay in Railay, we went to the famous viewpoint. To get there, we needed to climb a very steep mountain, and had to use ropes and climbing gear. I picked up the momentum and rushed up in no time. Until today, Greg still calls me “adventurous mountain woman” because of that day 🙂

The view from above was absolutely breathtaking! We could see the whole peninsula, with beaches on both sides, the cliffs, and the vast green forest.

Farewell Railay, you’re really gorgeous

Breathtaking view
Breathtaking view

We quickly came down, because we had to catch the last boat going back to Aonang. Railay was magnificent.

I saved this beach in my memory’s folder “most beautiful places on Earth”, thanked for all the infinite blessings I had in my life and said goodbye.

Time was short and many more adventures awaited: Phi Phi Islands and Maya Bay, piña coladas and curries, love and exploration, all in a couple of days before we had to part forever.

Farewell
Farewell Railay

To be continued…

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