New Year's Day 2018
On New Year's Day morning, we woke in Bangkok at the home of our son's new in-laws. A van picked up our group and drove us to the airport. We flew south to Krabi where another van drove us a short distance, before we were picked up by 3-wheeled, tuk tuks. Then we were dropped at a dock where we headed down towards one of the traditional Thai longboats.
The boat zoomed and roared over the bay for 20 minutes, taking us towards Railay's East Beach.
Lowtide prevented us from getting close, but a sort of tractor-pulled trailer met us and we climbed on board and drove over the muddy sand.
We were met with golf carts that took us to the hotel's open air lobby. We sipped some complimentary juice and tried not to be too concerned about the rather chaotic check in and all the odd rules regarding our rooms.
Our gang was guided towards the pathway beside the walled-in bungalows. It was nice to have the seclusion, but the wall did cut us off from some scenery. Then again, there were some pretty tall mountains that were still in view!
Some Tricky Stuff
Our own Patio
Our bungalow had its own little patio area and hot tub. There were lounge chairs propped up, that we never used. It was hard to convince ourselves to lounge and soak, in our walled in space, when we could relax just a short walk away... with a gorgeous view of beach and mountains on the west side.
I adore monkeys of any kind, but these guys were kind of scary. The first evening, I got a text from my daughter next door. "We're scared to leave. The monkeys are jumping around everywhere." Especially at dusk, the critters liked to leap from roof to branch to roof. It was a little spooky, walking underneath them.
The bungalow was spacious with an extra sitting area with couch/bed. But it took a while for the hot room to cool down. We were given one room key and it went into the slot to turn on the room's power. This meant we couldn't leave a.c. running or phones charging. But hey, we were in a beautiful tropical paradise. We got used to the inconvenience.
I like to have good lighting in hotels. The bathroom was bright in the day, with its own set of glass doors to the patio. There were also some interesting built in ceiling light features.
However, on our last morning the ceiling above the couch performed an interesting light show at 4 a.m. I woke to the large, circular space blinking, sporadically. I thought I'd dreamt it, until I woke 2 other times. It was as if a ghost was delivering a message in Morse code. I took a video of the last show, but totally forgot to share with our hotel staff at check out.
The hotel food was not top notch and the service was pretty slow, but the view and atmosphere couldn't be beat.
Here is our daughter-in-law, her parents and our son, lingering over breakfast. It was wonderful knowing the 9 of us, could find each other at the breakfast buffet at some point each morning.
Coffee and View
Although Railay is not actually an island, our hotel beach had a view of sunset. In the morning we could easily walk to the east beach and watch sunrise, then return to the west side for a peaceful view with our breakfast.
Enjoying the Calm
We had already been in Thailand over a week. Our group had celebrated a wedding, traveled to North Thailand, explored and celebrated. We were suddenly in a place where we were ready to have no plans. Lingering over breakfast with a glorious view, was all that I needed.
People and Boat Watching
As the day progressed, the beach became more entertaining with boats and people. The longboats made noise and the tourists took up space, but the activity was more intriguing than annoying. Some in our group rented paddle boards and kayaks, but Don and I were content just floating in the water... which felt wonderful.
We had a choice of 2 pools, which at least gave us lounge chair possibilities. But almost every chair was being "reserved" with a towel by 8 am, each day. Luckily we didn't care about that. There was beach wandering to do and shopping stalls with foot massage options. There were quirky bars and restaurants on the east side to explore.
It took us a couple days to really wind down and get to know our hotel and the small beach community. A few of us were dealing with the beginning or end of some kind of cold or bug. But by the last evening, we had all reaped the benefits of our laid back resort.
Each evening the boats and most of the crowds left the beach and all became more peaceful. Even though we were met with a lot of evening clouds, we still enjoyed gathering on the beach for sunset.
I wish I had a photo of our entire group at Railay, but that's what our stay was like. Our private bungalows gave us all good rest and the beach and dining tables gave us a place to gather and greet and make spontaneous plans. Having 4 nights gave us time to forget our initial gripes and sink into the calm of this beautiful place! Railay Bay Resort was not perfect, but it was perfectly fine for what we needed!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!