At each new destination, I try and find some sort of event or excursion that I have never participated in before, something that makes me a little bit nervous, but something that I have to do because I know I will regret it if I back out.
I looked out the window at the Cessna 172 and could hardly believe they were going to let me co-pilot this thing!
Being from the East Coast of Canada, it made me realize it was such a small world when I learned that the pilot I was flying with was actually from Montreal, only a short distance away from where I’m from!
We walked out on the runway and over to our plane where we did all of the ground checks together to make sure everything was a go.
Okay, so it turns out that I was a terrible co-pilot, and flying a plane is actually really difficult….
The best part was how low we were flying over the city, so we were able to see the KL Tower and Petronas Towers up close!
I learned some of the rules of the air, experienced take-off and landing from the cockpit, took control of the plane while we were in the air, and kept my official one day membership card from the day I got to be a pilot.
What types of excursions/events have you attended in a new place?
My Mom is never thrilled when I tell her I’m going on a trip because she knows something like this is coming…
I found this excursion online, and it sounded terrifying, so I read on about it.
“The Shark Watch provides visitors with the unique opportunity to experience the majesty of swimming with these shy creatures with nothing more than mask, fins and wet suit.”
After booking it, I didn’t think much of it until the day arrived, then I realized I was a little bit nervous that I was actually willing pay to go out of my way to seek out sharks to swim with, yet under any other circumstances I would be swimming as fast as I could in the opposite direction.
But I already paid for it, so I’m not backing out now.
I soon learned we were off to see black tip reef sharks, a timid and non-aggressive species of shark, which was slightly more comforting. Our guide explained that if we were to move too quickly or splash loudly when we spotted a shark we would actually scare it away.
We hopped on a long tail boat during sun rise and headed out to what our guide described as the sharks bedroom. 10 minutes later we were hopping off the side of the boat into the water with fins and snorkels!
The water was perfectly clear straight down to the sand and bits of coral scattered about. There were big bright colorful fish swimming within arms reach, and sure enough within minutes, we spotted the first shark! Crazy enough, I didn’t feel nervous or scared, but I wanted to get closer!
Our guide was incredible, she gently pushed the backs of our feet (if we wanted) to get us closer to the sharks without scaring them away, we were literally swimming WITH them.
One of the things I was happiest about was the company we chose to go with – “The Adventure Club”. They were so passionate about sharks and how people have been treating them that they put this tour on to show people how incredible they are and that they aren’t the stereotypical killer we associate them as. They have truly changed my view and I would love go back!
*Pictures to come!*
Regardless of your vacation style, Thailand has it all. What type of traveler are you?
I checked off a list of cities to visit while backpacking Thailand, and Krabi was number 3.
Although Railay is not an island, you still have to take a boat over because the location of the mountains blocks off any possible land route. The boat ride is only about 15 minutes, cost 400 Baht, and leaves every hour from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
I debated on a day trip to Railay versus staying there for a few days, and I know now that even if I had planned a day trip I would have stayed anyway.
Because how can you not stay in a place like this:
I haven’t yet mentioned the world renowned rock climbing… Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert to try it out. Many people of different skill levels were there, they have everything from beginner to expert routes, and they’ll put you on routes based on your skill level, and they’ll let you try some harder ones if you want to give it a shot.
My guide really pushed me into doing a route that I really didn’t think I could do which involved shimmying over a tough overhang, it felt incredible to conquer it!
Another hidden gem of the Railay area is the viewpoint lookout and the lagoon, both involve a bit of a sketchy vertical climb.
The viewpoint – Took us about 15 minutes to get to, and it was relatively difficult.
The lagoon – Took us about about 20 minutes to reach, it was more difficult than the lagoon hike, and we are faster hikers.
Many people didn’t trek to the lagoon as they found it was too far, after the vertical climb up, you basically climb vertically straight back down, so it’s a long round trip for those not used to strenuous hiking. I had read that there was a rope at the end but it was still extremely difficult to get down to, so we were just going to just check it out and see, however my update is that they actually have put in ladders to get down, so it’s really not that bad!
We climbed it barefoot because we didn’t want to ruin our sneakers. Everyone we passed thought we were crazy! The funny thing is we actually enjoyed the climb a lot more with no shoes – the rocks and roots we were climbing up were very smooth, they honestly didn’t feel real. Being able to grip the smooth surfaces with our whole foot made it easier, I would not have wanted shoes on!
The lagoon was completely EMPTY when we got there, it was such an incredible sight, and the fact that no one was around made it even more beautiful. We got in the water and we yelled to hear our voices echo throughout.
We finally trekked back up to the viewpoint, which was relatively easy after the lagoon, and signs pointed us in the right direction. The viewpoint was also no disappointment.
I plan to go back in the future and spend a lot more of my time rock climbing.
Overall, I’m so happy I took a chance on Railay!
Because we had an early flight out and wanted to visit the Emerald Pool, Hot Springs, and Tiger Cave Temple, we wanted to get to Ao Nang. In hindsight, Krabi Town would have been a better base as a place to stay.
We hired a driver for the day, as we felt it would be too far for us to scooter. We decided on the following day trip:
Emerald Pool first – we wanted to get there early because we heard it gets quite crowded in the afternoons
Hot springs second – we wanted to experience these before climbing up to the temple, as we didn’t think we’d want a hot bath after the climb
Tiger Cave Temple – a 1,237 step climb (or so they say, it was ACTUALLY 1,260)…
Emerald Pool was this stunning clear, cool, turquoise, water, I have never seen anything like it!
Picture to come!
The hot springs were REALLY hot, especially on our poor burnt skin. We still got in and after a minute or so it was enjoyable to sit in.
Finally, the last stop! We suffered up 1,260 steps. Two stray dogs climbed just in front of us and they would stop and wait for us every so often, taunting us, and our slowness… they put us to shame.
FOR NEXT TIME
I will DEFINITELY revisit Railay Beach!
I’m glad I went to Ao Nang, but I will likely not revisit.
If I had to have chosen one of the two, I would have chosen Railay Beach.