Lesson of the Day – Railay Beach – Book Ahead!

Today’s lesson is definitely one I should take to heart but I think it will help make sense if I preface my post by giving a little back story.

We had started doing this thing where we don’t book a place to stay ahead of time, but rather we arrive at our destination, choose a cafe/bar/restaurant, order a drink, leave the girls with all our stuff while we go off to scout and find the perfect place.

Our system had previously worked on Koh Samet and Koh Tao therefore we had no reason to believe it wouldn’t work on Railay Beach. It had been a very long day of travel – taxi to Koh Tao’s pier, two ferry boats. The first to Koh Phangan, the second with a stop on Koh Samui before continuing to Donsak where we met our mini-van ride to Krabi Town, where we finished off with a long-tail boat ride to Railay Beach. By the time we arrived on Railay the sun was spreading its beautiful colours on the cliffs – a breath-taking and most welcoming sight.

With backpacks strapped on we walked along the pathway between East and West Railay under the guise that West Railay Beach would be the one we’d want to stay on. We stopped at the first decent looking bar and had our cursory beer just as the sun was beginning its final descent.

7 pmish and it was almost dark as we started our search for a bed. We quickly learned that the places along West Railay are the luxurious resorts, but as darkness really had taken over, and we could feel a modicum of desperation mounting, we both agreed that we’d throw money at the first available place and deal with it all in the light of morning. That wasn’t going to happen – no rooms available along the whole stretch of beach.

There was nothing for it, we went back to the restaurant, had a slug or two of beer and headed back along the pathway to East Railay. Again we agreed – take the first available place and we’d go from there. By now it was almost 8 pm, we were hungry and we were getting a little worried as place after place came back with “no room tonight”.

We checked in every single place. Walked up flights of stairs, steep hills, everything to find a place – nada, nothing, we were out of luck. I was beginning to feel a lot like Joseph and Mary while on a completely different note, Tony was suggesting that we stay up all night and party at one of the Reggae Bars before curling up on the beach for some early morning zzzzzzs.

It really was looking desperate as we made our way along the pathway and could see the end in sight. There were only two resorts left. Rapala Rockwood Resort and The Last Resort – we were certainly feeling that no matter what we were at our Last Resort. As we walked up the biggilion steps to Rapala I didn’t care that I would probably have a heart attack carrying my pack up there, I just wanted a roof over our heads.

The two brothers (we found out later that they were brothers) were so sweet, and funny – teasing that they didn’t have any rooms left – you shoulda seen our faces! When they offered to show us the room we didn’t even care. Well it wasn’t so much that we didn’t care but more we didn’t have a choice – they were the last two rooms left in Railay – so we took them!

Now all that was left, was to walk all the way back along the East Railay path to where it joined West Railay – cross over, walk back to the girls, collect them, collect the bags and walk all the way back. In the end it was totally worth it as we fell in love with everything about the Rapala Resort. We loved the brothers and their cheery ways, the coffee shop with Nora Jones playing in the background, the fabulous Indian food at the restaurant, our cute little bungalows – all of it.

The best part was waking on our first morning and walking out the front door, smack into the view of the cliff face – beautiful and completely unexpected because of course we couldn’t see it in the dark the night before.

We were so, so lucky to land on our feet but that was just it – we were lucky. The lesson of the day – if you’re going to Railway Beach – book ahead!

night closes in

silver light leads the way

no room at the inn


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