Islands Part I

South Thailand

September – October 2018

Let me now take you to a piece of heaven on earth, to South Thailand that is without a doubt a magical beauty. In south what I did was to jump from one island to another; in the west Krabi, Railay, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi in Andaman sea and in the east Koh Samui, Koh Phangan in the gulf of Thailand. It was a spectacular experience to be by the magnificent ocean and turquoise waters.
I am going to start with the west side near Andaman sea and take you to Krabi and Railay first.

I reached Krabi after a 50 hour journey from Cambodia. Ah what a crazy journey it was through; Koh Rong Sanloem, Sianoukville, Kampot, Phnom Phen, Siem Reap, flight to Bangkok, Surat Thani and finally Krabi. Finally I was in South Thailand for the first time in my life.
Contrary to what is believed, in my opinion monsoon is the best season to travel here. It is cheaper, less touristy and I love its freshness.

Krabi is a main town on the west coast of southern Thailand, located 780km south of Bangkok. It is an important transpot hub to the islands of the southwest. It is situated among impossibly angular limestone karst formations jutting from the mangrove forests.

Starting from Krabi I did a half day exploration ride to Ao Nang. The road in between was spectacular with many beautiful high rocks and sheer cliffs. It was now making sense that this region is well-known to adventurers who like rock climbing.

Krabi as a coastal province has many natural attractions that include white sandy beaches, crystal clear water and fascinating coral reefs. Many travellers prefer here for sailing, scuba-diving, snorkeling and kayaking. We see the main beach of Ao Nang above.

Railay is a spectacular peninsula between Krabi and Ao Nang. It is accessible only by boat due to high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. Boat ride offers splendid sceneries of the coast line covered with forests. On the monsoon season if you take a small boat rather than a ferry your experience becomes even more interesting. You constantly jump on the big and strong waves and since there is nothing you can do you just surrender to your fear!

East Railay Beach is the docking point for boats arriving from Krabi. It is primarily covered in dense mangroves. West Railay Beach is the primary destination for the beach lovers. The beach has high limestone cliffs on either side. Railay is one of the most well-known rock climbing area in the world, with over seven hundred bolted routes up limestone faces with breathtaking views over the ocean.

West beach is connected to the east side by trails through jungle cover. Along the path there are some huge caves, fascinating rock formations and gigantic trees. Can you see the little me under that huge tree above?

South of Thailand is home to some of the finest and most beautiful beaches in the world. I found the sceneries mysterious with all those sheer cliffs and tiny little islands standing out on their own in the ocean.

Phra Nang Noi cave (above) is located at the edge of the west beach which I loved the most. Walking on the shore I was totally mesmerized by the crystal clear ocean and all the breathtaking sceneries around me.

Then I moved to Phuket, country’s largest island. I stayed around Kata beach in the west coast. Yes the beach, the water and the big waves were nice but these were not what I was here for. In fact I wouldn’t come such a hyper touristy spot like here. But the reason that brought me here was to meet one of my spiritual teacher, dear Cesar Teruel whom I know from India. He is an amazing teacher and a master on explaining non-duality. His speeches had a great impact on me that deepened my awareness and knowledge. I was so glad to come here to see him again, attend his talks and ask my questions. If you are interested to know about ‘non-duality’ you can check my essay in India folder; Tiruvannamalai Part I and Tiruvannamalai Part II.

After a couple of days I left Phuket and catched the ferry to Koh Phi Phi island. There is an extensive web of ferries in between the islands and the coasts. The islands in Andaman sea are reachable most oftenly from Krabi or Phuket. Before arriving at the island the ferry first takes you through Koh Phi Phi Leh island (above). It is a national park therefore it is uninhabited.

The views along the way were spectacular. I was really entranced to see the islands surprisingly jutting from the beautiful turquois coloured sea. Maya Bay, on Koh Phi Phi Leh island was closed due to the sharp rise of visitors that had severely damaged the environment and the coral reefs. This will hopefully give time to the ecology to recover.

I guess Koh Phi Phi is my favourite island in whole South Thailand. It is quite a small touristy island with no motor vehicles and all roads are for pedestrian use only. It was really a wise decision to travel here in the off season during monsoon as there were so few tourists around. The island was initially a fishermen island up until 1950s, later became an area of coconut plantation. And now tourism dominates. The resident Thai population of the island is 80% Muslim.

The view point on top of the highest hill clearly displays what a piece of heaven the entire island is. The breath taking beauty of this planet is keeping on astonishing me, making me feel such a great joy and gratitude to breath in this life.

The more I abide in ‘I am’ awareness, the more I sense the great power and energy inside this exploration. The spiritual journey is more simple than we think. Commonly we grasp the intellectual structure first. But then when we move on to the direct experience of it, this unveils the mystery. The stillness I found in me is my new home. There is no way back.
‘I am’ awareness (Self-awareness) is a further step in self inquiry that simply opens on contemplative investigation through the silence of the mind. This deeper awareness opens up as the revolutionary realization of non-seperate self (the profound ignorance of humanity) which is the direct path to enlightenment. My Guru Ramana Maharshi awakened mankind to the practice of ‘Self-enquiry’. If you are interested to know more about these teachings, you can check two essays in India folder; Tiruvannamalai Part I and Tiruvannamalai Part II.

From this view point, you can head over the hill through to the remote eastern beaches. By a 40 minute walk through a beautiful jungle you can reach the peaceful Long beach.

Everyday big tides sweep the white sands almost couple of hundred meters. A few hours back, the beach above was fully under water. The sunsets were amazing. I was mostly going to the remote beaches to watch this show in the sky. Ah and Frangipani, my favourite flower. I was putting one in my hair to be with its beautiful smell all day long.

Monsoon rains are highly unpredictable. All of a sudden clouds fill up the sky and in an half an hour time the day turns into a rainy one. Sometimes rain comes so strongly with many lightnings. Then you find yourself a spot to go under and enjoy the magnificent flow of rain onto the mother earth.

Then when rain leaves and sunshine comes back again, white beaches and turquois waters welcome you. South Thailand is a great gift to your senses. The spectacular sceneries you gaze at, the smell of the ocean, the taste of the salt in your mouth, the sound of the waves, the fresh wind you feel on your skin, all are blissful delights.
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If you are interested to see more islands of magical South Thailand, now I invite you to my second essay where I will take you to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.

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