Before arriving in Krabi, I had planned to take advantage of the trip to sit in the hotel and catch up on some reading. Much to my surprise, however, I found myself on our last day convincing Pei Pei to take a long tail boat back to Rai Leh and spend the day on Phra Nang Beach. I just wanted to take every opportunity to float in the crystal clear warm water. So we slathered sun cream all over ourselves and walked down to the pier to wait for the next taxi-load of tourists to arrive so we could hitch a ride on their boat.
When we had stopped at Phra Nang Beach on our four island tour the previous day, the beach was quite empty. Today, though, we were there after lunch and there was a crowd of people enjoying the sun and water. Interestingly, there were half a dozen long-tail boats selling pad thai and fried rice freshly cooked on portable stoves, as well as ice-cream, drinks and fresh fruit. Given the remoteness of the beach, this was very welcome and the presence of vendors didn’t spoil the beach as I would have thought.
Regardless, we decided to find a less crowded area, so we followed the beach around a point and found a long stretch with much fewer people. We pitched our bags in the shade of a cave and I headed for the water, which, although refreshing, in some places felt as hot as the air. The towering limestone cliffs actually hang over the water in places, so you can swim under them, which is awe-inspiring.
While standing knee-deep in the shallows, I was surrounded by yellow and black striped fish and it was all I could to resist dunking my camera lens under the surface to capture them more clearly. There’s something very special about sharing the water with these little fish, as they are neither threatened nor threatening – we just hung out together for a while, and that was cool with them.
When we’d had about as much sun as we could handle, we wandered back to the other side of Rai Leh to wait for enough people to want a long tail boat to make it worth the driver’s while to leave. As we puttered out of the bay the clouds were darkening quickly, and before long rain was pouring just as it had each evening we had been in Krabi, but unlike the first day we weren’t in a tiny kayak, the only people on the water, paddling like mad to reach shore before the dark clouds drenched us. We didn’t, and they did.