What a tough way to spend a Friday! In the morning we swam in the pool, then after lunch we walked to Tham Phra Nang beach, one of the three on the Rai Leh peninsula. Although all of the frontage is owned by the Rayavadee Resort, there is a footpath to it for the general public (fortunately Thailand doesn’t have private beaches), which allowed us to get on and doubtless spoil the view from the $500 a night suites. While the beach was fantastically beautiful, with super soft white sand and turquoise sea, it was spoiled by the hordes of long-tail boats pulled up on the beach, carrying visitors from the nearby town of Ao Nang. From 9 in the morning until 5 in the evening, there are between 20 and 40 boats all crowded together on the 200m beach, along with bigger boats moored right off the beach. We’d always looked with envy at the Rayavadee in brochures, waiting for the day when it was on special offer, but now that we’ve seen what the beach looks like on a normal day, the spell’s been broken!
Later in the day we went to West Rai Leh beach for the sunset, although at 2 Pounds a bottle, we didn’t have a beer in our hands! Unlike the east beach, which is very small, and has a 100m of mud flats at low tide, the west beach is just flat powdery white sand. No wonder the more expensive resorts were built on this side (more expensive than we could afford, but still pretty good value considering the setting). The day was capped off by a good sunset, as it dropped into the shadow of Phuket island.