This is it, I think I’ve found the most perfect place on the face of the earth. But be weary of this picture perfect paradise, once you’re there you will never want to leave again. Other travelers will entice you with their adventures at Ton Sai, they will show you pictures of its magnificent cliffs, lush jungles and beautiful beaches. You might even hear a legend or two about the epic rock climbing opportunities Ton Sai offers – but take my advice and stay away as far as possible, because once you’ve had a taste of Ton Sai, the burning desire to return will haunt you for years to come.
To get to this paradise, one has to take a small longtail boat from the nearest town called Ao Nang. Nope Ton Sai is not an island, it is actually situated on the mainland, but it can only be reached by boat. The two adjacent beaches (Ton Sai & Railay) are surrounded by cliffs which makes it impossible to reach by road.
I think the reason why I love Ton Sai so much is because of its secludedness. Yes it is a very well-known place in Krabi, but you’d be surprised to see how peaceful and tranquil it is. There are very few places to eat/sleep and party. There’s no cellphone reception and only one small internet cafe. Because of its small size, the travelers at Ton Sai are very warm and welcoming and it is almost as if though they welcome each newcomer into their very own established island community (very similar to the movie “The Beach”).
There is an amazing restaurant with fluffy pillows and knee high tables situated partly underneath a huge overhanging rock cliff. Spotlights light up the entire wall of the cliff which gives it a very majestic and mystifying look. As you lay on your back on the pillows you can see tiny drops of water as it falls all the way from the roof to the floor. With the spotlights shinning from the bottom it seems like it takes the drops forever to reach the ground. It was hypnotising to see this and I just laid there for hours to look at it.
Right on the beach there is an awesome bar with a really cool vibe and cool music. At night the whole place lights up with colourful lights and charming oil lamps. The bar’s close proximity to the water makes it really easy to go for swim breaks in between beers. The night that I went for a swim there were florescent plankton in the water. As you move beneath the water your whole body just lights up. This might sound cliché but it really was magical.
During the day you can keep yourself busy by trying your hand at rock climbing or sunbathing on the beach. There are quite a few islands close by and if you get a couple of friends together and hire your own longtail boat you can explore each of these in true Prates of the Caribbean style. Just remember to pack a lot of sunscreen as well as many bottles of water to stay hydrated.
The rock climbing day trips are also something worth experiencing. The longtail boats usually leave early morning (depending on the tides) to take you out to sea so you can climb the walls of some rock cliff islands. You don’t have to have any rock climbing experience and once you feel that you are high enough you can can just turn around and jump into the ocean- no safety ropes are required. It is exhilarating and scary at the same time, but it is definitely worth it.
There is another beach area situated very close to Ton Sai, called Railay. Ralay is a bit more upper class with a lot more luxurious accommodation to choose from. The beach on this side is also maybe a bit better with less rocks and more sand. To get to Railay you can either walk along the shore (only possible during low tide) or one can take a back route through the jungle. I prefer Ton Sai over Railay because it is much more laid back and peacfull. You feel like you are on some secret beach away from civilisation. Railay is rapidly being developed and it is just a matter of time before it is an exact replica of just at another overcrowded beach town in Phuket or Koh Samui.
When I see pictures of my time in Ton Sai I really don’t understand why I ever left. The place is perfect and if I could have I would have stayed there forever. This place should definitely be one of your stops as you backpack through Thailand.