Sunday, February 12, 2012

Days 731, 732, & 733 : All rolled into one, a weekend in Railay Beach, Thailand

So it seems that being in Railay Beach has gotten me a bit behind in terms of my Fromagical musings and for that I apologize, let’s play catch up over the past three days now.  I realize that this trip is much more travel and much less cheese but Thailand is not big on its cheese as with many Asian countries – having never been a staple of their diet the cuisine tends not to feature it predominately.

It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend and a whirlwind of a trip thus far, I can’t quite believe it’s soon coming to a close – not yet, one more city and a short overnight back in Bangkok then its back home. But enough of that for the moment, lets get back to the dreamy past few days in Railay. We left off with the journey to get to Railay, so let’s pick up there on Thursday evening. Thursday evening was the bachelorette / girls night out. With limited options, we started off the evening having drinks at sunset on the beach at a bar whose seats constituted straw mats on the ground -- a great way to kick off the trip and my friends’ wedding weekend.  Following the spectacular sunset, we moved up to a proper table at one of the restaurants on the beach – a ’70s style lounge singer, tropical drinks, authentic Thai food, and the beach expanse in front of us, you just couldn’t go wrong here. We all split a variety of dishes to get to try a little bit of everything -- stir fried vegetables with cashews, pineapple and crab fried rice, steamed tofu in a black stone bowl and grilled fresh mackerel. Each and every dish was fresh and light, island Thai cuisine done well.  Funnily enough as I quickly learned, the majority of the restaurants on Railay either offered Thai food or pizza. There was very little in between. What was next?

How about a live fire dancing show at the only bar in Railay Beach with dancing? Called the Last Bar, you really feel as though you’re at the end of the world here – pumping dub step sets the scene with at any given time between two and five Thai men dancing, twirling, and throwing their fire batons; a tube television showing a bad 80s movie; a no frills slightly covered dance area complete with a tiki style bar.

Friday –

A sunrise run followed by a hike to the lookout point where you can see the ocean on both sides, palm trees, and white sand. The breakfast options at my hotel here in Railay left something to be desired at least in comparison to those in Bangkok. I did discover a love of dragon fruit in the process however.  Of course we had to spend some quality time on the beach where the top choice for lunch is found on one of the handful wooden boats that park themselves on the shore line – an eclectic selection ranging from watermelon smoothies to grilled corn to pad thai to chicken pitas and more.  

Friday evening was the rehearsal dinner at another hotel restaurant – a buffet prepared specially for the wedding guests. The spicy squid salad and vegetable green curry stood out for me. Authentic Thai food puts the Americanized version to shame -- it's fresh, clean and about the spices and the quality of the ingredients. 

Next up, my friends’ wedding day – a small intimate gathering of the friends and family that mean the most to these two really close friends. A ceremony on the beach half covered by a limestone cave followed by the requisite picture taking session. Hors d’oeuvres and white wine sangria followed by dinner and dancing overlooking the beach followed by the lighting of the traditional good luck paper lanterns. This was truly a celebration of these two wonderful people and their love for one another and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.
Here’s to them!

Stay tuned tomorrow for my adventures in and around Chiang Mai.

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