Learning The Ropes – Sa Phra Nang Lagoon – Railay, Thailand

Well, we said Kevin wouldn’t be doing any climbing here, but we were wrong.

Railay has a “hidden” lagoon within one of its limestone mountains, and while the signs to reach this lagoon are very well posted, the trail to get there is so steep that most people physically can’t reach it. On this trip, we’re working on saying “yes” to new experiences. And so Kevin said “yes” to finding this hidden lagoon. Christine, still on the mend, said “no thank you, and please don’t die.”

The trailhead to the lagoon is a brief ten minute walk from our resort. The trailhead itself is simply a sign that says “Lagoon” surrounded by monkeys in search of human food (you know you’ve seen too many monkeys when this no longer excites you) with an arrow pointing up. That’s good for a laugh, but it’s no joke – the first part of the trail is a steep rock climb up about 50 feet. There are climbing ropes on the trail which made it manageable. After the initial 50 feet, it leveled out and continued to ascend at a much easier pace. At the top, the trail forked – the left went to a cliff side viewpoint of East Railay Beach, and the right went down to the lagoon. Kevin went for a quick run to check out the viewpoint, then circled back to head towards the lagoon.

After just a few minutes, the lagoon was in sight. There was just one problem…that hidden oasis of green water looked pretty far down. This was where it got hard. Not one, not two, but three 10-15 foot vertical dropoffs with climbing ropes lay between Kevin and the lagoon. Fortunately, Kevin has been doing burpees in the hotel rooms lately, so he was able to climb all the way down to the water without dying. He was dripping with sweat though, so there was only one thing to do – go in.

The water was a little muddy, but still green, and the lagoon itself was truly a “hidden” gem. It was a big private swimming hole surrounded by limestone cliffs at least 100 feet high on all sides. That’s pretty sweet by our standards! After cooling off in the water, Kevin made the climb up, over, and back down to the trailhead and headed home to tell Christine all about what she had missed out on.