The Beauty and the Beast
It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon at Tonsai beach, Krabi province. Not so hot as you would expect from a tropical climate, or maybe our bodies did just get used to the feeling of high temperature and humidity. My phone shows +32°C, and it’s a bit unexpected to feel so comfortable, as we arrived just yesterday. My body usually needs around 3 days for acclimatization, this time it took just one. Weird, but it makes me happy.
This time the way was very smooth, we knew exactly what to do to get to the Tonsai beach. After arriving at the Krabi airport, we took some Thai money from an ATM, bought a local sim card, jumped to a bus to Ao Nang and there took a longtail boat to Tonsai. There, we came directly to the Basecamp Tonsai and got our bungalow. We booked it in advance, so there was no hassle at all.
Eeeeaeeesy as local guys keep on saying. And it makes total sense. Life on Tonsai beach is easy and relaxed. Mobile network coverage is quite poor, there are no shops, no electricity during the day hours and there is only cold water available in your bungalow. You get disconnected from the outside world so fast and learn how to enjoy this new style of life.
The day starts very early, you wake up with the sunrise, around 6 a.m. Today we woke up and stayed in bed for another 30 minutes, enjoying the sounds of the jungle. I don’t remember when I’ve heard so many sounds of nature last time! Birds, monkeys, roosters and other creatures. The electricity is already off, but it’s still relatively dark in the room. I take a cold shower with a LED lamp. Feels so good and refreshing!
People come here mostly for rock climbing. Tonsai beach is known as a climbing paradise. A beautiful beach with plenty of limestone walls, it’s separated by a rocky 10 min path from a bigger brother Railay beach, a more touristic area.
In the morning, after an early breakfast, or in some cases even before, everyone meets at the wall. It’s before 8 a.m. and the beach gets crowded. But you won’t see any beach towels, chairs or umbrellas. Instead, you see climbing ropes, shoes and harnesses. You arrive at the wall and hear the sound of clipping carabiners. People are warming up on easy routes and already working on harder projects. Paradise indeed! And everyone is so chilled and friendly. So focused on their climbs, they will still give you an advice on a move. They will cheer you up when you pass a crux section, which you struggled with, and be happy just for a chat.
People are beautiful in Tonsai. Beautiful in their bodies and souls. I have to admit, that the conditions here are not for everyone. How often do you stay for a few weeks in a place without hot water and electricity? If you do, you enjoy simple things. You detox from the masquerade city life.
I admire people in Tonsai to be honest. During morning climbing, calm afternoon in a local cafe and a few drinks in a local reggae bar after the sun goes down, I see the same people with the same happy smiles on their faces all the time. It’s a lovely community of lovely people.
And you can say the difference. Just take a path to the more touristic Railay beach and you will understand me. A beach of fancy villas, shopping stalls, and loud restaurants. It’s pretty, but it’s ugly. I see people laying on a beach like seals, I see girls looking at you from top to bottom with envy in their eyes when guys checking you out. I cannot find a soul in this place anymore.
I come back to Tonsai. I come back to this small community of people who know the real life the way I know it. I come back to my bungalow and take a cold shower to wash away the sweat from the walk to Railay.
And I pray that this place will stay like it is for many years. I pray that there will be no hot water and no electricity, which would attract tourists like flies. I pray that these two beaches will be forever separated by a path.