EXPEDITIONIST Diaries: Exploring Tonsai Beach in Krabi, Thailand
When I was leaving for my inaugural South East Asia trip, many friends and coworkers asked me if I was going to Chiang Mai, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao, Koh Samui and all the other popular tourist spots that entice travellers from all over the world to visit.
One of my favourite reactions, when I told them where we were staying was, "Wait. Where is that?" Those close to me know I love travelling off the beaten path and finding little pockets of paradise that haven't been taken over by mega-tourism, and Tonsai Beach was the perfect spot to achieve this.
For those of you who don't know much about Tonsai, it is a rock climber's haven, chock full of spiritual, earth-loving people who know how to enjoy the simpler things in life. The locals are warm, welcoming, relaxed, and always up for a good time, no matter the time or day. Walking up to our hostel, Chill Out Bar & Bungalow, you pass by rows and rows of creative murals left behind by travellers past.
The beauty of staying in a remote spot like Tonsai is that you instantly feel at home. There's an intimacy felt by sharing stories, meals, and games with the other travellers and the locals that you would be hard-pressed to find in more popular tourist spots.
While on Tonsai, we arranged a bunch of sights to see, and activities to do, some of which included taking a snorkel tour of Monkey Bay, a boat trip into Maya Bay (which was probably our most 'touristy' thing we did), and buffet lunch on Koh Phi Phi. One of the most interesting things about staying on Tonsai is the shoreline hike you can take to get to the side of the rock where the better known Railay Beach is situated.
Walking through tropical foliage on the hike, strangely enough, felt very familiar to the hikes I take at home, despite the trees, plants, and wildlife being completely foreign to me, not to mention the beautiful view of the ocean through the trees as you made your way across. You have to time it just right to be able to make it back across before high tide and risk having to pay for a ferry ride, but it was well worth the short trek to be able to explore more of the coastline.
On our way back across, and in passing conversation with one of the travellers staying in our hostel, we discovered that he was a base jumper, planning a jump early the next morning before the sun got too hot overhead. I certainly wasn't going to miss an opportunity to see a beachfront base jump, so we made plans to watch and film his jump the following day. It was definitely one of the highlights of our time there.
All in all, we spent 5 unforgettable days on Tonsai and could have stayed much longer, but in truth, Tonsai is just one of the many fantastic and wonderful places to explore in Thailand. Our friends over at Jen Reviews can tell you at least 100 things to do when visiting this amazing country. If your next adventure takes you to Southeast Asia, do yourself a favour and spend some time in this hidden gem, and get reacquainted with immersive travel in its authentic form.