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Wednesday 23 May 2018

You don't have to spend a fortune to enjoy paradise

After reviewing a five-star property in Krabi, I had intended to return to familiar ground in Phuket to do some writing for two projects that had stalled. 

A couple of days at Railay Beach caused me to change me mind, however, and seek out some local budget accommodation. After looking at a couple of 2-3 star hotels I settled on the Railay Viewpoint Resort, where I have been living in a small villa for several days.

As I'm paying an off-season rate of 900 baht ($37) a night I didn't expect much, but I'm thoroughly enjoying my home away from home. 

I've noticed some complaints on websites about a lack of cleanliness at Viewpoint, and also unfriendly staff. My experience has been exactly the opposite. 

My villa, just a 100 metres from the waterfront at Railay East has a comfortable bed, air conditioning, good wifi (although it was once knocked out by a tropical storm), a fridge, TV with CNN and a wet/room shower that always has hot water. 

I'm provided with fresh bottles of water every day, clean towels and my room is serviced every day, or second day, depending on my needs. 

There is a good resort swimming pool just 10 metres from my door and all the mini-marts, massage shops and eateries are within a short walk. Its nice to sit on my balcony and watch the world go by.

There are more expensive rooms than the one I am in with more modern bathrooms and facilities (below) but my villa is just fine for basic accommodation.

Railay East has mangrove swamps and is not suitable for swimming, but just 350 metres away is Railay West, with its several chic resorts and clean sand beaches. The two are linked by Walking Street, a laneway of restaurants, Reggae Bars and juice bars and more massage places.

Railay, which can be reached only long-tail boat or speedboat from Chao Fa Pier from Krabi, Ao Nang or Ao Nam Mao, is popular with day trippers because of its laidback vibe. Dinner will cost you around 100 baht ($4) and there are no loud go-go bars, hustlers or discos. The massage places are totally legit. 

Don't even think of buying a bottle of wine, however, with taxes meaning a bottle of Jacob's Creek Chardonnay will cost you 50 bucks. The local Singha beer ($3.50) does the trick instead.   

The views are spectacular around these parts with striking limestone cliffs, and clean water that is frequented by squid boats at night. 

The perfect setting for a few days of relaxation. 

Railay Viewpoint Hotel, +66 82 4299 090. 

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