After Koh Phi Phi, I was exhausted and desperate for a break and a chance to relax on a beach soaking up some sun. I'm not as young as I used to be and four big nights in a row, dragging my sorry self back to the hostel at 5am and then getting back up at 8am for a full day of fun was hard on my body. I loved it and didn't want to miss a second of hanging out with amazing people, but I had already done longer on this party central island than most and was keen to get away. So when Tibby had to head off to his next destination, I took my chance to head to another new place - hoping for a more chilled out vibe. I certainly got it, Railey is about as chilled out as it gets and although it didn't quite charm me like Koh Lanta, I loved it for many different reasons. I actually met a girl on the ferry over there and we ended up spending the next few days together, relaxing and chatting. When we arrived, clamouring out of a long tail boat at the shore and splashing through the waves with our bags, we headed to Railey Headlands where we were hoping to stay in bungalows at Railey Cabana but after a long walk they were fully booked, so we treated ourselves and stayed in the hotel next door for the night.


The first night, we were tired but wanted to explore so we heard west for dinner where the nice beach was, but realised this was the family area so after food we walked to the east side - yes it is that small - where we found lots of monkeys chasing us along the way. But when we arrived, we knew this is where we wanted to stay, bars lined the shore, restaurants overlooking the sea, chilled out backpackers and reggae music galore. The next morning we moved there to a place high up above the shore where bungalows surrounded this restaurant, Rapala Rockwood was a great place to stay, although the steps killed my legs every day, and was full of fabulous backpackers who all wanted to make friends. Me and the girl I had met shared a bungalow the first night before she flew to Malaysia, then I stayed on alone in it for about five days. I met some fabulous Swedish girls, a small group from Austria and a few others who had been travelling across Peru and Nepal. So many interesting people and the locals were fantastic as well - the girls and I spent one evening teaching a Thai guy who worked where we were staying English - he actually did really well!


I also had a magical evening where I stumbled across the Israeli guys who had been travelling Nepal and Peru and had brought a whole suitcase of instruments including a guitar, ukulele, flute, and a few others, plus a didgeridoo! We spent a night just playing the instruments, singing and having a laugh - one of those totally unexpected moments in life that you will remember forever. Especially my terrible attempts on the didgeridoo! I also spent most nights hanging out at the reggae bars below my accommodation, before heading to The Last Bar which has the most amazing fire show I have seen yet, set to dubstep, I have never seen them move so fast or so dangerously, and with so many mistakes, you know they are the most daring yet! Plus the Muay Thai boxing on some nights was brilliant - finally one that doesn't look stylised and choreographed! I would definitely recommend if you happen to be staying there as most of the other bars close down early - a blessing if you're in need of some early nights, undisturbed sleep and peace & quiet!


There's not a huge amount to report from Railey, as much of my time was spent laying on the beach, watching fire shows, swimming, sleeping and battling rubbish wifi. But it was a great in-between place to relax and rest after a hectic few days. Lots of people I met in Krabi after were just making day trips to Railey, which is also a great option as there isn't much to do there apart from rock climbing and relaxing. You could easily experience it in a day, although I'm glad I stayed a few days. It was really nice to stay in such a rugged and wild landscape, totally different to how flat Koh Lanta was and so quiet compared to Koh Phi Phi. I loved seeing monkeys running around, huge cliffs towering over the beach and lush jungle between the east and west side. Such a contrast to other places I have visited and so striking as you'll see from my photos.



Have you been to Railey? What did you think? Where's your favourite place to go when you need to chill out? 

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Ben Sutherland

Ben Sutherland

As someone who has suffered from eczema, bizarre allergic reactions and dry patches on my skin all my life, I thought it was about time that I shared the fantastic remedies I have come across over the years that not only have saved me hundreds of pounds but have actually healed these problems far quicker than prescribed treatments. My mum and I have made a bit of a mission out of finding natural alternatives that will help to solve such problems in a way that won't upset the natural balance of my body and that won't cause further problems as a result of the harshness of the treatment.

I have never been one of these girls to spend a fortune on a product unless I know that it will work or it is something I really want to try as a treat - often I will turn to my own kitchen cupboards to find unprocessed products that are less likely to irritate the skin in turn. I particularly enjoy simple products and treatments because it can become complicated to work out which ingredient you are allergic to or simply does not agree with your skin type.

Now, these are a mixture of health-related remedies and beauty remedies that will hopefully help to boost your skin and give you the confidence boost you need, because we all know how devastating it can be to get a spot or a red patch on your face before a big night out!

  1. Olive Oil is my top recommendation for anyone who suffers from dry skin - people always look at me like I'm mad over this one but it is really good for your skin, fairly cheap and accessible and pure - which is the most important thing! I always put it on dry patches before bed (although avoid any oily patches because this may block pores causing spots) and after a few days of doing this there is a huge improvement. It is also great for encouraging growth of eyelashes and eyebrows and for strengthening nails - rub into them before bed and you'll notice the difference even overnight.
  2. Coconut Oil is another great one but this time for any part of the body. It's something that is used liberally in Mauritius (where my father is from) and it smells amazing. Great for giving your skin a healthy glow and a great shine for hair but countless other uses.
  3. Tea Tree Oil is fantastic for clearing up spots by drying them out, be wary if you have dry skin because this will dry it out further, but works quicker than any spot treatment I've ever used. Also good for fungal toenails (more common than you think!).
  4. Water is no secret to us all, our bodies are mostly made up of water and dry out easily so drinking plenty will help to rehydrate your skin and get rid of those dry patches - alcohol and coffee (and fizzy drinks) all dehydrate your skin. Also, sleep is equally vital - the less sleep you get, the worse your skin looks - Fact.
  5. Red peppers and tomatoes - it took me years to finally realise it, despite saying plenty of times to my mum as a child that "momoes make me itch", but these are nightshade plants which irritate the skin and many people are actually allergic to them. If you keep getting red patches and eczema flaring up - especially if it is sore, inflamed and red, try cutting these out and see the difference over a few weeks.
  6. Dairy products - excessive amounts of dairy, particularly if you are a big milk drinker, can cause your skin to become unhealthy, looking pale and oily. These changes can cause you to develop more spots. I personally am not big on milk, I even use water in my porridge and don't drink tea of coffee, but I do love cheese. So I find it easy to cut these out - but if you are suffering from bad breakouts and have a dairy-heavy diet, try cutting back and see if it helps.
  7. Bio-Oil, or Vitamin E Oil is amazing, as many of us already know, for evening skin tone and reducing the appearance of acne scars, stretchmarks or anything at all. Plus it smells amazing and hydrates your skin really well. Freshly squeezed lemon juice or boiled tea bags can also help to lighten marks and scars, or even under eye bags, according to a friend of mine.
  8. Sugar, honey and oats, plus fruit - sounds delicious right? Forget eating it, put it on your face and use as a scrub/face mask - it's great for freshening up your skin, revitalising it and getting rid of dead skin cells. There are countless combinations of these ingredients but all work well - just use whatever you have in the cupboard!
  9. Aloe Vera (there is a gel available from Holland and Barrett) is great for soothing red or inflamed skin, particularly with eczema when you are afraid to use other products which might make it worse. It is soothing and cooling at the same time.
  10. Nuts such as almonds and egg are both great for glowing skin, I've never used egg because it grosses me out but I'm happy to eat both of these! Almonds and almond oil are great for the skin whether you eat them or spread them on your skin. Eggs can be used in a face pack and apparently are great for wrinkles.
  11. Exercise - if you really want glowing skin, work up a sweat and get that healthy, rosy glow from running around outside, fresh air and hard work will do wonders for your complexion.
Chandrika Nair

Chandrika Nair

So there you are, just some of the great natural remedies for dealing with acne, eczema, dry patches, red patches and anything else along the way in your quest for glowing skin. It's important to remember that everything you put in your body you wear on your skin so if you live on a diet of shit, you're going to look like shit! Main advice is eat healthy, exercise and be happy - if you feel rubbish then often it shows on your face and affects both your skin and hair. If you are run-down, no amount of make-up can hide that, so why not start from the basics and eat more fruit and veg, drink more water and move more? You'll be amazed at the results.

Have you got any home remedies that you use to keep looking healthy and glowing? Any that have been passed down through the family?

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