Sean IZZARD
The Last Bar
To the eastern side of Railay Beach, almost at the end of the walkway is The Last Bar. So called as you might guess, because along this stretch, it is the last bar.
A tourist destination on Thailand’s Andaman seaboard, resorts line both sides of the spit, opening out onto the mangroves in the protected waters to the east or the open sea to the west. Just a short long-tail boat ride from Krabi town, it sits amongst the majestic, impossibly angular limestone karsts, jutting vertically from the water.
The locals are incredibly friendly. Maybe because it’s monsoon season and as travellers are much thinner on the ground, competition for the spoils is intensified.
Nowhere more-so than here at the end of the walkway where they have just one chance to lure with a display of fresh fish, a drink at the bar or a massage before the tourists can turn on their heels and head back in the opposite direction.
There is something else that attracted me. A full-size boxing ring sits somewhat at odds amongst the dining tables and chairs. Specifically, it’s set up for kick-boxing ‘Muay Thai’ style and every other night, the venue plays host to a bout. Two young teenagers, brought in from surrounding towns, go toe-to-toe for three short rounds.
Wide-eyed and expectant at the start, the boys all oiled, go through the traditional, ceremonial warm-up.
Slight of build and will-o-the-wisp, their stature belies the ferocity of the contest. Raw power and energy explode with agility and flexibility – the sound of the body contact is intense and immediate, combinations of high kicks and punches landing, together with wild swings into the night.
Tonight, against the ropes just metres away, sweat flies as a punch follows a kick to the thigh, finding it’s mark on the side of a head. The boy in the blue shorts is sent falling to the canvas again, legs at once flailing and failing, eyes now not so wide. The referee kneels low to check he is ok, but he can’t go on.
I return to the stool at the bar. It’s not yet last drinks so whilst the fight might be over, my night at The Last Bar is not.