What, you may be wondering, is the meaning of Rastafarthai? It’s quite simple actually, Rastafarai + Thai person = Rastafarthai. We started using this word to describe some of the locals who work on Railay Beach in Thailand, which we visited a few weeks back. And thanks to Google, we now speculate that we may in fact be the original coiners of this well suited term. Although we did not take any photos of said Rastafarthais, we did manage to pull one off the interweb. It was probably taken by some backpacker who pointed their camera way too close to the rasta’s face and then walked away, like we saw so many tourists do. I mean, how would you like it if someone walked into your office, took your picture, and then turned around and left without saying one word to you? #awkward. Anyway, without further ado, here is a visual of a real-life Rastafarthai.
We aren’t sure how dreadlocks and reggae made their way from the Caribbean to SE Asia, but think it’s worth mentioning since many of the activities on Railay are not exactly traditional Thai customs. Most are quite “hippy” really (i.e. tightrope walking, fire dancing, Connect Four, rock climbing, joint smoking, guitar playing…you get the picture). Sure, we’re taking some liberties here by drawing a parallel between rastas and hippies, but it’s not too far off really, is it?
Railay Beach is an interesting place. A drop dead gorgeous place. A relaxing place. An island paradise (that isn’t technically an island). A place with no cars, only footpaths and boats for transportation. A place where wealthy tourists staying at 5-star hotels mingle with backpackers sleeping in $3/night huts. And of course, there are the Rastafarthai who are a strange breed in this predominately Muslim region of southern Thailand.
While the ocean view from our bungalow and delicious food at “Mom’s Kitchen” made the thought of staying for weeks tempting, we decided to relocate to nearby Koh Lanta; while not as abundant as in Railay, the Rastafarthai culture seems to be gaining ground on Lanta as well.