Connect with us

Thai Life

Heading to Phang Nga Bay

The Thaiger

Published

on

Heading to Phang Nga Bay | The Thaiger

FROM THE PHUKET GAZETTE ARCHIVES

By Mark Knowles

Caught up in the daily routines of living and working in Phuket, it’s all too easy to forget that you have some of the most amazing natural attractions in the world right on your door step.

Phang Nga Bay, with its towering limestone cliffs, swathes of tidal mangroves, isolated island beaches and abundant bird life is one such attraction.

So when my brother visited me recently from Australia, it was the perfect excuse to get out on the water and explore the bay. We booked a tour to “James Bond” island with one of the plethora of local tour companies offering affordable day trips to various parts of the bay.

Early the next morning we were in the tour van as it weaved its way through Patong’s streets picking up other passengers before heading north to Ao Por Marina where our boat would depart.

Once aboard our guide for the day, an affable young man, soon picked up the microphone and began to describe what the day held in store.

The first stop on the tour would be the famous James Bond island. Then a spot of sea canoeing followed by a visit to the small fishing village of Koh Panyee. Finally we would cap the day off with a swim at Naka island.

As we motored towards James Bond island, the crew brought up trays of delicious Thai breakfast snacks, like sticky rice with banana and sweets rolled in coconut, which made the perfect accompaniment to our cups of coffee. As we approached one of the many uninhabited islands, our guide began to whistle in the hope of attracting the resident sea eagles which are accustomed to flying down to the passing tour boats to grab an easy meal of raw chicken thrown by the guides. Alas, we had no luck, the eagles remained aloft, circling above us at a distance, not willing to come down and let us get a closer look.

Soon, we pulled up to our first destination and were taken by longtail boat to spend half an hour on the famous James Bond island. As we had been warned by friends, the island was, of course, very crowded with other day trippers and many stalls selling jewelry made from shells and other souvenirs.

But the island is nevertheless remarkably beautiful and we took the obligatory picture of ourselves standing in front of Koh Tapu – the iconic column of rock that featured in the 1974 Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.

Before long we were back on the boat and heading to our next stop, where we would jump in inflatable kayaks to explore some of the rocky caves and tiny inlets in the bay. Gliding along in our kayak, which was paddled by a local guide, was a very relaxing experience and dangling your feet in the water is a pleasant relief from the heat. We passed under a limestone cavern, inaccessible at high tide, with our heads just inches from the rocks. Once through, we passed by some dense mangrove forests twittering with bird life and explored several tiny shallow inlets which are all but cut off from sunlight by the towering cliffs enclosing them.

If you get a little thirsty in the hot sun, simply ask your guide to pull up to one of the vendors on a longtail boat selling ice-creams and fresh coconuts.

After the kayaking, we headed to what was probably the most fascinating part of the day, the tiny village of Koh Panyee.

As you approach Koh Panyee, the first thing you notice is the glowing golden dome of the village mosque which serves as a beacon to passing boats.

Heading to Phang Nga Bay | News by The Thaiger

The village was founded in the late 18th century by nomadic Malay fisherman, who because of laws restricting foreigners from purchasing land in Thailand, built their dwellings over the water on stilts. Home to over 1,600 people, Koh Panyee has its own school, hospital and even a football field, all built over the waters of Phang Nga Bay. Most of the residents still earn their living from fishing, but in recent years, increasing numbers of tourists have provided a second source of income when they stop to have lunch or buy handicrafts from the locals.

When we arrived there were dozens of other tour boats from all around the bay docked there, unloading hundreds of passengers to eat at the many seafood restaurants. We took a short tour of the village, visiting the school and browsing through the stalls which had many homemade local snacks and treats on offer, as well as the usual t-shirts and sarongs.

I stopped to watch some children using small nets to catch garfish between the stilts which support their homes. Regretting that I could not stay longer to watch the villagers going about their daily lives on this amazing floating settlement, we were ushered back onto the boat for the final leg of our journey.

Back aboard the boat, we were presented with a fabulous buffet lunch, all prepared by our guide’s sister in a tiny kitchen below the deck. On offer were a range of Thai dishes such as chicken with cashew nuts, fried rice and stir fried vegetables – all of them delicious. I can’t think of a nicer place to enjoy lunch than sitting on a boat as it glides through the pristine and unique landscape of Phang Nga Bay. Just magical.

After finishing lunch and having a pleasant siesta snooze stretched out on the bench seats of the boat’supper deck, we arrived at Naka Island for our afternoon swim at the beach. Soon after disembarking the boat and arriving at the beach we began some leisurely beach combing, spotting several hermit crabs, some the size of golf balls which we showed to some of the children on the beach. We also found a dried seed pod and a length of bamboo and began an impromptu game of beach cricket as other tourists looked on bemused.

All too soon, it was time to get back on the boat, where plates of fresh dragon fruit, pineapple and watermelon awaited us for consumption during the short ride back to Ao Por.

Mark Knowles



Looking to jettison some items before jetsetting away or chartering a yacht? Look no further than Thaiger Classifieds where you can find and post items, work, property and more for free. Be sure to check out YonderTours for things to do in Thailand and tours across the country.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thailand

Chinese and Indians to be offered visa free arrival for 15 days in Thailand

The Thaiger

Published

on

Chinese and Indians to be offered visa free arrival for 15 days in Thailand | The Thaiger

The Tourism and Sports Minister says he’ll seek cabinet approval to offer visa exemptions to visitors from China and India for one year. Already Chinese tourists have a visa-on-arrival fees exemption. The current promotion is set to end on October 31 this year.

If the new visa exemption is approved by cabinet it will start on November 1 and run through to at least October 31, 2020.

The Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says the visa exemption will allow travel in Thailand for up to 15 days.

“Free visas is the ministry’s must urgent stimulus policy, without which tourism arrival growth might not reach our target,” the Minister told the Bangkok Post.

A slowing global economy and a strong Thai baht have put a small dent in the rise and rise of Thailand’s ‘teflon’ tourist industry this year. But the arrival numbers have mostly recovered after a sluggish April and May this year.

The numbers show that 19.76 million tourists arrived in Thailand for the first half of 2019, a small increase of just 1.48% compared to H1, 2018. But Chinese tourists declined by 4.73% over the same period with the nationalities taking up the slack – including India – up 24% compared to the first half of 2018.

The minister says he is confident the visa exemption will help boost the number of travellers from India to reach some 3 million next year and help to encourage Chinese tourists back as well.

Vichit Prakobgosol, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents says the visa exemption will bolster the number of inbound Indians and Chinese to Thailand and will be a significant boost in tough world economic conditions.

Continue Reading

Patong

Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety

The Thaiger

Published

on

Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Lifeguard Service

A commemoration ceremony has been held for Prathaiyuth Chuayuan, a local Phuketian who helped drive Phuket’s first beach lifeguard services. He passed away on Friday morning after a heart attack.

He first experienced chest pains whilst delivering his daughter to school in Phuket Town on Friday morning, drove himself immediately to the Vachira Hospital nearby but succumbed to cardiac arrest around 9am.

He was 57 years old.

He worked with Australian lifesavers to help train local lifeguards and improve the skills of the Phuket’s beach enthusiasts, and finally sought international accreditation for the growing body of competent Phuket lifeguards.

The Phuket Lifeguards Service, founded and run by Prathaiyuth and his wife Witanya, saved innumerable lives each year whilst battling Provincial Hall and local government for increased funding in annual contract negotiations.

Daren Jenner, a FOT (Friend of The Thaiger) and local safety officer for the International Surf Lifesaving Association, sent a message to us expressing his deepest condolences to Prathaiyuth’s wife, family and friends.

“I had many good conversations with him over the years. He was a good-hearted man who did his best in difficult and changing circumstances. A very big loss for Phuket and the lifesaving community here. ISLA sends our deepest respect for his long commitment to ocean safety in SE Asia.”

Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger

Continue Reading

Southeast Asia

Bangkok to Hong Kong the world’s second most popular flight, what’s the most popular?

The Thaiger

Published

on

Bangkok to Hong Kong the world’s second most popular flight, what’s the most popular? | The Thaiger

The world’s top five flying routes are all in the Asia Pacific region, according to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) report. Aviation writers say the growth can be attributed to the addition of flights operated by low-cost carriers in the region.

Passenger traffic between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Hong Kong airport is Number Two on the list of the airports with the world’s busiest air traffic. The trip between Hong Kong and Taipei Taoyuan, Taiwan, is the most popular route in the world carrying 5.4 million passengers per year.

Passenger traffic between Suvarnabhumi and Hong Kong reached 3.4 million in 2018, up 9% from 2017.

The report of IATA world airline traffic for 2018 also shows that airlines in the Asia Pacific carried the largest number of passengers in the world.

Global passenger traffic results for 2018 showed that demand rose by a healthy 6.5% compared to full-year 2017. Although this represented a slowdown compared to the 2017 annual growth of 8.0%, it was another year of above-trend growth. Full year 2018 capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage point to a record 81.9%, exceeding the previous high set in 2017.

“Airlines are connecting more people and places than ever before. The freedom to fly is more accessible than ever. And our world is a more prosperous place as a result,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director-general and CEO.

In terms of pure numbers of flights for 2018, here are the results. Eight out of ten of the routes are all in the Asia-Pacific.

  1. Kuala Lumpur – Singapore: 30,187 flights
  2. Hong Kong – Taipei: 28,447 flights
  3. Jakarta – Singapore: 27,046 flights
  4. Hong Kong – Shanghai: 20,678 flights
  5. Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur: 19,741 flights
  6. Seoul Incheon – Osaka: 19,711 flights
  7. New York LaGuardia – Toronto: 17,038 flights
  8. Hong Kong – Seoul Incheon: 15,770 flights
  9. Bangkok – Singapore: 14,698 flights
  10. Dubai – Kuwait: 14,581 flights
  11. Bangkok – Hong Kong: 14,556 flights
  12. Hong Kong – Beijing: 14,537 flights
  13. New York JFK – London Heathrow: 14,195 flights
  14. Tokyo Narita – Taipei: 13,902 flights
  15. Dublin – London Heathrow: 13,855 flights
  16. Osaka – Shanghai: 13,708 flights
  17. Hong Kong – Singapore: 13,654 flights
  18. Chicago O’Hare – Toronto: 13,503 flights
  19. Seoul Incheon – Tokyo Narita: 13,517 flights
  20. Osaka – Taipei: 13,325 flights
Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required
วินาทีฮือฮาทั้งประชุมสภา รัฐบาลเสียงปริ่มน้ำ แพ้โหวตฝ่ายค้านครั้งแรก [คลิป] | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง1 week ago

วินาทีฮือฮาทั้งประชุมสภา รัฐบาลเสียงปริ่มน้ำ แพ้โหวตฝ่ายค้านครั้งแรก [คลิป]

4 โมงเย็น ถ่ายทอดสดวอลเลย์บอล U23 ชายแชมป์เอเชีย ไทยพบซาอุฯ | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล2 weeks ago

4 โมงเย็น ถ่ายทอดสดวอลเลย์บอล U23 ชายแชมป์เอเชีย ไทยพบซาอุฯ

18 ก.ค. 5โมงเย็น ถ่ายทอดสดวอลเลย์บอลไทย-ฮ่องกง ชิงแชมป์เอเชียรุ่น U23 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

18 ก.ค. 5โมงเย็น ถ่ายทอดสดวอลเลย์บอลไทย-ฮ่องกง ชิงแชมป์เอเชียรุ่น U23

“แอน ทองประสม” เล่นทายาก ในวัยเข้าเลข 4 [คลิป] | The Thaiger
ดาราไทย1 month ago

“แอน ทองประสม” เล่นทายาก ในวัยเข้าเลข 4 [คลิป]

18 ก.ค. 5โมงเย็น ถ่ายทอดสดวอลเลย์บอลไทย-ฮ่องกง ชิงแชมป์เอเชียรุ่น U23 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

18 ก.ค. 5โมงเย็น ถ่ายทอดสดวอลเลย์บอลไทย-ฮ่องกง ชิงแชมป์เอเชียรุ่น U23

คลิปนาทีพลเอกประยุทธ์ให้สัมภาษณ์นักข่าวภาษาอังกฤษ ตอบคล่องปร๋อเรื่องกฎหมาย | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง1 month ago

คลิปนาทีพลเอกประยุทธ์ให้สัมภาษณ์นักข่าวภาษาอังกฤษ ตอบคล่องปร๋อเรื่องกฎหมาย

ฺBlink กรี๊ดคอแตก ลิซ่า Solo คอนเสิร์ตวันแรก BLACKPINK world tour in your area : encore | The Thaiger
BLACKPINK1 month ago

ฺBlink กรี๊ดคอแตก ลิซ่า Solo คอนเสิร์ตวันแรก BLACKPINK world tour in your area : encore

ไฮไลท์ บราซิล-โปแลนด์ วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019 รอบสุดท้าย | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

ไฮไลท์ บราซิล-โปแลนด์ วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019 รอบสุดท้าย

คลิปย้อนหลัง Miss Grand Thailand 2019 รอบชุดประจำชาติ | The Thaiger
บันเทิง1 month ago

คลิปย้อนหลัง Miss Grand Thailand 2019 รอบชุดประจำชาติ

ถ่ายทอดสดMiss Grand Thailand 2019 รอบชุดประจำชาติ 10 ก.ค. | The Thaiger
บันเทิง1 month ago

ถ่ายทอดสดMiss Grand Thailand 2019 รอบชุดประจำชาติ 10 ก.ค.

ชมไฮไลต์ ‘นุสรา ต้อมคำ’ เซตมือ 1 เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019 รอบแรก | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

ชมไฮไลต์ ‘นุสรา ต้อมคำ’ เซตมือ 1 เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019 รอบแรก

6 ก.ค. บ่ายสอง ถ่ายทอดสดตุรกี-บราซิล วอลเลย์บอลเนชั่นส์ ลีกรอบตัดเชือก | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

6 ก.ค. บ่ายสอง ถ่ายทอดสดตุรกี-บราซิล วอลเลย์บอลเนชั่นส์ ลีกรอบตัดเชือก

สูสี! ไฮไลต์บอลโลกหญิงรอบรองฯ คู่ 2 เนเธอร์แลนด์ 1-0 สวีเดน | The Thaiger
ฟุตบอล2 months ago

สูสี! ไฮไลต์บอลโลกหญิงรอบรองฯ คู่ 2 เนเธอร์แลนด์ 1-0 สวีเดน

“คิมซูฮยอน” ปลดประจำการทหารแล้ว ภาพแรกหลังออกจากกองทัพ [คลิป] | The Thaiger
K-Pop2 months ago

“คิมซูฮยอน” ปลดประจำการทหารแล้ว ภาพแรกหลังออกจากกองทัพ [คลิป]

รังสิมันต์ โรมเปิดคลิปนาทีคนร้าย จอดรถมอเตอร์ไซค์ไล่ตีจ่านิว [คลิป] | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง2 months ago

รังสิมันต์ โรมเปิดคลิปนาทีคนร้าย จอดรถมอเตอร์ไซค์ไล่ตีจ่านิว [คลิป]

Trending