Saturday, 5 October 2013


As usual we explored almost every waterfall in the area, and spent many hours hiking through the jungle to get to them.  One in particular proved why I prefer to go myself by bike.  We arrived after a seriously great ride and made the short journey from the car park to the waterfall, there we were greeted by a really beautiful fall cascading into calm pool at the bottom.  We had the place entirely to ourselves and had a swim, even in the rain.  As we left and headed back to the bike we passed at least 50 tourists making their way to the fall after climbing out of a few tour buses.

  A quick beer and a snack while the rain eased and we were off again to the next one, we must have passed around 20 small buses, each carrying around 10 people, all heading to the beautiful place we had just had completely to ourselves.  As great as it was, being there with 250 other tourists would not have been the same. Mon now really understood why we did things the hard way, I simply thought it was the fun way!

We made our way to another 2 waterfalls and parks that day and they were all beautiful, the other 2 having no visitors whatsoever, except a few locals and a falang guy with dreadlocks and his girlfriend who we continued to see all day.  They had the same idea as us and were out exploring on a bike in some pretty remote places. 

You can’t do everything yourself though and I eventually had to do another tour package to see Phang Nga bay.  We organized it through our guesthouse and got pretty lucky as there would only be us 2 and another couple going together in one boat.  We were transported to the harbour in a rickety ‘vehicle’ of some sort and made our way out through the mangrove system and onto the bay.  There were jungle clad limestone islands and karsts everywhere which although beautiful, never really left me going ‘wow’.  It was odd, I couldn’t put my finger on it but I finished that tour less than inspired about the bay.

We toured around the bay, did some paddling through caves and hidden bays on inflatable kayaks and made a stop at the infamous ‘James Bond Island’, which featured in ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’.  Although beautiful, it was less than tranquil with hordes of tourists and a bunch of ill mannered hawkers with no sales knowledge whatsoever and an angry nature. 

 I swam out to the famous karst that rises from the bay simply to say I had and because nobody else was doing it!  It really is a picturesque little island, it’s a shame the touts were allowed to move in and harass everybody to buy overpriced crap.

We stopped at another island for lunch which was peaceful until a swarm of about 50 tourists descended onto the scene, though we were nearly ready to leave and our guide did a great job of avoiding the masses for most of the day.  We explored a cave on another island which led to a hidden lagoon, then made our way to Koh Panyee, a muslim village built on stilts over the water.  

Not much to report there, sadly it appears as though their main income now comes from to trying to sell crap to the tourists that come to gawk at their village.  A quick run past some ancient cave paintings and we headed for home, to be honest I was glad it was over, as much as I loved Phang Nga Town, the tour of the bay left me a little jaded. 

I would still recommend it though, most people wouldn’t have seen anything like it, I just didn’t get into it, but perhaps I was just having an off day.  Don’t let me put you off the place though, it is still worth seeing, these are just my honest thoughts about the day.

We had this place all to ourselves, don't be scared to explore on your own and avoid tour buses, the rewards can be great.