Island Hopping in Phang Nga Bay.

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So far our stay at our little tropical heaven in Santhiya, Koh Yao Yai, had not only been good but ‘royal’ and ‘grand’. When things get too good to be true, one often gets a memo to get your feet back on the ground. We got ours the very next day. (Oh! Incase I’m sounding overly dramatic, they were just a few disappointments that result from over expectation. No, nothing tragic). However looking back now, it was all fun and we’d do it again, any day!

In the same spirit as some of the other guests in the resort, we wanted to explore some Phang Nga Bay area. We, therefore, booked a day trip with their private speed boat to James Bond Island and a few other places in the circuit.

Disappointment #1 : No sun. Dull day. Possibility of rain.

Once again we were on the same speed boat occupying same seats, enjoying some beautiful sights on the way despite the wind working ferociously at entangling my hair.

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A bumpy windy but beautiful ride.

 

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Lonely trail of long tailed boats

 

 

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Somewhere close to James Bond Island

 

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Some tour groups canoeing under sea caves.

 

Once we reached the James Bond Island the second disappointment set in. Well, it was the…

Disappointment #2: James Bond Island itself!

 

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Take 1: Well, ladies & gentlemen, this is the James Bond Island for you.

 

Seriously? The piece of rock is so famous?!?! And it is not diamond. And why this, out of all similar looking rocks?  Obviously you do need someone like J Bond to make this so (pardon my language) bloody famous. And so came pouring my first thoughts after we reached on the island and took a short but tricky climb up to a place where our guide pointed at this and said ”so this is the James Bond island featured in the movie, Man with a Golden Gun”. As I looked back at our guide for more about it that would make me feel naive about my initial thoughts & poleaxe me, I realised having missed the full stop.

I had done a bit of reading about it and knew that it is called Koh Tapu in Thai, which means Nail Island as it has been shaped by natural forces roughly like a nail. Okay, this bit is interesting. But definitely the hype is much taller & bigger than the island itself.

Besides this, there are a few caves and some weird and interesting rock formations and small souvenir market.

 

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James Bond Island Take 2: This is the coolest spot to take JB island picture with yourself, as per our guide. so here we are.

 

You can get to this spot by taking a brief uphill trek towards the left on reaching the island. There’s also a small beach where you can capture this at closer range. Here are some more pictures from James Bond Island.

 

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James Bond Island Take 3

 

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James Bond Island Take 4

 

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Rejected candidates from the Bond movie.

 

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Caves on the island.

 

 

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More long tailed boats on the same island.

 

Honestly, I think the place is over hyped, over crowded and over sold. The ‘rock’ itself has an interesting personality to it but there is little else to stamp the trip exciting. I may be a bit biased in my opinion here but I can partly blame it to the hazy day which is like a ‘bad hair day’ for a camera! Also I have a feeling two other couples travelling with us were literally and figuratively in the ‘same boat’. But then I’m no face reader.

Our next stop on the trip was Koh Panyee, a small ‘handmade’ fishing village standing on stilts.

 

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Koh Panyee, precariously set under a giant karst.

 

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A colourful market and a sepak takraw (a ball game played in Thailand) court.

 

Sadly there wasn’t much to explore here either but luckily it was a short stop-over. Disappointment #4, check.

As we moved away from here, the sky started to drip and the little sunlight that was filtering in was also gone.

 

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Limestone hills layered over each other in a misty magical way.

 

Thankfully the dripping stopped before we reached our next stop, which was this.

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An unmanned beach on a tiny island! Just lovely.

 

There couldn’t have been a more perfect place to have lunch except….err…

Disappointment #5: Chicken sandwich for lunch.

Yeah, so the story goes. But then there was fruit salad which was the life saver and our guide who was extremely apologetic about the miscommunication regarding the food.

The staff quickly helped spread our mats and handed us the lunch boxes and made themselves scarce.

 

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It was an absolute bliss!

 

 

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Adi, looking over the sea, probably wondering about lunch! ;)

 

 

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Happiness is….having sand on your feet :)

 

 

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What a delight it was to lie on a beach! To face the sky and have sea at my feet is one lovely memory that will last long enough.

 

 

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A lunch break without lunch never felt this good!

 

Despite the blip, I’ll confess that I’m being tad too strict in calling it a disappointment as it was one of the best parts of this day trip. It was breezy, serene and amazing to be two of the six people on an island!

After a while, we wrapped up our little ‘picnic’ to head to our fourth and final stop before we reached our resort. And no, there were no more disappointments ahead but a beautiful mangrove forest area and Tham Lot caves with stalactites & stalagmites jutting from above and below (I hope I’ve got the order right).

 

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Final hop to another island for the day!

 

This was our little slice of adventure and excitement on this island hopping trip. We walked with our back bent, one hand held up, and water upto our knees at some places in a dark tortuous tunnel to reach the Mangrove forest preserve. Wading through water, I felt slimy things wrap around my ankles. As regards to what those things were, my guess is as good as yours! It must’ve been a five minute walk at the most or even less but felt much longer in pitch black darkness.

 

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Light at the end of the tunnel.

 

 

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We came out (victorious) through the black ominous mouth of the tunnel.

 

At the end of the tunnel, we found ourselves enclosed by gigantic hills on all sides and a canopy of mangrove trees overhead. The reedy trees stood au naturel with their bare roots living in two worlds at a time – land & water, and with birds providing the background music a kind of stage was more or less set.

 

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The Mangrove trees.

 

However, raw and bleak, a stunning place ’twas. 

 

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Happily rooted together :)

 

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In the untamed beauty of Thailand.

 

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The lush canopy

 

There were a lot of kids in this forest area, some shrieking in delight and others in horror at seeing a lot of crabs and other amphibians playing hide and seek in this swamp. But mostly they looked quite fascinated to be there. Also I was wondering (in amazement) how these little souls treaded through those waters and pop went my bubble of joy. So much for my sense of adventure!

Lastly we stopped over for a peek into caves, that our guide told us, served as shelter during rough seas and usually a home to a growing population of bats.

There were stalagmites and stalactites that came sparkling alive as our guide pointed his flash light on them. It has taken hundreds of years for these to grow.

 

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Sparkling limestone deposits in Tham Lot .

 

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Our happy-go-lucky guide.

 

We turned back from here to our resort. It was an interesting day trip with few hits and misses however our guide tried his best to keep up the spirit of the group. While I was reflecting on the day that was, on the way back the initial feeling of disappointment had completely gone and what all I felt was good for having done it!

Come to think of it, how often do you get to travel in a speed boat to these tiny little tropical islands miles away from your habitat. How often in a year you walk barefoot on sand and lie under the spread of sky. It was sheer pleasure just to experience these things, never mind the few ‘misses’ and the James Bond Island. 🙂

 

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Equally happy to be back at the villa. :)

 

You can continue reading on our new year celebration in Thailand here.

Comments

  1. wow, enjoying lunch break without lunch !amazing creations of nature——sea n sky and lovely woods ,beautifully captured.