On Monday, we booked an all day speedboat tour of Phang Nga Bay through Phuket Sail Tours. I’m so glad we did – this was one of the highlights of our whole trip! Our day started at 6:30 AM when the shuttle bus picked us up from our hotel and took us to the tour’s reception area. The place was well-stocked with towels for the trip, coffee and tea!
Mike does NOT do well on boats, so we did our research this time and picked up both Scopolamine patches and acupressure bands. To our pleasant surprise, Mike didn’t get sea-sick the whole trip!
After the whole group, about fifteen or so folks, were assembled, the trip leader came out and explained the route we’d be taking around the bay. We would be stopping at lagoons, islands (including the famous James Bond Island, where part of ‘Man with the Golden Gun’ was filmed), Krabi beach, and Kho Panyi, a Muslim fishing village built entirely on stilts! I was beyond excited to start our adventure.
The boat lost no time in getting underway, and we passed by gorgeous islands and mangroves. One of our first stops was a canoe tour of a small lagoon, which can only be entered through low tide! Our canoe guide was an expert at navigating through tight spaces and taking pictures ;)
We passed by a cave inhabited by a single man. He’s paid by a restaurant company on land to protect the birds’ nests within from thieves. Once the nests are ready for harvesting, they are made into very expensive birds’ nest soup! I’m not sure I understand the appeal, but then again, I’ve never had the soup.
Our next stop was a gorgeous white sand beach with a family of very cute cats. I have to say, our guides were experts at getting us to each location before the other 300 tours rolled in – we had the beach all to ourselves until the very end! We played on the beach and snorkeled in the water. Our guides showed us how to feed bananas and donuts to the fish in the water – it was so cool to hold the banana and see the fish flocking to my hand! We got back onto the boat and passed James Bond Island along with a few others. Our tour chose not to stop at James Bond Island after tourists complained that it was so crowded. We were happy to stay on the boat and take silly pictures.Our next stop was the Koh Panyi, the Muslim fishing village built entirely on stilts. This fishing village started with two Muslim families years ago, and has expanded to about 1,700 people. They even had a floating soccer field! The village’s income comes from fishing and tourism, so there was plenty of souvenir shopping to be done! After walking around and seeing the school and museum, we walked to the other end of the village for lunch. Something about being on the water gives me a healthy appetite, and I loved this family style meal.
Our next stop was a baboon lagoon! The interior of this island was accessible at low tide, and we walked through a dark tunnel and entered the inside to see the magnificent mangrove trees. Our guide was an expert at finding the best photo opportunities.
And with that, our boat headed back to shore. It was a beautiful day, and I found the perfect ending when we got off the boat – fresh coconut water! Ten times better than the boxed kind, I have to say.
In case you’re curious, the trip cost about $110 a person and included breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks, National Park fees, shuttles to and from the hotel, and trip insurance. We really liked the company and would have booked another trip with them if we had stayed any longer in Phuket!