If ever on your globetrotting adventures you find yourself in or near Thailand then you must find time to visit the Phang Nga Bay in Phuket. The beautiful location features unique rock formations, islets, caves and plantations all of which, when coupled up with the surrounding waters, offer one of the most serene and breathtaking sceneries not only in Thailand but the world. The best way to soak up all that the bay has to offer is exploring using canoes. The slow and quiet movements allow you to enjoy the Phang Nga Bay without any distractions or stress.
The lovely 400 square kilometer bay is located between Phuket Island and the Malay Peninsula connecting to mainland Thailand. The culturally diverse slice of heaven consists of several hotels and canoe companies which exist to ensure that your time there as a tourist is as easy and pleasant as possible.
How it works
Depending on the canoe company you settle for, the sea-kayaking in Phang Nga Bay is offered as service in two ways.
The first and most common is the day trip. With companies like John Gray Seacanoe, the day trip starts with a guided trip to the east coast where you will board a wooden boat to the bay. The boat ride itself is amazing where you get to take in the beautiful scenery without any hurry. The slow motion is also a major bonus for travelers prone to getting seasick. The first pit stop comes an hour into the boat ride to the first island on the bay. You will be served on the board as the guide takes the time to explain a few things about the limestone formation and other natural phenomena encountered or to be encountered.
The second part of the day trip is exploring the Hongs. This part requires the use of canoes where each holds two people and one guide who takes care of the paddling which gives you the freedom to look around, soak up all the beauty of the limestone formations and even take pictures if you want. The canoe trip from island to island also allows you to appreciate the biodiversity in terms of plants, birds, and aquatic life.
As you explore the Hongs on the canoe, you will go through many tunnels and caves with all sorts of unique features, incredible history and hosting some pretty amazing creatures including bats and endangered birds. The last final destination before heading back is usually the Kratong cave after the diamond tunnel. The locals believe that releasing a small floating structure full of orchids, candles and burning incense here will bring good fortune. If you wish to take part in the tradition, the Kratong structures, after which the cave is named, will be provided by the guides. After this, you will be guided back the same way you came. The day trip approximately lasts from sunrise to sunset if everything goes according to schedule.
The second and less common way of exploring Phang Nga Bay is through the night trip. Kayaking under the beautiful night sky is an experience you will never be able to replicate. However, with the evening tour, some caves and tunnels are off-limits because the high tide fills them up making it impossible to go through safely.
Whichever trip you settle for, rest assured that you will get full value for your money with an experience like no other.
How to Get There
Phang Nga Bay is, as the name suggests, a bay which means that the only way to get to it whether from the mainland or the Phuket island is by water. Several boats are going to and from each which makes transport very convenient. Getting through it, you will need canoes and kayaks to ensure that you get the best experience without interfering with the delicate ecosystem.
If you are claustrophobic, do not go. It gets pretty tight in some of the tunnels, and the caves are very dark.
Carry extra drinks; especially water. This applies mainly when you visit during the hot season.
Bring a camera and take as many photos as you can.
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