phuket: a day on phang nga bay

Sunday, January 13:  Today, we take a boat trip through Phang Nga Bay, where we visit a number of islands, canoe through soaring limestone cliffs and dark hongs, and climb trails to villages selling local crafts.

Phang Nga Bay covers an area of 400 sq km and is home to some 100 islands, many of which have notable beauty or freakish shapes.

Luz, Johanna, Jennifer and me on the boat ride in Phang Nga Bay

Luz, Johanna, Jennifer and me on the boat ride in Phang Nga Bay

??, Johanna and Ryan on the boat

??, Johanna and Ryan on the boat

Leaving Phuket behind

Leaving Phuket behind

Ryan and Jennifer

Ryan and Jennifer

our cruise guide through Phang Nga Bay

our cruise guide through Phang Nga Bay

me with the limestone cliff islands behind

me with the limestone cliff islands behind

After I take the picture below, my camera battery runs out, and I’m without a camera for the rest of this beautiful trip.  How irritating and disappointing!  It also shows ridiculously poor planning. 😦  Luckily, Jennifer Fox, one of my colleagues on the trip, lets me have a number of her amazing pictures from our day.

an island in Phang Nga Bay

an island in Phang Nga Bay

The beauties of Phang Nga Bay include sheer limestone karsts that jut vertically out of emerald-green water.

James Bond Island had a starring role in the 1974 James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’.  The bizarre, column-like outline of James Bond Island, or Koh Tapoo (meaning Nail Island in Thai), lies next to the equally well-known Koh Ping Ghan (sometimes spelled ‘Ping Gan’ or ‘Ping Gun’). (Phuket.com: James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay)

Tapoo Island

James Bond Island, known by Thais as Tapoo Island ~ Photo by Jennifer Fox

Ryan, Johanna, Jennifer, ??, and me on Tapoo Island ~ Photo by Jennifer Fox

Ryan, Johanna, Jennifer, ??, and me on Tapoo Island ~ Photo by Jennifer Fox

We are able to go sea-kayaking through the Hong, or ‘rooms’, that lie inside some of Phang Nga’s islands. These fabulous microcosms, hidden realms rich in unspoiled flora and fauna, are collapsed cave systems open to the sky and surrounded by towering limestone walls. We paddle sturdy plastic boats through caves into the mysterious hearts of islands such as Koh Panak and Koh Hong (Phuket.com: Phang Nga Bay) .

Johanna & Luz in a canoe (Photo by Jennifer Fox)

Johanna & Luz in a canoe (Photo by Jennifer Fox)

Jennifer on the boat

Jennifer on the boat

canoeing in clear waters

canoeing in clear waters

sea-kayaking through the hong

sea-kayaking through the hong

Limestone is calcium carbonate, which is generally white. Over millions of years, the skeletons from a constant rain of marine organisms, plus the chemical precipitation of yet more calcium carbonate, build thick layers of sediment. Eventually, the heat and pressure of their own weight turn these strata, hundreds of meters thick, to stone.

Geological forces fractured the limestone beds and pushed up the 40 steep-sided islands that provide the exotic scenery for which this shallow bay is noted. Mineral oxides from various sources paint the multicolored streaks that characterize the cliffs of Phang Nga Bay (Phuket.com: Phang Nga Bay).

Arrival at Koh Pannyi

Another island

Koh Pannyi

beautiful limestone cliffs

Koh Pannyi

islands of many shapes

Tsunami Evacuation Route on Koh Pannyi

Tsunami Evacuation Route

Koh Pannyi

beachin’ it

Tsunami Hazard Zone on Koh Pannyi

Tsunami Hazard Zone

Koh Pannyi

another island of limestone cliffs

Beach at Koh Pannyi

Beach at one of the islands

boats on Koh Pannyi

boats in the bay

boats on Koh Pannyi

boats in the midst of sheer limestone cliffs and aqua waters

boats on Koh Pannyi

boats beached on the islands

islands and aqua-clear waters

islands and aqua-clear waters

pristine beauty

pristine beauty

In the evening, we return to Club Andaman Beach Resort.  Later, Juliana and I go out for dinner, where we pass this friendly snail along the way.

a little snail friend

a little snail friend

Juliana at dinner

Juliana at dinner

 

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Categories: Asia, Hongs, James Bond Island, Koh Pannyi, limestone cliffs, Phang Nga Bay, Phuket, Tapoo Island, Thailand | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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