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.
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.
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)
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) .
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).
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.