Posts Tagged With: Phuket

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

from singapore to phuket, thailand

Friday, January 11:  This morning, we leave Singapore and fly to Phuket, Thailand, where we have the weekend to relax before our new round of lectures begins Monday morning in Bangkok.

the view of Singapore from my hotel room window

the view of Singapore from my hotel room window

me and Ryan, waiting to leave Singapore

me and Ryan, waiting to leave Singapore

Johanna, all dressed up and ready for Thailand

Johanna, all dressed up and ready for Thailand

We fly to the airport in Phuket and drive to our hotel,  the Club Andaman Beach Resort, in town.

flying into Phuket

flying into Phuket

getting closer to Phuket

getting closer to Phuket

Arrival at the airport in Phuket, Thailand

Arrival at the airport in Phuket, Thailand

Road signs in Phuket

Road signs in Phuket

view of Phuket from the bus window

view of Phuket from the bus window

Phuket is a bustling town on Patong Bay in the south of Thailand.  I see no visible signs of the tsunami that devastated the town in December 2004.  It seems to be business as usual, although I must admit I don’t know what it was like before the tsunami. Christmas lights and New Year’s decorations are still up throughout the town, reminding us of what we’ve left behind in the U.S.

At Club Andaman Beach Resort, we are greeted by a charming Thai woman in a green dress, serving lime green drinks of guava juice.  The club is lovely, with an open air lobby and teak walls.  Another Thai woman sits cross-legged on a platform playing a tranquil melody on a musical instrument of some kind.  The grounds of the Club are impossibly green and beautifully manicured.

The resort includes Thai style cottages and a high-rise, white, concrete building. The Thai style village cottages are more basic than the rooms, overlooking 15 acres of landscaped tropical gardens and pools as well as a nice pond.  Our room is in one of the Thai-style cottages.

The resort is located near the famous Patong Beach, but not on the beachfront.  Patong Beach offers nightlife, as well as a range of restaurants and shops (ebookers.com: Club Andaman Beach Resort).

Drinks, anyone?

Drinks, anyone?

We go soon after to settle into our rooms (agoda: Club Andaman Beach Resort).

A room I share with Johanna

A room I share with Johanna

our rooms at the hotel

our rooms at the hotel

the other high rise rooms in the hotel, surrounding the cottages

the other high rise rooms in the hotel, surrounding the cottages

the grounds of the hotel in Phuket

the grounds of the hotel in Phuket

Thai music performance in the hotel

Thai music performance in the hotel

We head out to explore the streets of Phuket.  Motorbikes are everywhere in Phuket: a very cheap mode of transportation for the poorer population.

the streets of Phuket

the streets of Phuket

A number of us walk down the main street from the Club and pick out a sidewalk restaurant that has photos of the food posted on a billboard.  I order tiger prawns and asparagus; I’m able to pick out the number and sizes of the fresh prawns for them to cook.  The food is delicious.  I order a Tiger beer; it is much less expensive than the 15 Singapore dollars I paid at the Meze Bar in that city.

dinner at a fresh fish restaurant along the street in Phuket: Johanna, Luz, ??, Juliana and ??

dinner at a fresh fish restaurant along the street in Phuket: Johanna, Luz, ??, Jennifer, Juliana and ??

me with my tasty dish of fresh fish

me with my tasty dish of tiger prawns and asparagus

We find a six-person taxi cab, open air with two bench seats facing each other.  It’s like a motorized stagecoach.  We take it down to the open air markets, where there are Buddha faces and figures, teak elephants and vases, purses made of Thai silk with gold threads in elephant patterns.  Sarongs, cheap bags, shoes, and camouflage shorts are all the rage.  At each shop, a girl or young man calls out softly, “Madam.  Madam!  You want look?”

Luz, ??, and Johanna in a tuk-tuk in Phuket

Luz, ??, and Johanna in a tuk-tuk in Phuket

a little bar at a night market in Phuket

a little bar at a night market in Phuket

Categories: Asia, Club Andaman Beach Resort, Patong Beach, Phuket, Singapore, Thailand | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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