See more photos here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/140043503@N03/28XmpX
Phang-nga is a small town and much less touristy than the other places my mom and I had travelled to in Thailand. Most of the individuals who stop there (including ourselves) are eager to see Ao Phang Nga National Park. Because the town is situated close to the park, it is cheaper to take a small long-tail boat from there. The tour can also be more personalized with smaller groups. Upon arriving in Phang Nga, we booked our island tour through our hotel. The tour company was called M.T. Tour and my mother and I each paid 950 baht for the day which included the 300 baht park fee, lunch, bananas, water, and lights for caving.
The local bus pick us up right from our hotel at 8:30am along with several other tourists and drove to the pier about thirty minutes away. We boarded our long-tail boat along with six other people and our Thai captain (who spoke no English and everyone collectively misunderstood him whenever tried to communicate). Then we were off! Our captain did a great job of driving our boat and going slowly when approaching a point of interest.
We started off touring through the mangroves. It was low tide so we were able to glimpse the impressive root structures of the trees and saw a couple birds and mudskippers. The mangrove forest was vast and interlaced with small rivers and larger channels. From the mangrove forest, we spotted Khao Mah Juo, a mountain that resembles a dog!
Next, we sailed through Tham Lod Cave. It is less than 50 meters long and large enough for boats to fit through. About 20 minutes later, our boat floated by the James Bond Island and Khao Tapu. It was the most touristy sight so we decided not to stop. Several scenes from the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” were filmed there. Our tour group of eight then walked through at a cave called Khao Khean. What it lacked in size was made up in the colourful rock formations it harboured. Just before lunch, we were able to do some kayaking through an intimate lagoon with tall limestone cliffs which was fun. Although, the tour operator said “kayaking”, what he was really saying was that you sit in an inflatable dinghy while a staff member kayaks. My mother and I weren’t expecting that!
Our last stop of the tour was Koh Paynee (Ko Panyi), a small picturesque island home to a Muslim fishing community. It was much prettier from afar than up close. When you reach the island, all you see are souvenir shops and seafood restaurants.
On our way back to the pier, our captain also pointed out cave paintings called “Khao Khian” (Mounting of writings) which are ancient depictions of animals and sea life which date back to more than 3000 years old. I thought they were awesome! Overall the tour was great! I only wish our guide spoke a little more English so I could at least know the names of the places he was taking us.
After our tour, my mother and I took a van along with other backpackers to Krabi Town. The night market there as great and we ran into several other travellers there that we had previously met.