One Way to do Phuket

Phuket is billed as Asia’s most popular beach destination with warm blue seas, tropical forests and great hospitality. Many cruise lines call at Phuket including both Cunard and P&O cruise ships on their world cruise. Other regular cruise lines include Princess,  Celebrity and MSC. Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to call at Phuket in April 2016.

A day on the beach isn’t to everyone’s taste,  so exactly what alternatives are there? Here is one example of how to spend a day in Phuket.

Situated 25 km north east of the island of Phuket is the Thai National Park of Phang Nga. It consists of numerous dramatic limestone cliffs rising sheer out of the waters.  The most famous one of these sheer pinnacles is James Bond Island and joining a James Bond Island tour and cruise the Phang Nga Bay is the second most popular activity in the region.

My wife and I recently chose to take the more leisurely way of discovering this amazing area of outstanding natural beauty while experiencing the romance and leisurely transit of the Phang Nga Bay aboard a traditional Siamese Junk: a magical cruise along one of the world’s most spectacular coastlines.

Welcome to the well-appointed June Bahtra…

To book this day excursion we chose local tour company…

http://www.phukettoursdirect.com/james-bond-island-tours.html

…who were outstanding in their arrangements and organisation of a shuttle to and from the Phuket Marina where the June Bahtra is based.

Refreshments and lunch were included in the price, more of which later…

 

The June Bahtra has both an open forward deck space and an aft  covered (sun shaded) area…

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It so happened that on the  day we sailed the June Bahtra’s sister ship had been chartered for a similar cruise and accompanied us as we headed for Phang Nga…

Ahead of us lay the familiar Phang Nga vista…

…and the many pinnacles that denote its skyline…

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We were soon close enough to make out the finer details of the limestone sides…

 

…with their sea level eroded overhangs…

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…some with double cave entrances…

Others with the tell tale accoutrements of the famous ‘bird nest’ hunters…

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While some were spectacularly navigated by adventurous canoeists…

The canoeists come on a separate excursion where facilities on a ‘mother’ ship are provided for these adventure seekers…

There certainly are some spectacular sites…

Let’s zoom in a little closer…

At this point we were approaching the island of  Khao Phing Kan  and, due to the shallower water, we boarded a Thai Long Tail Boat…

…for our transfer to Khao Phing Kan…

 

 

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On the opposite side of Khao Phing Kan to where we landed, about  40 metres  from the shores of Khao Phing Kan lies a 20-metre tall islet called Ko Tapu, popularly called …….James Bond Island

…and as always there are a couple of obliging ‘Bond’ girls on hand for a Photo call…

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Well, one can dream.

Of course there are other areas to explore on Khao Phing Kan. The Rock fault cave…

…the weathered passages…

 

…and the rear of the island, better seen here from the water…

James Bond Island can and does get busy,  but the landing and boarding routines are well established and it never felt too crowded while scenery remains well worth the visit.

 

Our next stop, still travelling by long tail boat, was the stilted fishing village of Ko Panyi. Our route took us past more islands, many with mangrove waterfronts…

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The settlement at Ko Panyi (also known as Koh Panyee) was  established at the end of the 18th century by nomadic Malay fisherman. The population consists of 360 families or 1,685 people all  descended from 2 seafaring Muslim families…

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Welcome to Koh Panyee….

…home of the famous floating football pitch….

…and here it is…

We spent around 40 minutes exploring the floating village…

…taking in the Mosque…

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… its adjacent cemetery…

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…and the myriad of shops, fishermens’ homes and boats….

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Our visit to Koh Panyee complete our long tail boat returned us to the June Bahtra, which was anchored in a quiet inlet where the chef had prepared an excellent  full lunch…

…the highlight being this superb sweet and sour fish…

Having completed lunch we set off  heading in the direction of Phuket, stopping on the way for a swim in the warm turquoise waters on the bay…

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Photographic mission complete, I joined the ladies…

Having sailed from the Phuket Marina at 9.00am, we arrived back there –  where our shuttle transport was waiting – at around 4.00 pm: ample time for the transfer back  to ship/hotel.

This was an excellent full day’s excursion, well organised at every stage and with a fully  inclusive price of 3,400 Thai Baht per person – a total of just £122.17 for the two of us.

And a big thank you to our guide on the day, Mo, who was not only an excellent and enthusiastic guide but, as  a keen photographer himself,  proved more than useful handling my Nikon…

Thanks Mo.

If you have enjoyed this guide on one aspect of Phuket  and would like to be amongst the first to hear of new reviews including port reviews ( which will soon include a One Way to do Liverpool and an excursion to Salem from Boston: as well as a number of Australian ports of call)  and forthcoming cruise reviews of  Viking Hermod and the new Viking Ocean cruise ship Viking Star, why not join the many other followers by clicking on the ‘Follow’ link on the front page.

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7 responses to “One Way to do Phuket

  1. Pingback: Cruises.co.uk | Solent Richard's Cruise Blog·

  2. Fabulous photos and a very comprehensive review with so much detail. I Felt I was there with you! I love Vietnam! A must for all travellers. Well done and carry on writing, and having lovely travel experiences we can all share.

  3. Pingback: One Way to do Phuket | Eby Online Business·

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