While many people think of mist and flowers in the North upon the winter is approaching, believe me that this very same time is another great time to visit tourist attractions on the Andaman coast of Thailand as the weather is really nice, the sky and the water is particularly clear and the wind is relatively calm. So you can travel with the peace of mind (probably, there might be some occasional storm but not often, hehe).
This short trip of mine also starts from my home in Phuket, as usual...the time I spent from my home to the airport would be the same that you would need from Bangkok to Phuket, haha. Then, only about 15 minutes drive and we will enter Phang Nga Province, it is even closer than going to downtown Phuket...
This trip, I will take you to several interesting attractions on the west coast of Phang Nga Province, are you getting curious now? Let's wait no longer and come enjoy with me!
Let's start from waking up early....stopping for a nice coffee to not be so sleepy and filling up our stomach with Dim-Sum at "Phing Nga restaurant" right before we reach Khok Kloi.... This restaurant has a very nice atmosphere, tasty coffee and I stop by here for my every trip upon I traveling outside Phuket.
Okay...let's move on....well, traveling to Phang Nga without stopping by at Khao Lak will mean that we are yet arrived at this province. Today, we are greatly welcomed by Casa de La Flora Khao Lak to let us see the beautiful room as well as host us a lunch at the seaside restaurant. The room here is indeed nicely decorated, it is very suitable for a honeymoon couple....and beautifully decorated in modern style.
Spa service in each room is also very spacious, making me suddenly feel in need of it, haha.
The seaside restaurant serves both Thai and Western food.
The view in front of the restaurant
Presentation of the food is so beautiful that so appetizing.
Now that we are full, let's continue our journey to Ban Nam Khem, a pier that we will take us to Koh Kho Khao within5 minutes boat ride...In fact, Koh Kho Khao is located very near to the sea, it is like we are taking a cross-river ferry from Than Prachan to Pran Nok Pier. If we want to drive ourselves on the island, we can also ship our vehicle, otherwise we can also take Song Taew there. Bicycle and scooter is also welcomed to ship across.
The vehicle needs to get on the left ferry, do not get it on the wrong one or the ship will sink haha...The far distance is the our destination, you can also swim over if you are a swimmer champion, hehe.
Nepenthes or monkey cup plants are widely seen here.
The world's smallest miniature lotus (it takes me a while to see it as I'm still young and yet farsighted, hehe.)
Branches of vegetation along the water here looks pretty classic, I'm sure that photographers would love it!
Then we go to Ban Thung Tuek Ancient City, which was formerly situated an ancient city. It is assumed that this place used to locate ancient port and served as the key exchange and trading place with Takola city (it is believed to be Takuapa city now). In addition to the remnants of the bricks from hundred years ago traditional building , the traces of digging artifacts such as beads are widely seen. Unfortunately, the building, which is designed to tell the story here, has not been well preserved but left desolated.
Pee Rung, who narrates the story of Ban Thung Tuek to us,gives us some hope that we might come across some ancient beads so everyone is anxiously finding them on the ground, hehe.
The ruins of ancient building
Not so far from here is a field that Japanese troops were prepared for air force battle port. But they lost the war before that, so this place was just left packed and exceptionally smooth until the Tsunami incident in 2004. From that incident, some seeds have been swept up and tried to grow under this strongly packed land and became dwarf trees scattering around the field.
For photographers and foreign tourists, I think what is more interesting for you could have been the crowd of local buffaloes and many egrets here, such a beautiful view...It's a pity that I didn't get to travel here early morning, otherwise, I would have taken lots of beautiful shots here.
Another amazing thing here that I just see it for the first time is the phenomenon of hermit crab climbing the tree in which Pee Rung and the locals here do not know why they do so. At first, I was hoping to see it but not entirely sure whether I will see it, but once I arrive there, I must say there's a lot of them, small and big, determinedly climb up the pine trees along the beach. This is indeed a miracle of the nature that we must see for ourselves.
Do you believe that this hermit crab is walking to climb the tree? But for what purpose, nobody knows.
This one is climbing quite high and playing upside down on the branches (OMG!!!). This is a real photo that has not been retouch.
Let's see it live from the VDO!
Our friends are having delighted evening time at Koh Kho Khao.
That evening, Khun Rung treats us dinner with local menu and fresh seafood from the sea... Khun Rung told us that Koh Kho Khao is full of sea animals because this area is rich in its food. However, most of these sea animals is shipped to sell to tourists in Phuket. So if you are not a local, it would be extremely difficult to buy them despite here is the source of these seafood.
Before dinner, I capture some atmosphere at the front beach of
C&N Kho Khao Beach Resort owned by Khun Rung. The light is quite beautiful and the shape of coconut tree is so inviting for my photography.
Tonight dinner focuses on seafood and local food.
Allow me to whisper aloud that the food here is inexpensive, the raw material is so fresh and the price is also cheaper than my hometown at Phuket. So it is not surprising that many people from Phuket would regularly drive just to enjoy seafood at this city or at Song Phraek, Phang Nga during the holidays. In addition to sightseeing, we also enjoy fresh seafood in a much cheaper price than most of restaurants in Phuket.
If you have your own car, it is quite convenient to get around in Koh Kho Khao as most of the road is nicely paved from the beginning to the end of the island, altogether it is approximately 15 kilometers. The beach is located on the east of the road and most of the attractions as well as interesting spots are situated not far from the main road...Even though Koh Kho Khao doesn't have white sand or crystal clear water like Similan Islands, this island offers a natural and ecological tourism that is very appealing and attractive. Personally, I think Koh Kho Khao is suitable for:
- Nature lover who wishes to relax in a quiet and peaceful place
- Ecological lover who is interested in both plants and local animals
- Cycling lover, here is the ideal place for them, they would certainly love the cycling route on this island.
- Photographer who loves taking natural photographic shots
- History lover, I can guarantee that this place offers a lot for you to learn.
Today, we leave Koh Kho Khao quite late with a full stomach and knowledge. More importantly, we feel so full and satisfied to be able to experience another great value from Thailand tourist attraction. Tonight, we are staying at La Flora Khao Lak.. The room is so spacious, too bad that we only gets to stay here one night.
The next morning, I check out and set off to Kuraburi pier in order to travel to Surin Islands. I have a program to stay overnight at the island.....Like usual, I use the service from Greenview Tour.
In approximately an hour we will arrive Surin Islands, but before that, let's stop for 2 coral watch spots.We are so lucky that the sky happens to be very clear.
The good news for coral reef lover is that the islands today are slowly recovering from bleaching several years ago. We began to see more soft corals. Of course, fish is also far more than many years ago. The hero or Clownfish or Nemo is to be seen almost in every diving spot here.
It's a lunch time now. The boat takes us to the shore for lunch and resting time. The food is served in buffet style like other tours...In the afternoon, the tourists can choose to either resting on the shore or continuing for diving.
Water at the shore before we reach the Mo Ko Surin National Park, it is so clear.
For me, I already had a detailed photography around the National Park, so this trip I just need a quick capture and get on the boat in order to explore the coral reefs.
The beach atmosphere close to the National Park Office
Chicken and crocodile rocks, the symbol of Surin Islands
In the afternoon, we will go diving in two more spots... For those who intend to come here for diving, please do not forget to bring a lot of sunscreen, hehe.
After that, we return to take some rest at the National Park....I also get to enjoy the evening atmosphere of the beach in front of the National Park, quite refreshing.
In the evening, we go to enjoy the sunset at Krating Bay which is the home to the navy who oversee this sea.
For dinner, we have it at the restaurant on the National Park. There offer a variety set for tourists to choose and the taste is very ok.
That night, I just gave it a try and asked the staff whether the tenting at the beach is still available as I got to stay at the house for my last visit so I wanted to have a new experience sleeping in the tent this time. I thought I would have experienced a different atmosphere. And I was lucky enough that it's still available so I got to sleep while listening to the waves form sea breeze and cold wind blowing into my tent...such a good sleep... If you ever come to Surin Islands, please do not forget to give it a try. In addition to the better location to the housing accommodation, the cold wind and the wave sound is just so impressive.
The next morning, after breakfast and shower, it's time to explore Mai Ngam Beach. Although this beach also has a tenting place, due to small amount of tourists, the National Park only allows tourists to stay at the National Park area....The same old thing happened again, just like my last visit to Surin Islands. While we are boating by Krating Bay, which is located on the way to Mai Ngam beach, we see the sea turtles swimming near our boat. But it's a pity that while we are screaming out with joy, they are also quickly swimming away and I failed to capture them.
On the way to Mai Ngam Beach, we will go pass this clear bay where we normally will come across sea turtles.
The highlight of Mai Ngam Beach is the beautiful sea water and a long stretching beach. To the west of the beach also situated mangrove trees where you will also see baby sharks swimming in searching for food. Don't be scared of them as they are quite small and this species is not harmful to humans.
In the same area, there's also the lake where the lotus are beautifully blossoming.
Then, we stop for a second diving spot at Suthep Bay, another spot that I think they offer a lot of fish as well as sea flowering plants and Clownfish.
Before lunch, we stop by to see the way of life of Morgan villagers...I really like the sea water color at the bay in front of Morgan village. I can be sure that if this is not a National Park area, it would have been a 5 star hotel avenue that is so expensive and general people would have rare chance to visit.
After lunch at the National Park, it's time to say goodbye to Surin Islands, another sea tourist attraction that always make great impressions in every visit. I really have to thank every organization that help preserve the environment of this islands to be unexploited with a reasonable amount of tourists number in order to cherish and make this islands a sustainable beautiful place.
Tonight, we are staying at Kuraburi Greenveiw Resort
คุระบุรีกรีนวิวรีสอร์ท, a resort that is located not so far from the pier to Surin Islands. So most of the tourists who are on the package tour to Surin Islands will stay here. I think this place is another great atmosphere resort as it is surrounded by nature with a lake in the center of the resort. This makes us feel relax and at ease. The room is also decorated to harmoniously blend in with the nature.
The resort has an excellent atmosphere and surrounded by mountains and trees.
For dinner, we are enjoying it at the restaurant of the resort. This is indeed another full and tasty meal. Every dish is so delicious (it is so delicious and none was left in each dish, hehe). If you happen to go pass this place, you can try it out. I'm sure that you will not be disappointed and the price is also not expensive too.
The next morning, we are traveling to see "Plub Ploeng Tan" or Thai water onion plant, a rare plant at Grandpa Luen's farm. It is located at Kuraburi market. This farm is like rubber plantation mixed with fruit trees that has a river flowing by like most of the villagers' farm. But what astonishing is that Grandpa Luen brought in water onion plant, a plant that grows best in a clear and flowing water environment. And now this plant is full blossoming in the stream. This plant is prevented from selling outside as the price is quite high.
The flower of water onion plant is white color and its flower leaves will flow with the stream, indeed another amazing angle of beauty.
Grandpa Luen takes us to tour Plub Ploeng Tan and his farm by himself. Even though he is quite old, he's very active. I think it may be because he lives among pure nature and always exercise by farming.
Grandpa Luen, our tour guide in his own farm land
Our next destination of the day is Khoei Bay, another beach in Kuraburi that lays in North-South direction. It is not yet a well-known attraction among tourists so it is still very peaceful. It is certainly an ideal place for relaxing or group activities. We can freely access to the beach without barriers.
Beautiful and tranquility scenery of Khoei Bay
Then, we have lunch at Kosak restaurant which is located in Kuraburi Market. From the outside look, it looks just like ordinary a la carte restaurant, but inside, the air-conditioning room is prproportionally zoned. More importantly, the menu is very attractive, not any less than the famous seaside seafood restaurants.... I don't know how to describe but, well, it is again... very delicious. Every dish is so yummy. Raw materials used are in good quality and of course, the price is also very friendly ( I really do hope that this kind of tasty and economical friendly price restaurant could have been opened more at my hometown in Phuket).
Let's end our trip with bamboo rafting at Khlong Lamru which is located deep inside the mountain but not so far from Lamu navy base....one bamboo raft will take 2 tourists and a staff who will raft for us along the canal... the atmosphere along the canal is pleasant, the water is clean and perfectly cool us off.
Along the way, there's some small rapids to give us some excitement (as whether or not the camera will fall, haha). Overall, it is a more sitting in the cold water while enjoying the surrounding scenery experience, not the extreme adventurous rafting experience like many other famous rafting places in Thailand... However, I personally really like this atmosphere and the price is 400 THB per bamboo raft (so it will be 200 THB each). I think this price is not expensive for Thai people in comparison to the half hour rafting of the staff who gets us to the destination.
This trip is yet another memorable trip as I get to feel the marine tourist attractions under new perspective like "Koh Kho Khao". I got to go back to feel the nature abundance and get close to it with "Surin Islands" and "Koei Bay" as well as to appreciate the rare plant like "Plub Ploeng Tan" (Thai water onion plant) and enjoying "bamboo rafting at Khlong Lumru". All these made Andaman trip a colorful one...Oh, I have to add that not only is local food and seafood in Phang Nga delicious, the price is also very friendly....Now that you know about it, if you have a chance, please do not forget to visit this charm of Andaman coast at Phang Nga, especially during the winter, I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
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