We are down south again. This is our third trip this year and second time for Chumphon province. We were just here in January but wanted more. Our purpose of this trip is to dive at Ran Pet and Ran Kai Island of which we have heard of them for having such a wonderful underwater world and a chance of seeing a Whale Shark. Therefore, we are going for this 3 days and 2 nights trip. Now let's follow us to see where we have been to and the expenses are summarized at the end of the review.
We travel during 20-22 April in 2018. Since our plan is to dive, after checking the weather forecast, to have a clear sky, we will dive at the last day.
Here is our tentative plan:
Like usual, we drive at night and stop for the Milky Way at Sam Roi Yot and then we reach Chumphon the next morning at Pha Poet Chai which is a newly opening tourist destination - Good Morning
The second day, we take the boat to Kula Island - Sawi Grand Pagoda - Cera Garden Coffee - staying at Thung Maha Bay which is close to the port - late night Milky Way watching again
The third day, we are out for diving at Ran Pet and Ran Kai Island and lucky to meet with a Whale Shark - eating crabs in the middle of the sea - stopping at Bo Thong Lang Bay - Phra Mahathat Chedi Phakdi Prakat - Bangkok
Below is our video clip. All the photos were taken from Nikon D7200 tokina 11-20 fix35 tamron 70-300 vc and GoPro hero 4 silver.
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This trip, we only have 3 people as other friends were suddenly caught up with something so the fuel after divided among us is a bit expensive. We left Bangkok around 11 p.m. in no hurry. We really want to catch our first Milky Way in 2018.
And then our dream comes true. We reach Sam Roi Yot at around 2 a.m. At first, we were planing to take a photo inside the lotus lake but that we've never been here this late. So after entering and found a thick steel fence, we didn't dare to cross over. Therefore, we drive back and get a corner at the rainbow bridge. Then, I set up the camera and start shooting with a wide lens of tokina 11-20 f2.8 just like what I have planned for stars photos.
But after a few clicks, I start to get scared as now we are surrounded by forest. Although there're few villages' houses nearby, but 2 of the girls are sleeping in the car so I quickly take a few photos and leave. Actually, I'm quite happy with these few clicks.
Now the first goal is achieved, let's go for our next target. Normally, I'd like to find a mountain viewpoint, but I've been to Mutsea Mountain viewpoint twice already. Then, before I came, I saw a friend sharing a viewpoint at Pha Poet Chai in Chumphon which would open 3 days before we came. After that, I tried to search for its information but it's not so yet available, well, let's go explore it together.
Pha Poet Chai (Chong Hin Mu) is located at Ban Phanwan, Rap Ro sub-district, Tha Sae district, Thai-Myanmar border.
It's not difficult to travel here but it's quite further deep in from the main road with several routes to choose from, some are paved and some are in dirt, please choose carefully. Once you reach Khun Sarai, you can search the map for Pha Poet Chai or Rap Ro sub-district, and there'll be several signs when you are near to the place.
From the paved way I choose, the road is quite alright. The sedan will make it fine but not a too low body one because the last 8 km route is quite steep up.
But for scooter, you can ride in just fine. And from Khun Sarai intersection, it's about 50 km further which is quite a distance. And after an hour drive, we are here.
The route is covered with fog so we get to enjoy the sea fog at Pha Poet Chai. I think it's the sea fog from Myanmar side.
View in 360 degree
There's nobody else this morning but us.
That we drive Vigo 4*4, nothing to worry but the fuel fare which I will summarize at the end of our trip again.
The other side also has fog, but that the sun starts to rise so we can't have a clear shot here.
Let's have a click with the sign. I'm quite sleepy now as I got no sleep last night.
Soft white sea fog
Before going to the peak, there's Border Patrol Police station. You can have a peace of mind if you want to tent here as it'll be safe for sure. But I'm not sure if you can tent up here or not, please check again.
After enjoying this fresh air, it's time to move on.
Let the owner drive a bit as my eyes almost close now, haha.
It's really such a great view.
Once I see this view, I quickly ask her to pull over. It's so beautifully contrasting, I'm just loving it.
Let's change the view from utility poles to sugar palm trees, or are they coconut trees?
I feel much better after having a nap on the way down. We reach Khun Sarai around 9 a.m. Then we wash our faces and have breakfast.
After that, let's go find refreshing drinks. Though I look for coffee shop but not for a coffee. Finally, we got the Good morning Chumphon coffee shop which is about 3 km away from the main road towards downtown direction.
It's cutely decorated with lots of beautiful corners for photography.
This sweetened drink is quite refreshing and the price is reasonable.
Let's move on. Before going to our hotel, let's go visit Khao Thalu first.
Khao Thalu is in Sawi, but on the opposite side to the sea side.
I feel like the GPS is taking us on a weird road into a small road. Anyway, we are loving the view on both sides as it's very beautiful. It's surprising to see this refreshing greeness during the summer in Chumphon.
This is quite an opposite to the north where everything seems to turn yellowish by January. But here, it's so green along the route in Chumphon.
For Khao Thalu, you can view it from different angle and I'm not sure which one is the most popular one. I stop to buy something at this 7-11 and ask for direction. They said either turning right or following Phet Kasem Road would lead you to Khao Thalu but it's just going to be different angle.
Therefore, we choose Phet Kasem Road as it's the way towards our hotel.
Then, we find this entrance to a restaurant and I think this is the clearest angle of it. Well, you guys are most welcome to find the angle you find most beautiful.
What a view!
But after coming back, we found that, actually, there's also a nearby mountain called Doi Ta Pang where you can go up for morning sea fog scene. Oh well, we probably have to come back for a visit again.
After that, we move to Ao Khram Homestay where we will sleep tonight. They said the road towards this place is quite narrow with a few steep road towards the end, but the sedan is accessible. That I'm having a nap along the way, I didn't get to take any photos.
We reach here in the afternoon, around 1 p.m.
The sun is bright but the wind is chill, so it's not as hot as it looks.
Here is the equipment local people fishing for squid and it's exactly what we are going to do tonight. It's not far from our homestay.
Here is our room. It is 1,000 THB each including 3 meals. That we are 3 people, we stay in one room. If you have more than 5 people, the price would be only 800 THB.
For the 3 meals, you can choose to be whenever, I choose to be dinner, breakfast, and lunch on they day we go back because we are planning to travel to Kula Island the next morning.
Then, we just relax.
This homestay is very peaceful and chill.
As such, we are so drowsy and decided to take a quick outside nap with this cool breeze. There are two more people staying in the next room. Today, it's just the two groups of us. We have a shared bathroom but very clean.
After such a great nap, we go out to explore around at 4 p.m. We start by turning right.
In the evening, when the tide is low, you can walk for quite a distance along this beach.
Just enjoy the moment
Then we are back at hometay for dinner.
It's a seafood dinner but alas that the crabs are hard to catch these days so they are a bit small. Some other rooms with many people didn't get to have it, hehe. The food is delicious and so much that we can have it for our late night food as well.
Here comes the evening light which is so beautiful, let's go enjoy it together.
The sunset in this corner is just so amazing!
This picnic gas is for luring squids in the middle of the sea.
They would turn on a soft fire for the squids to come in which we will get to experience it at 9 p.m. tonight.
What a great sky view. We enjoy the view with the cool breeze until 9 p.m. which is the time for squid fishing.
Squid fishing (bam muek) here is where people would turn the picnic gas on and hang it as a bait for squid fishing in the middle of the sea. Then, around 9 p.m. we are boating out to take some out from the net we saw earlier. Some days, it could be a lot while you could also get none in some days. Yesterday, they only got like 2-3 squids but today it's reasonably amount of then. You can refer to my video clip earlier at the 2 minutes point.
While boating there, there're some blue glowing plankton glittering when the boat hit the water but the camera cannot capture it.
After that, an auntie cut this so fresh squid for us. It's a bit scary when looking up close but the taste is so good, hehe. It's indeed another exciting new activity worth for exploring. This activity is already included so there's no extra charge for it.
Then, we go back to bed and wait for the Milky Way at night. We wake up again at 3 a.m. Thought it's quite cloudy, it's there.
Then I move to the front of a homestay and it takes me a while before the clouds start to move away and the Milky Way reveal herself. Here I got about 3-4 good clicks of it.
Another spectacular view of it
Here is another side. The blue thing is the plankton which I think it's like a robe. It's glittering upon hitting the water. When you actually stand and look to it, it's blue glittering just like a diamond. Oh well, it's hard to describe, you have to see it with your own eyes.
Waking up early and keep on enjoying this place
First of all, let's have breakfast.
P'Chuan is asking us out for crab fishing but I think it'd be long and we would miss our program today.
Another activity here is taking the boat to Kula Island which is located on the opposite side. The fare is 1,000 THB a boat which can take up to 10 passengers. At first, if it's only us, we probably won't go but then 2 more tourists wanted to go too. So finally we 5 go together and the fare is now 200 THB each.
It's only about 15 minutes boat ride.
The first thing we do is to enjoy the beach.
Here, there's this sitting thing and a free kayaking.
I don't know how to kayaking and neither can I swim, so I have to rely on her for all the water activities, haha.
Coming here, we can also snorkeling to see some corals.
There's baby turtles too.
Cute little sea turtles
Out of curiosity but forgetting glasses at the car and it's all out on the island to borrow, we try snorkeling without it.
My eyes hurt so badly and I can hardly see anything, haha.
It's time to go back now.
We then go back to shower and have lunch. Food here are delicious and comes in big portion. It's so worth 1,000 THB and if you come in 5, it's only 800 THB. Staff here at Ao Khram are so friendly and service-minded, you will love it here for sure!
Then, we go for a viewpoint which is not so far.
Not so long after driving out of Ao Khram, we find this beautiful beach along the way which we didn't know what it's called but it's beautiful so we just simply stop and take photos.
Let's move onto Phra That Sawi.
Let's stop to pay respect to the Buddha statue and hope that we see a Whale Shark tomorrow.
Our next destination is downtown Roti Faridah but we check to find that the shop opens at 3.30 p.m. so we go for a coffee shop first at Cera Garden Coffee. It's indeed a coffee shop in a garden, so shady.
It is also located by a canal but there's no parking lot so it'd a bit inconvenient.
A lot of trees
Is it a light fog or smoke, looking not so good, right? haha.
Let's move onto Faridah which we will be just on time for its opening hours.
Oh no, why? It opens every day but close this week. They must have also go on a vacation. So sad.... what a miss!
Anyway, lift goes on, let's go to find our accommodation tonight.
Just follow the road, when seeing this Ban Bo Mao, I almost turn to stay there if I haven't paid for the accommodation tonight yet, haha.
Tonight we stay near Thung Maha pier. This place is randomly found as we wanted a place near the sea because our intention is to shoot stars photos. Then, we just click on the Google Map and find Rung A Phaphon which is located right on the beach and after checking the price with the place, it's 1,000 THB. for 3 people. We then book it right away.
The room is quite spacious, the AC is cool, and the bathroom is clean.
Our front view is right by the sea, so good.
Then, I see an uncle doing something on the beach so I go to see what's he up to.
The owner follows us and explains that he's catching shrimps.
There're a lot of tiny shrimps so they can catch them all day.
Now, he's sorting them out and place them in a blue basket.
Then, he ties it to his waist and keeps on walking.
More importantly, our accommodation also provides restaurant service, both a la carte menu and barbecue pork with reasonable prices. We then have a set of barbecue pork, why not right?
We are so full in every meal in this trip.
Let's get an evening shot in front of our place. But that the sun is set on the other side, the view is not so clear.
We enjoy our time until 9 p.m. and go to bed.
Late night, I'm out for stars again. Well, you have to be really tough if you want a good click. I come out at 3 a.m. and it's too cloudy so I went back to sleep.
Then, I come out again at 4 a.m. and it's much better now.
Finally, the cloud is all gone and I have a clear sight of it.
Mission completed, 3 days with the Milky Way. Then, I set up time lap for another hour, until 5 a.m. Good thing that we stay just right besides the beach, I can check on my camera from time to time from the door as I'm afraid it could be lost, haha.
Here is what I got from an hour try, I really cannot do it any longer, I'm so sleepy now, haha. Here ends another day.
The next morning, we are served with hot rice porridge which is included in our room price.
After leaving the accommodation, we turn left and very soon, we reach the pier. Today, we are going with Green Diving tour for diving. It is 1,500 THB each. This includes a speedboat and a seafood lunch with a lot of crabs.
After an hour of up and down ride on a speedboat, we reach our destination. Actually, I didn't really like taking a speedboat but there's no other option so I have to go with it.
Here we are at Ran Pet and Ran Kai Island. Today, there're quite a lot of tourists. Then, we heard people screaming, and the tour guide told us that if we hear this scream, it means that a Whale Shark is nearby.
Ok, now, let's enjoy some underwater's photos taken by GoPro.
After jumping into the water and looking at what lies in front of me, 'wow' is all I can think of. It's so amazingly beautiful, I've never seen such a rich sea anemone in my life.
Let send our mermaid down deep, as for me, I can just wear a life jacket and enjoy at the surface as I cannot swim.
Soon, all the tourists swim towards us and scream out loud, that's right!
A Whale Shark is here. In fact, you didn't have to do a deep diving, you just have to not be afraid of water and you also didn't have to follow it as it will swim around.
OMG, it's so huge! It scares me a bit at my first glance. Actually, this one is considered small, there're bigger ones.
OMG, she swims so close to us and won't give way for anyone, she will just hit you if you are in his way. In the photo, it might look like she's quite far from us but that's because I use a wide lens GoPro taking this photo. In fact, she's so close to us that I got scared. I could actually reach out to touch her but I got scared. More importantly, we should not, especially if you apply a sunscreen as she's allergic to chemicals in sunscreen. I'm not sure if people are aware that we shouldn't apply any sunscreen when coming to see her as she could be allergic.
My heart is so up and down and soon she swims away. For a strong swimmer, you could follow her and act as a body guard of her. She swims out really far before coming back again. For the non-swimmer like me, we can just enjoy corals while waiting for her return.
Let's continue enjoying our underwater world.
OMG, it's just so magnificently beautiful.
I'm highly impressed with it. I guarantee that its's more beautiful than several spots in Andaman Sea that I went.
Oh wow, here she comes again.
She goes a bit deeper this time.
If you are a good diver, you are most welcome to swim close to her. For me, I'm satisfy just by watching her from away, hehe.
Another caution is at certain spots, the water can be as deep as 25-30 meters, so if you are not a strong swimmer, please always wear your life jacket as it's very dangerous.
I just can't have enough with these corals.
What a view!
Actually, we can swim around the island but that I'm not a strong swimmer, I choose to enjoy corals only on this side. The staff said the corals look different on the other side.
Here she comes again, you are most welcome!!!
So grand and huge!
Now I'm very exhausted from diving and I must have some rest. Ok, then, let's enjoy photos from our DSLR camera.
Oh there, she comes again and this time at the surface level.
She swims along side our boat.
And there she goes,
and back again.
Watermelon is our snack.
The tour will let us decide of how long we wanted to stay here. Since we have quite a few strong swimmers who still enjoy their dive and not back yet, we then also go back to enjoy corals after taking some rest. Then, it's noon so we decided not to go further to Ran Kai Island but enjoying here longer.
My boat is one of the last sitting boats here as our Whale Shark is also still here.
Now, it's only a fishermen boat and our boat left. If you look carefully, you will find that the Whale Shark actually swims close and plays with us, OMG, she's so lovely.
Here she comes and we didn't want to let her go.
After having a 2 rounds of swim, she swims away and comes back again when we start the boat engine. It's like she's lonely and wants to play with us, so cute. And then, we say goodbye to her. If you wish to have a close up scene with a Whale Shark, you needn't go far, Chumphon can offer you a great chance of that. Oh well, in fact, she didn't come everyday, like she was away during Songkran Festival and were just back these past 3-4 days. I feel we are so super lucky!
Here is another side of the island.
Here comes our lunch. We get to enjoy crabs while hanging our legs down into the water, so cool.
Shrimp, crabs, fried rice, all are so delicious and the crabs are so big.
Crabs are so huge that it's hard to eat as their claws are so strong but I'm loving it. After that, we go back to the shore. It is truly a so worth one day trip with 1,500 THB. At first, I was thinking that it's a bit expensive but given such an amazing underwater world and a highlight of the Whale Shark and a great seafood, it's more than worthy of 1,500 THB. Give it a try here and you won't be disappointed. Actually, the 1,200-1,500 THB tour is similar as it will include seafood, it's up to your personal preference. For Green Diving, I have to say that I'm very impressed with their services.
We reach the shore like 3 p.m., take a shower and getting ready to go back home. On the way back, we drive along the sea, passing Bang Boet, Bang Saphan Noi, and stop at Bo Thang Lang Bay as we have heard about it for a while, let's go check it out.
It is a small half-circle arc bay.
It has fine sand with several restaurants. It's a great place to relax. The atmosphere is nice.
While taking photos, I was caught up by this photo, what were they doing?
Let's zoom in with 70-300 VC, wow, what a pose!
When they see that we are taking their photos, they ask to take their photos again and we agree.
And they pose just like what we wanted, oh wow!
On the other side is rocky zone. Please be careful while walking as these rocks are quite sharp.
Here I come.
Along the way before it gets dark
Bang Saphan Beach
Phra Mahathat Chedi Phakdi Prakat is where we would soon go up.
After parking, we need to walk a bit further.
Too bad that we are here too late, the second and third floor are already closed so we didn't get to take the view from a higher angle.
We can just go in to pay a homage to the Buddha statue.
The surroundings are very beautiful.
It's 5 p.m. now and the sun is getting low. I guess it's time to go home too.
After a long drive, we stop for dinner at Pranburi which is very delicious.
Then, we drive straight back to Bangkok. This trip is not so tiring. We reach home around 11 p.m. then take rest and get ready for tomorrow work.
This trip is so perfect, many things happened beyond my expectations. I got to enjoy 3 nights of the Milky Way, a sea fog, beautiful corals and got to meet with a Whale Shark, the only regret is I missed out for the Roti Faridah, haha.
Here come the expenses summary which is not so cheap.
This is so because all the expenses go by headcounts and that it's only 3 of us in this trip. So the food, the fuel are quite expensive. Oh well, it's a true relax trip though as we enjoy so much and I think it didn't hurt to pay more once in a while haha.
For the fuel, after running about 1,200 km, it costs us about 3,500 THB. It is about 2.9 THB per km. Personally, I think it's quite fuel consuming as it's only 3 of us here and we drive like 120 km/hr in order to save fuel the most possible. Actually, it's the same fuel used for 5-6 passengers, so I think going with a truck, you better find like 5-6 people so that you can pay less, haha.
Coffee is 200 THB.
Beer is 495 THB.
Ao Khram Homestay is 3,000 THB.
A boat trip to Kula Island is 600 THB.
The island entrance fee is 120 THB.
Cera coffee is 110 THB.
Thung Maha accommodation is 1,000 THB.
Dinner at Thung Maha is 710 THB.
Ran Pet diving trip is 4,500 THB.
Dinner at Pranburi is 265 THB.
In summary, when divided by 3 people, it is 4,833 THB each. Oh, this budget would be enough for us to travel to the north twice, haha. Oh well, traveling to the sea is usually more expensive and I think it's worthy for the experiences we've got.
Thank you so much everyone fore reading until this line or just skimming through,
see you guys again in our next trip.
Sawadee Krab :)