On my mission to visit all the provinces of Thailand, I manage to tick one more off the bucket list - Phang Nga.
I flew into Phuket and immediately went to Phang Nga province. There was a lot of ground to cover in a matter of days. Lots of things to see but so little time.
First on the itinerary was to visit Takua Pa old town.
Takua Pa Old town
Once a famous international port, it is now a forgotten place where time stays still. Where life is slow but not necessarily easy.
Over 200 years old, the town is filled with Sino-Portuguese architecture and shophouses. Despite the apparent influence of culture, the charm of traditional Thai culture is very much there.
We explored the town by foot and the local pickup trucks.
The town is also filled with wonderful street art. It really gives it a lively character.
During our visit, the town was gearing up for the end of the vegetarian festival and preparing for the parade or a street procession as a ritual for the Gods. We didn't see it here as we had planned to catch it in Phuket old town.
The next day was all about the sea, islands, and beaches as we set out to visit the Similan islands. We booked a tour with Wow Andaman (who provided an excellent service with very friendly staff). The tour takes you to four islands in the Similan archipelago. There are actually a total of nine.
The Similan Islands have been on my dream wishlist for so long. I remember I was going to go once but then found out that the government had shut it to tourists in an attempt to improve the natural ecosystem.
I am so glad that they did because, wow this place is breathtakingly gorgeous. Truly heaven or paradise on earth.
Just look at that white sandy beach and crystal clear blue water.
After a very bumpy 1-hour boat ride, we first arrived at the main Similan island (Koh #8). Here we immediately went to the Sailing Rock viewpoint.
It was quite crowded up here and on the beach. But I managed to use an app to remove them hahaha!
After about an hour here, we went to the next spot (Koh Payu) for some swimming and snorkeling. It was quite possibly one of the best spots for snorkeling as we could see the water clearly below, even from the boat.
We saw plenty of fish and corals. Our guide even got us excited by telling us that he saw a turtle a day or two ago. I REALLY wanted to see some turtles! Alas, we were not so lucky.
As we were running out of time, we decided to skip one of the small islands and head straight to Koh Miang for lunch, relaxation, and more swimming. The beach and water here were equally, if not more beautiful than the first stop.
OMG! Just wow. The government and officials have done a great job keeping the natural beauty intact here.
Words cannot describe the feeling of being here, despite sharing it with the massive crowd of local tourists who came here to spend their long weekend.
I took my time exploring the island as I soaked in the sun, sand, breeze, and the cool waves of the beach.
Samet Nangshe viewpoint
On the third day, before going back to Phuket, we went to the iconic and famous Samet Nangshe viewpoint in Phang Nga.
The weather was perfect, with the sun shining and a bright blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds. It wasn't too hot either.
I had seen pictures of this viewpoint on Instagram and it was high on my wishlist, just like Similan Islands. I felt so blessed to be here.
Getting here was quite easy too. We drove down winding roads to a pitstop where you can either hike up the steep hill or take the local pickup truck. Either way, I believe it will cost you between 50-90 Baht, depending on which viewpoint you go to. I paid 90 baht and used the pickup truck. I wasn't in the mood to sweat a grueling long hike.
If you do hike, the view is definitely worth it! Oh yes! From here, you can see the Phang Nga bay, limestone cliffs, and islands. It's really one of a kind view.
It's a massive panoramic platform with many gimmicky spots for you to take photos against the backdrop. I think some of them were too much. A few basic platforms would have been enough.
Still, I guess, it is kind of fun to take photos with these props.
There is also accommodation set up here so you can catch sunrise, sunsets, and on a clear night, supposedly a heavily starry sky (maybe the milky way).
There you have it. My 3-days in Phang Nga province. What an amazing destination. I would love to come back again.
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