Phuket Day 4 (25 Mar 10) – Island Hopping

Well the day started out not as good as I wanted. Maybe it is the residual back luck from yesterday, when everything went wrong. Today suppose to go for my island hoping tour, but the card to my safe just wouldn’t work and my camera is inside the safe. What’s the point of visiting the islands when I don’t even bring a camera along? Called the hotel staff a few times, they kept telling me they’ve sent someone to my room. After waiting for 20 mins, I went to lobby and start asking the receptionist again. Again I was told that they will send someone up, at the same time the tour van is already here. My guess is they have been waiting for around 10 mins and the driver might not make it in time to the harbor. I urged the driver to give me 5 mins, after bargaining, he agreed to wait for another 2 mins. At this point I was thinking well at most I head back to the tour booth and make another booking for the tour. Well I went back up to my room, the hotel staff came running towards my room and quickly helped me open up my safe. There it is my camera. I quickly rushed to the lobby and was happy to find that the driver was still there waiting for me (think it took around 5 mins). And we are on our way! The journey to the marina took around 1 hour. Upon arrival at the marina, we were made to sign some insurance form. Waited for another 30 mins, we were then brought to the speed boat for our island hoping trip. Well the coxswain of the boat consistently drove the boat at 50 kts, it was fun, especially when he made the turns.

The Marina where the speedboat is berthed at
Preparing to cast off
and we are on our way
nice weather for island hopping
I enjoyed the wind
One of the islands along the way

Maya Bay

Our first stop is Maya bay. We were told that this bay was made famous by the movie “The beach”. When we reached there, well I can imagine how beautiful it was when the hordes of tourists were not there. Din really enjoy the beach coz of the tourists. Took some picture and headed back to the boat. We were given 20 mins to swim around, take some pictures at this bay. After weighing anchor, we headed to our next destination.

Hordes of Tourists at Maya Bay
Really looks like some deserted island
Hordes of Tourists at Maya Bay
Hordes of Tourists at Maya Bay
Hordes of Tourists at Maya Bay
Hordes of Tourists at Maya Bay
Took some pictures around the beach
Took some pictures around the beach
This is the main landing spot for tourists
Took some pictures around the beach

On our way to Loh Samah Bay

Loh Samah Bay

Did not take long before we reached our next destination, Loh Samah Bay. The ship was moored here and we were given time to do snorkeling. Well this is the first time I do snorkeling, din really know how it works, all I knew was to put some mask on and go swim in the water. That is what I did! It was really fun!!! The bay was beautiful, and I saw schools of colorful fishes swimming near the surface of the water, they were swimming together with us!! Snorkeling around, I saw starfish, sea urchins and the most magnificent of all, are the colorful corals and the fishes that interacted with the corals! It felt as if I was swimming in the aquarium, with the fishes swimming together with me. It is absolutely fun! Well we were given 40 mins to snorkel around; the timing was just nice, not too long and not too rush. It is a pity that I dun have a waterproof camera or an underwater housing for my camera, if not I would have taken pictures of the fishes.

 

This is the spot where we did snorkelling
If only I bought underwater camera
We were anchored here for snorkeling
Fantastic waters for snorkeling

Viking Cave

After we left Loh Samah Bay, we headed towards Pi Ley bay, or the locals call it James Bond Bay, where the area was featured in some James Bond movie some 20 years ago. However due to low tide, we can only see the bay from outside. We were then taken to the next area, Viking cave. The guide told us the cave used to be hide out for Vikings a long time ago, however now it is bought over by some private company to harvest bird’s nest. We were prohibited to enter the caves, and only able to see from outside. I rather like the limestone formations of this cave, look liked one of the hideouts you would find in some Batman movies. After leaving Viking cave, we headed for Monkey beach. Now this beach was given this name due to numerous wild monkeys coming to the beach. As the crew tried to anchor the boat, they were unable to do so as they tide was low and the seabed was covered with rocks. In their effort to try anchoring the boat, I think they had damaged one of the 3 engines. So the coxswain told the guide (in Thai) that we will weigh anchor and head towards our lunch first before coming back here again.

Approaching Viking Cave
Viking Cave
Taking a peep into Viking Cave
Leaving Viking Cave
Leaving Viking Cave

Pi Ley Bay

Took us around 5 mins to get to the bay where the ship was anchored for our lunch. Now this is when I had a feeling we are some castaways from survivor show. As the boat was anchored offshore, we all had to swim to the shore where the restaurant is. It is a refreshing experience, just 1 word to describe it – fun!! Well the short walk to the restaurant was, lack of a better word, hellish (I mean laterally hellish). The ground was heated up by the merciless sun and it was really a bad idea to walk bare footed. I guess it is a bad decision for not bringing any belongings from the boat, so here I was, left with walking bare footed on the heated ground. The ground was hot from the beach all the way to the pavement leading to the restaurant. I admired the local gals (who were with us for the trip, seemed like some family outings), they walked all the way bare footed without complaining. Really took my hat off them. The lunch was so-so, we had fried rice, onion rings (which was the best and crunchy of all) and some soup that looked like Tom yum soup (not really that spicy). After lunch, we headed back to the boat, damn….. the walking and swimming was really tiring, but the experience was refreshing.

This is where we swam for our lunch
This is where we swam for our lunch

Monkey Island

It did not take the crew long for them to prepare the boat and get underway. Soon we found ourselves at the monkey beach (the ride took only about 5 mins). After the coxswain beached the boat, we were on the beach! Well really wonder why they called this place Monkey beach in the first place. The only “monkeys” insight were the humans! Perhaps the tourists had scared the monkeys back into their forest habitat. Some of the stuff that tourism brings….signz……. no monkeys, but the beach was enjoyable. Nice view of the bay, cool water, and not much crowd (maybe is the time we were there, most of the tour group would probably had left!). After spending some 30 mins there, we headed for Khai island.

At Monkey Beach
Monkey Beach
Monkey Beach

Khai Island

This very small island is a place purely for the tourists, we were told to rent a beach chair and relax by the beach. Snorkeling was an option that we can take (which I did), or we can choose to sleep by the beach. I went snorkeling (not far from the beach), well the view was boring. The fishes are not that many compared to Pi Ley Bay, not as colourful and almost all the corals are dead. I saw some fishes feeding off the algae on the (half-dead) corals. Oh yeah there are lots and lots of sea urchins, other then that there is really nothing fantastic in snorkeling here. What boring sights!!! After snorkeling for about 15 mins (really din take long for me to realize it is boring here), I headed back to the beach to relax, enjoy the sea breeze and had an ice-cream. I derived at a conclusion that this island was made purely to make money off the tourists. As I was relaxing, I heard someone singing and there were crowds cheering the singer. I was drawn to see what’s going on and who was singing. Well it was a ladyboy singing, “she” had a female voice and was really good at singing. “Her” voice had stirred up much cheer and the mood of the tourists at the area. Everyone was cheering “her” on and asked for encore whenever “she” finished a song, of course she obliged and continued to entertain us with “her” performance. I guess “she” must had been singing for awhile, eventually “she” gave into “her” tiredness. Someone else took over the mike and so the crowd laterally dispersed. This is the time I went back to my chair and continued relaxing…… soon after our time is up, it is time for us to head back to Phuket island. The ride took only 20 mins and we soon find ourselves on the van heading back to our respective hotels.

At Khai Island
Walking around the small Island
Huts that sells food and drinks to tourists
At Khai Island
Not exactly scenic

The day’s trip was tiring, but due to the fun we had (thanks to our guide who stirred up the mood so much in us) no one was complaining. Everyone returned to their hotel smiling and immersing in the fun experience we just had from the island hopping trip. Well time for me to relax in my hotel (well the night is really young), did not bothered to go elsewhere, just merely spent my time in the hotel writing blogs, surfing net. Was a well earned evening to relax.

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