There are a ton of things to do in Phuket. Highlights include Phang Nga Bay, canoeing through hongs, and James Bong Island. With the right tour they are all doable in one very long day.
From our hotel, it’s about a 45 minute ride to the Royal Phuket Marina, and then another 45 minutes to Phang Nga Bay via speed boat.
The weather our entire time here was perfect, except for today. We woke to a monsoon! We seriously thought about canceling the excursion because it was so bad out. Our eagerness to explore won, so we set off to to the marina, and onward to our first stop, Phang Nga Bay.
I have to admit, the rain clouds only added to the amazing scenery. I’m so glad we went!
Once in Phang Nga Bay, our plan was to see the hongs via kayak, as well as a stop on James Bond Island (named after being featured in the James Bond movie, The Man With The Golden Gun).
First up, one of the two hong locations we were visiting today. Venturing into these tiny caves was thrilling, scary, and so cool. For my first go I opted to wear a life jacket, as I was just a tiny bit terrified.
It ended up not being scary at all. Phang Nga Bay is so calm that the ride in our small canoe was so gentle. I felt totally tranquil.
What an amazing experience!
Next, we hopped back onto our speed boat and set off for James Bond Island. The island is so stunning in the rain that I can only imagine how nice it must be when the sun is out.
Next we’re off to Koh Panyee, a floating village that’s perched on wooden platforms.
Sailing here is SO, SO breathtaking. The scenery is unlike anything I’ve ever seen! It’s so beautiful.
We spent a lot of time in Koh Paynee, as we were waiting for the tide to go down before visiting the next hong location. It was really relaxing and a nice break from the day. What a cool village!
Once the tide went down, we got back in our speedboat boat and headed to the next hong location. This one took us through caves that could only be accessed during low tide. After seeing the hongs this morning I was SO excited for more.
This portion of the hong tour ended up being super terrifying!
See the little gap in the picture below? That’s what we had to fit through! We had to lay flat in order to pass.
Once inside it was pitch black. The only light was the tiny one on our rower’s helmet. A little further in, and we stopped. In the darkness. The tide was still too high to continue any further. We were trapped inside a pitch black cave. I mean, not really, I guess we could have turned back around, but it was so dark I wouldn’t know where to go, and our driver didn’t speak any English. I saw something move in the dark, so naturally I screamed. Our rower shined his headlight on the spot, and it was a bunch of crabs moving so close to my head. I screamed again. Yup, still scary.
We weren’t on a private tour, so there was a small group of people with us, each in their own kayaks. For once in my life I was thankful for this group tour. Some people did turn back, too scared. Then there were a couple of people ahead of us who didn’t want to wait for the tide to go down, so instead they got out of their canoe and swam the rest of the way. Underwater.
You couldn’t pay me to get out of my kayak and into the water. In the dark. In the dark, deep water.
No freakin’ way.
So we waited, in the small, stuffy cave, for the water to go down. In the pitch black.
Thank goodness for the flash on my camera. I kept taking pictures just for some sort of light.
See that tiny, little space straight ahead in the picture below? That’s what we had to fit through.
So a couple of minutes later, our driver was so sure we could make it. FYI, I would NOT recommend doing this if you fear enclosed spaces. I said I wanted to wait bit more, but he didn’t understand.
So he yelled for us to what we assumed meant get down, and onward we went.
We heard our canoe scraping against the sides of the rocks as he tried to push it through. He literally got into the water and started deflating our canoe so it could squeeze through. Meanwhile, we were laying completely flat, with rocks not only surrounding us, but literally enclosed around us.
Did you ever see the movie The Descent? That’s what this felt like.
I had my hands criss-cross over my chest and had to put them to my sides in order for us to pass through. There wasn’t even enough room for my hands on my chest! That’s how close we were to the rocks! If I lifted my head even a tiny bit, I’d hit a rock. Heck, all I had to do was stick out my tongue and I’d touch it. THATCLOSE. If a wave came, or any rush of water, we’d be dead. It was literally the most horrifying experience of my life.
So this guy continues deflating our canoe as he pushes and pushes because we were stuck. I had a total panic attach. I started yelling “BACK,” but since he didn’t understand any English, he continued on. I closed my eyes and prayed it would be over soon.
Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying.
Another minute later, we finally made it through.
I’ll get to what we made it through to in a second. I was just so happy to see light and breathe fresh air again! About 15 minutes later, the tide went down to what they were initially hoping for, and the rest of the group came through.
The picture below is of after the tide went down, so you can only imagine how terrifying it was for us.
So on the other side is basically an area where the cave completely opens. There are trees and wildlife. It’s so beautiful. It’s like you go through some secret passage to get to this other world.
We soon returned to the speedboat, and our last stop was a beach on one of the small nearby islands.