Sunday, October 22, 2017

Days at Phuket Island – Part 2

Last day was superb at Phi Phi island Tourist boat cruise. After returning from the Phi Phi Island we called a number, shortlisted earlier for the James Bond Island trip. Short listing criteria were, their rates were reasonable and had good reviews. A lady from that company came to our hotel.  We bargained and brought the price little lower and gave some advance to her.  we were happy with the deal, as it was lower than the lowest we got on internet.  
Next day morning we were again picked up from the hotel and went to Ao Po Pier to board the cruise boat. The boat was nice and all of us were accommodated on the upper deck. Lower deck was kitchen and packed with other stuffs like canoe boats and other equipments and kitchen items. Two  small lavatories were there.  On the upper deck snacks, tea, coffee and non alcoholic beverages was sufficient for all of us. The tour guide was very nice and was assisted by two other persons. Guide was English speaking and subtle sense of humor.  Western music was playing and whole ambience was festive.
 Our Tour Guide

 Plenty of snacks and beverages

Nice Ambiance

Lower Deck Activity 

 Lunch Spread

 Longtail boat to James Bond Island

 Lady boy show

Sea on this side was calm and  much more turquoise colored than yesterday 's Phi Phi side.  Overall experience was amazing.   
There were few bouts of rain during our journey and the boat deck had arrangement to cover from all sides my thick polythene and there were no inconvenience whatsoever.
At first we stopped at Panak Island and then to Hong Island at both places we enjoyed canoeing through the lime stone caves and around the rocks.  Boatmen , ours was a young boy were all very well mannered and helpful and showed us and guide us throughout the canoeing in both the places.
After canoeing lunch was ready on the deck.  Very nice spread of different foods, variety of fruits, beverages; there was nothing to complain. everything was so nicely arranged.

While having our lunch, we sailed to James bond island. Since our boat was big, we were taken to the island by a short trip on a long tail boat. This small island itself was really at an amazing location. The views all around the island was spectacular. We hiked a little on a rock to go on top and came down to other side of island.  I can assure your camera shutter will be tired.  We returned to our boat  by same long tail boat after spending an hour or so in the James Bond island. Every moment was worth.

Then we sailed to Naka island. Our boat was kept at a distance from  the shore. This place was safe for swimming and all those who love swimming dived from the boat and had a great time in swimming in Andaman sea. We spent nearly an hour there and our boat then headed for return journey.

During return journey to keep us engaged and entertained the crews of the boat along with the guide performed different entertainment programs, cracked jokes and  lady boy show. It was really hilarious.  We never felt bored and the whole day was so much entertaining and like every good thing has an end, we sailed back to the shore and returned to the hotel by same minivan.

Just don't miss this tour if your are ever in Phuket or Krabi. 

Days at Phuket Island – Part 1

As I mentioned in my earlier post, there was bad traffic jam in Phuket and we reached our prior booked hotel, Naina Resort and Spa at about 2 pm.  People at the reception understands hardly any english, poorly behaved and it took lot of time to check in. They were asking more than one day rent as security deposit, although our booking was already paid through credit card. Later I came to know, it is usual practice in many hotels in Thailand but they were asking too much. We were tired and irritated and the initial experience was not at all pleasurable.

The hotel is away from beach and main activity centre of the beach and that is why I wrote in my previous post to see the map carefully while you book your hotel.  Except for the above bad things, hotel was good. Nice spacious rooms, excellent swimming pool and a wonderful landscape.
Plenty of street food stalls, different budget’s restaurants are available throughout the island and all of them serve good food. It will not be a problem to find food of your taste and budget unless you are too choosy.

Naina Resort and Spa at night

We hired a Tuk Tuk, large one that accommodate 10 persons to go the beach and main activity area, The Bangala Road. It was really lively a real touristy place. Check the video below.

Food we took outside our hotel as we could not  trust the restaurant of the hotel and it was pricey too.
Next day morning we headed for the Phi Phi Island trip, which we booked at airport, with free ride to hotel.

Now few things regarding the booking of Phi Phi Trip:
There are few ways one can go to Phi Phi Island. You can catch the local ferry to Phi Phi – it looks cheap but actually is not. You have to pay island fees, buy your lunch and you cannot see the other places like Maya bay etc cannot snorkel or swim. The next options are speed boats small and large, private or in group. Advantage is  they are faster, you can get down at the small beaches. Downsides are, they are costlier and you have to bear the roughness and rolling of the boat. Our large boat swayed considerably while returning, this part of the sea is rough. We went for the large boat, or they call it cruise boat. It is comparatively cheaper, very  steady and comfortable.
Unless you are going  at super peak season, you need not to book this trip early online, because you can always bargain and it really works. Search different sites offering the trips.  You will notice huge price variations. Believe me almost all the tours are same despite of different prices. There are few parent companies who run the show and rest all are agents taking different commissions. Find out the parent company by seeing the name on the vessel. See and note their rates. They will be the lowest amongst all.  Note their Phone number. Note phone numbers of second and third best too. Reaching Phuket call one of them to your hotel directly and not through your hotel reception. You can also mail them prior regarding this. Now you know the lowest price and bargain hard  but politely with them and fix the tour. This I did for my next day trip to James bond island tour.
We were picked up by a AC mini van from our hotel and was taken to Rassada harbour. It is quiet far from main Phuket town and took about 45 mins.  We were served little snacks and coffee at the jetty and the we boarded the vessel. It was a large cruise boat.  The boat was full of tourists but managed very efficiently and professionally. 
The beauty of the Andaman sea is beyond words. Previously I used to think that the pictures are photo-shopped or post processed…but no they were not. The place is even more beautiful than what we see in photos!

The whole journey to Phi Phi island was fabulous and we reached the island and headed for buffet lunch, which was arranged in the island. Nice spread and food for all tastes were there and plentiful. We roamed around Maya bay and  swim at the beach.  It was beautiful but  a little crowded. 
We saw Loh Samah Bay, Pileh Cove and Viking Cave. Later we were taken to a place they call it coral bay and those interested had nice swimming and basic snorkeling . Snorkeling gear and life jackets were given to all.  Water there was not so clear but overall enjoyable.

From there we sail back to our pier and then was dropped at hotel by the same mini van.
I strongly recommend this trip if you are visiting Thailand. You can avail this trip either from Phuket or from Krabi. We didn’t go to Krabi , I think it will be more serene than Phuket.

Next write up will be James bond Island  tour..