April 14th, 2014
Phuket was decimated by a tsunami in 2004 although there is little evidence of it now. We took an all day tour to Phang Nga bay which is known for its karst rock formations.
The bus ride each way was a little less than two hours with questionable air conditioning. There were rubber and pineapple plantations on each side of the road as well as tiger prawn and red snapper farms. Water looked pretty polluted so I'll continue to be wary of farm raised fish!
Once we reached Phang Nga bay, we boarded a boat and cruised through the rock formations for an hour and a half. Phang Nga Bay is in the Strait of Malacca between the island of Phuket and the mainland of the Malay peninsula of southern Thailand. The most famous of the many islands in the bay is Ko Tapu, the so-called James Bond Island, a needle formed out of limestone rock in the sea, which was featured in the movie "The Man with the Golden Gun".
The fishing village is the only population allowed in Phang Nga bay which is now a national park. It is a Muslim village with a prominent mosque, wall to wall restaurants, and tourist shops.
Regent tours used to have their lunch there but the guide said a lot of people got sick so the lunch spot was changed to a hotel on shore. The fish were in cages off the decks and the sewage system seemed nonexistent so this was probably a good idea. (note the fish pens to the right)
The sticky index was pretty high and we got sunburns despite a hats and sunscreen.
We were pretty wiped out on our ride back, slept the whole way until we stopped at the obligatory gem factory. The bus almost mutinied, but it was fascinating to see the legions of Russian tourists dressed like tropical birds buying up the gaudiest jewelry I've ever seen!
The sea was like glass and we saw lots of flying fish.