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Published: February 6th 2020
“The Andaman is Thailand’s dream coast………Flashy resorts are pushing out the bamboo shacks and Thai-Rasta bars and authenticity hides largely in the backwaters now. But if you’re willing to search hard, your postcard dream is still there” Islands and Beaches - Lonely Thailand’s Planet Wednesday 5th February 2020
Yesterday, we returned to such a dream place, Pan Beach on Noppharat Thara Bay, Ao Nang. We rarely re-visit (it is a big world out there) but since we were so close, we just had to find out if this little Paradise remained unspoilt. It has! We booked in for three nights and leave tomorrow.
Thailand has confirmed six new cases of Coronavirus, four of whom are Thais. It is not spreading too fast it seems, at the moment, outside of China and we have been impressed with Thailand’s response to the potential threat. There is no greater threat here in Ao Nang district than there is anywhere else in the world, but we shall still take what precautions we can, like wearing masks, when visiting Ao Nang town itself tomorrow (we are in a very sparsely populated area at the moment, on Noppharat Beach about ten kilometres
North of the town).
Our ferry journey from Phuket was interesting! It wasn’t a big ferry but was rammed with passengers going to four different destinations, Krabi, Railay Beach, Ko Lanta and Ao Nang. Once the inside space was full, people found floor space on deck with the luggage. Although we could have got seats inside, we shunned the indoor space, preferring the sea air, so travelled on deck; not the most comfortable two-hour sea crossing, as one can see in our photos! God might have known where the life jackets were. We didn’t!
Getting off was fun! A small launch drew up alongside as we dropped anchor close to Railay, the crew yelled “Krabi! Krabi” and all those heading for Krabi left us. Next, a “long-tailed boat” arrived and yells of “Railay! Railay!” disgorged dozens more folk, then a ferry larger than ours pulled up, yells of “Lanta! Lanta!” and many more disembarked. The anchor was raised and we steamed on past Ao Nang to Noppharat Thara Pier, north of Ao Nang. After a scramble for our rucksacks we disembarked. Touts were vying for trade to transport passengers to Ao Nang. We walked away from these and
We clambered across three ferries to get to our one
got a “tuk-tuk” in the other direction, north to Pan’s Place. It was like coming home!
We pre-booked the cheapest thatched hut on Booking.com. When we were here last, there were twelve “buri” huts, all the same. There are still just twelve, but now half of them have been renovated, with lovely bathrooms added, mosquito nets on all the windows and bed linen, toiletries etc. (whereas in the old ones, you needed to use your own sheet bags and mossie nets, which we have with us in case we need them anyway). The renovated “bungalows”, as they are now called, have brilliant hammocks, strung on a frame attached to each deck; just step off in to the hammock. When checking in, however, we mentioned to Pan, the lovely owner, that we had been there eleven years ago. She was over-joyed and promptly gave us a free up-grade to the best bungalow, number A1, closest to the beach to catch the sea breezes. It is wonderful at night, with all the windows open and cool breezes coming in. It is beautiful and we are being treated like royalty. On the downside, some travel agents arrived today and she insisted on
taking my photo with them, saying “She come back to us after eleven years!” Still, it makes Pan happy!
We love it here. After arrival Tuesday lunchtime, we did very little, strolling along the sand, paddling in the warm sea (the tide was out), ate fabulous Tom Yam soup, hot and spicy and cheaper than in Phuket and just revelled in the beauty of it all. A guy eating his lunch had a banana stolen by a Macaque monkey who lives in the large tree by our bungalow. Monkeys do like bananas! Today, like yesterday, we did even less, just enjoyed the beach, the food, the hammock, the lovely fresh coconut shakes and the scenery. There is no mains electricity here, just a generator, so we only have power from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. Thank goodness for the sea breezes!
Tomorrow we are going to town to look around and book a ferry for Friday. We want to go to the Ko Yao islands in the Ao Phang-Nga marine park and according to our Lonely Planet, we should be able to get a boat from here to there. The Ko Yao islands are still in their infancy,
as the tourist trade goes, inhabited mostly by indigenous Muslim communities of fishermen, so are promised to be quite authentic and unspoilt. We shall see! Thursday 6th February 2020
We spent the morning in Ao Nang, did some shopping and strolled along the prom! It is very different to Noppharat Thara, quite touristy, which is OK for a morning. We don´t have a problem with ¨touristy¨; we live in a tourist area in Spain and love where we live. Right now, however, for this trip, we are seeking the chill and that is why we love Pan Beach. We have got our tickets to go to Koh Yao Noi tomorrow morning and have just booked three nights there on booking.com. There isn’t a ferry as such, just a seat on a speed boat. The journey takes about an hour.
So, tonight will be our last night in this peaceful spot, where we sleep like logs, with just the gentle sound of baby waves and the breeze wafting through the sea-facing windows. I cannot describe this little Paradise any better than I did eleven years ago, so to quote myself… “Noppharat Thara Bay is pine and palm
fringed, dotted with islands in a clear blue sea……Behind it is jungle, interspersed with old rubber plantation. It is pristine clean beach and totally unspoilt. No jet skis, no speed boats or hang gliders, just sun, sand, sea and sensational coastal scenery.” Pensiongapper blog from March 26th 2009
NB The accommodation we have booked on Koh Yao Noi has no WiFi, so we might be off the radar for a while
NB There are 25 photos with this blog, if viewing on a phone you need to scroll to the end to see them all
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