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Published: March 17th 2011
Sunday 23rd January 2011
After a lazy morning at Phi Phi Hill we boarded our ferry to Phuket, but we decided not to stay there. We hopped on a bus to Phang Nga where we booked a tour of the National Park and James Bond Island the following day. Monday 24th January 2011
Our tour took us to Phang Nga National park where we drifted through Mangroves on the slowest boat ever. We seemed to be overtaken at every turn, which worried us slightly as we wondered how we would fit everything in when we were travelling at half the speed of all the other tours.
After travelling past many ‘sights’ that our guide pointed at and announced their names, we went kayaking (well, we sat in a kayak while a local tour guide did all the hard work!). A while later we arrived at James Bond Island... we were only allowed 20 minutes by our guide to explore (probably because he was running so late) so we darted around taking photos of Scaramanga’s hideout and all of Richards favourite spots.
On departing the Island we were informed we would be going to another
Island for lunch, but it turned out to be the worst excuse for a beach in the history of man. The stretch of sand was about 4m wide, with no shelter from the burning sun and the only log to sit on was covered in huge ants! Overgrown bushes covered half of it, the other half was covered in washed up plastic bottles and other dumped rubbish (it made us laugh when we read one article about S.E.A. where it mentioned ‘tourists’ littering – In our experience the locals are far worse culprits for dumping their leftovers wherever seems most convenient and the tourists are much more concerned with cleaning it up). Joanne didn’t have any lunch because they had provided chicken rice – even after we had specifically informed them she was pescetarian and they had confirmed a seafood meal.
As soon as we had finished we wanted to get out of there, but our guide had taken the boat off anchor and floated off to eat his own lunch... We all protested – it wasn’t that we didn’t want him to eat, we just weren’t sure why a) he hadn’t let us eat lunch on the far
more beautiful and interesting James Bond Island, b) he hadn’t eaten when we did, and c) we couldn’t sit on the boat, sheltered from the sun, while he ate?
Eventually our guide brought the boat back to shore and allowed us to board. We took off at our agonisingly slow pace to a cave on another island with torches in hand. The cave was very cool, completely black, and quite interesting to discover on our own with no guide or barriers. It finished at an opening overlooking other islands and a steep drop down to the water, turning back our only option.
On our way back to land we checked out some ancient paintings on the side of a limestone karst, then everyone pleaded for the captain to step on it as several of us had buses to catch and it seemed unlikely that we would be back before dark as boats continued to overtake us on the return journey. Our guide did indeed ‘step on it’ and we were all surprised he’d purposely gone so slow the rest of the day – we guessed he was trying to save fuel?
We got back in time for
Joanne to finally get some food and catch a bus to Surat Thani where we took a night train to Bangkok. Richard’s bunk came with a complimentary cockroach, which hid just out of his reach so he sat up for 2 hours waiting for it to re-emerge so he could squash it and get some sleep.
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