5 Islands!

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Thailand is well known for it’s many gorgeous islands, or ‘Koh’, as the Thai pronounce it. We figured we’d hop on a high speed power boat and check out 5 more of them.

Our first stop was Hong Island.

Koh Hong is part of the National Marine Park and we reached it within about 20 minutes after leaving Ao Nang here in Phuket. We snorkeled around, surrounded by rocky outcroppings and dense jungle, and were the proud owners of jelly fish stings all over our bodies.

Since we are seasoned sailors, we’ll take a little sting with our snorkel any day and still have smiles on our faces!

Since the rainy season is upon us, the visibility wasn’t great, but it felt so good to be in the beautiful water surrounded by breathtaking scenery – it is, after all, our natural habitat.

Our next stop was a fascinating island called Koh Panyee.

The interesting thing about this place is that it’s a floating island, with a little under 1500 villagers who live there permanently. The island consists of hundreds of huts, restaurants, houses and shacks, all built on stilts, with vertical limestone cliffs as a dramatic backdrop.

The village has its own mosque, school and health center, and the sole industry once was fishing and now half the locals service the overflowing tourism industry.

Pearl farming has become another huge source of income for this Muslim village, and as we strolled through the maze of shops and wooden corridors and docks, we were met by hundreds of store owners offering beautiful strands in all shades of white, cream, pink, blue, grey and green. Mycah especially took a liking to the pink.

We came across a sign, listing Panyee Island Rules, and number 3 especially caught our eye. “Do not bring alcohol to Koypanyee. If (so) the violation is (fine) 1 goat and 5,000 baht’ ($150). I can only assume that a goat would be instantly sacrificed and prepared for consumption, because I didn’t see a single blade of grass on the entire island.

Many homes were extremely run down, but the overall feel was one of happiness and love.

I’d love to return to Panyee and spend an entire day photographing its quaint personality and people.

Our third stop was Khao Phing Kan, otherwise known as James Bond Island.

It is known as James Bond Island because it was one of the locations for the filming of the 1974 James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun.

We enjoyed climbing around small caves, meandering through limestone pillars and stalactites and stalagmites.

The gorgeous rock formations are sprinkled with prickly pear cactus, shrubs, grasses and evergreens.

We once again boarded our trusty vessel, and made our way to our next location…

Phang Nga Bay is also known as Phang Nga National Park, and is sprawling with interesting rock formations and mangrove forests, and is a kayakers playground. I lay resting my back up against Danny, and enjoyed the relaxing ride…

We gently glided through caves that shaded us from the heat of the day, and under low lying entryways that open up into big beautiful limestone chimneys. Just as we exited a huge cave, a fruit boat was bobbing about, selling fresh local fruit to all who were interested.

The mangrove forest was magical with its raised roots, beautiful reflections and abundant life.

Birds flew in and out of muds nests and rock hideaways, reef fish scattered below us and ambulatory fish (mudskippers) perched on tree limbs as we passed by, then excitedly scuttled to the water and disappeared into the darkness below.

Our final stop in the late afternoon was by an Island called Panak.
Have you ever taken drenched sand at the beach and let it drip through your hand to create a funky Dr Seuss looking castle? Koh Panak reminded me of those castles…like sand had dripped, dried, fossilized, freezing in time.

I could imagine that at any moment the sun would melt the dripping masses and we’d see them calve like glaciers into the ocean.

What a fascinating place! I know that if we had access to a boat that we could navigate on our own here, we would be island hopping 24/7. There are an endless buffet of places to explore, and they are all so incredibly beautiful!

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