One activity you really must try and do on your Thailand bareboat charter is some kayaking, particularly around Phang Nga Bay. It is a good idea to go with a guide or book on one of the many tours on offer to do some kayaking around this fascinating landscape. John Gray Sea Canoe are an excellent company to go with as being one of the original discoverers of the many caves around the area as well as offering excellent customer service and having years of experience of the area.
You can hire a kayak to have on board your Thailand bareboat charter, but to appreciate the full magnificence of the beautiful landscape and to best explore the giant cliffs and caves in this area, a guided tour through the silent caves is a fantastic way to get the most out of your experience.
So if you do decide to leave your Thailand bareboat charter behind for the day and go on one of the many kayaking expeditions on offer, then John Gray are very good at making all their customers appreciate the natural beauty around you and how best to take care of it, which of course means no touching of the cave walls, no loud talking and no smoking whilst you are exploring the many famous enclosed lagoons (known as ‘Hongs’) that are only accessible through the long narrow tunnels when the tides allow.
The tour normally starts from the Ao Por Pier on the east coast of Phuket island where you will board a large wooden boat which then takes you across the protected Phang Nga bay. This normally takes you about an hour and you will also have a very informative briefing from the crew telling you about the Hongs and how you enter them through the narrow tunnels. There is often just two people and a guide in each canoe, and your guide will do the majority of the paddling, allowing you to enjoy and photograph the breathtaking limestone formations covers in dense vegetation that rise vertically from the sea.
Generally you move around from one island to the other, and the crew will often throw bait into the water to encourage the Sea Eagles to dive bomb behind your kayaks. Many of the tunnels that you will enter on your way to the Hongs are short with high ceilings, but others are over a few hundred metres long with very low ceilings that will require to fully lie down in your boats. On your way you will see many weird rock formations, birds and bats, as well as all sorts of vegetation and mangrove.
It is traditional inside the Diamond Cave to release a ‘Kratong’ which is an offering of incense, candles and flowers on a bed of banana leaves that floats. This is supposed to bring you good luck.
The tides in the bay have a significant effect on the times when you can enter many of the Hongs as when the tide rises it can make the access impossibly close to the ceilings of the Hongs which makes it impossible and to access and can leave your canoe creeping ever closer to the ceiling as you float along the tunnels.
Another amazing way to appreciate these beautiful Hong’s is going at night, and indeed John Gray do offer a “Hong by Starlight” experience which really is quite a magical experience, being inside an enclosed lagoon with nothing to light your way bar the candlelight on board, the starlight from above and the bioluminescent plankton in the water.
The limestone phenomenon is quite a spectacle to behold, so well worth leaving behind your Thailand bareboat charter for the day to experience these unique sights.
Photo credit : mydestination.com, flyingfourchette.com, phuket.com, awesomevillas.com