Final Days in Thailand

With Thailand drawing to a close, we eventually decided that, surrounded by sparklingly clear water and scenic islands, a tour was the order of the day.

 

Time for breakfast once again...

Ao Nang, aside from its market stalls, its many restaurants and its many tourists, is also home to a large number of ‘travel agencies’, some ranging in size from a fully-fledged office to something the equivalent of a phone booth size. All of which were offering tours and packages and trips. How to choose? In the end, with all of them seemingly offering similar prices, schedules and – for all we knew – most likely the same boat trip, we decided to just give up and book through our resort, which came with the added bonus of a guaranteed pick-up at 8:30am, which also guaranteed we’d be having an early breakfast for a change of pace. By now, myself and the omelette ‘chef’ had become well acquainted as I ferried myself any number of times back and forth between my chair and his station during the course of any breakfast ‘sitting’ and the tradition, in spite of an upcoming speedboat ride, was joyfully continued and I filled myself with as much toast, omelette and orange juice as I possibly could. Now, in the years since a particularly troublesome Stena HSS car ferry journey from Wales back to Ireland – during which me and my companion, Fintan, wandered back and forth from the front of the boat to the ‘duty free’ which was no longer duty free, randomly crashing into the walls as we were rocked back and forth quite violently – I’ve become not so good at being cooped up in a rocky boat for any considerable period of time. It’s not that I get sick; I just feel quite sick and don’t really appreciate it so much.

 

First 'port of call', Railay Beach...

So when we started our boat journey and things got a bit bumpy, I did begin to worry that Thailand’s fine seas may be polluted before the end of the day, but thankfully the first stop wasn’t far away. Stop number one on our trip was Railay Beach, a beautiful unspoilt beach not actually part of an island, but instead part of the mainland that can’t be reached by ground transport due to its location behind a wall of mountains. The beach was spectacular, make no mistake, although the presence of about 7 other speedboats, plus longtail boats, plus residents of the neighbouring hotel made things a tiny bit congested and I hoped that that was more to do with the timing of all the boat tours rather than the usual run of things. There was also a shrine, where people come bearing gifts for the Gods that they then leave. Nevertheless, after 40 minutes, we were all back onto the boat zipping our lifejackets up like good boys and girls. The next part of our tour was a bit confusing – as the boat sped along through the waters, things got progressively more choppy and before long we were bobbing up and down like a rubber duck in a bathtub, with the schedule seemingly being changed to accommodate our unexpected weather issues. So, the next port of call ended up being a little cove where, having been issued a snorkel set (and warned of the heavy fines for not returning them), we were given time to hop out into the sea and spot some marine life. Of course, the presence of this marine life was helped along no doubt by the wads of bread the crew threw into the water from the back of the boat, however…

 

A longtail of many...

I’m glad they did, because as soon as I jumped in and took a look underwater, there were so many fishes swarming around that I was actually surprised I couldn’t feel them or that they hadn’t crashed into my goggles. Everywhere you looked there was different colours of fish, moving along slowly, quickly, not at all – compared with the view above the water, which was a bunch of us looking like idiots with our lifejackets on in the water all trying to catch a glimpse of something under the water, similarly with some of us moving slowly, quickly or not at all. All safely back on the boat some time later, we took off once again for another island, this time stopping for lunch as well. When I heard lunch was to be provided by the boat company, bad things came to mind – but once again, I was pleasantly surprised to receive what basically amounted to nicer-than-airline-food style lunch, and freshly cut pineapple. Likewise though, this particular island was, aside from being beautiful, home to many hundreds of tourists it appeared, and as lunch lingered, more and more speedboats also docked, unloading large batches of people at a time. But the water was clear and spectacular, the view fantastic and the lunch, much better than I’d expected – so after an hour or more, we were all back onto the boat once more for our final stop at Poda Island, a small island connected to another by a causeway passable only a low tide. Which it wasn’t. So instead, we stood around on the little bit of the island we could safely walk on and took in the last of the heat, the sea and the sun, along with the many other tourists who just kept managing to catch up with us.

 

Dinner show time...

For the evening, we were to be entertained by a show and dinner at our hotel resort, the Ao Nang Phu Petra, which we were all, despite being tired after the day’s swimming, snorkelling and sun, eagerly waiting for. The show, as it turned out, didn’t get started for quite a while – certainly not until after I’d managed to eat most of my way through everything their kitchen could throw at me, and more. I’ve been to some hotel ‘entertainment’ before and with the notable exception of a ‘family party’ I was once more or less kidnapped for in Vietnam, a lot of them have been unmitigated disasters. This, on the other hand, was actually very pleasant; dinner by the pool followed by performances from the resort’s own staff, some of which were very impressive indeed, even if you happened not to know it was by their own staff. But like all good things, it came to an end eventually, in spite of our commendable efforts to drag it out, making us by far the last table with a full compliment – and into our last night in our gargantuan villa for one final night’s sleep with exceptional air conditioning (since our own air conditioner back home had begun to give up the ghost). The next morning there was time for one last breakfast, another array of omelette’s, a swim and a drive back to the airport with another of Mr. Sak’s comrades before back to KL, until the next time…


Pin It

Comments are closed.