Thursday, February 7, 2019

Krabi Multi-adventure Day Trip from Phuket

We recently added this new and original tour program to our selection and the feedback from the first customers was really good, so as we always do I had to try it first hand in order to fully understand how it works so I can give better explanations to those interested in it, especially for this tour which is very different from the usual ones available from Phuket.

Pick up at Easy Day's office in Kathu was on time at 7:45 as planned, then in the van I greeted the few other guests met the guide Som. We already knew each other since she was also guiding
the Kapong RiverTubing Safari Tour when I did it last year, so I already knew that me and my fellow travellers were in very good hands for the day. Regardless of the beauty of the sites you visit, a great tour guide's skills, knowledge and attention can really make the difference.

The drive to Wat Bang Rieng which is located north of Phang Nga Town on the mainland takes about 2 hours, so instead of going straight there we had a first stop about half way at a kind of zoo/sanctuary located not far past the Sarasin Bridge. The guide explained that this is a place where they keep and give care to the animals that are seized from the illegal poachers that abused them for profit purposes, as well as other animals that got injured and need to be treated before being released in the wild. There were large cages hosting different primates like slow lorises, gibbons and macaques as well as birds, felines and others. The place looked very clean and the animals looked healthy and well looked after. This has been a good place to spend half an hour stretching our legs before proceeding with the trip towards Phang Nga.

Back in the minivan for another hour or so, we finally arrived at one of the highlights of the day, Wat Bang Rieng. This is probably my favorite temple in Thailand, at least among the ones I've seen so far. There's something magical about the place, the complex is made of a main pagoda and two huge statues, one is of a golden seated Buddha while the other is a less common statue of Kwan Yin, (Chinese Goddess of Mercy and Compassion). The parts are stretched across different hills/mountains, the views from the top are simply breathtaking and there's a unique mix of culture and nature. The interior of the main pagoda is also very particular featuring warrior-shaped pillars, frescoes and a relic of the Buddha. This is also one of the few places where with a bit of luck can spot the Giant Black Squirrel, we actually managed to find one but it was sleeping on a shaded and high branch so I couldn't take a decent picture. On the other hand, while walking back to the parking lot we stumbled on a “normal” brown squirrel that was happily eating a papaya which was bigger than the squirrel itself, quite a funny sight I must say.

The next stop was at at the area called Bor Thor, characterised by the tidal channels surrounded by mangrove forest and karsts, part of the Tan Bok Korani National Park, which is where the kayaking part of this day trip takes place. The area is at the northern edge of Phang Nga Bay, on previous tours I explored and kayaked around the huge bay a lot but always on the western and southern part, so this was a completely new experience for me. Now I can say that this less known area is every bit as good as the more popular parts of Phang Nga Bay, it even has some unique peculiarities. The starting point of the kayaking tour is the floating restaurant where the lunch was served later on, before departing for the adventure we were given the opportunity to choose between self-paddling or having a professional paddler, I'm a bit out of shape so I thought that I needed a bit of exercise, therefore I opted for the first option. The canoe tour lasted about 90 minutes altogether, back and forth through a first larger and then a narrower mangrove channel, and a middle part where we parked the kayaks for a while to explore a huge cave. The mangrove part of the tour was very nice, completely immersed in the natural environment of a thick mangrove forest with the impressive karst cliffs all around, we even paddled through some narrow openings in the rock all the way inside a “hong”, and later through a larger and longer cave (Tham Lod) full of stalactites. Then the cave exploration by walk was really amazing, not only because the cave is huge and full of stalactites and stalagmites, but mainly because this cave called Tham Pee Hua To (“cave of the big head ghost”) hosts some very interesting prehistoric paintings probably made by people who found shelter there from the heavy rains in ancient times. There's even a large boulder that resembles a skull, probably that's where the cave's nae comes from.

The set lunch was ready shortly after we returned to the restaurant, as usual there was a selection of 4-5 Thai dishes with plenty to eat for everyone. On the day's set menu was the popular Tom Yum Seafood, a vegetarian dish, Chicken with Cashew Nuts and fried fish, everything was tasty and still warm. The restaurant is pretty big and floating on the mangrove channel so the scenery is quite nice, while there we crossed paths with a large group of Chinese tourists but only for a moment, while for the rest of the time both during lunch and kayaking we were almost alone. Looks like the tour schedule is well planned to run a bit off time and avoid the larger crowds.

Back on the van, we stopped at an Elephant Camp just about 10 minutes away from the restaurant I already did this activity several times in different parts of Thailand and must say that this wasn't the most impressive one. The trek mainly takes place through a palm oil plantation (it's the main industry in the area) and just a little bit through the jungle. On the other hand the elephants seemed healthy and well treated by the staff, which is an important point. This is an optional activity in this Day Trip and in the overall it can still a good experience for someone who's never tried Elephant Trekking, while those who already experienced it in the jungle or in more natural an genuine environment could probably skip it without regrets.

Some 5 minutes away from the Elephant Camp we had our last stop of the day, last but not least since it was no less amazing than what we had done so far. Than Bok Korani Waterfall is part of the same national park that covers some of the islands in Krabi as well as the mangroves and caves that we visited earlier in the day. I had been to this place by myself last year during the rainy season and it was totally flooded by brown water due to the heavy rains, now that I returned at the right time of the year can say that the place is really beautiful.

The waterfall is not a vertical one so do not expect something impressive in that sense, but more because it's a river coming from inside a cave that splits into an endless number of waterfalls and streams creating an environment that looks as it came out of a fairy tale. The stepping grounds create a lot of little falls and pools where is possible to swim, the water has a nice turquoise color due to the deposit of diluted calcite from the surrounding mountains and it was surprisingly warm. I couldn't think of anything better than a bath in this waterfall to relax at the end of a exciting day like this, it was really pleasant to relax there for nearly an hour. Aside from the waterfall itself, the area is very interesting also because of the large variety of plants and the story behind them, since many of them were planted personally by the Royal Family.

After about one hour chilling out at the waterfall it was time to go back to Phuket. We left Krabi around 17:30 and I was back at our office in Kathu by 19:30 or so, a bit tired but definitely happy at the end of a wonderful day surrounded by the nature.

I can't find much negative points about this tour aside from the length, which means I would highly recommend it to anyone except for those who prefer to avoid long full day trips. Most definitely a must do tour during the dry season (December to April), while I wouldn't recommend it much during the rainy season or at least in the days after heavy rains as in that case the waterfall would have a completely different “face” being flooded by brown water.

This tour can also be a good solution to “hit two birds with one stone” for those who must move from a hotel in Phuket to a new one in Krabi area, since a drop off at Krabi hotels can be arranged with a fair surcharge.  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review - Rod Charman private tours in Phuket

Hi Francesco
We have just returned from our trip to Phuket and wanted to thank you for making it a memorable holiday.
Our ‘taxi’ was waiting for us when we docked and we were greeted by your very friendly guide and driver. The taxi was was a real luxury far more than we expected most comfortable and roomy and the provision of flannels and water and soft drinks was an additional delight. Your Guide ‘A’ was most informative and friendly and it was nice to learn so much from him about your culture and customs and so informative about the places we visited.
Your driver MR Ton? was an absolute delight he was so helpful and nothing was too much trouble even to meeting us with pac-a macs as we left the ship dock as it was raining so heavily we would have been soaked and buying us coconut milk drinks when we were in town. he really made the rest of our stay in Phuket most enjoyable.
Please give him a big thank you from all of us
Once again many thanks I will recommend your services very highly to friends and family
Rod Charman

Thursday, August 20, 2015

SIM card in Thailand

The time when one phone call was enough for the whole holidays has passed. before we use to call home from a public phone to say "all right arrived and good weather...see you when back home".

Now we must stay connected, send picture, locate our mates and this have to be done soon and every where. Why we really don't know and it isn't the topic.
AIS sim card in Thailand
Surfing in Thailand..on the web
To do so and follow this eclectic life style we need a SIM card for iphone, tablets, phones and so on to be in touch, to make phone calls from Thailand cheaper is possible and to use the internet.

Thailand is pretty easy about this because everyone can buy a SIM card with wifi and data usage, since 1st August 2015 it is mandatory to register the SIM card in order to use it.

Register a Sim card in Thailand is easy just buy a Sim card from any shops that sell them (all 7/11 and Family mart do) then go to one of the telephone companies offices or booths with the passport to register it.

As example we use AIS (the most popular provider in Thailand). Get your SIM card in Phuket from any mini mart and go to AIS offices at any of the major shopping centers (Junk Ceylon in Patong or Central festival in Phuket Town).
AIS sim card in Thailand
AIS shop in Junkceylon Patong
Bring the passport and the telephone or tablet. Tell the assistants there that need to buy or register a SIM card and they will assist you.

At AIS can only register AIS SIM or 12 Call SIM cards. During rush hours will take about 40 minutes to complete the process. The SIM card will be ready to use soon after registration.

There are different plans that change time by time the assistants will help to choose the best.

The SIM card in Thailand for tourist are prepaid and can be charged from 20 to 500 Thai Baht per time for unlimited number of times.

When new cards will stop working after 30 days, every time a card is reloaded the card life is extended for 30 days from last expiring date for a maximum of 365 days from the first day.

Example: buy the SIM card in Thailand today 20 August and it i will expire on 19 September. Then on 25 August reload 100 Thai Baht, now the expiring date will be 18 October. Then on 27 August reload 50 Thai Baht, now the expiring date will be 16 November. And so on up to the 26 August 2016.

SIM cards in Thailand offer very good rates for phone calls and unlimited internet usage. Incoming call from Thailand or from a foreign Country are free of charge.

Very convenient rates for calling abroad, using special codes, starting from 1 Thai Baht per minutes (china and Hong Kong), most common rate is 10 Thai Baht per minutes

Ask at the shops abut special rates

For AIS card the code for phone calls abroad are 003 and 00500 then country code and the number.

ta the moment most popular package is 299 Thai baht for 30 days with unlimited 3G internet at 900MB. At start 30 Thai Baht credit for phone calls and SMS

for more information

Enjoy your holidays and try to forget the phone sometime :-)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review - Suzanne Quinn private airport transfers

I just wanted to email you to say a huge 'THANK YOU' for making our transfers so easy and utterly fantastic. Both legs of our journey were handled with the utmost professionalism and punctuality. We are looking to bring our two boys to Phuket next year and we will definitely be using your company again.

Many, many thanks


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Current weather in Phuket - 31st August 2015

Difficult during these days to say if weather is bad or at least not so bad so i decided to make a special update about weather in Phuket in August.

The month of August  closed with good weather, despite some rain sea was flat and no wind. There were two or three very hot days at the ed of last week because of the haze from Sumatra. Then a mild wind on Saturday and a night rain on Sunday cleared the air

Phuket Weather in August 2015
Patong bay early morning on 31 August 2015
Today some more clouds and wind is stronger, probably we will see some rain in next two days.
Kathu - Phuket
Sky over Kathu this morning

During the week was great with flat sea and clear sky, all activities and tours where possible.
Patong Beach - Thailand
Sunset at Patong Beach on 18 August 2015
But be aware that despite flat sea dugin Summer it is very dangerous to swim off the beaches on Phuket West Coast.
Warning sign for rip current - Thailand
Summer isn't good time for swimm off Phuket west Coast
Do that only where there are lifeguards and only where is allowed (must falgs that are half yellow and half red). Otherwise enjoy a nice walk on the beaches and sunbath.

On 14th August another lovely day and enjoyed riding my motorbike from Patong to Kamala , this was high tide at north end of Patong Beach.

Today 13th August  was a nice sunshine gave the good morning in Phuket that is back to blue sky and very nice condition to fully enjoy holidays and the island life.

Kamala Beach Phuket
Kamala beach view to south, morning 13th August 2015

Kamala Beach Phuket
Kamala beach view to north, morning 13th August 2015

On Tuesday 11th  and Wednesday 12th rain was back and for two days dark  sky was all over Phuket with a lot of rain. No wind and Sea was flat

Sunday 9th sky was covered in clouds but no rain and mild wind, while Monday 10th was a very good and hot day can see from the picture taken in the afternoon from The Nap Blue Moon suite balcony.
The Nap Patong - swimming pool
Swimming pool at The Nap Patong
Phuket Weather in August 2015
View over Patong Bay from The Nap on 10 August 2015

But last night rain started and this morning is still pouring down, no wind  that should pick up in the afternoon and clear the sky.

Forecast say that should be good all week.

The first picture shows the situation now, 16:30 on 5th August 2015 on the north west side of Phuket island

Weather in Phuket in August
Kathu Hills, view over North West on 5th  August 2015
Can see the rain and tick clouds approaching, for sure there will be some rain

The second picture taken few seconds later show the view over south East side of Phuket.
Weather in Phuket in August
View from Kathu over South East Phuket on 5 August 2015
Sky is clear and can even see blue sky at distance so probably down the islands of Racha Yai and Phi Phi was a good day with some sun.

Wind picked up since yesterday so wave out in open sea can big between one and two meters. While on sheltered side of the islands can stay in flat water and enjoy the warm sea

Don't forget that sea water temperature in Phuket is always between 27 and 30 Celsius, very nice to swim and dive there.

Phuket Island
Relax and enjoy holidays
Enjoy holidays and relax, and if it will pour down for one or two hours sit and wait for the rain to pass and enjoy the show of a tropical storm

Phuket Island
Rain beautiful isn't it?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Phuket Weather update up to 4th August 2015

July left with good weather and two special days that were holidays for government offices and schools.
Kalim Bay - Phuket
Kalim Bay on 31st July 2015

The rare combination made Asharna Bucha day and Khao Pansa Day one next the other on 30th and 31st July.

Latest meteo satellite image of Phuket, 3rd August 2015
As aid was good weather and so the annual Kathu Cultural day so a lot of people and was a very successful event
Chalong Pier - Phuket
Storm over Chalong Pier
Latest meteo satellite image of Phuket, 3rd August 2015

Patong Beach - Phuket
Flooded road in Patong
The situation was good up to Sunday 2nd August then on Monday 3rd we woke up with heavy rain and flash floods that made traffic around the island difficult up to 11 in the morning.

No tragedy best time for a visit to a spa in Phuket to relax or an island tour for a lunch at a local restaurant and a bit of shopping

Thia situation should go for another three days with better weather on Tuesday and then heavy rain and storm for two days.