Thanks to films such as The Beach and James Bond, the Phuket/Krabi area of Thailand is well known for its stunning karst limestone islands rising up out of the calm sheltered waters of Phang Nga bay. The thought of sailing our own boat through this stunning scenery would have been a dream just 4 years ago but here we are living those dreams.
This area is so well known for its beauty that hordes of tourists visit each year, so our challenge would be to find some quieter locations just off of the main tourist trail. That meant avoiding those old film sets and scouting for potential future film sets instead. Happily we were able to benefit from the fact that there are a lot of charter companies here, that means lots of information on the islands attractions and where to anchor are freely available. + warnings of where is busy.
We set off to do a 2 week loop of the islands to the east and South of Phuket, but avoiding the notoriously busy James Bond Island and Phi-Phi where The Beach was filmed. As we left busy Phuket behind and sailed to our first island we felt like we were on holiday. We know, we know, we are always on holiday right? But after the time spent in busy areas of Malaysia coming here to Thailand and finding a quiet island felt a world of difference to us, we were still bimbling away on boat jobs, cleaning, changing anodes, filming and video editing but we felt very different inside.
The sailing here is either very easy or non-existent. Predominantly light winds mean that we either drifted along gently on calm seas or had to motor on mirror flat seas. Usually only 10 or 15 miles to the next anchorage.
Here are some of our favourite spots:
The stunning anchorage pictured at the top of this blog was one of our favourites, a small tunnel from the beach leads to a hong which is home to a huge colony of bats roosting during the day.
Koh Hong, Krabi
When full of water, the hong creates a beautiful natural swimming pool. There are a couple of beaches either side of the hong entrance that have beautiful clear water and made an ideal spot to gaze back at Florence… We rowed in between the lines of long tail boats with tour groups, it took great patience and timing to get some photos without tour groups in them!
The Emerald Cave here is worth the stop, it’s less crowded in the evening and early morning. We anchored around the corner from the busy cave area at Sabai Beach, which we had pretty much to ourselves for 3 beautiful nights. We took the path from the top of the beach up to the view point and down into the village and resort on the other side. In the heat and humidity it probably wasn’t the best idea and the village on the other side was dirty and a disappointment. However, we had a delicious lunch and fruit smoothie on the beach and the viewpoint was worth the hike.
This had been recommended to us by friends for the clear water snorkeling. It has been so long since we had a decent snorkel in clear water so we made the most of exploring underwater in this beautiful anchorage. We did well to time this in between the visits from tour groups, up to 10 speed boats at a time with between 10 and 30 guests on each boat.
Holiday over, it is back down to earth with a bump and we have to throw ourselves into getting Florence ready to cross the Indian Ocean. The discussion on board returns to, how close can we anchor to the supermarket, and how many kilos of provisions can we load into the dinghy and not sink on the row back to Florence.