Escape the island: road trip!

Phang Nga Travel Blog

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Homes with flower pots. Near Phang Nga Bay.
I’d make a lousy photojournalist. If I were cut out for it, I’d certainly have more photos of our spectacular day. We drove through tiny rural villages -- so simple and poor -- with homes open right to the narrow street. We caught the most intriguing glimpses of Thai lives being lived. There were women in dark veils stirring steaming pots, men welding rusted steel parts, naked children chasing chickens. Small groups of rugged-looking people were sitting around outdoor tables, perhaps sharing stories and wondering what the heck we were doing there.

They often welcomed us with smiles, and sometimes waved as we drove by. “Haaalllo!” they yelled in English. Giggling children chased after the car. But despite a million photo opportunities, I could not lift my camera to capture it.
Definitely the scenic route.
I couldn’t … invade their privacy. Break their trust. Lousy photojournalist.

+++

This day started with no real plan, but we knew we wanted to get off the island… despite the fact that our rental agreement says we MUST STAY ON PHUKET. If you recall, the man who gave us the car was wearing a gun and official-looking uniform. I half expected him to be at the Phuket check point, waving his finger (or maybe his gun). But we crossed the causeway without incident and headed east, toward Phang Nga Bay.  

Phang Nga is a National Marine Park, full of interesting rocky outcroppings and islands. One of the islands was in a 007 movie, and consequently there are a million tour groups leaving Phuket for day trips to “James Bond Island.
The old pier at Klong Khian.
” The thought of riding with 150 other people on a huge boat to this place makes my skin crawl, and we liked the idea of driving ourselves to the area to find our own boat. If we were going to get busted for leaving the island, well, this seemed a worthy mission.

After we crossed the bridge, we drove on a nice, smoothly paved road through lush green vegetation. Our first stop was Klong Khian, a small town with wide concrete streets, and not much going on. There was a huge pier, but not one boat was docked there. There were several long boats further up, along a canal or small river near the town. We wandered around the pier, admiring the rocky islands that surrounded the harbor.

Soon enough, a man on a scooter approached us. Long boat tour? he asked. I said, Maybe…how much? He handed us a laminated card listing various tours, and prices that were about triple what my travel guide said to expect.
Phang Nga Bay off in the distance.
I mentioned that the prices were kind of high, and asked if that was his best rate. He nodded. I made a face, like, Are you sure? Then he shrugged, and drove off.

It’s great to get away from Tourist Land… that is, until you need a tour. This guy was apparently the only game in town, and he wasn’t all that interested in going out. So we got in the car, rationalizing that it was going to rain anyway (and it did, eventually). We continued to drive…east, I think. We didn’t have a map so we just followed the road. We turned off on a narrow road and found ourselves driving through a rubber tree plantation. I thought for sure it would dead end…but we came to a town! And then another! These were tiny Muslim towns, full of inhabitants who were probably pretty surprised to see us in their neck of the woods. (I sure wish I had some pictures of them, but it was here I got real shy with the camera.)

On the way home, the rain started. It rained hard, then the sun came out. It does that here a lot. We found our way back through the downpour without even getting lost.

I really love road trips. I really think we’ll have to get off the island again, soon.

stabber911 says:
I love Klong Khian so much, my family bought a land there. Pls go to my blog http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/16388/Heli-trip-Phang-Nga-6 to see helicopter picture of Phang Nga bay and Klong Kienn
Posted on: May 08, 2008
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Homes with flower pots. Near Phang…
Homes with flower pots. Near Phan…
Definitely the scenic route.
Definitely the scenic route.
The old pier at Klong Khian.
The old pier at Klong Khian.
Phang Nga Bay off in the distance.
Phang Nga Bay off in the distance.
Our picturesque drive to Phang Nga.
Our picturesque drive to Phang Nga.
House on stilts, shot from the spe…
House on stilts, shot from the sp…
Klong Khian, on Phang Nga bay.
Klong Khian, on Phang Nga bay.
The new Klong Khian pier, on Phang…
The new Klong Khian pier, on Phan…
Boat on Phang Nga Bay.
Boat on Phang Nga Bay.
Boat on Phang Nga Bay.
Boat on Phang Nga Bay.
Boat on Phang Nga Bay.
Boat on Phang Nga Bay.
View of Phang Nga Bay from Klong K…
View of Phang Nga Bay from Klong …
View of Phang Nga Bay from Klong K…
View of Phang Nga Bay from Klong …
The old pier at Klong Khian.
The old pier at Klong Khian.
Boat on Phang Nga Bay.
Boat on Phang Nga Bay.
Klong Khian boats.
Klong Khian boats.
Klong Khian boats.
Klong Khian boats.
Klong Khian boats.
Klong Khian boats.
Klong Khian boatmen.
Klong Khian boatmen.
Scene at Klong Khian town.
Scene at Klong Khian town.
Scene at Klong Khian town.
Scene at Klong Khian town.
Scene at Klong Khian town, shot fr…
Scene at Klong Khian town, shot f…
The road less traveled.
The road less traveled.
An unknown road to an unknown town…
An unknown road to an unknown tow…
Why did the chicken cross...aaah, …
Why did the chicken cross...aaah,…
Children playing in an unknown tow…
Children playing in an unknown to…
Dry docked boat.
Dry docked boat.
Someones home, town unknown. Near…
Someone's home, town unknown. Nea…
Man and dog on the road near Phang…
Man and dog on the road near Phan…
Our tropical road trip.
Our tropical road trip.
Roadside goats.
Roadside goats.
Phang Nga Bay off in the distance.
Phang Nga Bay off in the distance.
Another road shot, I dont know wh…
Another road shot, I don't know w…
Look! A wild cow!
Look! A wild cow!
Woman and child. On the road near …
Woman and child. On the road near…
Rubber tree.
Rubber tree.
Rubber trees.
Rubber trees.
Rubber trees.
Rubber trees.
Here comes the rain.
Here comes the rain.
Phang Nga
photo by: ilserita