Escape the island: road trip!
Phang Nga Travel Blog› entry 55 of 251 › view all entries
May 7th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
They often welcomed us with smiles, and sometimes waved as we drove by. â€śHaaalllo!â€ť 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.
This day started with no real plan, but we knew we wanted to get off the islandâ€¦ 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 â€śJames Bond Island.
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, Maybeâ€¦how much? He handed us a laminated card listing various tours, and prices that were about triple what my travel guide said to expect.
Itâ€™s great to get away from Tourist Landâ€¦ that is, until you need a tour. This guy was apparently the only game in town, and he wasnâ€™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 driveâ€¦east, I think. We didnâ€™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 endâ€¦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 weâ€™ll have to get off the island again, soon.
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