We knew that we wanted to explore the area as much as possible, whilst still be able to spend maximum time relaxing, so we planned some really particular outings. We knew that we absolutely wanted to go see “James Bond” Island (really named Khao Phing Kan). And after doing some research, we booked with SeaStar to take us out there.
We only have the best things to say about their Royal Phuket Marina branch. We left from the Phuket Marina bright and early in the morning in the capable hands of our group leader, Joker. (Who was, incidentally, hilarious. Which is probably how he got his name.) We flew through Phang-nga Bay by large speed boat to our first area Panak Island (also called Hong Island).
Panak Island is the first island that you pass when you depart Phuket via the bay. This area is famous for its incredible stalactites, caves, and lagoons. Also island dwelling monkeys that can swim and catch crabs. Once we got to Panak Island, we hopped out of our speedboat and into little canoes so that we could go in and out of the caves and lagoons. Each canoe was assigned a guide and ours was literally the best. He had an amazing sense of humour, was super knowledgeable about everything we were seeing and he took us to different lagoons than everyone else went to.
Each cave “hong” (meaning room) has been created by the flow of the tide. Most have both an entrance and an exit tunnel. Deep within Koh Panak you can even find a hong filled with mangrove trees. The island was formed long ago, originally from sedimentary layers on the bottom of a tropical ocean, with no volcanic activity involved in the island formation. So the rock is soft and the limestone and minerals can ooze over time.
Being in the little sea canoe and going in to different lagoons is one of the highlights of my life; it was so memorable, and it’s the ultimate proof (in my mind) of the importance of experiences over things. I also realise yet again that I have literally no upper body strength; when given the opportunity to row by myself I just kind of jittered in circles.
After leaving Panak Island we headed towards James Bond Island, which is another post for another day!
Have you ever explored any caves via boat?