... continue from Part 1
Tour to Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island
The northern end of Phuket is connected to the mainland by Sarasin Bridge.
Our tour began with pick-up by minivan from hotel, leaving Patong and travelled all the way north, crossing the bridge and finally reached the 1st visiting point - Suwan Kuha Temple (a.k.a. Wat Tam) in mainland Phang Nga.
This temple is located beside a limestone mountain cave with Buddha. The cave is a bit alike Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. Similar to Batu Caves, there are steps to climb inside the cave, and there are "light cave" and "dark cave" inside its multi-cave structure.
This reclining Buddha is in the main cave.
The top most cave leads out into a rainforest.
There are monkeys outside the cave, and they are just staying outside, won't go inside the cave.
We continued the tour to a pier, and boarded into a longtail boat. The boat brought us for sight-seeing in Phang Nga Bay, where there are lots of mangrove trees along the Phang Nga Bay National Park estuary. After that, there are lots of beautiful rocky small islands around us in the sea.
The boat settled down in a floating village on the seaside in Koh Panyee. We took our lunch in a Muslim restaurant there. This lunch was inclusive as part of the tour package. There are some souvenir stalls behind the restaurant. In front of the restaurant near the jetty we saw a netted area where the seafoods (crabs, lobsters, etc.) are kept in the sea.
I'm not quite sure what is this. Is it pearl breeding?
After lunch, we boarded onto the same boat and departed to James Bond Island. It is a small island with 2 sandy beaches, once an undiscovered paradise, and after some shot taken in a James Bond 007 movie in 1974 (The Man With The Golden Gun), now it is crowded with tourists.
We landed on the longer beach. There is a row of souvenir stalls facing the beach. Although now is not a peak session, there were still a lot of tourists there.
There are 2 legendary scenes in James Bond Island. The straight wall cliffs...
and Koh Tapu (Nail Island), viewable from another beach.
The last stop is sea canoeing near Talu Island. We landed onto a "platform" formed by 2 cruise ships joined together, and got onto a canoe. A boatman kayaked the canoe and brought us around.
Along the kayak journey, we went through several sea caves. The above is a bigger cave, some required us to lay down in order to pass through.
After that, we returned to the platform, boarded onto our boat, went back to the pier, and sent back to Patong Beach by the same minivan.
Tour to Phi Phi Island
On another day, we went for another tour to Phi Phi Island.
A minivan came and picked us up from hotel. We passed through the Phuket Town and reached a pier. We bought a loaf of bread there to feed monkeys and fishes later on. We were advised to rent a pair of fins for snorkeling, but later we found that it was not necessary. So, if you were told to rent the fins, consider it carefully before paying the money.
Before getting onto the boat, we were briefed about the itinerary with this map (and I found the map later in Internet).
We took off with a speedboat. Our 1st stop was Maya Bay Phi Phi National Park. We landed on a beach lined up with a lot of speedboats. Many tourists were walking around the beach, and some were swimming in the sea.
We followed the path to the toilet, which located some distance away from the beach. We passed through a small forest, and at the end of the walking path is a viewpoint at another side of the island. It is also a diving location near Pi Leh Cove.
Departing from Maya Bay, we went sightseeing at Loh Samah Bay and then to several viewpoints as in the itinerary shown above. We were told that Viking Cave cannot be boardedWe fed the monkeys at Monkey Beach. We took lunch in a restaurant at Loh Dalum Bay and then continued our tour. The boat stopped in the middle of the sea at Hin Klang for snorkeling. There are beautiful corals and fishes under the sea. We finished up our loaf by bread by feeding the fishes there.
Then, there was a long travel to Khai Island with a long beach. The beach was occupied by a row of boats. Many tourists were walking around the shore. There are beach chairs with umbrella for rent, and it was compulsory for use to rent it as our tour guide informed us to bring along our belongings off the boat. Pineapple, watermelon and drinks were served as refreshment as part of the package.
Here is also the swimming and snorkeling spot in our itinerary. Fishes were found swimming around the coast.
The tour ended by returning to Phuket Island and we were sent back to hotel with the same minivan.
Elephant Trekking Tour
On another day, we went for elephant trekking near the foot of the mountain where Big Buddha is located.
This package includes monkey show, elephant show and snake show at the same place.
Siam Niramit Show
Siam Niramit Phuket is located beside an ex-mining lake.
We reached there around 7pm. International buffet dinner was served in a big restaurant at 3rd floor.
Outdoor, there is a small demo village showcasing traditional Thai-style living and a floating market. We rided on a canoe for free, going around the village.
Beside the demo village is a carnival funfair area for some games and prizes.
There was an open air pre-show performance at the outdoor stage, which included elephant show, and then the performance of a troop of ancient elephant army going to war.
Visitors were encouraged to take photo with this elephant army.
The Siam Niramit Show started at 8.30pm in a theatre located some distance away from the outdoor stage.
No photo can be taken for the show, and all guests were instructed to deposit their camera at the counter before entering the theatre hall.
The Siam Niramit Show is about Thai culture, history and believe. There were hundreds of performers including some animals. The show is full of amazing visual and sound sensation, and great thunder and raining effect.
We purchased the Platinum seats which have good location for watching the show.
There is another famous show in Phuket called Phuket Fantasea. We didn't went for that due to budget constraint.
Phuket City Tour
During our last day in Phuket, we visited to some attractions around the island for a 5-hours city tour in a 7-seater 4WD before being sent to the airport.
Departed from Patong, the car went south for sightseeing along Karon Beach and the beautiful Kata Beach. There is a nice viewpoint on top of a hill near Kata Beach.
There is another nice viewpoint at Prompthep Cape with a square and a lighthouse. We visited the lighthouse too.
Then, we visited the Big Buddha located on top of a mountain. The Big Buddha is undergoing some construction work to paste marbles onto its surface. There is a donation campaign for visitors to donate for the marbles to be used.
We dropped by Phuthai Phuket Souvenir and Handicrafts Market. This place is obviously operated to earn tourists money. We didn't buy anything there, as we found the price there is somehow even more expensive than the small souvenir shops in Patong main street. We have already bought our souvenir when we walked around in Patong.
We also visited Wat Chalong, the biggest Buddhist temple in Phuket.
There is a tower in Wat Chalong worshipping precious relics located at its top level.
Phuket Cashew Nut Factory is a place for tourist to buy snacks. We didn't visited the actual factory, but went into the outlet for food testing and shopping.
The Premium Outlet Shopping Center has shops of many branded names. The shops have big display area with lots of goods. However, the price in those retail outlets does not seems to give good bargain. It is just neither cheap nor expensive.
Our city tour in Phuket ended here, and the driver took us to airport for departure.