So our Hong Island Tour conveniently fell on the day of my birthday. Well, that wasn’t the entirely true because I really did booked this trip coinciding my 30th birthday! Yaaay!
And though we could lessen the expense by joining a group tour, we decided not to for us to celebrate the joyous occasion by having the boat exclusively. Plus, our boat men and tour guide from Thalassa Tour strategically timed our island visits to have the them all to ourselves!
To get to Krabi, Thailand we need to land in Phuket. From Manila, the fastest way to get to Phuket is by plane. Cebu Pacific flies directly to Phuket thrice a week, MWF. It will take around 3 hours to get there. From Phuket, a land travel of almost 2 hours is still needed.
If you’ve got patience, you can also fly via AirAsia (for Manila-Phuket / Manila-Krabi) or Jetstar (Manila-Phuket) with a layover in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, respectively. The amount of layover time may depend upon the airline but it can get as long as 21 hours.
What We Did
We used the long tail boat for our Day 1 island hopping as I have been wondering what it will be like. It is Thai’s local way of travel, quite noisier than the speedboat, but much faster than our bangkas here in the country. The Hong Group of Islands is about 50 minutes long tail boat ride from Ao Nang.
I love that the sea was so calm and the weather cooperated even thought it was supposed to be the start of monsoon season in Thailand. Thank you Lord for that!
Spots to visit:
This Island is famous for its coral reef which at low tide and can be clearly seen from the surface. Such does not have a beach, but as long as the waves are not too big, it’s a great place for snorkeling. And boy, that’s what we did.
Honestly, we were surprised that the water was quite, errr, fuzzy. Since this is our first island, we were still looking for an explanation as to why the water was not that clear. But as we continued on our island hopping, we had digested a theory why. Read on to know more.
Hong Island Lagoon
Right into the very heart of the island to Hong Island’s lagoon is an amazing lake with mangroves and tree covered cliffs. The entrance to the lagoon is quite narrow and there are occasions where the tide is just too low to enter the lagoon by boat, but this is quite rare. Water in the lagoon is at about waist height at low tide and perfectly calm.
Small Beach Outside the Lagoon
I asked the tour guide what the name of this island was but they said such has no name. So I just named it based on how I described it. Lol. Once we finished enjoying the lagoon, we went straight to this small island to have our lunch. It was a bit isolated and the only people there was us and a group of gals on a speedboat enjoying the beach…and their beers.
While our lunch was being prepared, our guide suggested that we check out the cave nearby. He said that it wasn’t far from the shore so we said yes. Nothing grand but the cave has interesting stones inside and live stalactites and stalagmites, too. After snapping a few photos, we went back to the beach to eat. We were already starving at that moment.
The food served was delish! Pad Thai, spring rolls and that spicy Thai dip, ahhhhh. Lunch that was one for the books! Have you ever daydreamed after eating and almost pinching yourself if it’s truly happening? I had one. Sarap naman kasi talagang tumulala kapag nasa beach! More so if you’re full, makes you really sleepy. Woooh, buhay baboy!
Our next stop was Koh Rai, which was a small island that bears quite yellowish sand but calm waters. I enjoyed swimming here while the boyfriend was sleeping under a shade. Well, someone was actually hiding from the sun as that someone was afraid to get dark. Ahem.
We spent an hour on this island and left when people were starting to arrive. We don’t mean to be snobbish but no one wants a crowd-flooded island right? Most especially if it’s going to be full of ‘selfie-loving’ tourists.
Hong Island Bay
Hong Island have a National Park status which means there can be no development, resorts and certainly no private beaches to be built in the vicinity. This kind of regulation should also be granted on our beaches in the Philippines. It should not be about the profit after all, right?
We were dropped at the island’s artificial pier. Though it was just a short walk down the floating pier onto the beach. But once you walk a bit further, one will get to Hong Island’s beautiful sheltered cove.
I remember asking our guide Tony if we needed slippers in case na mabato ung lalakaran, he confidently said ‘no need.’ Apparently, he was right. The sand of Hong Island was the finest if not the whitest sand I have ever walked on. I immediately told my beau: “Alam ba ng Conde Nast na nag-e-exist to?” The sand’s texture was flour-like and as white as snow.
As I was surveying the beach closely, I just screamed ang exaaaage! Ang OA kasi sa kagandahan. I honestly got scared for Palawan.
Since the sand is so fine, it is also very light for the waves to lift such and make the waters quite blurry in the process. Don’t get me wrong, the beach is outstanding, the waters? Hmm. Let’s just say that when we tried to swim that was where we understood why this wasn’t hailed as the number 1 beach in the world. In this instance, the sand became the best and kinda the ‘not-so-good’ trait of the island.
Despite our realization, we spent the longest in this island. We were basically alone at the beach and with calm waters, we really felt relaxed. It was like an hour of kwentuhan and muni-muni while swimming. We just left when we were seeing that the waves are getting bigger and we still have to catch the sunset on another island.
Known as Koh Gai in Thai which means Chicken Island. Why? Because from the right angle, the front part of the island looked like it bears a head of a chicken. See what I mean?
Phranang Cave & Beach
Phranang Beach was our last stop and our guide told us that it was best if we stay to watch the sunset. And since I am a sucker for sunsets, we opted to wait. And glad we did. Can you see how beautiful it was? It was one of my best sunset photos ever!
Sunset by the beach is said to be one of the most photographed sceneries wherever you might be but the Phranang Beach’s version is absolutely on my top 5. Really exceptionally good!
Where We Stayed
We stayed at Ao Nang Home Stay for 3 nights thru booking.com. The cost per night is THB 950 (around Php 1,273). I highly recommend this place as the owner, Mr Chang, is very accommodating and can arrange tours and transfers for you. He organized our Krabi to Phuket ferry transfers. The home stay was also neat and situated in a strategic location.
See contact details below for more information.
>> Tom Yum Goong – Ate our dinner from a restaurant, Massaman, which was recommended by our home stay owner. And of course I have to eat my fave Thai food! Tom Yum is something that I eat most Friday date nights so I have to eat the authentic one from Thailand, right? I fell in love with this dish way back when I tried such during my Bangkok trip and the authentic taste did not disappoint when I had one again in Krabi. Truly divine!
>> Stir Fried Beef – Also from Massaman, though this dish quite tasty, I just had a couple of bites as I am not a fan of beef and I have Tom Yum at my disposal. But my beau seemed to like it as he was the one who ordered it and naubos naman niya, so I think it was good.
>> Coconut Juice – also known as buko juice. Yes, you need to try Thailand’s buko because it tasted quite different from what we have here. How different? It is buko with pandan! That’s one loaded coconut alright. And ang saraaaap!
• As stated, we opted to hire the boat exclusively and the cost was higher than of a group tour. There are many travel agencies in Krabi, make sure to choose a reputable one. Read my Phi Phi Island tour post to check out my blog partner for such.
• Don’t forget to bring water. Hydrate yourself at all times.
• Don’t forget to put on some sunscreen.
• Ensure that you get to experience riding their long tail boat. Somewhat similar to our bangka but not really. Experience it so you’ll know what I mean. Plus, taking pictures of it is always Instagram-worthy. Wink wink.
• Majority of the tour agencies offer hotel pickup, ensure that you will be ready when they arrive. You are a foreigner in their country and they don’t understand much of the Filipino time. Be considerate to your tour mates.
Travel Expense Summary
|Expenses||in THB||in Php||÷ by 2|
|Phuket to Ao Nang transfers||2,000||2,680||1,340|
|Thalassa Exclusive Tour*||6,500||8,710||4,355|
|TOTAL||THB 10,170||Php 13,627.80||Php 6,813.90|
Note: *With blogger discount. Airfare and pasalubong money not included.
We used the exclusive long tail boat services of Thalassa Tour on our first day in Krabi as well as organized our Phuket to Ao Nang land transfers. You may email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach them via Facebook here.