Tag Archives: island

KOH JUM

KOH JUM (KOH PU)

After we left Koh Yao Noi we went back to Krabi where we got the tickets for Koh Jum Ferry (time table: http://www.kohjumonline.com/ferryboats.html ). Klong Jilad Pier is Krabi’s main pier and connecting point to the nearby Andaman islands such as Phuket, Phi Phi, and Lanta. It’s well maintained by the local Krabi Town municipality and sits near a mangrove forest. On arrival, you’ll see the pier’s car park and a terminal building where you can check in. Waiting area is covered and there are a few small snack vendors. When your ferry comes, you’ll need to take a short walk to the pier end with your bags. We bought our tickets and went for a cup of coffee and Nia had her morning meal.

Leaving Krabi port
Leaving Krabi port
Rain? Again?!
Rain? Again?!

We left Koh Yao Noi bathing in the sun so we were hopeful that our luck with the weather has finally changed. But of course this is the tropics and everything is possible. When we finally embarked the ferry the black clouds that we were so familiar from Koh Lanta started to creep in over the Krabi mainland. After half an hour ride we were caught full blown storm. This amused Svit very much but not so much my wife and Edita. Thankfully Nia was very stoic about all situations. The ride lasted just under two hours and when we reached Koh Jum with his highest pick of Mount Koh Pu the rain finally stopped. That was a good thing because there is no pier on this side of Koh Jum so you basically stop at sea and the long tail boats from the resorts stop near the ferry. Then you have only few minutes to get your bags and kids and climb down the steep ladder into the boat. Of course by that time the rain started again so it was not so funny anymore. But we were on adventure, right? When we reached the shore we had still a few minutes to walk until we reached our new place for next few days.

From ferry to the beach Koh Jum style
From ferry to the beach Koh Jum style
Koh Jum Beach Villas
Koh Jum Beach Villas

ACCOMMODATION

And what a place it was. We were greeted at Koh Jum Beach Villas, precisely two bedroom with pool Baan Chang villa (http://www.kohjumbeachvillas.com/ ). All the doubts that rain brought were instantly blown away with sheer beauty of this place. Svit started to explore the Villa while Nia was resting on the sofa waiting for us to have our welcome drink. We wrote a review for this heaven on TA, so you can read it here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1152743-d877284-r186968056-Koh_Jum_Beach_Villas-Ko_Jum_Krabi_Province.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT

Baan Chang living room
Baan Chang living room
Reading time
Reading time
Pool
Pool

The next few days we were just lounging around the beautiful tourist free beach doing nothing. Nia crawled around in the sand while Svit occupied the rest of us with ball, Frisbee, kayaking or just playing in the crystal clear and warm Andaman Sea. He was running around trying to catch the crabs or simply collecting the shells on the beach.

Running from vawes
Running from vawes
Beach walking
Beach walking
Beautiful Andaman beach
Beautiful Andaman beach
Morning at Koh Jum Beach Villas
Morning at Koh Jum Beach Villas

KOH JUM VILLAGE

Since we were without any BBQ food for past few days, and sadly they also didn’t have it here, we decided to go to Koh Jum Village to find our luck there. We called a taxi, which turned out to be funny name for motorbike with roof and 4 seats.

Koh Jum transport
Koh Jum transport

But as we were about to see the roads on this island are compared only with it’s development. Which was again just what we were looking for when we picked this island months ago while reading on a web about it: http://www.yourkrabi.com/where-to-stay-jum-island/. After a bumpy but very exciting ride we reached our destination. Baan Koh Pu, a fishing village that is the most interesting of the three villages on the island.  It is a predominantly Muslim area and we passed a small modern green mosque just outside the village.

Koh Jum Village
Koh Jum Village

A crowded tumble of ramshackle wooden stilted houses with roofs of palm leaves or rusting corrugated iron lined the seafront.  Front porches piled high with fishing nets, and at least one, often many, hanging caged birds. The locals swung lazily in hammocks—hiding from the heat. We were quite an attraction as we were the only foreigners around and our kids brought out lots of smiles from the locals.

Koh Jum Seafood restaurant
Koh Jum Seafood restaurant

Soon we discovered what we were searching for: Koh Jum Seafood Restaurant  (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1152743-d2558263-r186968451-Koh_Jum_Seafood_Restaurant-Ko_Jum_Krabi_Province.html#REVIEWS ). We had great meal here watching over the local kids swimming under their houses on wooden tilts.

Back we went with full bellies
Back we went with full bellies

KOH PHI PHI

Storm over Phi Phi Islands
Storm over Phi Phi Islands

The Islands are seen from the beach at the resort and every night the sun went down over them. We tried to visit Phi Phi’s years ago when we didn’t have  kids. We were on Ao Nang for couple of days while waiting for sea conditions to get better but the water God was ruthless that July, so we left the Thailand and went to Langkawi in search for sun. Since then Phi Phi’s always stayed in the back of our minds as the place that once we must see.

One sunny morning the long tail was waiting for us and our whish was finally about to come through.

Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi

The ride took us about 1,5 hours and it went smooth until we reached the Islands. The waves around them were nothing out of ordinary as we were explained by our boatman.

We stopped on Koh Phi Phi Leah first and we were amazed with clarity of the water and sheer beauty of this place. The nature is really amazing thing.

Koh Phi Phi Leh
Koh Phi Phi Leh

Svit wanted to jump in whenever we stopped while Nia was looking around like having a cup of tea. On the other side of the island Maya bay is located. Maya Bay is a stunningly beautiful bay that’s sheltered by 100m-high cliffs on three sides on Koh Phi Phi. Inside the bay there are several beaches, most are small and some only exist at low tide. The main one is around 200m long with silky soft white sand; underwater colourful coral and exotic fish in exceptionally clear water, the whole bay is one big reef. It has become the main tourist attraction of Phi Phi since The Beach was filmed here in 1999. It was always very popular before the film but now people around the world who haven’t even heard of Phi Phi have certainly heard of Maya Bay.

Maya bay
Maya bay

As you can see the beauty of the place is virtually overshadowed by the long tail boats parked in the bay and hundreds of tourists searching for their sq. meter on the beach. You can imagine that after few photos from the boat we rather proceeded to our next stop which was Phi Phi Don. By then the ride become a bit rougher as the waves become higher. We passed dozens of diving and other boats. This was Thai mass tourism at its best. Or worst?

When we docked on the beach we decided to stay on the island until we call our boatmen to pick us up.

Arriving to Koh Phi Phi Don
Arriving to Koh Phi Phi Don
Phi Phi Don beach
Phi Phi Don beach

Well…we lasted just under an hour before we made the call. We sit down, had a drink, fed Nia and bought some postcards.

Main road on Phi Phi Don
Main road on Phi Phi Don

Then we run the hell out of this mass tourist trap. So our dream place was just crushed into pieces…but thankfully we found new place where we could actually live on. It was time to head back.

We stopped for some excellent snorkelling on Mosquito Island which we were forced to cut short since  storm was quickly approaching us and we still had almost two hours on open see to cover. But at least Svit finally got to swim with the fishes so his day was made.

Mosquito Island
Mosquito Island
Lots and lots of fishes
Lots and lots of fishes

After few minutes Nia felt asleep in Edita’s arm while Tina was feeding Svit watermelon. In just a moment we’ve found ourselves in full blown storm. The waves was huge, the rain was pouring down like no tomorrow… Kids slept all the way, our boat drivers were amused with the situation while we were trying to hold on plastic tart that was there to prevent soaking us completely. Sorry, no pictures were taken. Of course everything passed when Nia and Svit got awake so they were greeted with sun on arrival on Koh Jum.

Dinner at the Villa
Dinner at the Villa

Koh Jum is nothing compared to places like Phuket or even Koh Lanta. In contrast, the northern coast, where we stayed, it’s remote and wild. You get a definite castaway feeling when you stay there. It is rocky and mountainous with heavy jungle cover, which, in part, helps to keep the crowds away. Personally I prefer that rugged, rocky beach look over the sand of much more exposed Koh Phi Phi’s. To wrap it up, as I said before, this is the island I could easy find us living on.

Bagkok is next…

 

KOH YAO NOI

KOH YAO NOI … or as The Guardian called it “Thailand’s last unspoilt island”

Finding the perfect unspoilt Thai island is not as easy as it once was.Koh Yao Noi (“long, little island” in Thai, though it is neither particularly long nor little), is located in Phang Nga Bay between Krabi and Phuket. It’s a small island that you can easily explore in one day. You just hop on motorcycle and you can drive around the whole island. Roads are great by Thai standards, even better than on some other, more populated islands. One of the first things you notice after arriving on Koh Yao Noi is that all the motorbikes have the keys in the ignition. The people on Koh Yao Noi are particularly friendly – and by Thai standards, that means very, very friendly indeed.You can read this few sentences in many of Koh Yao Noi posts but they are absolutelly on spot.

The island is so friendly and perfectly safe for you and your kids. They are few ATM’s on the island and one 7/11 in the main town, where you can also find some food stalls, souvenirs and fresh fruit.

Longtail boat to Koh Yao Noi
Longtail boat to Koh Yao Noi (the girls are at the back)

 

Arriving to our paradise
Arriving to our paradise

 

We have arrived onKYN on short and scenic  long tail boat from Talean pier on Krabi side of the bay (you can find time schedules on Koh Yao Resort home page http://www.koyao.com/resort-facilities/koh-yao-ferries-transport/ ).

Welcome to paradise by Svit
Welcome to paradise by Svit

On arrival we met our driver who then took us on a few minutes long ride to our villa. Since we had really bad experience with the rain on Koh Lanta, the sun on our arrival was muchappreciated addition. I don’t know who was happier, Svit or we:)  When we stopped at our home for next few days, our host Mhee was already there. She showed us the place and gave us few very good advices and of course local cell phone with her number on which we could reach her 24/7. She also provided us with two motorbikes that we had on desposure for our entire stay.

Finally
Finally

ACCOMMODATION

The Diva Star Villa was simply amazing (you can read our review on Trip Advisor: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g661285-d3737194-r186959652-Villa_Diva-Ko_Yao_Noi_Phang_Nga_Province.html#review_186959652). It has fully equipped kitchen, huge dining room, sound system, 4 bedrooms/bathrooms, gazebo and nice pool in which we have spent most mornings and evenings. We booked two bedrooms so the rest two rooms were locked, everything else was on our desposure. You can check the prices for this gorgeous villa on Booking ( http://www.booking.com/hotel/th/villa-diva-star-koh-yao-noi.sl.html ). Svit shared his room with Edita, since they are always room mates on our trips, and Tina and I had baby cot with Nia in our room.

Villa is just a few minutes away from Pasir beach on which we were always alone. There is also a little store by the beach where we got our daily supply of Chang for us and ice cream for kids. You can choose you dinning option from at least four restaurants by the beach in which you can have excellentThai or western food. You can also order in from one of these places so you can have your dinner served in villa. This was particularly handy when Nia was tired and too “vocal” for the rest of population on the island.

Swinging at Pasir beach
Swinging at Pasir beach

Alone at the beach

Alone at the beach
When kids are in daddy's care part one
When kids are in daddy’s care part one
And part two
And part two

PHANG NGA BAY trip

As usual Mhee organized a whole day long tail trip just for us. The roof on the boot was really necessity since the Thai sun could be unforgiven. We were a bit worried since this was our first all day trip with Nia on board. But as usual she surprised us all so this turned to one of greatest trips we had.

Helping hands
Helping hands

KOH HONG

After helping our boat to leave the shore (tide is always a factor you need to count in when South East Asia), we headed to Koh Hong. Before heading to Thailand’s ridiculously picturesque PhangNgaBay — the stretch of water between Phuket and Krabi that’s home to more improbable limestone isles than a pirate’s tale — we had never heard of Koh Hong.

And off we went (Koh Hong in the distance)
And off we went (Koh Hong in the distance)

And why would we? The craggy limestone isle hasn’t attracted Hollywood’s cameras in the way that Koh Tapu (Nail Island, better known as James Bond Island after starring in The Man with the Golden Gun).

Nor is Koh Hong of any great size — it’s a speck in comparison to Phuket or Koh Samui on the other side of the Malay Peninsula. Yet Koh Hong’s relative anonymity is a great reason to point yourself in its direction: there is no battling for a patch of sand on Pelay, its only beach, no one trying to sell you this, that or the other – just a lone lifeguard stationed at a desk. It’s that rare thing in SEA: a little piece of paradise that’s genuinely relaxing. Koh Hong is also just a day trip rather than an overnight destination.

At Koh Hong
At Koh Hong
Koh Hong, Longtail boats
Koh Hong, Longtail boats

We went for a short swim since the island was packed with day trippers. Tina, Edita and Nia decided to stay out in the shades of mangrove trees while Svit and I tried to get lucky with fishes. But sadly the water was a bit murky so you can imagine his disappointment.

No fish today, Koh Hong
No fish today, Koh Hong

After rain on Lanta now no fishes here. Phanga Bay is known for its spectacular scenery and not for turquoise water that Thailand is renewed for. But we knew that before we came here so it wasn’t much of disappointment for us. You can only endure just so much beaches, right?:) We were on this part of Thailand for completely different reasons.

Lunch on the boat and heading out to Phang Nga Bay
Lunch on the boat and heading out to Phang Nga Bay

After this stop we headed deeper into Pang Nga Bay. On our way we’ve passed lots of beautiful limestone formations that were simply breath taking. Of course Nia didn’t care much for this work of nature because she has decided that sleeping it off is more important for her. Svit on the other hand truly enjoyed the boat ride and he occupied Edita for entire trip.

Having fun
Having fun
Scenic boat ride
Scenic boat ride

JAMES BOND ISLAND

The area came to world attention in the 1974 James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’, which features the bay in its climax. In the movie, Bond (than Roger Moore starred as Her Majesty agent) flies a light aircraft over the spectacular scenery, providing dramatic panoramic views of the bay. He lands at Scaramanga’s island where they do battle across the beach and in a hall of mirrors. The island’s Thai name is Koh Pingkan but the Thais are not ones to miss a marketing opportunity, so it is generally known as James Bond Island. The distinctive rock, that in the movie houses a laser gun, is Koh Tapoo, generally known as James Bond Rock.

James Bond Island
James Bond Island

Since the island is part of PhangNga Bay national park you have to pay entrance fee to get on the island. That and the crowds convinced us only to stop for picture moments from our boat. The further north we went the more and more day tripping tourist from Phuket we encountered. Once again we got conformation that we chose our paradise island wisely.

Phang Nga Bay, Daytrippers
Phang Nga Bay, Daytrippers

KOH PANYI (PANYEE)

This Muslim Sea Gypsy village, with strict rules to comply with, was our last stop before heading back. By this time both our kids were getting a bit restless on a boat since the sun and heat reached its peak. So we had to pros suede them with ever kids dream – ice cream. Thankfully we made this stop because the images really stayed in our mind. This 200-year old community was amongst the first to settle in the bay. They built their village on stilts above the water. During the day, the tour boats bring hordes of tourists to eat the fresh seafood and buy trinkets. Once all the tour boats leave, the villagers close the trinket shops and revert to sleepy fishing village life. There are a few bungalows available for rent in the village for those who prefer to stay over and see the authentic village life. (Remember it is a Muslim community so you should dress modestly and refrain from drinking alcohol.)

Arriving to Koh Panyi
Arriving to Koh Panyi

Since Tina is a teacher, our first stop was of course local school. The kids were simply amazing but I really don’t have clue how they can cope with all the crowds invading their daily learning process.

Classroom
Classroom
Rest time at school
Rest time at school

Since we are huge fans of reality show The Amazing Race ( http://www.cbs.com/shows/amazing_race/) we remembered that they had one of pits stops on the football field on this island. So Edita and Svit went to check it out.

Floating footbal field
Floating footbal field

And finally before we went back on boat it was ice cream time. We’ve left this amazing trip with long lasting impressions.

Ice cream time for Nia
Ice cream time for Nia

Koh Yao Noi shortly became one of our favorite places that we would really recommend to all our friend and travelers since is really picturesque, peaceful and extremely safe. We were kind of sad when it disappeared on horizon as we were heading back to mainland where our ride to another pier from where we would head out to our next adventure, was waiting for us.