Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay, Phuket

Originally, our plan was to stay at a beach side resort, bring our SUPs and explore. I’d just booked the long weekend trip in a hurry, and promptly forgot about it.

As the date drew closer though, I thought to do a bit more research, and found that in Phuket, Phang Nga was the premier bay to go to for kayaking. We could bring our SUPs, but it seemed more trouble than it was worth, and I didn’t have time to dig into the logistics and area maps etc. So, I defaulted back to our original plan from April 2020 before Covid shut everything down: going with Paddle Asia.

They have trip dates advertised on their site, but none fit our schedule. Happily though, the owner, Dave, was more than happy to accommodate, pairing us up with another guide, Mr Har, who, along with our own long tail boat, would guide us around the bay.

If you don’t love crowds, and love being in the outdoors, highly, highly recommend kayaking in Phang Nga Bay. Unlike overrun Krabi and Phi Phi Islands, we had the entire bay to ourselves, save the occasional fishing boats that we passed by. Granted, because we’re in the bay, the waters aren’t as clear as Krabi or Phi Phi, but during this period of the year, whale sharks do venture into the bay to feed. Alas, we didn’t spot any. Haha.

We’d booked a 2-day kayak tour, and at the end of day 1, our long tail boat picked us up to drop us off at a local resort on Phang Nga. It was basic, but had a hot shower and a comfortable bed, all we needed. We strolled 8 minutes along the bay front at sunset to a shack serving up cold beer and satisfying Thai food for dinner.

The winds had picked up overnight when we awoke, and we could see white caps on the water. No matter, the captain charted a new course, bringing us to a group of islands on the leeward side that we could explore, including a couple fun caves.

We had a blast, and kayaking in Phang Nga Bay again certainly is on our list of to-dos; hopefully we can find another long weekend in the new year!

Weekend paddle boarding in Krabi

On a whim four months ago, we decided to book in a long weekend in Krabi. At the time, our year end had stretched out as an empty canvas with little or no activity. Within weeks though, I’d booked in a work trip to Barcelona right before, and another work trip to India right after. What had seemed like a lazy getaway now seemed more stressful than it was worth.

But it was worth it. Travel almost always is in the end. 😃 Our flight to Krabi was uneventful and quick, and we’d booked a private car transfer to Ao Nang Beach so it was a comfortable half hour car ride. Once at the beach, we didn’t have long to wait for a full quorum of 8 passengers to board our long tail boat for the ride across to Railay Beach where our hotel was. From conference to paradise in an afternoon!

We’d brought our paddle boards with us, so we’d have the flexibility of exploring wherever and whenever, so, we got up at 5am the next morning in time to paddle out for the sunrise.

It was too overcast for a gorgeous sunrise, but we luxuriated in the early morning calm. No long tail boats with their noisy engines around us; the water was still and glossy in the golden light, and the beaches stretched out, silent and clean.

We had a most relaxing two and a half hours just paddling around and back the tip of West and East Railay Beaches, and under the overhanging eaves of the stunning limestone towers jutting out of the emerald green waters.

In the late morning, after breakfast and a few work calls, we ventured back out again, this time with our snorkels. By this time, the beaches were already filled with sunbathers and swimmers, the area completely transformed. Still a beautiful paddle, but we looked forward to easing into the water to cool off from the baking sun.

Alas, what seemed like an incredible watery Eden from above turned out to be more of a desert underwater. The water was warm, way too warm to support the corals that blanketed the sea floor. Most of them were dead, bleached or covered in algae. While there were fishes, they were sparse. We only spotted a stingray the entire trip, no turtles, eels etc.

Another morning, another sunrise paddle. This time, we crossed the 5km from Railay to Ko Poda. At this time of the day, the crossing was beautiful – flat glossy waters. We had the island entirely to ourselves too.

What a small world! Our friend saw our post about being in Krabi, and she’d texted saying she was staying in the northern area too. We didn’t think we’d bump into each other, but she and her friends spotted two paddle boarders at Ko Poda early Saturday morning, who turned out to be us! We caught up briefly in Railay later at lunch, when her group stopped by for a meal on their island hops.
I loved this little tunnel on the tip of Railay that we could paddle through. We did that three times, and also waded through once at low tide when we went for an afternoon snorkel
Sunset at West Railay. The storm clouds were menacing on the other side of the camera, with flashes or lightning every few seconds. We were prepared for the evening of rain though, and had already finished dinner and were ready to shelter in our villa for the evening lol
Our last morning, Sunday, we decided as a change to let our paddle boards dry off and rented a double kayak instead.
We paddled over to nearby Tonsai, to watch climbers tackle the imposing limestone faces. We’d both been to Krabi separately more than ten years ago, and then, had focused the trip around climbing. This time around though, we were content to be on the water.

It turned out to be a great 3.5 day escape. Not too long, not too rushed. And now we’re looking forward to the next long weekend we booked in December, this time to Phuket, and again with our paddle boards!