Saturday, January 28, 2006

Andaman Islands - Koh Ngai: Day 1

The trip started off with an overnight train ride from Bangkok.

We had sleeper bunks and went to bed after a decent dinner.

We arrived at the small town of Trang, and proceeded to check out the local morning market.

Eels anybody? Yummy. :)

Coincidentally, we arrived in Trang on the day of the Thai "Loy Kratong" festival. During this festival, Thais will release handmade "kratongs" (pictured above) into a body of water.

After the short trip to the market, we headed off in a chartered van to Baan Pak Meng, a small village near the pier that is the gateway to the islands off the coast.

Several small shops offered us the chance of last minute shopping for beach amenities.

Koh Ngai

After a short ride on a speedboat from Pak Meng pier, we arrived at Koh Ngai.

The beach and the emerald sea were among the most beautiful that I had seen. The resort at Koh Ngai was also nice. I started getting the feeling that this was going to be a well deserved real holiday. Thoughts of "Fantasy Island" came to mind.

Emerald Cave

After unloading our bags into the chalets, we started on our first island hop. The ferry boat ride presented many photo-taking opportunities.

The Emerald Cave is an amazing creation of nature. Located on the west coast of Koh Muuk, its entrance is at the bottom of some high cliffs.

The cave is dark, narrow and winding. We swam through the cave, a distance of about 80 metres and found ourselves in a beached valley with beautiful white sand.

Supposedly, once the tide comes in it is impossible to get out of the valley and cave.


Next stop was a small coral island to do some snorkeling.

I had my first taste of open sea snorkeling. The sea was full of colourful fish, which were more than eager to nibble at bread crumbs thrown by us tourists. Actually, it can be a little scary if some clueless tourist decides to throw some fish food nearby to where you happen to be swimming. The fishes show no restraint in going for the goodies.

The underwater view was amazing, with fantastic views of the living corals. Too bad I didn't have a waterproof camera case.

Sunset and Loy Kratong

After dinner at the resort, we celebrated the Thai festival of Loy Kratong. Guests were given complimentary Kratongs. The ideal plan was to take a boat ride out to the nearby island to release the Kratongs into the sea. Unfortunately for us, the weather started to turn windy, so we decided to just Loy our Kratongs in the resort's pond.

The resort staff lead the celebrations, complete with the "Loy Kratong beauty", music and dancing under the full moon. A very nice way to end the day.

Continue to Day 2 / Back to Prologue