Phang Nga National Park

I’ve been asked by many customers who rent property from me which is the best boat trip to do when they are in Phuket. It’s difficult to answer as all of them are interesting but my favourite one is Ao Phang Nga National Park where the popular James Bond Island is located.

Here’s a tip for you! I did not buy a package trip from an agency because I didn’t want to join a big group of tourists which would be very crowded and difficult to get nice pictures without someone in your way. Also you would need to follow the group schedule which is not flexible if you would like to stay longer in one place. To do this you can drive from Phuket or hire a driver to drive to the pier. It’s best to arrive at the pier before tourist groups and start your trip earlier than them. I recommend you arrive at the pier no later than 10 am.

If you buy a trip from a tour agency they will pick you up at the hotel early in the morning, like 7 am, by a minibus and your bus will go around to pick up other people to join your trip. You will probably end up sitting in a minibus for 2 hours or more before you arrive at the pier in Phang Nga and you would probably arrive at the pier around 11 am. And the same on the return journey.

We arrived at the pier and hired a long tail boat for 1,500 Baht to take us around. This price is a standard price for no more than 5 people. They have a big sign to show the standard price by number of people which is specified by the Local Sub-district Administrative Organization. Please note that this price does not include the canoe fee and a National Park fee to visit James Bond Island.

The first destination was to go canoeing. As we started the trip early there were not many tourists around and I was truly enjoying the natural surroundings for the first time compared to previous visits here because there was no noise from tourists or canoes hitting each other like before! The advantage of arriving in the morning is that is less busy, it is cooler and the light is better for taking photos. We paid 300 Baht per person for canoeing which included a friendly canoeing man.

Canoeing in to the cave

DSC_0701DSC_0749 DSC_0752

DSC_0766 DSC_0771


After we finished enjoying canoeing we headed to James Bond Island. Really not much to do here apart from taking a lot of photos of the famous island and rock pillar made famous in the movie, James Bond: The Man with The Golden Gun. There is a fee to land on the island which is 200 Baht per person for adults and 100 Baht for kids.

James Bond Island

The last destination was Koh Panyee, a Muslim village that is built on the water and looks like it’s floating. But the village does not float – only their soccer pitch is floating! The buildings are on stilts and pillars. The village has about 4,000 residents, a school and a hospital. Most of the residents are fishermen, some are souvenir sellers and restaurant owners. There is a beautiful golden dome Mosque in the village which was really amazing to see from a distance in the middle of the water. After lunch in one of the restaurants we walked around the village to explore and I can say that it was really interesting to see people who live in the middle of the water. Even though I’m a Thai person who has seen a lot of different Thai lifestyles, it still amazes me. It’s a very unique place in Thailand that you must visit if you are in Phuket. Amazing Thailand!

We spent about 4 hours and our boat driver was very flexible with the time and allowed me to direct the boat to locations where I wanted to take photos.

Koh Panyee, a Muslim village
Koh Panyee, a Muslim village
Koh Panyee, a Muslim village
Koh Panyee, a Muslim village
A floating football pitch – best location ever!
A school on Koh Panyee
The village boys enjoying swimming in their private pool!
Local lifestyle

DSC_0899 DSC_0891

My luxury cruise!
On the way back to the pier

Phuket Old Town

Most  tourists who come to Phuket would probably head to the beaches and Patong nightlife which are located on the west coast of the island. After you have had enough of sandy beaches and have recovered from your hangover, you should make a trip to Phuket Town or stay there for 1-2 nights. Phuket Town is not a tourist area but it’s where the original Phuket people settled and where Thai people live today. If you stay in Phuket Town you would get a feeling of being a local person and most of the restaurants, bars, shops, market and street food are local style.

Here are a few things that I enjoy of what Phuket Town has to offer.

Sunday night street market at Thalang Road

Thalang Road is one of the most important and oldest roads in Phuket Town and along 350 meters of this road you will see  beautiful classic buildings in “Sino-Portuguese” style. The road is full of chic cafes, restaurants, traditional Chinese shops, some boutique hotels and some residential buildings. Every Sunday evening the road is closed for a street market which starts at 4 pm till 10 pm. The market is full of food stalls, drinks, fruit, clothes, bags, souvenirs, accessories, tattoo stalls and many more things at a Thai price!  There will also be music bands and a traditional show from local kids to entertain you and some kids’ activities like painting.

Two girls wearing traditional Thai custom during Thai New Year or Songkran at the Sunday market
The girl performed at the Sunday market on Thalang road
Thalang Road on Sunday
A lot of chic cafes on Thalang Road
Some of the local products at the market
Sunday street market
Dibuk Road parallel to Thalang Road

Khao Rang View Point

If you want to see a big picture of Phuket Town, Khao Rang View Point has a stunning view over Phuket Town and is located on top of Khao Rang Hill. I have visited this place many times and one reason is because I love the food at Khao Rang Breeze Restaurant and enjoy a chill out evening at one of the highest places on the island. The menu is a mix between Thai and European and I have never been disappointed with the Thai food so far but I guess the restaurant maybe is not the best place for European food. Khao Rang View Point has a park with a chidren’s playground and a shop that sells ice cream and fruit shake – an ideal place for a family with young kids. From 4-6 pm would be the best time to visit as the temperature might be a bit lower (average 30 degrees all year round)  and to have a chill dinner at the restaurant would be a bonus. Before you reach the view point there is a Buddhist Temple that you can visit. I also think that Khao Rang View Point is the best place to see the sun rise as it is located on the east coast of the island but it’s a shame that I haven’t had an opportunity to wake up at 5 am yet!

The park at Khao Rang Hill
The view over Phuket Town
Khao Rang Breeze Restaurant
Khao Rang temple

Night market street food

There is a lot of street food in Phuket Town but my favorite one is the night street food located at the fresh market. There are a lot of food stalls here with open kitchens, e.g. seafood, one dish menu (pad Thai, noodle soup, rice with pork or chicken) and all kinds of fried rice and some local desserts. I have eaten there many times and enjoyed it every time. Tourists who visit Thailand for the first time might be a bit nervous to eat here but there is really nothing to be afraid of as all the food here is not strange. Go ahead and try the most delicious food in the world!

This is what a street food in Phuket looks like!
A lot of food stalls to choose from
Busy time at 7 pm with local people

Shopping in Phuket Town

If you would like to buy good quality of T-shirts, trousers, jeans, shorts, accessories and all kinds of fashion for a reasonable price, The Expo Market is the center for this.  This place sells clothes for men and women made in Thailand and the quality is worth for the price. The price here is cheaper than in tourist areas, e.g. Patong 2-3 times. if you want to do serious shopping it’s worth a visit and It opens from 10 am – 10 pm everyday. If you are there around lunch time I recommend to have lunch at Up Town Restaurant next to the Expo Market or if you are there around dinner time you can walk to the night street food.


Accommodation in Phuket Town

There are some of nice boutique hotels in Phuket Town but if you are looking for bargain accommodation and to stay in a place that you can feel more like home, renting an apartment from Airbnb is an option.

The nearest beach 

I highly recommend you visit Ao Yon Beach located on the east coat of Phuket Island where is very quiet as not many tourists go there. From Phuket Town take Soi Ao-Yon Khao Khad Road, this road runs along the sea with beautiful scenery. You can also stop at Khao Khad View Point Tower to check the most beautiful view point in Phuket.

Soi Ao-Yon Khao Khad Rd. The road to Ao Yon beach
Stunning panorama view point beside the road
Stunning view
Beautiful & peaceful Ao Yon beach
Not many tourist on this beautiful beach..they all in Patong!
There is a sailing school for kid on the beach
Tourists enjoy sunny day with amazing view


I hope you enjoy Phuket Town as much as I do!

Monkey business in Thailand 

Do you want to know about monkey business in Thailand?

First you have to know that coconut production is big business in Thailand and Surat Thani province is one of the biggest coconut producers. The office of Agricultural Economics in Thailand reported that in 2013 Thailand produced about 1 million tonnes of coconuts with a value of about THB 2,600 million (nearly USD 80 million). How do we pick millions of coconuts every year from very tall trees?!

Coconuts grow on very high trees (up to 25m) and therefore difficult for people to reach. Machines to pick at that height would be very expensive. That’s why in Thailand we train monkeys to pick coconuts from very high trees and this is exactly what the Monkey Training College in Surat Thani does.

It takes about 6 months to train a monkey so that  farmers can use them to work but the monkey trainer mentioned that some monkeys can take up to 1 year depending on how old monkey is. If they are very young they probably need a longer time. At the time I visited there were 9 monkeys attending the school and all of them were sponsored by their owner/farmer waiting for them to graduate!

The trainer showed us how to teach monkeys to climb a coconut tree, to pick the right coconut, to collect coconuts on the ground and put them in a bag, to sit properly on a motorbike with their owner and to untangle the rope attached to their collar. It was very impressive.

Here is the website of the school if you would like to visit. The demonstration by the trainer takes about one hour. The monkeys are not trained to perform tricks. They are trained to do serious work. But the trainer will allow you to pose for a picture with a monkey perched on your arm.

I have no idea how many million coconuts to produce a million tonnes of coconuts each year and how many trained monkeys we need! We are maybe not very good at teaching people in Thailand but we are expert at teaching monkeys!

A student monkey is taking a rest
Pigtail macaques are the best monkey for training
The trainer is training a monkey to spin a coconut
The trainer with her student monkey
Me with a student monkey
A monkey can pick up to 1,500 coconuts in one day

3 days in Krabi

Day 1 – drive from Phuket to Krabi

We left home in Phuket around 11 am and we arrived in Krabi late afternoon. It would normally take only 2 hours from Phuket to Krabi if you drive non-stop. We checked in to a lovely 2 bedroom house which I booked via Airbnb. I like to stay in a private property or apartment rather than in a hotel because those properties provide better facilities than in a hotel and you get more space and of course better value.

My accommodation is located in a quiet local village  surrounded by green trees

After unpacking and a bit of relaxing, it was just time for dinner. Because I’m a Thai I would definitely not go to eat in a tourist area like Ao Nang. We decided to try one of the restaurants on the riverside in Krabi town called “Baitoey Seafood”. The food was the real deal and the price was reasonable, a great view over the river and the restaurant full of Thai people! The Thai style of eating is sharing all the food on the table and, as we were 3 people, we ordered a few things to share and eat with steamed rice. I understand that the western culture is to order your own dish, but it’s not common here for Thai people to order just one dish for yourself accept in a single dish restaurant. If you travel to Thailand with your partner or with a small group I highly recommend to eat in the Thai way and I’m sure that you would have a better experience of eating Thai food rather than just have your own dish!

A very pleasant evening, after eating just a bit of walking a long the river

Day 2 – Chill out

My day started with a simple local breakfast just opposite my place which was recommended by my host. This local breakfast is a serving of rice noodle with many kinds of sauces that you can choose from, some spicy and some not, you eat the noodle mix with sauce and fresh vegetables to which you help yourself and boiled egg. It cost me only 45 Baht including iced tea. The restaurant was busy with local people. The name of the restaurant is called “Kha Nom Jeen Mea Well Sai Thai” (ขนมจีนแม่แวว ไสไทย). The restaurant is located on the main road half way between Krabi Town and Ao Nang so you can easily get a bus to here in just 15 minutes. The restaurant closes around 11 am. Opposite the restaurant on the other side of the road also have one of the best Chinese steamed buns you can find in Thailand.

My healthy breakfast cost only 45 Baht

After breakfast we headed to Nopparattara beach which is next to Ao Nang. This beach is part of the National park and less crowded than Ao Nang beach and Railay beach. The beach is 3 km long and has nice shade from trees along the beach. The shade was perfect for me as I don’t enjoy being in the sun all the time. The beach is popular for Thai people to have a picnic under trees. The other side of the road is full of shops and restaurants at a reasonable price. This beach can be your everyday beach after a boat trip to islands and if you have had enough of Railay beach.

Nopparattara beach

Day 3 – Boat trip

We decided to take a day trip to 4 islands on our last day in Krabi (Tup island, Chicken island, Poda island, Railay beach). There are many boat trips you can choose from and many kinds of boats are available, e.g. long tail boat, speed boat or a big boat for a big group of people. The trip advertised 1,200 Baht for each person including lunch and transfer from hotel and drop off. The agency gave me the best price at 900 Baht each person so we booked with them. Later I found out that the Thai lady in the same trip has paid only 750 Baht! Never mind!! There are a lot of agencies in Ao Nang that compete with each other so go around and check the best price. After you believe that you got the best deal do not ask anyone in your trip that how much they have paid!

Tup island
Poda island
Poda island
Railay beach

Dinner time

We went to a seafood restaurant on the island near Krabi town called “Kanabnam View Seafood and Fish Farm”. This place was recommended by a local couple who I shared a dining table with at the night market on the previous evening. They said that not many tourists know about this place but it very well known by local people. The unique thing about the restaurant is that all the seafood is taken fresh from the water before it is cooked for you. The restaurant can be reached only by a long tail boat from the pier in Krabi town next to the night eating market. It took us less than 10 minutes to get to the restaurant and the long tail boat cost 100 Baht each way. A boat driver will be waiting for you at the restaurant to take you back. The restaurant is just on the water side, stunning view, simple decoration, nice breeze and the food was really good! Please note that alcohol is not available in the restaurant as it located in a Muslim village.

View from the restaurant
The restaurant

How to get to Krabi by public transport;

  • By air plane to Krabi airport
  • By Bus, can be from Phuket or Bangkok and other provinces nearby
  • By ferry from Phuket or from other provinces nearby

The best area to stay – it depends on what you prefer to do in Krabi. If you enjoy the beach very much and believe that you will go to the beach often and
visit islands most of the time, you probably would like to stay in Ao Nang but Ao Nang  is maybe not the best place to eat. A lot of people choose to stay in Krabi town which may have cheaper accommodation than in Ao Nang. The great thing about staying in Krabi town is that there is more variety of local food at a reasonable price but the disadvantage is it is not near to Ao Nang where the beach is located. I stayed in a place that is located in the middle between Ao Nang and Krabi town which is about 15 minutes by car to each location but you probably need to rent a motorbike or a car for it to be more convenient. The local bus is very frequent from Krabi town to Ao Nang.

This is my 3rd time in Krabi and I always enjoy coming here as Krabi is more lay back than Phuket.