Somewhat blind as to what the day held for us, we joined a small group of tourists from all over the world when a van picked us up at 8:30am. The drive to the departure pier lasted an unexpected two hours.
A brightly painted long tail boat awaited at the end of the dock. Happy to be on the water with fresh air on our faces, we smoothly made our way past giant mangroves and lush vegetation. Emerging into the open waters we were in awe of the limestone karsts that litter the Andaman Sea.
Our first activity was kayaking at Talu island. Bob, our comical and chatty kayak guide led us through precarious oyster lined tunnels which opened up into mystical caves. Against the white and tan rock formations, vines climbed up the steep faces. The openings at the top of the caves allowed the sun to shine through, illuminating the bright teal water. Once again, we are at a loss for words to provide a description that would do this experience justice.
Back in our long tail we headed off to James Bond Island which is part of Ao Phang Nga National Park. This iconic and commonly photographed island is in The Man with a Golden Gun movie set. Snapping a few pictures and briefly walking around was all we had time allotted for. We were herded back to the boat for stop #3. This tour wasn't for the lazy!
Nearby James Bond Island is a floating village where lunch was arranged. We ate a meal of chicken and vegetable stir fry, glass noodle soup, fried fish, a frittata like dish and pineapple for dessert. Eating as fast as possible, we ventured away from the group to explore the "streets" of this village. Our travel agent in Ao Nang gave us an insiders tip to check out the school and also the free floating football (or soccer) stadium in the very back of town. Hopping from dock to dock we were thrilled that we had the chance to experience such a unique place.
The boat tour portion of the day was over so we loaded back in our van to visit a temple similar but smaller than Batu Caves and Marble Mountains.
Further down the road we hiked up to a waterfall that cascaded into four small pools. We swam in two of them and each time were nibbled on by fish. Aside from the creepiness of that, the surroundings were beautiful and the water was refreshing.
Needing a bit of a recharge, we caught some ZZZs on the ride home.
Bussaba Restaurant was highly rated and conveniently located next door to our hotel. Pedro, our new friend from Brazil joined in on our feast of "Nests of the Sea", red and green curries, pad thai, mango waffles and macadamia nut desserts. On a trip around the world, Pedro is only on his third month of his year long journey. We enviously listened and were so impressed as he spoke of the spots he has visited and his schedule ahead.
Having had such a long hard day, we scheduled our first Thai herbal massages. Heated balls of assorted herbs were firmly pressed into our muscles to ease tension, stress and ailments. Longing for more we asked to extend our time but the spa was closing for the evening. Solution? We scheduled another session for the morning! At $10 per person, we are soaking up as much of this pampering as possible while here.