OUT OF PHUKET – PHANG NGA (THAILAND)
With Salalah Tours (Phuket)
After much of luxuries in the comfort zones on the Big Island Phuket, I am tempted taking up an Adventure trip out of Phuket with my local friend, Shomal Riceberry – Managing Partner at Salalah Group (Travel) Co., Ltd. (Gov. Licence Tour Operator)
The key reason to select this Company was my approval to the Company’s policy in not providing services that involves animals in making a tourism earning – as most of the tour operators on the Island offer elephant safaris and so on.
Having met Shomal, I had a feeling that the tour would cater personalized service and not the on going trend being just a number to another commercial activity of a tour operator.
I am picked up from my Hotel and we begin the trip with the first stop at Bangtao – a small Muslim Community village in the North Phuket. Masjid Bangtao is the main place of prayer and social ceremonies for the locals living in harmony with Buddhist neighbors. Shomal said that both communities enjoy and intermingle with each other during community celebrations – especially during the festivals. Nearby is a restaurant that offers Southern Thai culinary experience based on a 100% halal concept.
Moving on, we cross the Bridge that connects the Island with the mainland and we drive farther North towards Khao Lak, tha main tourist attraction in the Phang Nga province – away from the tourist crowd on the Big Island.
A visit to Pilay Beach at Natai (near Khao Lak) reminds the once unsullied beaches of Phuket with lesser footprints. The sublime beach, for now, makes a serene spot for family picnics and for a very few to enjoy the sublime beach with no sign of visitors,, except for a few local couples, scanning the golden sand for sea shells. However,, I noted a few high end hotels coming up in the peaceful vicinity.
We drive past Khao Lak and drive deeper into the dense forest area with rolling hills in the back drop. Shomal pointed out the hill that has a camping site and one of his tour offers an overnight at the site with campfire dinner during a 2-Day tour itinerary.
We stop at the boat station – the point that conclude river rafting trip from upriver. We change the vehicle to a local songthaew (a local taxi pick-up truck) and drive farther up the river road. After about 5 minutes, we get off at the site of the river bank with a line up of bamboo rafts. Unfortunately, due to all-day rain, the rising water level in the fast flowing River disallowed us to mount on the raft to experience this highlight of the tour. Nevertheless we soak in the tranquil surrounding of the dense tropical forest.
This area is lined with a number of refreshing waterfalls and we visited one – a magnificent steep single drop waterfall abound unspoiled lush vegetation. Shomal had thoughtfully acquired towels for travelers who may feel the urge dipping into the natural pool.
Revitalized, we continued to ATV Park, taking the ATV Bike in the wilderness deep into the forest trail, splashed with waterholes and brief stretches of swamp.areas.
We move on and retreat and en-route, experience the final activity as the day nears to surrender and the sky bleeds into sunset hues . At the nick of time, we are at the vantage point for the spectacular sight of the famed Phang Nga Bay.
Etched above the slope of green hill, Samet Nangshe Point is a recent attraction for a grand 360 degree view of the Bay.
The Resort uphill cater comfortable siesta and also offer tent accommodation for adventure travelers.
The restaurant here serves scrumptious Thai dishes including vegan food.
From here, subject to traffic flow, it is about 2 hours drive back to Phuket and I got back to my abode at Kata beach about 2000 hours.
Shomal also offers eco-tours to Krabi with Home-Stays for an authentic cultural and experiential adventure travel – this I have it ink down for my next visit.
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Photos: Saifuddin Ismailji
Founder | EIC: e-Travelers Club travel update