We walked and walked and walked and soon we found ourselves back at the same shop again!
Based on published rates, it would have cost us 1,400B each for the Hong Islands tour but she charged us 2,800B for a private longtail boat tour for 3. We tried to negotiate it down to the 2,500B we paid yesterday but to no avail as she said Hong Island was further.
After payment and a visit to the nearby Family Mart (convenience shop) to buy food, snacks and drinks for ourselves and urm, bread for the fishes, we were off in a vehicle which brought us to Nopparatta Beach. The driver attempted to ask if we were keen on krabi town night market transport but back then, my plan was to take the public transport.
Upon reaching the so called jetty, we were in for a disappointment as all the boats looked older than the one we had yesterday :/ Oh wells, not that we can do anything about it but our boat didn’t turn out to be too small after all. I guess it can sit up to 10 people on full capacity.
Off we go into the Andaman Sea. The weather was not too bad that day but I still got burnt eventually.
For the first time in this trip, things were not in for a good start. Approximately after 20 to 30 minutes, our longtail boat’s engine stopped functioning. I guessed it was a battery issue as he tried to readjust the wires continuously but to no avail.
Now that I think about it, it was a pretty interesting experience on how me and my 2 friends remained perfectly calm in this ordeal. There we were, floating in the middle of Andaman Sea, with nothing to do but eat the snacks and surf the internet using the data which we had bought. I open up my device for tethering and we had portable chargers to work around the heavy battery usage. We were nothing but prepared for being stranded in the sea. We started taking photos, they starting taking selfies and I started doing check-ins and status updates while the boatman called for help.
Initially, I thought that help would come in the form of another empty longtail boat and we would change a boat and continue the journey but I was so wrong. He was just “calling out” to random boatman cruising in the sea. After countless attempts of trying to restart the engine, he gave up and started surfing facebook, added us on facebook and uploaded our photos :/
After a good 30 minutes wait, boat #1 came to our rescue and the rescue mission FAILED. Our boat was unable to power up using their battery and urm.. boat #1 left. Stranded again.
I kind of got a little panicky after the rescue failure but we couldn’t do anything else but remain calm and surf data. Thankfully, another boat came and this second rescue mission was a success. Off we go again, sailing away as quickly as possible to make up for that 1 hour.
As we approached the islands, the colour of the water started changing from blue to green~
The first island we visited was Pakbia Island (Ko Pakbia) เกาะผักเบี้ย,กระบี่
Unlike yesterday, we were readily armed with our fish feed for the day – white bread. We took the snorkeling masks and walked over to the other side of the island which was a snorkeling spot. Yesterday, we had to jump down in the middle of the sea for our snorkeling. This time round, all we had to do was to walk from the sand down into the water and all the fishes were there waiting for us, or rather our bread.
It was quite disappointing initially as all we saw were the usual sergeant major Abudefduf saxatilis which we have seen yesterday. There were also occasional sightings of spotted rabbitfish.
The water was a little cloudy and my underwater camera didn’t work well. In fact, my iPhone5 photos in waterproof casing turned out to be better.
With the life jacket, you don’t have to worry about the sea urchins or whatsoever. All you have to do is just float away~~
I also spotted some kind of yellow and black fish which my colleagues thinks that it is a grouper.
Then we proceeded to the second island – Lading Island (Ko Lading) It was a really beautiful island with iconic wooden swings which looked so good in photos! The boat docking bay and snorkeling area is very small and I wonder how badly this island will overcrowd on peak days.
The water here was a lot clearer than the previous one.
We were pretty impressed with the rainbow fish (will update on actual species), as seen at the bottom right in the picture below.
Managed to take photos with the sea urchins too!
Very brown looking Brain Coral – I was right about the name!
This was how hard we tried to keep our bread from turning soggy.
TIP: bring along a ziplock bag to store the bread.
This is my view when I’m sitting on the swing.
Well, according to the information that I have read, this place is famous for the swallows’ nests. There’s also some sort of civilization on this island and there were people selling food/drinks. You can even rent a Kayak to go to the nearby Hong Lagoon.
As we were moving to our next destination, I spotted this hole in the creak and there’s actually someone living inside! I was joking with my friends on how cool it was to stay here and they went on and on about how they are going to leave me hear and come and visit me next year..
Entering Hong Lagoon was really amazing. The boatman had to skillfully steer the boat towards the narrow entrance as seen in the photo below. I could feel that the water is very shallow and that the boatman couldn’t stick his entire engine propeller down into the water.
Upon entering the narrow entrance, there was a huge catchment of water within. We were a little apprehensive in going down the water as we couldn’t spot any fishes at all. However, our boatman placed the ladder out for us and we had no choice but to go down and check it out. The water was a little warm (no idea why) and not exactly clear. I don’t think I can see my toenails when I’m standing inside the water.
As seen from the photo, the water is about waist-deep. Walking in this “sea bed” could be a difficult feat as you will be stepping on the roots of these mangrove plants.
So basically it is just us, and another boat. The entire lagoon belonged to us. If I didn’t remember wrongly, there will be echos when you speak/scream.
View when exiting the lagoon.
After Hong Lagoon, we were finally proceeding to Hong Island, what the tour name was about.
Hong Island was the only island which has this special jetty created. I guess this is the best way to prevent pollution on the beach but of course it involves cost as well. We had to pay 200B each for this island.
Water in this island was really amazingly clear!
After Hong Island, the boatman decided to give us one free island for snorkeling. We couldn’t exactly understand him at first but I guess the word ‘free’ is quite universal. He anchored somewhere near an island of red rocks and asked us to enter. Initially, we were rather skeptical as the waters looked deep. Well, we didn’t have much choice of not entering as he specially brought us there..
The snorkelling here was really amazing! It was deeper, maybe about 3 to 5m from the seabed and there were bigger fishes and more obvious schooling fishes swimming nearer to the bottom. We used up our remaining bread as bait and play with the hungry and aggressive fishes, mainly surgeon major and parrot fish. After we finished the bread, the boatman started throwing our remaining pringles into the water as a form of irritating us. Aggressive fishes, can be really annoying.
The boatman challenged us to swim to the rocky island for a photo but urm.. we didn’t dare.
It was a very enjoyable snorkel as the temperature was much more cooling. The only thing that was lacking was the variety of fishes.
Finally, we decided to end our tour and proceed back to mainland to rush for our krabi town night market. The beauty of private tour is that you have all the flexibility in the world and decide when to start and when to stop and how long to linger on each island.
Boatman dropped us at the jetty near Wang Sai Seafood which was nearer to our hotel. He was pretty nice and made an effort to dock at the stairs area so that we won’t have to get wet again. Unlike yesterday, we didn’t have to walk through the sand. He also made an effort to walk us to the main road and directed us to the hotel.
That’s the end of our private longtail hong islands tour 😀