As we sailed towards the Bay from Koh Rang Yai the imposing limestone rocky islands quickly loomed into view on the skyline. In pictures they look stunning but in real life they are simply spectacular.
We anchored off Koh Phanak, just metres away from soaring cliffs. We had already spied some caves and pretty little coves and of course we were itching to explore them.
As soon as we had settled the boat at anchor we launched the dinghy and set off to a magnificent cave that we had spotted.
We were able to take our dinghy in and anchor it on the little sandy beach at the mouth of the cave.
The cave had a massive opening chamber and then narrowed to a dark passageway. There were tiny bats flitting overhead and minute but pesky sandflies making a meal out of me so we didn’t explore too deeply into the inner cave system.
We continued to dinghy around the eastern side of Koh Phanak and spied many little beaches we wanted to explore later – one which we figured led to a Hong (Thai for “room”). Hongs are spectacular shallow water lagoons, fully enclosed by cliffs but open to the sky, which are normally accessible through caves at certain stages of the tides.
We marvelled at the variegated colours and textures of the cliffs, the sheer grandeur of their steep walls, topped with trees of the most intense green. How I wished I could paint, for if I could I would have had my palate and brushes out quicker than you could have said Phang Nga.
We were particularly taken with the stalactites and stalagmites (remember tights go down and mites grow up) that hang and grow right on the edge of the rocky outcrops of Koh Phanak and other islands. Stunning.