13th day – Phang Nga Bay and Loy Krathong Festival
We spent our last day on Phuket speedboat tripping in Phang Nga Bay organized by Captain Mike. Normally I would prefer having a sailing trip (it’s the only sailing trip organized within the bay). We decided to go with this tour because it’s the alternative version of the tours – Phang Nga Bay is a very touristic place and the last thing which we wanted was to be part of the tourist crowd and hurry. I think we succeed it.
Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay is the most spectacular remnant of Tenasserim Mountains, which still form a spine through Thailand to China. Its limestone stack rises sheer from the calm water up to 350 meters. There are about 40 stacks and inside many of them are narrow tunnels and sea. The bay is very similar to Cheow Lan Lake but much more vast, my boyfriend liked it more than the lake.
During our trip we saw Ko Khao Phing Kan (known as James Bond Island), it is a very crowded and touristic place and is packed with souvenir stands. We saw it only from the boat. Next attractions were: kayaking in mangrove forest, caves, prehistoric paintings, Panyi Fishing Village (it’s a floating Muslim village – we ate delicious lunch there).
Loy Krathong Festival
The name Loi Krathong could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making decorated baskets (krathong), which are floated on a river or lake. The festival takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In 2015, it was 25th of November. The origin of the festival may start from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits. When I found out about this festival I knew that there is no force in this universe to prevent me from participating.
Our receptionist at hotel informed us that the closest celebration happens in Karon beach. We didn’t look for more and we headed to this destination. What I saw was completely different than what I expected. It was a regular festival, with shows, beauty contest, concert, market, food courts and lots of attraction for kids. Haven’t you bought a basket? Don’t worry, there are plenty of stands with handmade colourful decorations. The main entrance to the pond was full of people trying to light their baskets and secretly wishing all the best to themselves. I purchased my basket (50BHT), lit (with big problems) and pushed it with my dream into a colourful abyss of tiny lights.
For the record, in Chang Mai instead of floating baskets, Thai people launch lanterns what makes the sky magical with a plethora of little lights.