Woken up by the roar of the Longtail boat engine. Noise could travel through the room walls and the glass windows, could have made it a little more soundproofed. The cloudy weather didn’t allow the sun to show itself and the day just became brighter overall – the magical sunrise that could be seen from our east facing room was not meant to be.
The breakfast buffet had more variety than the one in Ao Nang for obvious reasons, but wasn’t by a lot, or was it much tastier. We borrowed 2 beach towels in the same restaurant and waited in the lobby for the Hong Island tour. The staff brought us to Rai Leh West through a concrete path (which we should have taken, a much easier path) and exit next to Railay Village Resort. Took some pictures since it was still early and the crowd hadn’t descended as we waited quite long for the speed boat to come pick us up. The hotel staff stayed throughout and that put our hearts at ease, since we didn’t know what happened to the speed boat.
945am and the speed boat by Koh Phi Phi tour finally arrived. Compared to the previous one that went to Phi Phi, this was way smaller carrying only like 30 people, which was good since a smaller group meant mobility. Hong Island was far from Rai Lay and it took about about 30mins by speedboat before we reached the first section of the island, known as the Hong Lagoon. It felt like the Phi Ley bay but it seemed more shallow and the water was really clear. The boat went into the lagoon to circle around the lagoon before moving on.
Next stop was a sandbank known as Pak Bia beach where a stretch of sand separated the sea and joined the two islands. The view was awesome with a few islands in the faraway, giving the island a truly isolation beach feeling. 40mins and I spent some time going around shooting photos and walking into chest height water ( where I saw a blue jellyfish near the water surface) and the rest of the time spent just lazing on the beach.
Next stop on the list was to visit an area called Paradise Beach. It was a beautiful bay that had coconut trees and swings hanging from trees. What’s more, there was a small cliff out in the bay that allowed people to climb up a single hanging rope to the top with a plank to stand on and leap off into the deep below. It was fun but difficult to climb with the rope and the wall was pretty sharp. It took quite some effort and after another guy from the same boat group tried and succeeded, I too got onto the top and did the leap of faith. Unfortunately, the camerawoman on the beach was too far away and didn’t know of my position until I went into the water, so much for the glory pictures. That was about a 4m plunge but it was fun. Came back with battle scars, on the feet, the toes, knees and elbow. Skin deep and none too serious. Snorkeling was also ok with many fishes swimming about but corals still were mostly dull.
The final stop was the Hong Island itself where there was packet lunch with predetermined seats. The main food was not tasty, consisting of steam egg and salty chicken. There were fruits served and coffee or tea if anybody wanted. After lunch it was free and easy until 2pm where we would be boarding the boat and returning back to Rai Ley. There were restrooms there on the island and after I came out from it, I saw a group of people looking into the bushes. A monitor lizard! It was quite a creature, shot some photos and went back to the lunch area. After a while, this fellow visited us at our lunch area too but slowly walked away and past our lunch area. We spent the rest of the time walking in the shallow waters and lazing on the beach. Didn’t go in for snorkeling as I thought that I had enough of the snorkeling already. 5 mins left and we started walking towards our boat at the other end of the long beach. Already dried out from lazing in the sun, we were forced into the water in order to get into the boat, as the boat was actually 5m away from shore. Due to low tide, the boat couldn’t come any closer and so we had gotten to waist deep water level to board the speed boat.
The return journey was somewhat similar to the forward going journey just that we stopped on an island for those who were staying in Beyond hotel, which was at least a 10mins boat travel from our place. Wanted to book that location but thought it was a little expensive as it required all 5 days of stay. We alighted right after the first stop and since the tide was low, we had to alight into the water again, just that it was lower than the waist level before.
We took the walking street route back as we wanted to explore in detail this section. Bought a banana shake along the way and also checked the store for waterproof bags which was quite affordable. Returned the towels and loaned a new one as we intended to kayak after this. Went to browse for more DVD and rented some and also confirmed the gala dinner for New Year’s Eve, included as part of the reservation costs. Left all the important stuff in the hotel room safe and only brought along my iPhone and 500b for the kayak and walked back to Rai Leh West beach again.
Went to the stack of kayaks and asked the staff there for rental of 1hr and paid the money (200b). Was informed on the time of return and one of the staff and I carried the not so light kayak across the beach and away from the parked Longtails close to the water. Life jackets were provided which we immediately put on, although the sizes weren’t all that fitting. Dragged the boat into the water, got in and rowed away.
We moved southwards sticking close to the rocks as we went. The water current was a little difficult to row against as we rowed towards the direction of the sea but still manageable. We were able to maneuver the kayak till we went around the rocks and arrived at another beach where we stopped for rest and pictures. There were huge standing rocks in the middle of the sea not to far away from shore and we rowed in between these two, went around the rock nearest to shore and stopped at a sandbank that saw waters meet from 2 directions. Then it was back to the Rai Leh beach as time was running out. The view here was nice but since I didn’t carry my camera, it was a small regret. It would be best to have a waterproof bag to carry the camera along for the trip.
Banked the kayak as I went to look for the staff regarding the return of the kayak and if I should leave it out there. He just acknowledged it and so I assumed that the kayak would be collected by himself later on.
Back at the hotel, we had our baths finally after the end of all water activities. Took a short rest before heading out for dinner. There was one Mangrove restaurant that was a recommendation on the net and we proceeded back to the sandy route where it was located. The neighbour had a tray decked with fishes and looked attractively tasty but we stuck to our initial choice and ordered some Thai cuisine for dinner. The food didn’t disappoint and there was also wifi available, amazingly. We ordered a mango sticky rice but it wasn’t fantastic, unlike the one that we had in Bangkok.
Got back to the hotel and watched online shows for a while until both of us drifted to sleep – fatigue knocking us out real early.