|Explore Phang Nga Province|
Explore Phang Nga's stunning karst topographyThere's a lot more to Thailand than the beaches and bars of Phuket Island. Phuket Magazine takes a look at the fascinating world of village and community-based tourism along Phang Nga Bay.
Phuket hosts visitors with a variety of interests and aspirations. For many, a vacation here means happily whiling away their days lying prone on white sand as gentle waves break over their toes and they sip sweet libations. Then there are the "semi-adventurous" types who power through a relentless circuit of scuba and snorkelling trips, or swim in so-called deserted island lagoons, which just happen to have fifteen other tour boats visiting that day. However, for those who travel with a well-honed sense of curiosity, there is always the urge to go deeper and scratch below the surface of standard tourist offerings to try to find a glimpse of authenticity.
Tambon Klong Kien operates out of 8 small towns along the Phang Nga Bay about two hours north of Phuket. The town is barely a blip on the map; it is however the jumping off point for tours to Phang Nga Bay National Park. Apart from that, you probably would never have heard of it. You can take a tour that lasts from a single day to a whole week, during which time you will visit villages such as Ban Klong Kien, Ban Hin Rom, and Ban Saba. Ask your friends if they have heard of such places and you'll doubtless receive blank stares. This is a good thing because it means that tourism development has not yet arrived in such authentic little towns and villages and that their traditional coastal livelihoods are unspoiled and intact. Tambon Klong Kien offers a range of participatory activities such as Thai massage, rubber tapping, fishing, hiking, sea canoe, and mountain biking. There are a host of activities to choose from to fit the interests and fitness levels of every visitor.
"Ao Maan" the wonderlandAo Maan Beach at Ban Saba Village is a small beach but offers fabulous views of the surrounding area. There are many activities to partake in such as canoeing, sunbathing, Thai massage, ATV riding and elephant trekking. Beyond is the vast expanse of Phang Nga Bay, dotted with the verdant rocks of uninhabited islands. Taking in the view in both directions one is inspired to marvel at the expanse of undeveloped natural beauty of this region, just a short drive from the throngs in Phuket.
How to go there: From Sarasin Bridge, take highway No.4 to Khok Kloi then go around 1km, u-turn to Thanoon and drive 26km, to Klong Khian Pier.