Thursday, February 22, 2007

Khao Lak

In many people's minds, the region of Phang Nga Province known as Khao Lak will be forever linked to the events of December 26, 2004. That fateful day saw the biggest tsunami in living memory sweep over the coastline up to 4kms inland, taking thousands of lives and livelihoods in its wake.

The official tsunami death toll for Phang Nga stands at 4,225 out of a total of 5,395 victims throughout Southern Thailand.

The 2005/06 high season saw visitors trickle back into the region, but predictably numbers were well down on previous years. There have been reports of unscrupulous travel agents in places such as Phuket and Ko Samui saying the region was completely destroyed, no doubt hoping to secure more tourist dollars for themselves. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Those who do stay away are missing out on some of Thailand's best beaches, world-class diving and some stunning hinterland. Perhaps more importantly, they're missing out on supporting the people of a region that came to depend on tourism and will face economic hardships until people come back.

The beaches are clean, the shops and nightspots are mostly open. There's tonnes of accommodation and plenty more on the way. The message Khao Lak's locals want to scream to the world is that they're still there, and by the 2006/07 high season the region will be better than ever.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Phang Nga travel guide

This medium-sized province is bordered by Phuket, Ranong, Surat Thani and Krabi provinces and also has coastline onto the Bay of Phuket and the Andaman Sea. Best known as being home to some of Thailand's most spectacular marine scenery, Phang Nga also has a number of other attractions well worth seeing.

Off its west coast lies the Surin and Similan Island groups, home to some of the last well preserved coral reefs in Thailand. Both of these groups can be visited from Phang Nga province.

In the Bay of Phuket lies the twin islands of Ko Yao Noi and Ko Yao Yai - these two islands are little visited, yet well worth the effort. Although part of Phang Nga province, they are best visited from either Phuket or Krabi provinces. The big attraction in the bay is the spectacular karst scenery that is found through out the north of the bay. Popularised in the west by a James Bond Film, the bay offers some stunning opportunities for boat trips and sea-canoeing tours.

Phang Nga is a wet province, and island you'll find numerous waterfalls, although lack of infrastructure will mean you'll need your own transport to get to some of them.

Often added as an after-thought by many travellers, there is actually loads to do in the province and its well worth spending at least a couple of days exploring some of its highlights.

The Andaman Sea coast of Phang Nga province was devastated by the Boxing Day Tsunami, with the Khao Lak area the worst hit in all of Thailand. We have closed that portion of the site until we revisit it in late 2005.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Welcome to Phang-nga

Welcome to Phang-nga

The province of Phang-nga is located some 788 kilometres from Bangkok, Thailand. It covers an area of 4,170 square kilometres.

Phang-nga is a province with two characters - land and sea - and packed with national parks that guard magnificent scenery with immensely different attractions.

Most famous is Ao Phang-nga National Park, a geological wonder filled with islets, sunken caverns and startling rock formations rising sheer out of the sea. The bay is extremely sheltered ideal for expeditions of sea canoes to explore the many fascinating caverns with their own eco-systems.

Phang-nga's andaman coast offers parks of a different kind. The island groups of Surin and Similan are renowned for their beautiful unspoilt beaches and spectacular underwater scenery, attracting divers from around the world. Khao Lak is a coastal park full of birds, mammals and scenic waterfalls, with a number of hotel developments after Tsunami disaster in December 2004.