Monday, January 28, 2008

Ko Panyi

Picture of Ko Panyi (Thailand): Ko Panyi: typical hill towering over the houses and mosque of this fishing villageOn our way to Phang Nga Bay National Park, we passed Ko Panyi, or Panyi island, and knew we would be back later. After half a day cruising the bay with its typical islands and rocks, we moored at one of the many piers of this fishing village. While most other visitors just stay for half an hour, we had decided to stay overnight. In fact, Ko Panyi, established in the 18th century by Indonesian fishermen, at first seems to be a tourist trap. The first streets you see are completely packed with tourist shops, with shopkeepers trying to sell, without even selling anything very special.

Picture of Ko Panyi (Thailand): Ko Panyi: woman adjusting the nets in one of the streetsBut it certainly is a good idea to walk on, and reach what could be called the outskirts of Ko Panyi. No more shops, no more people trying to sell, here is where you see the local fishermen preparing their boats, you see women repairing or cleaning the nets of their husbands, you see children cycling on the narrow strips of concrete that were laid on top of the stilts on which almost the entire village is built. It also brings you to the small mosque of the village (the Indonesian fishermen who moved here were, almost inevitably, moslim), and on to the border of the village. From here, you can have a great view of sunset, while you see the sun give its warm colours to the houses of the village.

Picture of Ko Panyi (Thailand): Ko Panyi: end of street of this fishing village with islands of Phang Nga Bay Upon return, our guesthouse had prepared a surpringly sumptuous and delicious meal for us. While the village had been quite lively just a few hours before, activity died down rapidly and the village rapidly assumed a dark look. No wonder, most of the inhabitants are still fishermen, and early the next morning, we heard the longtail boats with their noisy engines leaving Ko Panyi in search of their nets. Thanks to them, we were in time to see the sun rise from a hazy landscape, see some fishermen return with full nets, and see the village come alive again before heading back to the mainland.

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