Finishing up in Ao Nang

December 7, 2011

We have had a superlative stay in the Ao Nang/Krabi area- and we will be leaving today for Chiang Mai via an evening flight from the Phuket airport.  Some of the highlights:

Following a tip from Steve Larson, we made a visit to the Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple), a temple complex that includes a 1266 step walk up to a mountaintop temple, featuring an immense Golden Buddha at the top, with unbelievable 360 degree views of the peaks and valleys all around.  Here are some photos of that walk:

Still looking fresh at the bottom of the hill

A glimpse of the stairs

the Golden Buddha atop the mountain- 30 to 40 feet high, I'd say

View from the top

Pat and Anna at the top

The walk down was broken up by the antics of the macaque monkeys that frequent the staircase:

A young scamp chomping on a toothpick

After our descent from the staircase, we entered another area of the complex: a protected primary (first-growth) forest that serves as a hermitage for the monks that live there- there are also several limestone caves that are used as temples and residences as well.  There are some trees in here that are amongst the  largest in all of Thailand, as the area was never logged due to its isolation- it is essentially in a circular rock valley.  This was an enchanted forest to my eyes, a magical place that transported one back in time, thousands of years:

Hermitages built into the limestone walls

Cave Temple- this photo does not show the scale- it was at least 20' high

Sacred Tree

Another of the old growth trees- so amazing

The other really wonderful thing we did here was take a longtail boat trip out to some of the outlying islands… for some swimming, sightseeing, and snorkeling.  A longtail boat is an indigenous wooden boat, powered by an automobile engine, with a propeller on the end of a long shaft, so that it can be navigated through shallow waters.

Longtail boats on the beach

Our trusty craft- #32

The scenery in this area is so arresting, with the limestone cliffs and formations springing straight up and out of the water- and some with very unusual shapes, as you will see.  We visited Poda Island, for a little beach time.  The beach reminded us very much of the windward side of Oahu beaches- Lanikai in particular, with powdery white sand and shallow water.   

Next up was the snorkeling spot, adjacent to what is called Chicken Island. The views on the way there were so lovely:

Fisherman under a limestone cave/overhang

Daredevil, up the ladder and up the side of the cliff for some showy diving!

 Chicken Island!    Here we stopped to snorkel, and the coral reefs and fish here were really varied, healthy looking, and plentiful.  We had a wonderful time exploring the reefs from the boat here.  The water was so warm and clear.  It was an excellent diving experience for all of us.  I even saw a seahorse-like creature, with a seahorse head and a snakelike body, about 8″ long.  The boat pilots threw out some fruit scraps  for the fish, and    it served as an attractant  for vast numbers of black and yellow striped fish, some of which thought WE were the food (a little scary to be surrounded by schools of fish, nipped by a few)!  I wish I’d had an underwater camera to capture some of the action, but no.

Anna really loves having her picture taken

So- now to pack up and leave for Chiang Mai and Chiang Dao.  It’s sad to leave this place, it’s been heaven!

Every pig needs a roof

6 Responses to “Finishing up in Ao Nang”

  1. Eva Says:

    Thanks for the update ma, a perfect study break for me. Great to see all the pictures! By the way I think the fish you saw was a pipefish (my fish final is in two days!).

    much love

  2. Marge Lodholz Says:

    Wonderful!! What a different part of our world! Beautiful view from the top of those stairs!! Thank you so much!!

  3. Evelyn Says:

    I loved this update – it certainly makes me want to go there too, the snorkeling and swimming and the beaches, the temples and the ancient trees – all these are marvelous!
    It is so nice to see pics of all three of you – you look like you’re healthy and having a good experience!
    All my love, Ev

  4. theanswerisnot Says:

    This was the best entry ever, thanks for sharing. The experience does sound like heaven. Sooooooooooooooo beautiful. Love to you all, Jane

  5. Phil Says:

    Great photos! I’m seeing a more scenic side of Thailand this way, I imagine. I hope that I have time to read soon, also.

    I am so relieved that you aren’t, or at least have not yet, apparently, been doing bus travel here in Thailand.

    stay safe and enjoy!

  6. Robbie and Addy Says:

    Elise sounds to me like you are having the trip of a lifetime! Enjoy!!!!

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