Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas From Thailand! -- Koh Yao Noi

We departed on Monday for Phuket, to start a week of holiday fun and frolic in Thailand!  Unfortunately the weather has not been cooperating.  December is usually the sunniest and brightest time of year in Thailand, and instead it has been cold and gray and rainy.  We saw a little bit of sun yesterday but that was an anomaly.  This has been very disappointing, to say the least.

We landed in Phuket after a three hour direct flight (only way to do it) on Thai Airways, a flight packed full of family members and other Hong Kong vacationgoers excited to start their Christmas vacations.  We were a little bit tired of the multiple announcements on the plane -- they were very zealous and repeated everything in Thai, English, Mandarin and Cantonese.  Too many languages!

From Phuket airport we made our way directly via an airport meter taxi to the Bang Rong pier, on Phuket's east coast.  We were charged a bogus "entrance fee" of 10 baht per person - a "tourist fee" to visit this pier!  It was so ludicrous that only tourists were charged to access this pier but the Muslim woman manning the booth was adamant so what could we do - we paid the fee.
 We took the "Navy Dream" speedboat, which left at 2:30 pm.  The journey took us just over a half hour and cost 200 baht per person.  The boat made two stops, one on the Koh Yao Yai island and then one on the island we were going to, Koh Yao Noi.  We sat at the front of the boat (where the wind whips you hard); this was our view heading out of the harbor:
 Looking back at some of the other boats:
 Koh Yao Noi is billed as a sleepy, still undiscovered, only lightly inhabited small island east of Phuket, with a fabulous view of the limestone karsts that dot the Andaman Sea.  It definitely has good views of the limestone karsts, but other than that I would beg to differ from the other descriptions.  The entire island is still rustic and has a chill, sabai sabai feel to it... except for the absolute nonstop construction everywhere.  Eeesh.

The first night we were so close to the ring road (there is only one main road on the island) that we were practically swallowing tuk tuk fumes.  These are the grounds of the Villaguna residences.  Our villa was in the next section over and built where the hedges in this picture grew.

But the view was pretty great.

 The view from the restaurant.  It was nice to sip on a lime soda or a beer and hear the water in the background.

 We had a lovely barbecued chicken and rice lunch on a nice stretch of beach.  The sky was very cloudy but you could still make out the islands protruding in the distance.

 The chicken and that sauce... so good.
 The mandatory coconut.
 For dinner one night we went to the pirate boat on Pasai Beach to try Pasai Seafood.  The restaurant during the day:

The restaurant at night.  It was very romantic to sit on the beach.
 I got a grilled shrimp with garlic bits.  This one was only okay (the shrimp was tough and not very juicy and the garlic crunchy bits were distracting).
 And a really tasty glass noodle seafood salad.  This one was very good.
 We took a scooter from our hotel and drove around the small island exploring.  They have a very unique kind of gas station here.  What color do you want?
 No frills about pumping gas either - it's truly a clear tube and a metal pipe!
Overall, I think we made the most of two days on a small island in paradise... despite our misgivings about the weather and the construction that plagued us everywhere, let's face it, complainers will complain but this view was still pretty sweet and we were still really lucky to be able to witness it.

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