Just like the previous day, we were served a decent breakfast by the cheerful Harvest House folk and though the pick up ( a different one) arrived slightly later than the day before (but within the timeband specified) we reached the pier on time. For this tour we had chosen a longtail boat, just so we had both experiences. Also helped that it was cheaper. From the previous day’s experience, we were traveling light – no extra set of clothes and just a towel in addition to our shoulder bag.
The long boat doesn’t lose much over the speedboat in terms of comfort – in fact it’s better if it’s a windy day since the speedboat shields most everything, but is definitely slower. Our first stop was near Red Island where we did some snorkeling. Nothing great. We then moved on to the Hong Islands Lagoon where the water was only waist deep and we could pick up starfish from the sea floor.
From there we moved on to a smaller island where we had another ‘buffet lunch’, this one not even in a restaurant, but just food they had packed from Ao Nang. We saw that the speedboat guys had lunch packets. It was announced that there was a ‘happy room’ available. My hopes had a sad ending after it turned out to be a toilet. I did wonder later about this usage after seeing a ‘Happy Beach’ though. Hong Island was up next and we had about 2 hours to kill there, so we spent some time walking on the beach, lying down on that useful towel (beach mats at Ao Nang are only 100 baht, we later realised) and then snorkeling. Nothing much again, though I thought I saw one live coral. On the way back we saw this cave where apparently 2 people lived, collecting bird’s saliva to make the bird’s nest soup that was popular! They had provisions reaching them every fortnight.
We reached Ao Nang around 4.30 and thought we would go to Railay Beach to see the sunset. Patty had warned us that getting back would be difficult, but when we asked around, we were told that boats were available, though they would cost double at night. The ferry left from Ao Nang and reached Railay in about 15 minutes. It cost us 80 baht each and the tides decide how wet you get. We had showered just a while earlier, and put on fresh clothes, so felt quite stupid. :|.
Railay (west) Beach was a more private one and we contemplated dinner there.The sunset happened soon after and it was well worth the wetness we had suffered. But when we went to check on the ferry, we realised that after 6, it was quite a difficult proposition, specially because they waited for 6-8 passengers before they would set out. After waiting for almost an hour, watching an increasingly choppy sea, and deciding we would dine at Ao Nang, we asked for a boat for ourselves. That set us back by a 1000 baht. Arrgh.
We wanted to explore the ‘left’ side of the beach (when coming from the hotel) since we had been frequenting the other side. Since it was dark, we couldn’t venture far and decided to dine at the Phra Nang restaurant. The mandatory Tom Kha Kai was followed by Pha Nang chicken and a Pad Priew wan (pork) with plain rice (figured that plain rice is the best way – in Cambodia and Thailand). Dream Cones round 2 happened – Ferrero was decent, but the Rum Almond disappointed. We walked back to the hotel slowly, finally buying D the large handbag that she had been eyeing for the last few days. And thus ended our last night in Siam.
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