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Exotic Phuket

Finally, after exploring Phuket and the islands surroundings, it’s the time for Songkran!

The festival was actually started on the 12th. After the relaxing sea-canoeing in the afternoon (read more about the canoeing tour here), we went back to our hotel, had ourselves cleaned up and head to Patong area to check on the water party.

The trip to Patong by TukTuk was THB400. As we were getting nearer to the destination, the roads gradually changed from dry to wet and more people were seen wearing their raincoats and bringing water guns. We knew, we would not be going back with dry clothes tonight..

Bangla Road, Patong

Bangla Road, Patong

We went to Bangla Road, the hippiest road in Patong or perhaps in Phuket. It was already full of crowds, mostly were foreigners. The celebration there was all about partying, loud music and crazily fun! As we entered the road, anyone just threw water at you and rubbed some minty powder to your face. Yeap, we were fully soaked from head to toe! Sadly, we did not bring our water guns that night.

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On the next day, we were ready for the real water fight 🙂 Fully equipped with our water guns, sunglasses and slippers, we decided to go to Phuket Town instead to join the locals. I love the place. The area features an exciting mix of old and new, the colourful blend of Sino and Portuguese cultures. It is not as crowded as Patong, less night clubs, simpler but yet sophisticated.

Phuket Town

Phuket Town

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The celebration of Songkran in Phuket Town was more warming. The neighbourhood came together, giving blessings to the passerby, including us who are not locals. They would happily approach you, rub the minty powder or coloured washable paint on your face, another will pour another bucket of water on you and lastly said “Sawatdee-pimai!” (Happy New Year). I had so much fun, behaving like a small kid again, hiding and shooting water at the others as if I’m at a counterstrike field and getting free beers!

I believe this is how the real Songkran all about ; the friendly water fight where people throw water to each other which they believe is a way to wash away all the bad luck from the previous year and substitute it with the good luck instead. And on the other hand it is a festivity of water guns, water cannons and buckets while the intense heat of summer is on.

 

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john9Many may have done canoeing. But how about sea-canoeing and exploring the sea caves? On my second day in Phuket, we booked another one-day tour for sea-canoeing. The most famous and popular tour is by John Gray’s Seacanoe. They offer varieties of tour packages that we can pick. As for us, we went for the Hong by Starlight. The tour brought us to explore the nature of Phang Nga Bay.

We were fetched at our hotel at about 11.30AM. Yeap, the tour started not too early. We were taken to the pier where the boat had been waiting for us.

As the boat took us further away from the shore, the scenery started to be different too. A series of breathtaking stones in different shapes were to be seen. As we were enjoying the view, lunch was served. Then, one of the crews gave the whole tour participators the instructions for what to do and not. Some of the rules were not to touch the cave stones to avoid injuries (some of the stones can be sharp) and not to litter to preserve the nature.

Lunch on the boat

Lunch on the boat

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Not too long after lunch, it was the time for the adventure. Don’t forget to wear a lot of sunblock and be prepared to get some tan. One canoe could hold for 2-3 people including your professional guide. So just sit down, relax and enjoy the view. One of the unique experiences was when we had to lie down and squeezed in beneath the rocks and the caves. You’ll be surprised what you will get to see behind the caves and the rocks ; hidden lagoons and mangroves!

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Hidden lagoon behind the rocks

Hidden lagoon behind the rocks

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The whole tour was about enjoying the great nature and wildlife, so relaxing and serene. There were a few stops and each stop offered different scenery. Before the sunset, the crews taught us how to make “Kratong“,a flower basket to be floated. The real “Kratong” festival takes place on the evening of the full moon, sometime in November. And before the tour ended, at our last stop, we were taken to the bat cave where we got to see the little bats (they are not dangerous) and the bioluminescent plankton (dinoflagellates)!

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Kratong

Kratong

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After the release of the “Kratong“, that’s the end of the tour. We were sent back to the pier before 8PM. It was a fun and exciting experience, I learned so much from the tour. The whole tour was definitely worth the price.

John Gray’s Seacanoe Tour :  http://www.johngray-seacanoe.com

Price : THB3,950 per person

Things to bring : Sunblock, dry towel, change of clothes, sunglasses, waterproof pouch, camera

 

 

 

 

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