The Joys of Long Tail Travel
The perfect post card picture of Thailand is the image of a long wooden boat floating on transparent waters along an idyllic beach of the Andaman Sea. Thais call these boats, “long tails” because of the long propeller shaft that extends from the large engine sitting at the stern of the boat. Long tails are an important mode of transport by locals all over the Andaman region.
They offer reliable travel on short trips and, despite their small size, are seaworthy vessels. There are larger speedboats and passenger ferries to choose for transport, however, many of the smaller islands are only reached by long tail. True, they can be a bit noisy with their recycled automobile engine throttled to full power. However, they are such an iconic feature that every visitor coming to Phuket and the Andaman region must experience the thrill of slicing, full speed, through the tropical sea on a long tail boat.
Khiri Travel believes that organizing interactions directly with a small community is the best way for your travelers to make a positive contribution to the livelihood of the local people. When it came time to prepare a tour to visit some smaller islands in Phuket’s spectacular Phang Nga Bay, our first choice was to seek out a community in the Yao Islands close to the center of the bay. This led us to Bang Rong, a small Muslim village on Phuket where we met Khun Galim, a local character who owns a long tail. If your travelers happen to book our “Swimming, Hopping and Cooking” day tour to spend the day traveling around Phang Nga Bay, they will have a chance to meet this congenial boatman. Khun Galim’s English is far from perfect so smiles and nods go a long way. If asked nicely, he might let your travelers have the thrill of driving his boat!
“If you have shoes on, take them off as you may need to wade out into the shallow surf. Hop aboard the colorfully decorated long wooden boat and experience sea travel to some small islands in the middle of southern Thailand’s spectacular Phang Nga Bay. Don’t forget to wear a sun hat to travel like the locals in a long tail boat.”
The small pier at Bang Rong will give us a chance to see the simple and colorful local life of a seaside village with mangrove trees and floating houses lining the water. There are no throngs of tourists here, only the friendly vendors at the local food stalls to welcome your travelers. Koh Yao Noi is also the destination for a cooking class with Khun Mina at her lovely home (Mina’s Cooking Class.)
Leaving the Bang Rong pier, we travel to the small island of Koh Naka where there is a chance for swimming or maybe just enjoy sipping the healthy juice from a fresh coconut on the beach. Then it is time to get back in the long tail for the return trip to Phuket.
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