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bond, james bond

You can thank Roger Moore and “The Man with the Golden Gun” for the mass of tourists that rush to these islands in the northern tip of Phuket in their hundreds, every day of the year.

Another day, another boat trip. Sadly, this time we weren’t graced by Jennifer and to today’s tour guides’ credit, he was all man. Leaving from a small port on an overpowered speed boat, we headed full throttle North.

Me and Gemma sat at the front of the boat, bumping and bruising like crazy as we hit every wave. We shot through the water so quickly it felt like we were driving through a hurricane. No exaggeration, it’s a wonder I took any photos at all. None the less, it was made even more hilarious at every stomach churning bump we hit.

Large boats, small boats, fishing boats, yachts, sailing boats, catamarans and all other modes of water transport whiz past, full of ohh-ing and agh-ing tourists.

Obviously me included. As we slowed to observe the island, it all went calm and so quiet.

I have to go a little off subject here and talk about clothes, well H&M to be specific. I know, I know, we’re in the middle of paradise, but comeee onnn, how amazing is this blouse? I’m a complete sucker for prints and I had to have this. The new spring collection is amazing and I picked up this blouse in store for Β£7.99. Along with matching shorts, sandals and pretty summer dresses, oh my I fell in love with everything. If you haven’t been down there recently, go, go now!

Anyway back to paradise.

We moored up on Panyee Island for a break from the sun and for a spot of lunch.

You won’t be sipping on coconut Pina Coladas here though, the Muslim island have a preference for amazing seafood instead, Thai style. Delicious fresh fish served with Thai omelettes, prawn Pad Thai and tempura prawns was just what we needed.

Indulged and full, we headed for the oh-so-famous highlight of the trip. James Bond Island.

The boats reverse onto the small beach at the back of the island and unload their tourists.

Over the beaten track across the island unleashes the most magnificent reward. That view.

Crazy rock formations greet you at every turn.

As well as a whole market full of souvenirs. Watching the fishermen mingle amongst the tourists and the numerous parties of Aussies makes for great people watching.

The next stop on our tour was a journey around the nooks and crannies of these magical little islands and caves. We moored up to a large ferry and were summoned onto a waiting pink canoe where our Thai tour guide sang and rowed away.

Not as romantic as you’d imagine, especially with Scott taking up almost all of the boat for his “even tan”, it was incredible. But my favourite stop of the day was a little part of Thailand that we really hadn’t seen yet. Somewhere untouched by tourism and crowds of people.

Welcome to Naka Island.

We made a b-line straight for the bar.

And it felt like home. It felt like paradise. We grabbed a few coconuts and fresh juices and sat out on the beach watching a tropical storm approach us.

And my last photo from Thailand is taken from a swing, on Naka Island, whilst listening to Bob Marley singing “no woman no cry”. I’d finally found my paradise.

The say to leave the best for last.

into the jungle

Deep in the heart of Thailand there’s thick, luscious jungle. The type of jungle from Tarzan where you could fill your day alone spotting hundreds of insects, monkeys, spiders and of course, Elephants.

Another day, another day trip. This time over the Sarasin bridge which connects Phuket to the Thailand mainland. We headed north and further away from the Thailand as we knew it.

Our guide made some stops along the way to educate us about the Thai culture. My favourite was the Cashew Fruit. Yes, who knew? Well maybe it’s commonly known that the Cashew nut grows attached to a fruit but hey, you learn something new everyday!

After our cashew lesson, it was onto the Turtle Sanctury. Of course there were baby turtles…

Big turtles.

and Captain turtles.

It was amazing to see how these wonderful animals are cared for.

Although, I had one problem. I’m not sure on the signage?

Charming.

At least the number one rule, above everything, is to Dress Politely. So anyone thinking of turning up in a pair of Reebok Classics and a hoodie, you can think again.

Driving further north, now with the aircon almost burning out the engine of our van, we entered the tropical forests and arrived at a local village who earn a living transporting tourists on bamboo rafts down the river.

We were told to watch out for the snakes and colourful frogs and when I tried to explain the rules of what not to say to people who are petrified of snakes, the language barrier on us again. So for the next 45 minutes, I was pointed out every snake that swam beneath us in the shallow waters as well as the ones hanging just above our heads.

Anyway, I survived.

In a half build house, the women had prepared lunch and another round of delicious Tempura prawns were served.

The grande finale of our wonderfully cultural day was Elephant Trekking. This felt like the moment I’d been waiting for my whole life.

Scott got to know the locals, a friendly gibbon, then a little more eduction. Let me introduce you to the Rubber Tree.

In the Khao Sok region, they have one baby elephant who is 3 years old. All the elephants in this area are working elephants and are trained from a young age with aids such as hula hoops and playful dances. Think of it as elephant play school.

Scott volunteered to be kissed by the baby elephant.

I just fed him Banana’s and he was happy enough.

Nothing can prepare you for the exhilaration of riding an elephant. They are so amazingly calm and peaceful. It will be a day, that I will never forget for the rest of my life. I always want to remember the smell of the jungle, the humidity and chokingly hot air and the tranquil and magical jungle.

Thailand, please never change.

the islands

The idea of jumping on a speedboat and island hopping in one of the most beautiful places on the planet is enough for even the toughest of men to go weak at the knees. So on day two of Phuket, we did exactly that. Leaving from Phuket Town at the crack of dawn with Jennifer, our lady boy guide, we set off for Maya Bay.

Famous for it’s role in “The Beach”, Maya Bay is a tourist magnet. Speedboats hurry to the island in their hundreds, manoeuvring into the tightest of parking spots, all to deliver their boat loads of paradise-hungry tourists. The Thai’s know this formation like every westerner knows Gangnam Style. 3 engines rev and some “pushing” man power squeeze the boat tightly into the car park, as if by magic.

Ta-Da!

When the boats in, one of the boat masters jumps out and drags the anchor onto the beach. Once in prime position, the tourists jump ship in search of their first adventure of the day.

Unfortunately, Maya Bay is just too busy with tourists to experience the full affect of the striking clear waters and beautiful bay. I’m sure everyone on the island managed to photo bomb everyone else’s holiday snaps.

So we hopped back onto the boat, following Jennifer’s humungous breast and expert stick-your-bum out-and-smile pose, to Monkey Beach.

Monkeys on a beach I hear you ask? Yes, hundreds of cheeky monkeys on a beach, waiting for the boatloads of excitable tourists to arrive with their mid morning snacks. We were saved the humiliation of monkeys robbing us for every peanut and bottle of coke we carried and as the tide was in, simply threw the peanuts right into the monkeys greedy hands. Two can play at that game.

Cheeky monkeys.

After the commotion and mid-paradise traffic jams, we arrived at the spectacularly beautiful Koh Phi Phi. Perhaps one of the most photographed places in Thailand, there is nothing not to love about this corner of Thailand that, yep you guessed it, everyone knows about.

Jennifer led us across the beach to a small wooden beach shack for lunch. Up a spiral staircase, past the man selling photographs with his Gibbon, we raced to grab the best spot in the restaurant. I think we chose very well…

No time in the world can be long enough spent in Koh Phi Phi. It’s almost as if its compulsory to hand in all your troubles and worries to the Thai man charging you 100Baht to hop off the boat and experience something that is so close to perfect, that in my head I can still touch it.

It is the most tranquil place I have visited on earth.

There was only one thing left to do, escape the raging sun and dive into the crystal clear waters.

I never expected to be so emotional when we left Phi Phi, but there’s something about the island that takes hold of every piece of your soul.

Our last stop of the day was a little island of sand, poking out of the ocean enough that only a few “relax bar” blasting soft reggae sounds, had inhabited.

A spot of snorkelling and the all important tan topping up time, it was time to head back to Phuket, just in time for sunset.