Then it was off on the bus again. I think it was about an hour and a half before we reached the Takua Pa district, where we pulled into a place that looked suspiciously like someone’s house.
Speedboating through the Mangroves
We all grabbed life jackets and walked down the road to the edge of a big river, where there was this awesome Hornbill watching us walk by. We suspected he was a pet, and later discovered we were right. Better than a parakeet if you ask me.
We loaded into two speedboats and flew off down the river, only slowing down as we went by a small fishing village built on the shore. Not far after that we turned down what looked like a watery alleyway between the trees.
As we slowly made our way through the mangroves, our guide warned us to look up as well as around us – not only do birds prefer the trees, but snakes do too. We actually spotted a couple, as well as a creepy-looking snakeskin hanging from a branch.
We even saw a monitor lizard, but unfortunately I have no proof because it was too fast for the camera. You’re excused from believing me since I don’t have a picture. And at one point, as the Husband was looking up into the trees, a fat spider plopped onto the boat next to him. I’ve never seen him jump so high. I’m not particularly afraid of spiders, but I’ll admit that this one was BIG. If only I could have recorded it….
After a while we turned around and headed back to the main river. We sped back the way we came, but kept going. And going. It was really beautiful on the river, and eventually we reached a point where it widened and we could see the boat where we would be having lunch next to the mangroves.
Lunch on a Burmese Junk, and Mangrove Kayaking
The boat was a classical Burmese junk, and we all clambered aboard. Finally we got our chance to kayak in the mangroves on our own. The husband and I hopped into (or almost fell into, depending on your point of view) our kayak and paddled into the little mangrove alley next to the boat.
Our guide instructed us to keep in the middle of the mangrove to stay safe from any snakes that might feel like dropping from their branches. Along the way we spied… TREE CRABS. For real. I saw one peeking at us and the Husband promptly told me I was insane. But finally he was able to spot it and, basically, I win. Now can YOU spot it below?
We didn’t see anything else exciting during our kayak journey, but the sound of cicadas was deafening. It actually felt like my eardrums were vibrating in my head. (I mean, I guess that’s what eardrums do, right? But you’re not supposed to feel it.)
Back on the junk and we had a yummy lunch of curry and fish and a bunch of other things. Once we’d eaten, we took the junk down the river to a spot with a sandy beach. After looking at the map, I’m pretty sure we were in the Ko Kho Khao area. Isn’t that a fun name?
On a Beach by the Andaman Sea
The sky had turned a dismal grey so unfortunately we didn’t get to enjoy the beach like we wanted to. This was another time I wished we’d come during the dry season. Oh well. From our little beach, we could look out and see where the Andaman Sea met the Pak Ko river.
Walking up and down beach, we spotted these camouflaged little crabs scuttling along. Man, were they FAST. I’ve never seen crabs run like that. Naturally, I had to catch one. I discovered that the trick is to chase them into the water and watch where they bury themselves. Then when the surf goes out, you can dig the little bugger out. This little guy gave me a good pinch a few seconds after this picture…. Guess I deserved it.
Oh! And hey, did you know that hermit crabs climb trees?! I definitely did not know that. Pine trees were growing up to the sand, and that seemed to be the hermit crabs’ favorite area. We caught a few because they’re easy, and then we put them down because they’re boring. Once they were brave enough to come back out of their shells, they started scuttling up the trees! So weird.
PS – Stay tuned for tales from the next leg of our journey – our first day in Cambodia!