At 9:00, I checked out of the hotel with a fond farewell to the staff. Two tourists on motorbikes pulled in just as I was leaving, so I was glad for the workers at the hotel. I crossed the two-lane road and waited for the bus— not exactly on schedule! A few buses bound for Phuket passed me, but nothing for Khokloie and Pangnga. At 9:50, I told myself that I’d take the first bus directly to Phuket if one didn’t come by before 10:00! Sure enough, at 9:56 the bus arrived!
As we climbed the small rise in the road, I saw one of the brothers at the restaurant I had visited the first day. I was sorry that I hadn’t gone back to see them before I left. The trip to Pangnga was uneventful enough. First, to Khokloie and a short wait for the transfer to Pangnga. The town is actually kind of neat as it is built around the limestone hills there. I met a guy named Prasit at what passes as a bus station there and we quickly agreed on a good price for a day-trip to the bay and Goh Panyee, a Muslim seafarers’ village.
It just so happens that Goh Panyee is Prasit’s home village. He is in fact, one of the assistant tambone (district) leaders. The town was begun about 250 years ago by fisherman from Malaya and Indonesia, which woud explain the Dutch colonialish style to the windows. It is accessible by a 20-minute longboat ride on the bay. The people here have good reason to feel apprehensive about a future tsunami. The houses are built on stilts and back up on a limestone karsk. The villagers were talking to Prasit of the need for a pathway to get up to the flat top on the karsk in case of an emergency as they had largely escaped with the tsunami. I enjoyed meeting some of the people with Prasit acting as interpreter most of the time as I could barely understand the dialect. We went to the school and the market area that seems to have a good supply of food items. It was a very interesting place to see.
IMAGES FROM KOH PANYEE
We returned to Pangnga and I had a bit of dinner. Afterward I tried to send some emails, but the local Internet shop was dealing with the “dial-up” issues that plague me the whole trip down here! Ended up at the Pangnga Guest House, a 10-dollar-a-night place. Nothing to write home about, but it was clean and friendly. Sort of describes the whole town, actually!
Tomorrow off to Phuket. It used to be a tourist area back in the 70’s, so I can only imagine the changes there, too!