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From the Ground: Phuket Sea Kayaking Tour

By Nicole Long & Jay Austin

This private sea kayaking tour is great for a small groups or families traveling together. Our partner, John Gray Sea Canoe, is highly rated and receives positive feedback from our guests for their Hongs by Starlight tour. Guests have the choice of where to go and duration of stay at each stop. There are opportunities to see wildlife such as sea-eagles, monkeys, bats, etc.

What you can expect from this tour:

Today you will explore the stunning Thailand waters and try hard-shell kayaking in spectacular Phang Nga Bay. You will depart Phuket at 9am in a Fast Longtail Boat which will circumnavigate North Phang Nga Bay in one day, kayaking two or three of the most spectacular spots in the region. Your guide will give you basic kayaking instruction so you can paddle your own or, you can opt to paddle a double kayak with a guide. After you finish paddling, you will return to the boat and head to Koh Yao Yai for lunch at a local Thai restaurant. After lunch you will head to the last island for some swimming and snorkeling. Return back to Ao Po by 5pm and return to your hotel.

Note: All photos are from John Gray Sea Canoe.

Thai Islands done right

April and Regine recently returned from a trip to the Thai islands where they had the grueling task of checking on the tropical tours currently offered and looking for new guest opportunities. For April, there are days that she just has to pinch herself and ask “ is this really my job?

me and regine

I had one of those “pinch me” moments today while inspecting a day trip to the islands of Phang Nga Bay. We arrived at the Phuket marina at 9:30am and were greeted by the boat team and were offered coffee, tea and sea sickness pills, just in case. There were a few hundred people all gathered around and we were all given colored stickers to identify which group we were with — I’m not going to lie, I got a little nervous and felt a bit like cattle being herded. However, soon the big crowds were being ushered to their boats while us in the “red sticker” group relaxed and enjoyed the snacks in the lobby.

Our guide, Mr. Boy, stood up and gave us the run down on the days schedule and I was impressed with his English and his enthusiasm. I’m sure he gives that same speech every day, yet you could tell he really enjoyed what he was talking about and that he was excited for the day of touring ahead. Right then, I knew this was going to be a great trip. Guides truly do set the tone for a tour, and Mr. Boy had started the day off right.

Our group of about 40 made our way to the boat about an hour after the other crowds left. We were told they did this as they make the same stops as the other big tourist groups, but in arriving about an hour after them we get to explore these islands after those crowds have moved on. It was well planned and very noticeable improvement for our trip. We really did feel like the only boat in each of these locations – not an easy feat!

Our schedule included three stops – Monkey Island for snorkeling, Phi Phi Don for lunch and R & R time, Maya Bay (the island where the movie the Beach was filmed) for more snorkeling at a bay nearby and of course more R & R.

Each stop was more beautiful than the next and to me it was the epitome of a tropical beach escape. The water was so clear we felt like we were right on top of the coral, the fish were abundant and there were wild baby monkeys on the island. It was absolutely incredible. I’ll let the below pictures do more of the talking as I think they say it better than I ever could. Note – these pictures were snapped with my iPhone and not edited – no need for fancy photography when the location looks like this!

Baby monkeys of the aptly named Monkey Island.
longtail boats and coral
The beautiful water off the coast of the Koh Phi Phi Don.
phi phi don
Long boats parked on the island of Koh Phi Phi.

When we arrived back at the marina we were handed cold towels and popsicles – it was the perfect end to a perfect day. There are a lot of Phuket island tour options, but not a lot of options that do it so well. It was a great reminder of the value of booking a tour through Journeys Within, knowing you have a great guide to add to the experience and a team that knows the ins and outs to make sure the day is the best it could possibly be.

Linda and Leak head to Thailand

Last week, two of our Cambodian office staffers, Leak and Linda, were chosen Thai Amadeus’ Top Agent Award trip to Phuket, Thailand. Here at Journeys Within, we already know how amazing the pair are, making it all the more lovely to see them appreciated in their field.  Here Leak recounts her memories of her first Thai beach vacation…

Day 1 Dinner @ Wangsai Seafood Restaurant

Linda and I were very exciting to win the trip to Krabi for 3 day/2 nights with Thai Amadeus technology system. From Siem Reap, we were the only one Top Agent to win this trip!

Day1: I am so exciting for this trip because it’s the first time to see a tour first-hand that I only can see in the computer system when I’m planning for the guests.  Amadeus System arranged for one guy to escort us to Bangkok from Cambodia, but  it was the first time for him to ride the plane, and he is plane sick. We had a lot of fun during the plane ride as he always catch my hands whenever the plane starts off and lands.

With Myanmar's friend
Leak and Linda take in the beach sights with a new friend from Myanmar.

We arrived at Krabi at 8:00pm than the Amadeus boss is waiting for all of us at the airport to drive us to dinner at Wangsi Seafood Restaurant. When we got in the restaurant they had already reserved food for us — about 6 or 7 different  delicious dishes. The taste of the food was really good and their services was great with a smile. A good start to our holiday!

The restaurant is next to the beach so after dinner we walk a bit and then released the floating lanterns. One lamp is released for every four people and our Group did a good job getting it in the air.

Linda and Leak release a lantern with one of their new friends.

Afterwards we went straight to the hotel for check in. We stayed at Centara Anda Dhevi Resort & Spa at Ao-Nang Beach. The hotel was amazing offering a warm welcome with a drink, great service and a lovely spa and gym room. All room are facing the huge pool with an excellent view.

View on the way to Koh Phi Phi.

Day 2: Breakfast at the hotel they serve as a buffet with a lot of choice. After breakfast we were ready to head out for a tour take Speedboat to PP island, Maya Bay and Losama Bay.

I don’t know how to tell you but the view was amazing, blue sea with white sands; very very beautiful. There is one thing that I can not believed myself that I was brave to do it, is with snorkeling because I cannot swim. As the tour leader needs to know whether a person can swim or who doesn’t want to. I was the one guy that didn’t want to get in the water.

Arrived at Island
Leak enjoying the spectacular beach from dry land.

But when I arrived at the beach, my goodness, it was such a good view with very nice sea that I could see all fish in. I don’t know when my mind changed, but I was totally brave to do this tour. It was an unbelievable experience with very nice view on the sea —  I was about the last person that come to the boat after the tour!

Day2 Amazing snorkeling Tour
Linda watched Leak as she takes in the view of life under water.

Day 3: Time to say good bye to our beautiful hotel and beach. After check out they took us to the Cave Tiger Temple to make merit and to give food offering to a Buddhist monk before heading to the airport in Bangkok.

It was a really great vacation even for short time, but still an unforgettable time. To meet other agents from different countries, to share our smiles and laugh during our trip.

Jeab travels to Phuket during the rainy season

I think the good things about travelling during the low season are;

1. Good prices for hotels and air tickets.

2. You have much time to enjoy facilities in the hotel because it’s rainy outside!

3. It’s more likely that you can get a room upgrade.

4. You feel you have more privacy on your trip sicne there are not as many tourists.

The hotel with very few tourists
The hotel with very few tourists

We are glad that we decided to take a last minute trip to Phuket and Koh Phi Phi even though it was raining. We started our trip by visiting the Big Buddha which is in Phuket town and then went on an island excursion and climbed to thehighest view point of the island.

Big Buddha
Big Buddha

After that our driver drove us to see Rawei Beach when we were there we found a good place to have local thai food. The restaurant is called “ Mae Klong Sea food” I had Somtum, grilled chicken and sticky rice! It was either really tasty or I was starving – I am not so sure! (These three things are like you having steak with ketchup, toast and sausage.) They also serve another thai dish there we had “Cashew nut fried with chicken” After that we had lots energy so we went to Promthep Cape. The atmosphere up there was so clean and fantastic. While there I breathed a lot of O2 but it would have been nicer if the sky was more clear.

Promthep Cape
Promthep Cape

The excursion ended at another view point from there we can see 3 beaches…Kata, Karon and Patong even though they were so far away!

View of Phuket Town
View of Phuket Town

Then my day ended at the bar called Joe’s Downstairs but rained like crazy at Patong beach so no chance to show you the photo!

Have a good day!



Arienne’s Honeymoon!

Everyone in the office is gearing up to take June 22nd off for Arienne’s wedding. Arienne has worked as the nanny for the kiddos and has now taken the leap into working in the Journeys Within US office. We had the pleasure of planning her honeymoon to Thailand and Cambodia and I have asked her to write a blog about what she’s most excited about for her upcoming trip.


In less than TWO weeks we will be married!!! We’re running around like crazy making sure every little detail is done! We have an amazing wedding planned for the start of our new lives together. For our honeymoon we wanted to have an UNFORGETTABLE trip that we would always remember. Andrea had mentioned Thailand for a honeymoon and it sounded amazing I talked it over with Ben My fiancé and the more we thought about it the more it just fit. Once we had seen our rough draft Itinerary we definitely decided we had to go! It’s just something we knew we wanted and wouldn’t be able to get here in the states. The fact that we also love Thai food and could have a fabulous trip planned for us was just a bonus.

We are unbelievably excited to go on our honeymoon! The beginning of our trip is going to be a bit crazy after our reception we drive down to San Francisco about 3 hours and park our car at my brother’s house and ride the train to the airport another hour. From the airport we will catch the shuttle to our hotel for the night. Cars, Trains and buses, than set off for the 11 hour plane ride! We fly into Tokyo Japan where we plan on eating real sushi! One more shorter plane ride (6 hours) and After all of that we will FINALLY be there.

There are 3 tours that we can’t wait to go do. Were so excited to see the Kanchanaburi Tiger Temple, Where else could you walk a tiger on a leash and pet his belly? It’s something you could never do in the states and is sure to be amazing! I am defiantly an animal lover and having the chance to touch a tiger will be like the coolest thing ever. I can’t believe even half way across the world I can pet a Tiger! How EXCITING!

In Chiang Mai we are doing the Flight of Gibbon I absolutely love high ropes courses I did them as a kid in summer camp. This one looks huge! I can’t wait to see the jungle from the canopy of the rainforest. My fiancée hates rollercoaster’s and he is even willing to try this, just for the amazing view! He has never done anything like this so it’ll be fun to see what he thinks about it too.

The thing we are looking forward to most is in Phuket, The hongs by Starlight tour. My fiancée loves kayaking and spends much of his free time in Tahoe doing it. So Kayaking in the ocean through caves is sure to be an unforgettable moment of our trip. It sounds incredibly sweet and romantic to send our krathong to float for luck in the starlight. It was great to have a Southeast Asia expert plan our trip too so we could make sure we got what we wanted without hours of research, especially since we have a whole wedding to plan. We have never done anything like this together and are excited to experience it for the first time as husband and wife.