see + do
Longtail Boating in Phuket, Phuket
Concierge.com's insider take:
More than 40 limestone islands with deserted beaches, underground streams, and caves rise out of Phang Nga Bay amid thick mangrove forests. The two big stops on any boat trip through the area are Tapu, or "James Bond," Island, where The Man With the Golden Gun was filmed; and Koh Panyee, a village built entirely on stilts where you can observe the culture of the so-called "sea gypsies." In order to avoid the tourist hordes, it's best to book a trip that leaves early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Although you can go directly to Yacht Haven Marina and hire a longtail boat for less than $50 to take you to the major sites, it's best to book a more formal tour to ensure that you have English-speaking guides with proper safety training. The best companies are John Gray's Sea Canoe and Asia Marine. We think the trips on the traditional longtail boats are more fun than those on the more luxurious cruisersthe distinctively shaped longtails are fast, small, and ride closer to the water. In order to properly navigate through dark sea caves to the area's famous hongscaves whose roofs have collapsedyou'll have to hop into a sea kayak. John Gray runs an excellent night tour that explores the hongs by candlelight, as well as overnight kayak-and-camping trips for more seasoned paddlers.