Ligaya in West Thailand

Bang Rong - Phuket

Thailand is a Buddhist nation, but this corner of Phuket is staunchly Muslim. Bang Rong is a small Muslim village, mainly built on stilts, in among the mangroves. It is a fishing village and also a port for the many little ferries that go to the island of Koh Yao Noi.

The big mosque behind the village is a new mosque, being built, on the main road to Phuket. It seems to me that the Muslims are bent on taking over this part of Thailand.

The village relies on the fishing and the ferry trade for the majority of their income. There is a so-called Eco Lodge built on floats in the river. This caters for the needs of any tourists who might find the village.
The village itself consists of a series of wooden houses, built on stilts, connected by a series of rather rickety boardwalks.
The walls of the houses are made from interwoven leaves. All were made in the same pattern using two colours of leaves.
This cat had found a shady spot on the boardwalk, and appeared to be waiting for its fisherman owner to return with lunch.
The wharf on the edge of the village is very busy in the mornings, as all the boats jostle for position, to load their cargo of goods or people for the trip to Koh Yao Noi.
There are lots of monkeys living in the surrounding mangroves, and they are a bit of a pest, as they come into the village and rummage in the garbage for scraps.
This baby monkey hit the jackpot, with half a bag of potato chips.
The vast majority of the women wear the headscarves, but it is nice to see that some of them feel liberated enough to wear bright colours rather than the traditional back or dark brown.

Most boats in Thailand are the so-called longtail boats. An engine is mounted on a swivel at the stern of the boat, with a long propellor shaft welded directly to the back of the engine.

Some of the boats here were quite large and the biggest used large truck engines to drive them.

The helmsman is dwarfed by the big diesel engine. The balance must be perfect to allow the helmsman to steer by hand.

This boat is literally full to the roof.

Look at the size of the engine compared to the man steering.

Next to the dock were some of the mobile food sellers, with their stalls built on the sidecar of a motorbike.

The mangroves are a very important part of the "ecosystem". Their most important function is to provide a safe place for fish to spawn. Far too many mangroves have already been cleared, not only for tourist development but for the many hugely polluting shrimp farms.

The builders of the Eco-resort obviously understand this, and they have built a boardwalk through the mangroves, so people can reach it and cause minimal disturbance to the mangroves.

Rather than piles, the resort is built on three large rafts.

At one end there is a fish farm attached to the last raft.

With the tidal waters providing a flow of water, this is far less polluting than the shrimp farms, which are in enclosed ponds.

There are boats of every size. I liked this little rowing boat that was tied up in the mangroves.
Somebody had built this tiny jetty to give them access to their boat at various states of the tide. There is a couple of meters difference between high and low tide.

This was perhaps the smallest longtail that I have seen here. It is powered by a converted strimmer. He is going past another fish farm that is built along the bank facing the main village.

It is amazing to me that such a place as this can exist a scant 30 kms or so from the infamous "delights" of Patong.

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Ao Po and the villages near the marina

Phucket's Vegetarian Festival - the most bizarre parade you can imagine

The Food Street - part of the Vegetarian Festival

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