Ligaya in West Thailand

Koh Yao Yai - Phuket

One day I took the ferry from Bang Rong to the island of Koh Yao Yai. Once again I took my bike and went on just about every road and a few tracks on the island.

I covered a total of 89 kms that day.

The ferry dropped me at the Klong Hia pier, near the north west corner of the island.

The 7:30 ferry was full, or dare I say, grossly overloaded?

I said to the ferry men that I would go on the next one, but they insisted there was room for me and the bike. They waited until everybody was settled and then plonked my bike across the knees of the people sitting near the bows. Nobody complained, even though they had to put with the bike on their knees for nearly an hour. They even helped me lift it ashore when we arrived.

Thai hospitality?

Klong Hia pier is rather in the middle of nowhere. There is a small village a couple of kms inland, but there is little at the pier itself.

The island is one hundred percent Muslim, and they do not welcome attempts at development.

I had gone only a few kilometers before I saw this old lady working in a rice field and close nearby, a water buffalo happily browsing.

It still surprises me that such a basic way of life can still exist, so close the the fleshpots of Phuket Town and Patong.

There are not many people living on Yao Yai. There is not any proper town, just a scattering of houses along the road. Many of them are brightly painted.

I detoured off the main road, to take a look at the next pier to the east. Like all of the piers on these islands, it is long, trying to get far enough out to reach deep water at low tide.

The first part of the pier was well built in concrete, but the rest was a simple wooden construction.

 

When the original wooden pier fell into disrepair, it was abandoned, and they simply built the new one beside it.
Like at Klong Hia, there is no real village at the pier, just a scattering of houses and a few boats pulled up on the beach.

I stopped to watch this guy working on the engine of his longtail.

Health and safety would have a fit is they saw all the moving parts completely exposed, with no attempt to shield them.

Off the end of the pier were several fish farms and a small floating village.

At the south west of the island is the main dock, which receives car ferries from Phuket.

I liked this group of marker buoys and fishing nets at the end of the pier.

The pier itself was fairly modern, well built and in good state of repair.

The ramp for the car ferry to offload the cars and trucks left a little to be desired in my opinion.

I followed the road down to this large bay on the south end of the island. I stopped at this beach for my lunch and a rest in the shade - it was a super-hot day.

Where the road stopped, a track continued southwards, so I decided to follow it.

Eventually I came to a small settlement of water gypsies. They had built their own pier and a few houses on stilts.

They were making their living catching and drying very small fish. They were catching them in their millions, and drying them on long net platforms, which they could cover in the event of rain.

I hope that these were mature small fish and not babies from a species that is supposed to grow bigger, because if that is the case, soon there will not be any left to grow up and reproduce.

A few of the houses were built out into the bay, at the end of a short dock.
Other houses were built right on the beach.

Under the shade of a big tree, two guys were rebuilding a big old longtail boat.

It was clear that few, if any "farangs" had ever found their way to the settlement before. I asked if I could have a look at the work they were doing - they seemed appreciative of the fact that I was admiring their work and complementing them. After a few minutes of this, we all relaxed a bit.

To begin with I felt a bit strange wandering into the privacy of their settlement.

I rode around the north end of the island to come as far south as the road went on the north west coast. At the end of the road was a very small very low-key resort on the beach. I stopped for a cold drink before heading back for the ferry.

Passing the marina on the way back to Bang Rong.

My morning bike rides take me over the ridge behind the marina.

Back to Phuket main page

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

A bike ride on Koh Yao Noi

Bang Rong - a small Muslim village in the mangroves

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