Sunday, August 26, 2018

Panyee Island (Ko Panyi) - The Muslim Village on Stilts @ Phang Nga Bay near Phuket [Thailand]

While James Bond Island was heavily publicized by the tour agents, i am more intrigued with another component of the Phang Nga Bay Island Tour; the visit to Panyee Island.

Available as part of the tour only via the speedboat option for Amazing Canoeing, the island was said to be occupied from about 200 years ago and houses in the fishing village were mostly built on stilts; resulting in it being known as a floating village!

The island consists of 100% Thai Muslims and the population stands at about 2,000 people. Amidst the low-rise houses, one structure stood out; the Panyee Darussalam Mosque with its shimmering golden domes.

All you see from the left of the Panyee Darussalam Mosque are on water! If you have time, go to https://www.google.com.sg/maps/ and search for Ko Panyi; you will be amazed how far the village venture out from the island.

More on the village shortly.

First and foremost, we must fill our tummy first and the one we went to was nearest to land; so near until you can see the colossal limestone cliff right behind the Koh Panyee Village restaurant.

Disembarking from our speedboat.

Proceeding to the restaurant - i was glad that the weather was merciful during the tour and the only regretful thing was my decision not to bring my DSLR!

While waiting for food; a picture of the scenery. Reminded me somewhat of my cruise along the impressive Li River at Xing Ping Ancient Town in Guilin.

Our Halal Thai food; seriously good and i read somewhere that the tom yam soup at Ko Panyi was known to be famous. I don't know if the claim is for EVERY tom yam soup on the island but the one we had was one of the better ones i had in my life; not overly spicy yet packed with flavours!

An accolade awarded to the restaurant by Thailand's Department of Tourism. 

Lunch was quickly devoured (those who know me well will be aware i don't eat my food; i inhale them) as time was given for us to check out the village! 

There's a retail store within Koh Panyee Village restaurant but i am more curious to see what was in store within the floating village and if i can find something interesting.

Crossing across the pathway with no shelter and zero fencing. Fully aware that i am a clumsy person with a higher risk to fall off the path, i was mindful to walk slowly in the middle. 

Doesn't this feel a bit like the clan jetties in Penang

One facing inwards (towards the cliff).
The other one looking out into the sea. 

Path winding into the village; it might look like a maze but i thought it wasn't that hard to navigate given that the main passage would have retail stores flanking on both sides. 

Things you can find along the way; the typical Thai souvenirs you can get on the mainland and things i would not waste my time looking at as they would likely collect dust in my house if i ever buy them. 

Food stuff is also usually a no-no for me unless i can sample and knows exactly what they are; the ones above were in labelled in Thai and since i am trying to cut on my weight, it's best not to touch any of them!

A typical house within the village; as with the case at the clan jetties in Penang, we tourists must always respect the fact that there are homes and we should not wilfully trespass other people's property.

Random photos! 

Poor boy had never seen fish being dried... The "aroma" can be quite a challenge for those who are not accustomed to the sharp smell or people who simply dislike salted fish, like me. 

Targeting the tourist dollars, the stalls offered nothing that particularly stand out in my opinion. To be fair, things like pearls, bracelets, dresses, seashells etc don't appeal to me.  

Panyee Darussalam Mosque - click here for more photos! 

I should have taken a resident's suggestion to check out the floating football field but fearing it might be quite a walk and we only had about 20 minutes left to explore rest of the main passage; i had to give it a miss. 

Sampling available yet i didn't dare to try! Gosh, the amount of excuses i could come out with! Oh well, life is always a dilemma and when one is overseas, one must be careful of what they do and eat. 

Who in the right mind will buy these slippers?! You would never catch me wearing unless i need to wear them to win a bet or play a game!

Finally found a convenience stall! 

These mini glass sculptures are pretty.... I was tempted to grab a few but the operator appeared busy with another group of customers. Not a loss for me though as i just wanted to check out the prices to do a comparison. 

Coffee! Pity there's no kopi gao. :(

With the rest of the stalls selling homogeneous products, i didn't venture beyond the last photograph as i can sense that my dad was rather tired (and bored).  

I noticed this place when i was walking along the main passage and thought it's the right time to see what that structure / sculpture ahead of us was. 

A sheltered space? A throne?

Bloody hell; it's a humongous oyster! No wonder pearls are so heavily featured as necklaces, bracelets, accessories etc in many of the stalls at Panyee Island. 

View was good enough to warrant a pose by my dad! 

Welcome sign - guess where we stood would be the main jetty even though most tours would prefer to stop over at the restaurants instead as they usually package lunch together with panyee island. 

Rules of Panyee Island - the English translation was horrible; king should be kind, meatpig would be pork and what the hell is 3inc?! An interesting rule was no alcohol to be brought into Koh Panyee; violation would result in a fine of one goat and 5,000 baht! 

Basic information of Koh Panyee that i had shared earlier - didn't know panyee means flag.

Water meters! I understand from our tour guide that many things continued to be imported from the mainland which is about a 10-kilometer boat ride away. 

Map of Panyee Island; can you imagine that the "real" land is only about a third of what you see above? Those southwards are mainly the houses on stilts! 

Kids enjoying a dip in the murky green water; filling the environment with their giggles and laughter! We urban folks would likely be thinking what might lurk underneath the water and whether the water would be clean enough. 

Back to the main "street"! 

Random photos again as i got trigger happy despite having only my iPhone and the Olympus camera. Photo quality was not great with many over-exposed pictures; sigh, why i didn't lug along my DSLR? :(

Walking gingerly back to the restaurant; the concrete slabs that made up the pathway didn't seem to have a solid foundation. In the past, i might have jumped up and down a few times to test its stability.

Back to the boat; eh wait, we are downgrading to a bigger vessel instead? No lah, the speedboat was just beside the big boat and we were waiting for the staff to return.

Photo taking time as we had some time to spare. 

And some showcasing my new model; given my dad's darker skin (which i sadly didn't inherit), he was often mistaken to be a Thai work and in the last photo, he did act out his role as a fisherman relieved with his catch for the day! 

On our way out of Panyee Island (Ko Panyi).

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Part of the James Bond Island Trip 2 Itinerary offered by Amazing Canoeing that we purchased from At Akarin Tour near Swissotel Resort (Patong Beach).

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