Volunteering for 3 months in southern Thailand doesn’t mean that you can’t experience as many local sights as possible in your spare time…
Volunteering with the Foundation for Education and Development (FED) for 3 months is very busy, but there is always time for some R&R – just too many sights in Southern Thailand’s Phang Nga region to pass up in 2016.
A two-kilometre stretch of white sandy beach in the Khao Lak region of Southern Thailand, Bang Niang is popular with foreigners.
As our apartment is a couple of hours north of Phuket in Bang Niang, it’s a great location as a stepping stone to visit the surrounding region.
Quick getaways and day outings are just a stone’s throw away.
Not to mention just relaxing after a day at work volunteering, by throwing a Frisbee on one of the many gorgeous beaches, before stopping off at a local favourite restaurant for a delicious feast.
Have I mentioned that the food is amazing in Thailand?
Takua Pa and White Sand Beach
Although visited back in 2014, this time in 2016, noticed that Takua Pa has expanded quite a lot.
The town even hosts a Big C Supermarket, which sells groceries at slightly cheaper than Khao Lak/Bang Niang prices.
In addition to a few more food stalls, White Sand Beach is still as beautiful as ever and hasn’t changed much since writing my Khao Lak – Southern Thailand post.
If you time your visit right, you can have this stunning picturesque beach to yourself!
Day trip to Koh Kho Khao Island
Famous for having some of the best beaches in Thailand, I suggest you spend a few days on this gorgeous sleepy island. Sadly, because of volunteering, only can spare a day trip this time.
From Khao Lak, a short 20-minute ride north and you arrive in Takua Pa’s Koh Koh Khao Harbour. Make your way to catch the Long Tail boat across to Koh Koh Khao island (20B/person includes your bike), which only takes around 10-15 minutes.
From Khao Lak, a short 20-minute north ride and you arrive in Takua Pa’s Koh Koh Khao Harbour in Phang Nga Province. Make your way to catch the Long Tail boat across to Koh Koh Khao island (20B/person includes your bike), which only takes around 10-15 minutes.
Impressive is how the boat driver wheels or rides your bike onto a very narrow plank while it precariously rocks on the shore from swell movement, but safely onto his Long Tail.
Always great to have locals show you around so colleagues from FED show us the way, stopping along several beaches for a good look around and exploring.
The island is unusually quiet and sadly, the famous restaurant on the lake is shut, so keep searching to find an alternative open for lunch…
…before returning to the mainland for more food at Bang Sak Beach, of course.
Bang Sak Beach
After spending a wonderful day on Koh Kho Khao Island, stop off at Bang Sak Beach.
A quick tour around before a bite to eat and heading back to Khao Lak.
At the far northern end of Khao Lak, Bang Sak provides around 5 kilometres of pristine sands. No crowds either…
A spectacular vista on a sunny day.
With chairs and tables scattered on the sand, pick a spot and relax as it’s not long before a waiter takes your order.
A lovely spot to watch the sun recede into darkness, whilst sipping on a delicious refreshment – visit this Bang Sak Beach before it explodes with tourism.
Water Park 360°
About 2 hours on a scooter south of Khao Lak, the 360° Water Park is busy with locals – our tribe of 5 includes the only Farangs (foreigners) at the park!
Swimming in the park sets you back 100B. You can be a spectator for free. As it’s pretty hot, I braved a soak. A couple of restaurants serving over-priced food and drinks are also on site.
If you want to break the journey up due to a sore butt from the scooter ride, stop off at one of the many waterfalls along the highway, which charge 200B entry this time of year.
Koh Phayam Island – escaping Songkran
Thailand’s Songkran holiday is loads of fun but also is a magnet for hoards of people that flock to the streets to celebrate the Thai New Year.
Water bombs, flour, and talcum powder are hurled from secret locations along roads, against buildings, bins, and anything, usually by children or teenagers, or the occasional laughing adult.
A lot of fun but everywhere is extremely busy so Songkran is a good time to get out of town for a few days, especially if you already experienced one or two of these holidays. Check my post on Koh Phayam Island and why you must visit this idyllic island.
This not-for-profit association does a marvellous job with homeless dogs in Phuket and throughout Thailand.
Met a wonderful shop owner on Bang Niang Road who speaks of Soi Dog but also that she cares for eight stray dogs. This lady pays for vet fees, food, and everything else they need as though the strays are her own. The dogs even sleep at her house at the back of her shop. So very kind especially for here as typically, animals are not looked after very well.
One of her strays followed us back to the apartment and slept at our door twice. The second time is with another of this lady’s strays. In the morning, I walk this little one back to her owner and also decide to take some dog food to help feed the dogs.
Hope that you enjoyed some of the wonderful experiences while volunteering with FED…