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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 92: Nik Nak returns!

THAILAND | Tuesday, 5 February 2008 | Views [2131]

Nik-Nak returns!

Nik-Nak returns!

Tuesday 5th February

I was out of the hotel by 07.30, got some breakfast in one of the roadside cafes, not sure what to ask for, but I said 'yes' when the lady behind the counter pointed at some eggs! I was given an omelette and some red curry sauce for dipping and it was very tasty, I think I will have to export that one back home. I headed over to Sayan Tours, and they took me to a nearby jetty where we climbed onboard a longboat and set off for the day.

We first passed through a mazy mangrove forest, and it was interesting to see how these trees root themselves into the salt water, so that the roots themselves are exposed (giving you a glimpse of what it must look like in a normal forest without the earth surrounding the roots).

The national park is one of the more famous areas in Thailand, or, at least, the images of the many limestone karsts (or jutting rocks and small islands) are reasonably well known outside of the country. We stopped off at a few very impressive caves and lagoons, deep inside some of the small islands. It was all very relaxing, and there were many others about, either on boats similar to ours, or on canoes which are launched off larger ships and which first sail out closer to the main sights.

We stopped on a beach for a refreshing swim and some lunch before getting back on the boats for a trip to the famous Tapoo Island (a.k.a. 'James Bond Island'). I was particularly excited about this part of the trip, as 'The Man With The Golden Gun' is perhaps my favourite of all the Bond movies (although I cannot call myself a huge Bond fan). A personal joke also had a lot of relevancy here. One of the wonderful nicknames that has been bestowed upon me, includes that of 'Nik-Nak', the name of Scaramanga's sidekick in this particular Bond movie (I won't explain why!). It is a name given to me by Kenny McClintock but quickly picked up by some of the other Derry contingent and very much in use to this day. So, in a funny kind of way, it was a bit of a homecoming for me!

The island itself is now a big tourist attraction, and a row of souvenir stalls lines the beach. I wouldn't have had such a big problem if there had have been memorabilia from the Bond movie to purchase, something along the lines of a toy extra nipple 'à la Scaramanga' or a Nik-Nak t-shirt. But, alas, there was nothing except the usual fridge magnets and seashells. However, the beach is still recognisable from the movie, with the single, thin karst in front of the main beach acting as the major landmark.

Our final stop was to a muslim fishing village, a place where all of the buildings have been built on stilts directly above the sea. It's an interesting enough place, and the people there seem to welcome tourists, not least because of the extra income that they pull in from them. We headed back to the mainland shortly after, getting back to the bus station in time for me to catch the last bus to Takua Pa at 17.00. My plan was to go from Takua Pa to Khao Sok National Park, but, by the time I got to Takua Pa at 19.00, the last bus for Khao Sok had gone. This meant that I had to stay the night in Takua Pa, and get the 10.00 to Khao Sok the next morning. It was a reasonably big town, so there was never going to be much problem in getting a place to stay.

The only question was 'where'. The Lonely Planet didn't cover it, so I got a taxi driver to bring me somewhere nearby, and I ended up getting a fairly decent place for 300B (despite the efforts of the receptionist to get me to pay double for an air-con room that I didn't need). I went for some food and had crabmeat and spring onions with rice, and it was one of the nicest dishes I had since coming to Thailand (you have to turn your mind off to the possibility that the crabs were probably reared in the bathtub, but it still tasted bloody good). There wasn't much about the place, so I headed back to the hotel and crashed out for the night.

Tags: The Great Outdoors

 

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