The Hawngs of Phang Nga Bay Part 2

Continued from yesterday”¦ We piled back into the trawler and in a couple minutes were at another cave on the same island called Diamond Cave. Golf made it clear this is a completely different hawng with no connection what so ever to the first cave. This cave is much narrower and lower. It was only a couple minutes before we needed to lie down again. Not only did the ceiling get ultra low, the cave also got ultra narrow, and the kayak barely squeezed through the opening. Once we got through the low, narrow stretch, we could sit up again. There is a portion of the cave covered in calcium carbonate that sparkles as if someone threw glitter all over it. It is pretty.

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This hawng looks much the same inside as the bat cave hawng, which is spectacular, with clear blue water, 600 foot walls and foliage all the way to the top.

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And, like the Bat Cave, it also has a bay within the bay. Here is a shot of the opening to the inner bay.

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At this point, we felt like this trip was well worth the money. We would have never been able to get into either of these caves on our own since our kayaks are rigid, wider, and sit higher in the water. Plus, even if we could get through, we would never have believed it was physically possible to cram yourself into such a small opening. We would have turned around once we got to the low sections, thinking them impassable. We are pretty sure that the only reason that our cruiser friends think the Emerald Hawng is the most beautiful of all is because they couldn’t get into the ones we saw today.

Back at the trawler, they fed us snacks as we made our way over to a nearby island called Hawng Island. They also threw food out to the hawks, and we had many hawks following along picking up the food. They were mostly the red hawks that are the symbol of Langkawi. Seeing the hawks circling was pretty darn cool, but we couldn’t see the birds as well as we had at the Geopark. All the tour boats go to Hawng Island, but since our tour started late in the day, all the other tour boats were long gone. This island is very jagged at the top, with lots of high peaks and lower sections of wall.

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We paddled through the opening and were immediately inside the hawng, no cave traversing at all. The hawng is fairly narrow, and there is a similar opening at the opposite end that puts you into an open lagoon area with many different openings into the sea. We could have totally done this hawng on our own.

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As we paddled along, enjoying the scenery, we made a sharp left turn into a short cave with a very low and narrow mouth and came out into another hawng. And the second hawng had another small, narrow cave that led into a third hawng. There was only the one way into the second and third hawngs, and we definitely could not have done those two in our own kayaks.

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Upon returning to the trawler, it was free time, where we got to paddle the canoes ourselves and go for a swim. Then we made a traditional offering to the god of the water, called a kratong. Normally, the offering is made during the November full moon each year, but they do the offering daily for the tourists. Golf called us over to a corner where he had a three inch thick cross section of a banana tree, some banana leaves cut into strips, a small bouquet of flowers and a bag of miscellaneous small things. The banana tree looks kind of like a honey comb, made up entirely of little holes. We took all the strips and made paper er banana leaf — airplanes out of them. Golf attached the little airplanes to the stump in a decorative fashion, making them look like flowers and leaves.

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He put orchids around the edge and several birthday candles in the holes. He cut up a marigold and spread the petals all over the top. He added the sprigs of greenery out of the bouquet and finished it off with three sticks of incense. When he was done, it looked just like a birthday cake. For the real offering in November, they also add their own finger nail and hair clippings. Each and every item in the offering has significance. For example, the marigold is a sign of prosperity and the three sticks of incense represent Buddha, the monks, and the holy scriptures.

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Once the offerings were completed, the buffet was put out. There was tom yam soup (which is normally fiery hot, but this one was bland), curry chicken and potatoes, sweet and sour veggies, whole fish with a spicy sauce (spicy by our standards, bland by Thai standards), stir fry chicken, deep fried prawns, and pineapple. The food was abundant and pretty good.

By the time we finished eating, it still wasn’t quite yet dark. When darkness finally fell, we all piled back into our canoes. The guides paddled us to Oyster Cave, yet another cave where we had to lie down to make it through the opening. It is called Oyster Cave because it has tons and tons of oyster shells growing along the walls. All the caves have lots of oyster shells, but there is more on this one. Inside, the half moon was glowing in the hazy sky. We paddled around, running our hands through the water and watching the bioluminescence glittering at us. We lit the candles and incense and put our kratong in the water and watched them until they burned out.

It was a very good day indeed for Christi and Eric. Mike spent the day in Patong. He returned to the dinghy dock before Eric and Christi. He wandered into the travel agency, where the male agent was watching TV in air conditioned comfort. Mike invited himself to hang out and watch TV with the agent. The agent didn’t seem to mind, and it didn’t take long for Mike to figure out why. Mike was relieved when the van dropped Eric and Christi off, because the agent was refusing to take no for an answer about going out on a date.

One thought on “The Hawngs of Phang Nga Bay Part 2”

  1. “because the agent was refusing to take no for an answer about going out on a date.” ROFL
    totally laughed out loud and made the dog look at me.

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