Saturday, July 04, 2020

Charmed by Ranong and its alluring islands

Feb 22. 2020
Horse Shoe island
Horse Shoe island
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By THE NATION

Visitors to Ranong province either already feel the lure of Kam Nui and Phayam islands or they’re told about it repeatedly. The lure proves inescapable, and the islands are easily reached with a short boat ride.

Horse Shoe IslandThe boat rides to the islands in Myanmar coast have become quite popular in the past three years thanks to celebrities and other “influencers” posting rave reviews on social media.

Just a little farther out across a shard of the Andaman Sea is the Myanmar coast. You just need to ask at any travel agency in Ranong and they’ll ask to see a Thai ID card or passport.

KawthaungThe trip starts fairly early in the morning at Lighthouse Pier and takes you to the Myanmar port of Kawthaung, known as Victoria Point in colonial times, where you get your border pass.

Different agencies offer different routes and lists of islands among the 10 or so islands on offer, but by most accounts, the best ones to visit are Horse Shoe, Emerald Heart, Nyaung Oo Phee and Cockburn.#

It’s advisable to go prepared for swimming, diving or kayaking.

And be prepared also to find no internet – or any stores catering to tourists, for that matter. Nor any cars and not much in the way of roads.

You should have done all your shopping on Ranong’s Walking Street anyway. It’s a charming little downtown promenade with numerous food carts selling cheap meals and snacks, but it’s only really functioning from 4 to 10pm.

For history buffs, Mueang Ranong also has the lovely Baan Thein Sue (Thein Sue House), about a century old and all very Chinese in construction and decor.

The same family has lived there from Day 1 and is currently in its sixth generation. 

There are two houses to Thein Sue House, actually. The one out front has been converted into a museum filled with Chinese furniture and décor and historical photos and documents. The family lives in the second.

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