Our EXC In-Depth Voyage has arrived to Thailand! EXC In-Depth Onboard Naturalist/Zodiac Driver Kristy King sent some Field Notes and excellent photos from Phuket, Thailand. Enjoy this installment, and stay tuned as Maasdam begins its journey to across the Indian Ocean.
After turning our clocks back one hour overnight to ensure and extra hours rest from the previous day’s activities and also to be in the correct time zone, everyone seemed very excited to explore Phuket today. Phuket is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. It consists of the island of Phuket, the country’s largest island, and another 32 smaller islands off its coast. The Island of Phuket lies off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and is connected by the Sarasin Bridge to Phang Nga Province to the north.
Full of many beautiful beaches many people choose to spend their day relaxing or made their way out to the Phi Phi Island’s a group of six islands located off the coast and home to the world-famous Maya Bay, which was the set where The Beach (with Leonardo Di Caprio) was filmed. Many also got to experience Phang Nga Bay which is part of the Ao Phang Nga National Park, home to amazing limestone cliffs and rock formations, as well as mangrove forests.
While others were soaking up the sun at the beaches and swimming in the beautiful waters off the Phi Phi Island’s I strolled the streets of Old Phuket Town known for its Sino-Portuguese buildings. The buildings here were brightly colored and home to a number of small shops. A great chance to speak with locals and rummage through small stalls and shops in search of trinkets and handcrafts.
For those lucky enough there was also a chance to get up close to some of Thailand’s most significant figures, the Asian Elephant. For centuries, elephants have been seen as holy in Thailand. Today elephant figures are still put in front of many buildings and sold as motifs on clothing or as souvenirs. However, the number of elephants in Thailand is diminishing.
This is where places such as the Green Elephant Sanctuary and many others do an amazing job of rescuing and protecting these gentle giants. In recent years, the number of these beautiful animals has been greatly reduced. In 1950, there were still about 50,000 elephants, whilst today there are only 3,000 to 3,500 left. The main reason for this is the clearing of woods and forests, which often takes the lives of these fascinating animals. Places such as the Green Elephant Sanctuary help with the protection of elephants by offering them a safe and protected life. Whilst here guests got the chance to meet some of the elephants that now call the sanctuary home. Some not only had the opportunity to feed individuals but also get dirty with them. Scrubbing the elephants with mud before rinsing off with a swim.
If you’d like to join one of these amazing adventures, check out our EXC In-Depth itineraries. Stay tuned to the EXC In-Depth Field Notes as Maasdam makes way to Sri Lanka.