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Hong Islands
Tambon Nong Thale, Krabi - Krabi ( Ao Nang )
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Hong Islands

Hong Islands, Mu Koh Hong in Thai, is an archipelago consisting of a dozen deserted islands scattered 7 kilometers off the Krabi's coast and approximately 17 km northwest of Noppharat Thara Beach in Ao Nang. A good part of islands are so small that have no beaches. Few are quite large as Koh Lo or Koh Saga, Koh Lao Riam, Koh Pakka, Koh Phak  Bia and Koh Lao La Ding, and are characterized by stunning white sand beaches. Koh Hong, also known as Koh Lao Pile, located at extreme south of the group is the largest of whole archipelago. Most of the islands have limestone karst formations in the center or on the shores. The karsts are limestone mountains that have been formed millions of years ago, over the millennia the softer rock around the limestone has been eroded by the impetuous power of the sea creating gigantic stone pillars. Huge monoliths reflected on the amazing surrounding turquoise waters, many of which will amaze you with their bizarre shapes that jut dramatically over the sea. A breathtaking landscape among the most beautiful on the earth, which has few equals on planet. Koh Hong, is the archipelago's main attraction, and is the most spectacular example of what Mother Nature is able to create. The island is a majestic limestone formation in the middle of sea that surrounds a breathtaking natural lagoon, a spectacular feature that gives meaning to its strange name.  In fact Hong is the Thai word for room, koh or ko is simply an island, so translating literally its name means the Room Island. There is only one narrow access to get into the salty lagoon, just over 10 meters in width, which allows to long-tails and speedboats to get inside easily. Water in the inner lake is shallow, a little more than a meter, perfectly calm and full of colorful tropical fish that are clearly distinguishable on the sandy bottom, an ideal place for a relaxing swim and snorkelling. Pelay Beach, the crescent-shaped 200-meter long white sand beach inside, is protected on three sides by limestone cliffs and lined by mangroves and lush vegetation. Hong's beach is world famous, a small corner of unspoiled paradise in the Andaman Sea. The BBC recently called this "The Best beach in Asia". Located about 3.5 km north of Koh Hong, the stunning Koh Phak Bia is a labyrinth of caves eroded into the cliffs by the sea. On island there is a small but pleasant white sand beach, on the side where the boats park, lined by tree along the edge, while on the other side there are rock formations alternated with sandbanks, a great place for snorkelling and watching tropical fish. Koh Lao La Ding is just a couple of kilometers north of Koh Hong. The island has only one very small beach; however, it is often included in organized tours to admire its amazing rock formations and caves. The entire group of islands is under the protection of Than Bok Khorani National Park and it's allowed the visit only during the day, while it is not permitted any form of overnight stay. Admission park fee is 400 THB for adults and 200 THB for children, free under three years.
Getting there - The group of Hong Islands is located approximately 17 km northwest of Ao Nang. To get to archipelago you can hire a long-tail boat, or sharing one, from Ao Nang Beach, Noppharat Thara Beach or Railay Bay. The one-way trip will last about 50 minutes. The cost is no less than 4,500 THB for the round trip and boat can take up to six people. The usual round trip by speedboat will cost more than double or triple, up to six people, but the one-way trip will last only about 15 minutes. Alternatively, to get the islands you can buy a tour package all-inclusive. There are a lot of agencies that organize group tours that go to Hong Islands for day trips from Ao Nang. The majority of these tours include the transfer by song-thaew from your hotel in Krabi area, the roundtrip by long-tail or speedboat from Nopparat Thara Pier in Ao Nang, the visit to Koh Hong and other three or four islands, lunch buffet, tropical fruit, drinking water, snorkeling equipment, tour guide and insurance. Prices of tours range from 700-1,000 THB, for long-tail boat ride, to 1,200-2,000 THB for the speedboat tour, depending on the company and eventual options that are offered, such as kayaking 300-400 THB. National Park entry fee is not included in the tours; it costs 400 THB for adults and 200 THB for children, free under three years. There is also, in some cases, to pay a supplement of THB 100 per person for who stay in hotels and resorts in Klong Muang, Tubkaek and Krabi Town. Pick up from your hotel in Ao Nang is at about 08:30, 08:00 from Krabi, the boats depart at 09:00-09:30, and the return back to Ao Nang is around 15:00-17:00, depending on tour.
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