June Bahtra Phang Nga Bay Cruise
June Bahtra Cruise – Boarding SY Jit Jai

30 June 2017 – June Bahtra Cruise. The day starts with pick up at the hotel (or at our office in my case), and transfer by comfortable minivan to the Yacht Haven Marine at the northern end of Phuket Island. The drive takes around an hour, more or less also depending on hotel location on the island.

We arrived at the marina around 08:30, then we had to wait for a while for the other shuttle vans to arrive with the remaining guests. This is fine as the location is very nice with plenty of seats and a cafe overlooking the port.

At 09:00 we finally boarded SY Jit Jai, the biggest of the three boats of the June Bahtra Cruise fleet. Jit Jai is actually licensed to carry up to 50 passengers, but the trip is limited to a maximum of 30 to guarantee high level of comfort and service. The other two boats instead are a bit smaller, licensed for up to 30 but limited to 20 guests.

June Bahtra Phang Nga Bay Cruise
June Bahtra Cruise – Comfy boat

The June Bahtra Cruise boats are all very charming original 90+ years old traditional Chinese junk schooners, maintained in amazing conditions despite their age. The cruise makes you feel like time travelling back through history. The boat is very comfortable with plenty of mattresses to lay down during the cruising, both in the shades and in the sun. The friendly staff on board provides great quality service to the guests, offering free refreshments and assistance the whole time. It was also nice to see that the company puts effort in being eco-friendly, limiting the use of plastic as much as possible. Although it is an actual sailing boat, due to the local conditions and logistics the cruise runs on engine, while the beautiful red sails are unfolded only for scenic display at some point during the trip.

June Bahtra Phang Nga Bay Cruise
Approaching Ao Phang Nga Bay

June Bahtra Cruise boats are not very fast, but it’s fine as this allows to fully enjoy the comfortable and smooth cruise while admiring the beautiful landscapes approaching Phang Nga Bay. Thanks to the open design of the boat the guests have an almost 360 degrees view of the surrounding which is great, something that you don’t get with a different kind of tour like for example a speedboat.

Shortly after setting sail, the friendly and knowledgeable English speaking gave us a nice briefing explaining the itinerary that is going to be followed during the day and showing the area on a nice map.

June Bahtra Phang Nga Bay Cruise
Easy Day’s Francesco at James Bond Island

The cruise took approximately 2 hours to reach the first stop, when shortly after cruising by the beautiful Hong Island all the guests had to move from the big boat to a smaller traditional long tail boat. This is because in the inner part of the bay where the most popular sites are located the water is too shallow for a larger boat, and also because the long tail boat is faster and more agile.

About 15 minutes after changing boats we reached the popular “James Bond Island” (Khao Phing Kan), the first highlight of the day. Here we had about 30 minutes to explore the island and take all the great pictures of the iconic limestone pillar, which is more than enough as the island is very nice though also very small.

June Bahtra Phang Nga Bay Cruise
Panyee Village on Stilts

Back on the long tail boat, in another 10-15 minutes we reached Koh Panyee Sea Gypsy Village built on stilts, another popular highlight of Phang Nga Bay. Here the guide walked us around the narrow alleys while giving info about the history and culture of this unique community of Sea Gypsy families who settled here a couple of hundred years ago coming from Java. We visited the funny “floating football stadium” which has its own nice story to tell (check this interesting video), the school, the new mosque (the village is a Muslim community), and witnessed the unique local lifestyle. Here we spend about 40 minutes, before boarding again the long tail boat to cruise back to the big boat.

Price in Thai Baht per person: 3,900 | Child (4-14year) 2,925  >> Book / Contact Us 
June Bahtra Phang Nga Bay Cruise
June Bahtra Cruise – Lunch

Once back on boat the June Bahtra Cruise SY Jit Jai around 13:30 the lunch was ready, a nice Thai buffet with several dishes to choose from (green curry chicken, fried rice, yellow noodles, roasted chicken wings, Thai fish, fried mixed vegetables) and fresh fruit.  We enjoyed lunch while gently cruising back towards Phuket.

This tour is mostly about the cruise and sightseeing as Phang Nga Bay doesn’t offer any nice beaches or opportunity for snorkeling due to the murky water, but at some point on the way back to Phuket we stopped for a while near Lawa Island where the water is a bit more clear, allowing those who wanted to have a refreshing swim at the end of the trip. A good reason to bring your swimsuit and a towel!

We reached Yacht Haven Marina around 16:00, after a very enjoyable day in Phang Nga Bay. The minivans were ready a few step away from the boat docking ready to transfer everyone back to their Phuket hotels.

June Bahtra Phang Nga Bay Cruise
June Bahtra Cruise – Comfortable Boat

All in all I can say I really enjoyed the June Bahtra Cruise in Phang Nga Bay. I believe it’s a perfect option for people who look for a relaxing kind of tour enjoying great views, a beautiful comfy boat and the most popular site of Phang Nga Bay. As some people say: “it’s not always about the destination, it’s about the journey”. On the other hand, if you aim to visit as many places as possible in the huge Phang Nga Bay in a single day you should instead go for a Speedboat Tour , or if you want to dedicate more time to kayaking in the caves you should do a Sea Canoe Tour.

June Bahtra Cruise Phang Nga Bay – Gallery

PROS:

  • Beautiful ancient boat.
  • Very comfortable and smooth cruising.
  • Great service on board.
  • Fantastic views.
  • Visit James Bond Island and Koh Panyee.

CONS:

  • Slow boat (for some people this can be a pro).
  • Visit fewer islands compared to other Phang Nga Bay tours.

Contact Us – June Bahtra Cruise Phang Nga Bay