Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ao Phang Nga National Park Kayaking Tour

Ao Phang Nga Bay National Park is a world class sea kayaking destination.  However, that means that it's popularity can cause crowds.  Luckily, there are plenty of secluded tropical islands where no one else goes.  Koh Chong Lat in the far northern part of Ao Phang Nga Bay is one such place.

This island features stunning limestone cliffs, loads of small secluded beaches, verdant jungle, and a good variety of wildlife.  Crab-eating Macaque sights are common as are several kingfisher species including the gorgeous Brown-winged Kingfisher (which is mostly bright orange), the Common Kingfisher, the brilliant blue Collared Kingfisher, and the Black-capped Kingfisher.

Additionally, there are a few sea caves that you can poke around in with your sea kayak.  There is one massive shallow cave that you can paddle into to gaze at the many unique stalactites.

If you're interested in sea kayaking in Ao Phang Nga Bay National Park and you don't want to see other visitors, go with Paddle Asia.  Besides having the only fleet of proper sit-inside kayaks, the only guides who are trained to international safety standards, Paddle Asia specializes in getting away from everyone else.  For more information, see http://www.paddleasia.com/destinations/phang_nga.htm 

Sea kayaking in Ao Phang Nga Bay

A variety of delicious Thai food is served during the adventure

Sea kayaking in Ao Phang Nga Bay

Sea kayaking in Ao Phang Nga Bay

Chong Lat Sea kayaking in Ao Phang Nga Bay

Sea cave kayaking Ao Phang Nga Bay

Sea kayaking in Ao Phang Nga Bay

Sea kayaking in Ao Phang Nga Bay

Ao Phang Nga Bay secluded beach on Koh Chong Lat island
One of the many, many secluded beaches on Koh Chong Lat in Ao Phang Nga Bay.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Krabi sea cave kayaking in mangrove forest

Sometimes we'll explore the Thalane area of Krabi Province.  We do this with repeat guests who have seen the other areas we offer already and sometimes we visit Krabi on longer trips.  The Thalane area is full of mangrove channels to explore, there is one hong to visit, and there is the famous 'canyon' as well.

Krabi kayaking is not something that we regularly offer as the area is prone to have big big mass tourism day trip groups.

Sea canoeing trip in Krabi canyon
The famous Krabi Canyon kayaking trip.

Hidden hong in Thalane Krabi
The hong in Thalane in Krabi

Kayaking in Krabi mangrove forest
Mangrove channel sea kayaking in Thalane, Krabi

Sea cave and hong in Krabi
This is the cave leading out of the hong in Thalane, Krabi

Sea kayaking in Krabi mangrove forests
There are endless mangrove channels in the Krabi mangrove

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Phang Nga Bay family holiday package

Paddle Asia offers the ultimate family holiday package. You can experience the bay without seeing other visitors. Activities include kayaking, visiting secluded beaches to swim and snorkel, jumping off of the longtail boat, and enjoying all of the wonderful things that Koh Yao Noi has to offer.  

Koh Yao Noi is one of the most culturally intact islands in Thailand.  Besides the very relaxing bungalows, there are wonderful dining opportunities, shopping opportunities, and sight-seeing around this gorgeous island.

For more information, visit http://www.paddleasia.com/destinations/phang_nga.htm

Phang Nga Bay family holiday package
Jump off of our private longtail while being surrounded by world class scenery

Phang Nga Bay family holiday package
We have very comfortable two-person kayaks for parent and child

Phang Nga Bay family holiday package
Relax in crystal clear warm water

Phang Nga Bay family holidays
You can have secluded beaches and coves all to yourself.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Thailand jungle survival TV show

Here's a nice video from the BBC with my buddy Henry Golding.  I did this last year.http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01tx3tz

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Koh Yao Noi cooking class in Phang Nga Bay

You can participate in a cooking class on our Phang Nga Bay kayaking tour on Koh Yao Noi. Thai food is of course world renown for it uniqueness. You will learn how to make some of the famous dishes as well as some lesser-known dishes. http://www.paddleasia.com/destinations/phang_nga.htm

Koh Yao Noi cooking class
Learn how to make a variety of Thai dishes
Koh Yao Noi cooking class
Scraping coconut

Koh Yao Noi cooking class
Cooking class on Koh Yao Noi

Phang Nga Bay cooking class
Making Thai food is actually fairly easy.

Phang Nga Bay cooking class
Your cooking teachers are masters at making Thai food.  They are also very good at explaining how to do it.

Khao Sok National Park tour waterfalls

We found this lovely waterfall in a remote part of Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park. As with most places where we go in the park, there was no one else around. 

Pics by our good friend/guest Valts Vilnitis from Latvia.

Khao Sok waterfalls
Khao Sok lake secret waterfall

Khao Sok National Park waterfall
This is a waterfall from a trek that is near the viewpoint hike.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thailand jungle trekking tours to Khao Sok National Park

Arguably the best place to go trekking in Thailand is Khao Sok National Park in Southern Thailand. There are quite a few trails in the national park, but our favorite excursions involve hiking up creeks.

Creeks allow access deep into the tropical jungle.  Even when the water is a bit high, this is easy going.  Once deep in the jungle, you can do little side trails to explore.

Paddle Asia has been going to Khao Sok since the early '90s.  We love exploring off the beaten path destinations and Khao Sok is ideal for this. The park is huge.  There are dozens upon dozens of creeks to explore, mountains to climb, and even though there aren't really a lot of well-marked trails, we're experts at making out way off-trail.  That is what sets us apart. Navigating through the thick, verdant tropical jungle without getting lost is our forte.  In addition to seeing old-growth jungle on these hikes, you'll be treated to learning about wild edible plants.  It's a 'full package' experience hiking in the jungle with our guides.

For more information on our Thailand jungle trekking tours in Khao Sok National Park, see http://paddleasia.com/destinations/khao_sok.htm

Thailand jungle trekking
Thailand jungle trekking tours in Khao Sok National Park

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Phang Nga Bay Cave

Kayaking into the popular caves in Phang Nga Bay can be a wonderful experience, but it has become overly popular.  The popular caves are often crowded as there are dozens of mass tourism tour operators that visit every single day.

Luckily, you can visit Phang Nga Bay caves without seeing the thundering masses with Paddle Asia.  Our goal is to visit the natural wonders sans the crowds.

We kayak to a cave on our unique Phang Nga Bay day trip and we visit another cave on our multi-day adventures.

If you want an intimate experience with a limestone cave in the bay, Paddle Asia is your absolute best option.

Additionally, we have the only fleet of proper sit-inside (decked) kayaks.  All other tour operators use sit-on-top kayaks or inflatable canoes.  Some now have a few sit-inside kayaks, but that's our specialty and we have a massive fleet of them!

Phang Nga Bay cave
Phang Nga Bay cave kayaking tour

Monday, September 5, 2016

Secluded Beaches in Thailand

It is actually easy to find secluded beaches in Thailand if you choose a tour operator who focuses on getting away from other tour groups. Paddle Asia does just that.  Even the very popular Phang Nga Bay has plenty of secluded beaches. The mass tourism groups and big day trip tour operators all go to the same places, leaving plenty of tropical islands untouched and secluded.

In fact, besides the beaches, you can see world famous hongs (hidden lagoons) of Phang Nga Bay, not the ones that everyone else goes to, but other ones that are just as stunning, without having to share the experience with a crowd of tourists.

Please visit http://paddleasia.com for more information.

Secluded beaches in Thailand

Phang Nga Bay secluded beaches

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Thailand jungle creek crossing adventure

The rainy season in Thailand means more adventure opportunities, such as wild jungle creek crossing.  The water in southern Thailand is never really cold, so that's a plus.  Trekking in jungle creeks is a wonderful way to access the almost impenetrable tropical jungle.

All safety precautions are taken on Paddle Asia adventure tours. Dave is a certified rescue technician through Rescue 3 International, a certified first aid instructor through Emergency First Response, and all guides are certified in first aid through EFR.  With this, you can rest assured that we know how to do risk assessments and only offer adventures that are safe.

Here are some images from a recent Khao Sok National Park family adventure. We spent a week exploring a variety of creeks, waterfalls, and did some interesting jungle hiking.  It rained off and on throughout the week.  This actually added to the dramatic effect.  As a bonus, when it stopped raining, the air was clear and vivid.

All-in-all, there is no bad time to go on an adventure in southern Thailand. The rainy season, if you're prepared to get wet, offers its own kind of rewards.

Khao Sok jungle creek crossing

Southern Thailand jungle creek hike

Jungle creek hiking

Khao Sok creek swimming

Khao Sok river swimming

Tropical jungle creek crossing

Crossing a jungle creek in Khao Sok National Park

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Campfire Cooking Ideas - jungle bamboo utensils

Here we are cooking chicken on a bamboo stick on a recent jungle survival based trip in Khao Sok National Park. It rained hard this day, yet we got a good enough fire to do everything that we wanted to do: built a bamboo shelter, got a raging fire going, boiled some water to make ginger tea, steamed some rice in bamboo, and grilled some chicken caveman style.

Bamboo skewers for campfire cooking
Campfire cooking for kids

Jungle Survival Tips: Lashing Bamboo

When lashing slippery bamboo to slippery bamboo sometimes you can put a cinching style of knot above a nod to aid in the support. Though this might not look fancy, it was quick and it didn't use a lot of material.

It was raining, so everything was a bit more slippery. This held me (Dave) up.  I'm close to 200 Lbs. 

Pic by our good friend/guest Valts Vilnitis from Latvia.

Top survival tip for lashing bamboo
Bamboo lashing cut bamboo to standing bamboo

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Trip Planning: Mapping app

This is an extremely easy to use online program for mapping a route with waypoints or tracks. It's dead easy to plot your proposed route here, then export to your GPS... as a GPX file. Scroll in so it's easy to see where you want to make a waypoint, then double click. A waypoint will be made. Click save every time you make a waypoint.

I used to painstakingly use Google Earth then transfer each waypoint over. This is so much easier... scroll it to pinpoint where you want a WP, scroll back out to make sure where you want the next one, scroll back in to put it exactly where you want... repeat.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sending your location using Google Maps

How to share you location on Google Maps in case you need help (requires an internet connection):
1. Set Google Maps to Google Earth
2. Click on the 3 vertical dots icon in the upper R/H corner
3. Choose "my location"
4. Choose "share"
5. Choose how you'd like to send the location message

It's a good idea when you go out solo or even with others to have someone at home or a friend somewhere who is aware that you 'might' use this feature if there is a problem. In other words, if you're going to use FaceBook Messenger as the potential way to send a help message, make sure your family or friend is aware of this and has it turned on.

Mobile Phone GPS apps

I've downloaded two paid-version navigation apps. One is Backcountry Navigator and the other is GPS Essentials. Both are quite versatile and easy to use. Both offer offline navigation, acting on satellites just like a standard GPS unit (no internet needed)
Backcountry Navigator was 419 Baht (US$12) http://backcountrynavigator.com/
GPS Essentials (donation plugin) was 177.96 Baht (US$5) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…

I used Backcountry Navigator on an actual route once a couple of days ago. It was easy to use and highly accurate. I checked it against Google Earth when I got home and it was actually more accurate on the placement of the track as it related to the road I was on.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wild edible plants: Taro nutritional facts

Taro is fairly common in the wild. If not taro, the colocasia family is readily available. The root or corm is the standard part that you eat, though the stems and leaves are also edible. The stems and leaves must be cooked to dissolve the raphides (sharp calcium oxalate crystals). Once dissolved, they are a form of usable calcium.

The root is a very good source of carbs. 100 grams of root contains about 26 grams of carbohydrate. This is about 20% of your daily requirement, so a couple of roots could be equal to about half of your daily carb requirement, which is certainly enough to keep your energy level up and your brain functioning properly.
Taro is a decent source of B-complex vitamins.

Minerals include zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, and of potassium.
If you eat the leaves, which you should in a survival situation, you can add vitamin C (100 grams provide approximately 80% RDA), Phosphorus, Calcium, and trace amounts of Selenium and other minerals.

In sum, finding a patch of Taro in the wild would go a long way towards enjoying your involuntary camping trip.

wild edible taro root
Taro corm