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Naka Yai Island, Phuket


Naka Island and its sister island Koh Naka Noi have been tempting me for months now. You can see them just off the coast on my visit to the North East Coast of Phuket. So close, I could probably swim out to them, but so far, I would probably drown from exhaustion on the way back.

Well today, I decided to visit, take a picnic and have a day of sun, sand and sea. The first hurdle is to find the cheapest way there. My usual trick of negotiation with the local fishermen doesn't work. They've formed a cartel! All of them take me to the ticket office at the pier, 1500 baht for a long tail boat for the day. I know $50 doesn't sound that much, but it is to me!
I try the next pier down, but he wants 4000 baht! Suddenly 1500 baht sounds really cheap, what a bargain!

The island has some nice beaches on the east side, and we landed there to begin with. It's clean water, lots of fish close to shore, but the noise from the jet-skis annoys me. I so want to try a jetski, but at 1500 baht for 30 minutes they're too expensive. Maybe on the other side of the island they're 4000 baht and I'll change my mind, but for now, I give them a miss.

Behind the drinks bar, in the middle of the beach, is a path into the jungle. I head off to explore. The bartender assures me it's safe, she lives on the other side of the island. It's not a difficult path, it forks a couple of times, and I always took the right fork until I was out of the trees and onto a dirt path. To the left the village, to the right, Tentara Naka, a beach resort with tents to sleep in for a closer to nature experience. I head off to the village.

(Video and maps after the break).

I find another beach, a school, the village, another two piers and a very expensive resort. One of the guests tells me I might see superstars there, so I take a look, but all I see if lots of staff who won't tell me anything! Finding Tom Cruise was Mission Impossible!

All that luxury, made me think that paying 1500 baht for a jetski wasn't that much. I talk the Jetski man down to 500 baht for 15 minutes, and head around the coast on my jetski to explore. The jetski man, tells me I was too slow! At slow speeds a wave can tip it over. Too slow and I crash? Sounds familiar!

I ask about the range, he tells me it can easily go to Koh Yao and back on a tank. That's the large island in the distance. Impressive, when I'm rich, I can just buy a jetski and explore the islands, no need for a yacht.


At 3pm, I'd agreed to meet the long boatman to take me to the smaller island, Koh Naka Noi. This one is private, they charge 400 baht just to land on it, and when film crews are filming their Thai soap operas, you're not welcome, not for any money.

Koh means island, Naka means snake, the kind that breathes fire from the river, Noi means small and Yai means big. So Ko Naka Noi means small snake-island, the smaller of the snake-islands, not an island of small snakes.

Today they were setting up for a night time party. Rich foreign visitors only, I'm not invited. No matter, I plan on visiting a local market on the way back, picking up some fresh seafood, live crabs, giant tiger prawns and maybe these giant conk above. They're nice grilled or boiled, but they can be quite tough.

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