Two geological formations in Phang Nga
that are said to resemble elephants
A part of me wanted to get on a boat and get closer
to those limestone formations
View from a cool cave on a super hot day
On my first full day in Phuket, I went on a car journey that allowed me to see more of it than just the area around Surin beach and also took me off the island for a few blessed hours. More specifically, I was driven over to Phang Nga, a neighboring province I could see was greener and filled with interesting geological formations even while the car was travelling along the 660-meter-long Sarasin Bridge which connects Phuket and the Thai mainland!
Incidentally, I was told by the car driver that Phang Nga meant female elephant in Thai and was named after geological formations near the provincial capital (which also is called Phang Nga) which resemble elephants. However, according to the likes of Wikipedia, its name is actually derived from the archaic Malay word for jungle (in a similar manner to Phuket getting its name for the Malay word for hill).
In any event, I got to see the pair of geological formations that Phang Nga is said by at least one local source to have got its name. I also got to see a number of other eye-catching limestone formations in my short time there -- but, alas, did not get to see perhaps the most internationally famous of them all: that which has come to be popularly known as James Bond Island thanks to it having appeared as 007 antagonist Scaramanga's hideout in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Before this recent Thailand trip, I had read about boat tours that could be taken from both Phuket island and the Phang Nga mainland that would get you close to James Bond Island. Not being that great a fan of James Bond (and not having seen the 1974 James Bond film for which it was a movie location), I didn't bother to look too closely into doing so. And even while the island does look pretty stunning in pictures, I'm glad I didn't book a boat tour when I was in the area as it really was hellishly hot for much of the time that I was there.
Still, this is not to say that I didn't get out of the air-conditioned comfort of the car I was being ferried around in to get up close to any cool geological features during my brief visit to Phang Nga. Indeed, as it turned out, my primary reason for heading over to this part of Thailand was to check out a trio of connected caves, all of which were blessedly cooler temperature wise than the outdoor areas exposed to the harsh, unforgivingly bright sun that shone pretty much all day that day!