I first read paraw sailing and thought it was a misprint for parasailing. But they are two distinct activities and both were there on my Boracay itinerary. Paraw Sailing at sunset in Boracay is a lot of fun. It was a first for me too.
Our guide Jun made a lot of hue and cry at the hotel about keeping keeping our cameras in polythene bags. I could not understand why. I used to think I am the only idiot who carried a heavy shoulder bag and so many gadgets. But it was reassuring that everyone in our group carried a lot of camera gear. I anyway carry a polythene for a rainy day, my cameras quickly go inside it. I don’t think we took Jun’s advice seriously.
A paraw is a local sailboat with two sails and two outriggers. The boat has a really narrow body. The guests sit on the outriggers and get splashed all the while. The captain of the boat sits in the middle. Traditionally the boats were used for fishing and transport.
Within five minutes of the paraw ride, I understood why Jun was fussing over keeping our cameras dry! In the picture above notice where people are sitting. All paraws have similar seating arrangements.
Our boat was pre-booked for us. However you just need to turn up at the the White Beach Station 3 and bargain around. I was told that on a shared boat you can go for 300 pesos. You may get the whole paraw for 3K pesos for one hour sunset sail. You can bargain in Philippines. You are expected to bargain actually.
I took out my polythene to carry my cell phones, SLR and Gopro, someone pointed out that the polythene had small holes in it! Jun took out a brand new polythene for me and I carried all my stuff in it. Believe me, you need a polythene or a dry bag to carry your photography stuff on a paraw. Otherwise there is a probability that whatever is not water-proof might get spoiled.
We went out to the sea for an hour at the sunset. To get on to the boat we waded in knee deep water. When I reached near the boat the outrigger as too high. The boatman asked me to put my foot on his thigh first and then to climb. I hesitated for a second but there was no other way to go up. Even after getting the leg up, I barely manged to crawl onto the platform.
But it was a lot of fun after that! We all were given life jackets in case we fell out of the boat. None of us managed to achieve that feat. After a few minutes I was itching to take out my cameras. I took out my cell phone, SLR and of course Gopro at various points. The safest was the Gopro because of the waterproof casing. But I was new to it. With hindsight I can say it is not too wise to use cell phone or SLR because one unexpected drench can cause damage to them. I was lucky nothing happened to my gear.
The paraw sailing at sunset in Boracay is a popular activity. The sea is dotted with sails running in all directions at the sunset. When we got the first big splash of water, it was a surprise. Then it became the norm. I actually took out the SLR and cell phone in a calm stretch. And they went back to the safety of polythene quickly. The next day I bought a dry bag for my stuff!
Paraw Sailing is a fun activity in Boracay, Philippines. You should try it out. To enjoy it thoroughly take a waterproof camera and leave the rest, or at least take everything in a dry bag. I want to do it again because the first time around I was just too dazed! I am sure second time will be more fun!
It was a beautiful sunny day that we spent island hopping in Krabi. I should have been tired. But I was looking forward to an evening in Krabi. I wanted to go out and walk alone. The trouble with me and walking is that I have no sense of direction! So, I had to keep things simple. I would walk in direction of the sunset. The plan was click a few pictures and then come back to the room. The dinner pickup to Ao Nang was at 8.00 pm.
Mercifully it was a straight road I was walking on. I got out of the Krabi Front Bay Resort, took a right and kept walking straight. I saw a few patches of sand and open space but they looked like work places. I guess I could have gone in and clicked my sunset but I decided to walk on.
At the end of the road there were a row of local restaurants. They looked bit overwhelming because I speak no Thai (other than hello, thank you and good night) but more because I eat no sea food. But the view from the place was fabulous. I hopped in and decided to try my luck. I walked to the last shop and put my bag on a chair.
The attempt to communicate with the proprietor didn’t yield much. He gestured to wait and walked out of sight. He got out with a young girl in tow. Now we could talk in English. I asked for coffee and french fries, not because I am a fan but because it was vegetarian. The girl told me they were out of french fries! I asked if they had mushroom or eggs? She offered to make a mushroom omelette for me!
I will be honest, I stopped there only because it offered me a good vantage point for clicking pictures. I asked if they had a pint of beer but they had big bottles only. A big bottle by myself is a bit too much, so I settled for coffee only.
My coffee and omelette arrived. The proprietor was quite concerned that I did not take any rice with my meal! After clicking a zillion pictures, I started craving tea. I had a fabulous day beach hopping, and now I was watching a fabulous sunset.
I asked the proprietor if they had tea. He gave me the blank look. I said ‘chai’ and ‘cha’ thinking something would click. Tea was not written in the menu so I could not point it out. I still tried my luck because mushroom omelette was also not written in the menu!
After struggling for sometime I told him, “Aah give me coffee.” And magically he said, “Oh you want tea!” I wonder what made him understand that I wanted tea when I finally asked for coffee!
He served me a pot of Jasmine tea. I enjoyed leisurely all the three cups it contained! By now it was trying to get dark. I got up to pay. He gave me the bill. I pointed out they forgot to add the price of the tea! To which he replied, “Oh no it is free!” You see, it was a blessed day indeed!
PS. My trip to Thailand was in Collaboration with Byond Travel.
When I realized at the Delhi Airport that the Air India aircraft that was supposed to fly from Delhi to Mangalore was not cleared by the maintenance, I was worried about my trip. However after two hours of delay they found another aircraft to take us to Mangalore. And that is how I had a fabulous time at Sai Vishram Beach Resort in Byndoor, Coastal Karnataka. It is a resort that serves only vegetarian food and it doesn’t serve alcohol. And yet they are so popular for family vacation!
I arrived at the Sai Vishram Beach Resort by evening. it was an overcast day. I was so tired that when Adarsha the resort manager asked me if I would come by the beach for the evening tea, I replied in the negative. I had my tea and samosa sitting in the balcony of the earth cottage. I could gaze at the sea in far distance and I was content. Later I shifted to one of the sea cottages by the beach.
Both have their own advantages. In the Earth Cottage there was a rose apple tree right in front of my room and I could eat the fruit straight from the tree! I loved the outdoor bathing area of the sea cottage. In the end I would take the sea cottage because I could go to sleep to the sound of the sea out there.
In the evening there was a yakshagana performance happening in the open theater within the premises. Yakshagana is the folk art of Coastal Karnataka, it is usually held from dusk to dawn. The resort performance was of one hour. As it was in the local dialect, Kannada, I could not understand the language much. But it was a privilege to watch the act of Arjun and Sudhanva and Lord Krishna being played out in elaborate costumes.
The story is about Sudhanva holding the horse of Arjun so that Arjun and Lord Krishna would come to his kingdom and he would get to see the Lord. In the end you don’t need words to enjoy the art. I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching the performance!
From the open theater I straight headed to the dining area. Sai Vishram serves excellent vegetarian food, night, morning and noon! They have a variety of food, including noodles and at least one North Indian dish.
There would be many South Indian dishes. I liked the idea of having a nice fruit section for dessert apart from traditional desserts. The best was that they kept an ice cream fridge for the guests where you could go out and take out any ice cream that caught your fancy. It was hugely successful with the kids.
The artists who performed the yakshagana were having dinner at a nearby table in their normal clothes and I could hardly recognize them as the same who were performing in the elaborate costumes!
They would serve the evening tea and snacks by the beach, which I loved. They would put pitchers of fresh juice on the beach during the day which was another lovely idea.
I crashed early after dinner and took my own sweet time to wake up the next day. That way I quite fresh in the morning again. After a heavy breakfast I went to the sea. I met Prashanth and his family and together we went on the banana boat ride.
That is when I discovered Chandravati, the dare devil female water sports instructor of Sai Vishram. I then went on the jet ski with her. She rides like really fast! She truly is an inspiration. Then I tried my hands at kayaking and it was fun too. There are many other water activities that I could not try dues to lack of time.
A guest who was visiting Sai Vishram Beach Resort for the fifth time with his family told me, “We love coming here because they encourage you to go out in the sea. Not many resorts do that!”
The next day I woke up at 6.00 am to take a walk to a vantage point and see the sunrise. We must have walked for about a kilometer to reach the point. The view was excellent, after all I do not get to see the sea meeting the backwaters everyday! But the sun played truant, there was no sunrise, the clouds ruled. After going there, I would recommend that you go to the vantage point even on an overcast day as the views are still stunning.
The Beautiful Evenings
I love sunsets by the beach. The location of the resort is such that there are only the house guests on the beach. I spotted an occasional other person from the fishermen families living nearby. I could see a few houses nearby otherwise the whole place was green and silent. The sun was merciful the second evening and gave much cheer to people on the beach!
This was my first tryst with Coastal Karnataka and I never imagined it to be so beautiful. I wonder why tourism has not developed around the coast like Kerala!
PS. I was invited by the Sai Vishram Group on this vacation.