'Not all who wander are lost' travel blog

Beaches of Ao Nang

Doesn't the water look great?!

On the boat touring around the islands

"The Beach" spot

"The Beach" spot

Tsumani damage at Phi Phi Island

Tsunami damage (check out the palm trees)

Tsunami damage

Volunteers working in Phi Phi

More damage

Memorial to tsunami victims

Wow! This place is amazing! I am currently in southern Thailand in a small town called Ao Nang. For reference, we are just east of Phuket...an area made famous by December's tsunami. The beaches here are beautiful and the water is warm and clear. We have enjoyed some nice beach time as well as having a chance to snorkel and tour other islands nearby. Ao Nang was completely untouched by the tsunami so it still remains a great destination to visit, although there are not many people here (good deal for us, not so good for the folks who make their living off of the tourist industry). Surprisingly, I have learned that most of this area of Thailand only suffered minimal or no damage during the tsunami...including Phuket. The force of the tsunami hit a few places very hard or others not at all...almost reminds me of how a tornado strikes. I did have the chance to visit nearby Phi Phi Island, which took the brunt of the tsunami waves. The island is still in the beginning stages of rebuilding and there is still a lot of debris scattered about. Phi Phi Island had been a prime destination for the wealthy and it's beaches were made famous in the movie "The Beach". It is really hard to imagine what the island must have looked like before the tsunami...there are hotels that are completely gone now and others that are hauntingly vacant (the saddest thing that I saw was a "Merry Christmas" sign still hanging in one of the destroyed hotels...the tsunami hit Dec 26th). But, the beach here remains beautiful and there are many volunteers on the island rebuilding...and all of people who live here are hoping that the tourists will come back.

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