Slowly, I ran my fingers against the wood, lifted it in the air, and felt the sudden strain in my arms. It is heavy, but great effort is a requirement for practice. I took the stick, and affixed its head on the rough strand, pointing the shaft forward. I filled my lungs with air and fixed my eyes on the target. Then, I steadily released the string. Bullseye!
Merida!!! LOL. It was just me reminiscing my archery moment in Wing 5 Air Base in Ao Manao.
Ao Manao, which means Lime Bay, lies south of the Prachuap Bay. It was named after the bay’s semi-circle shape (like a slice of a lime) or in thai called manao. The colour of the waters will also support the claim as it is greenish.
This long stretch of white sand beach is actually the home of the Wing 5 Royal Air Force Base so if you want to visit, you need to pass through the soldiers stationed at the south end of Salacheep Road. But there is no need to panic as they are friendly and allow civilians to have a glimpse of the inside during public holidays.
Count it as a blessing that after a few months of being in lockdown, this part of Thailand reopened its door to tourist by July 1. It was Sunday when we decided to visit and a staff of the hotel where we stayed offered to drive us to Ao Manao. And since she is Thai, she was allowed to go through and we did not pay anything. Hurray!
The base is not just any base where you can find guns, aircrafts, and other military gears use for combat. Instead, this base present varieties of activities a family can enjoy. Aside from chilling at the beach, they offer archery, horseback riding, mini zoo where you can feed the animals, ATV ride, camping, snorkeling, banana boat rides, jetski, and climbing of Khao Lum Muak. They have restaurants and a hotel inside, too!
My team decided to go for archery and pretended to be in Hunger Games. I was Katniss Everdeen, how about you? And since I always feel bad in riding animals as it is a form of animal cruelty, we fed the horses instead.
One of my friends wanted so badly to try water activities so we hopped on a speed boat after lunch. And guess what?! We were toured around not just near the bay but the driver bought us to a private part of an island where one can enjoy the scenery without any other tourists, visit the temple inside the cave, and see the lovely corals!
It is worthy to take note that the base lets tourists climb the famous Khao Lum Muak with the assistance of the airforce during public holidays. However, since the trail is mostly sharp rocks, it is recommended to bring hiking gloves for protection and a bottle of water for hydration. Sadly, it was not a holiday when we went so the trail is closed.
Defo, this is a trip I am sure everyone has enjoyed. The smile on our faces as we drove home is priceless. We will surely bring home lots of memories to treasure.
Til next time, Airbase!
P.S. Our speedboat driver is very kind and considerate that he lets us enjoy for more than an hour when we only paid for 45 minutes. He toured us around and became our local tourguide explaining different parts of the island. He even became our photographer! His name is Preeda (089-005-0819) and you can find him inside the base.