These long-tailed boats in the Phi-Phi Islands are of Thailand were photographed by my Far-East based brother Matthew Atkin a little while ago. Lovely work once again Matt – thanks!
The boats are interesting with their proud bows, canoe-like form and brightly coloured cloth charms – I bet they go well – and because they are the predominant local form of transport on islands with few motor vehicles. So here we have wood-built craft carrying people and goods by sea, and for me at least it’s a powerful reminder of a time in our own islands in the UK that we can only read about in the history books.
Brother Matt Atkin has been on his travels again, this time to Thailand, and sent back this small collection of elegant long-tailed working boats on the island of Phuket.
Reua hang yao, as they are properly called, are powered by a road vehicle engine balanced over the stern; I’m curious that they appear to be overpowered with those big engines married to efficient displacement hulls. Still, those Thais will know what they are doing after using these craft for generations.
The bows of the boats are decorated with coloured scarves and other items that are believed to provide good luck and protection.
Thanks for the shots Matt! For more photos from my brother Matt, click here and follow the link to ‘older posts’.
Matt Atkin’s photos from Thailand
I never cease to be amazed by my brother Matthew Atkin’s beautiful photos of boats in the Far East.
It seems amazing and wonderful that Western and Eastern water craft should still be so different in a globalised and homogenous era, and also given that the physics of water, the technology available for powering craft, and many of the materials available for boatbuilding are often the same or at least similar.
These latest photos from Thailand make the point. Check out the stylish young men, the older couple fishing, the elegant small canoes, the curvaceous pleasure boats and, perhaps most remarkable of all, the ferry with its astonishing truck motor balanced on what looks like a precarious pole and with a vicious-looking straight prop arrangement. I’ve seen photos of smaller craft set up like this, but this is much bigger than anything I’ve come across up to now.
See more of Matt’s photos from Hong Kong and Vietnam.