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John Gray's Sea Canoe, Phuket Town

4.8
#1 of 158 in Tours in Phuket Town
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After 12 years designing and developing one of the World's most highly awarded Ecotourism companies, John "Caveman" Gray goes his own way by forming "John Gray's SeaCanoe" with 18 of his most loyal and experienced guides. "After 12 years in Phuket, the experiment ran its course and I was packing for Polynesia," says Gray, "but when all these guides showed up, I had no choice but to stay and do another start-up."

"I owe it to the guys for their loyalty, honesty and pride, and to Thailand, which has yet to see our best." Unlike his old experimental company where Gray gave away the shares to local people, Caveman is managing director of the new company. "In the economic laboratory, I played consultant/observer. Now I'm director of the movie - it's a different story."

Gray, known as Ling Yai (Big Monkey) to his friends - takes pride on being the Original kayak explorer and operator in each of his sites. ("If we are there, we are the first.") The Big Monkey was doing OK before he formed his own company. (Caveman still owns the SeaCanoe trademark.) Gray's economic demonstration project was a classic Ecotourism business model, and his local enfranchisement concept and stunning trips led to a string of six major Ecotourism Awards from 1995-99. "All I do is paddle into crazy places. If it's interesting, I show it to my friends."

Almost immediately after "Caveman" started "Natural History by Sea Kayak" in Hawai'i (1983), the World began to notice the effort. Gray teamed with Gary Sprinkle and Mike May to produce "Moloka'i's Forgotten Frontier", and won a 1985 EMMY award. The honors continue right up to the National Geographic Adventure Magazine giving SeaCanoe Vietnam a "World Top 25 Adventures" listing.

Now you can truly put yourself into your own "Natural History by Sea Kayak" documentary in Thailand, Vietnam, Fiji, Philippines and Hawai'i. The combination of experienced guides, new equipment and creative freedom takes you to new levels for even a "Ling Yai".

What's new?

Try Caveman's "Wings of the White Belly Sea Eagle" seven-day South Thailand program. It only starts with the Phang Nga Mini-Expedition, already considered South-East Asia's best adventure by many guidebooks and websites, then adds four days more... See a "Wings" highlight featured in a Discovery Channel documentary in Spring, 2002.

Hotel-dwellers mumble something about Phuket's "Hongs By Starlight" being a "spiritual experience". More orthodox day trips include "Hornbill Island" where you can actually cackle with these personable freaky flyers.

Polynesia Freaks? Try Taveuni, Fiji's Ravilevu Coastline or Caveman's Hawai'i Local Boy (August) for Polynesia's most dramatic cliff-coasts. .

See you on the water (since 1983).
To visit John Gray's Sea Canoe on your holiday in Phuket Town, and find out what else Phuket Town has to offer, use our Phuket Town.
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John Gray's Sea Canoe reviews

TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
3,309 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Wow, what a beautiful and unique experience! This entire day was completely fabulous. Exploring the hidden caves and lagoons all while learning about the animal life and ecology from our fun guides... 
    Wow, what a beautiful and unique experience! This entire day was completely fabulous. Exploring the hidden caves and lagoons all while learning about the animal life and ecology from our fun guides...  more »
  • Fantastic day on the Hong By Starlight tour. Friendly and knowledgeable guides, wonderful food and family friendly. 
    Fantastic day on the Hong By Starlight tour. Friendly and knowledgeable guides, wonderful food and family friendly.  more »
  • The experience was just amazing, they took me through many islands, kayaking, and into sea caves, and Exploring the caves with John Gray was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you do one thing in... 
    The experience was just amazing, they took me through many islands, kayaking, and into sea caves, and Exploring the caves with John Gray was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you do one thing in...  more »
Google
  • We did the Hong at Starlight tour. Everything about this tour is excellent! It is very well organized, and the food (lunch & dinner) is delicious and comes in a buffet, all you can eat style. The boat crew has friendly, knowledgeable guides who speak decent English. Exploring the sea caves and lagoons by canoe is an extraordinary experience. The evening/night program gave a chance to partake in a cultural Thai tradition, and to witness the bioluminescent plankton at night - so cool! We highly recommend taking this tour with John Gray Sea Canoe!
  • Very well run tour that goes through different islands, lagoons, and sea caves, and gives tons of free time for swimming and kayaking too. They also provided us with unlimited buffet-style food that was pretty yummy and unlimited cold water that was much needed during the April heat! The only thing that could be improved is we waited a longgggg time (everyone was getting restless waiting in the boat) to see the sunset and the bioluminescent organisms (which honestly weren’t as impressive as the ones in Mexico) — so I think they can start the tour a bit later.. Overall, though, it was a well-run tour with great guides, good food, and beautiful sights!
  • My husband and I came to Thailand for our honeymoon, and this Sea Canoe tour was recommended to us by others that had been on their honeymoon as well. We did the starlight tour. We had such an incredible experience, and felt so incredibly lucky to be matched with our canoe guide, Ong, who was kind, patient, knowledgeable, and you could tell he really truly cared about nature and all of the creatures he pointed out to us on the trip. Having him as our guide was a true highlight of the experience. The scenery was so beautiful, we were mesmerized by the views and by the phosphorescent plankton, and the FOOD on the boat was the best Thai food we ate on our whole trip. You need to do this as part of your trip!
  • I am not much of a tour person, but I am so glad I decided to try this one. A really relaxing and enjoyable trip. As others have mentioned the customer service is really top notch. Each canoe carries one or two people and has their own guide. I was a solo traveler and the way it worked out it was just the guide and I the canoe. All of the guides or pleasant. My guide (Son? I know I’m spelling it wrong, but he deserves to be recognized) was experienced and it showed in the little details. Allowing me to simply hold my camera as he spun the canoe for 360° video views. Pointing out things that I would never have seen on my own, such as a giant monitor lizard. Lunch was decent, and dinner was actually quite good. I enjoyed the later start and relaxed feel to it. Bioluminescence was a miss for me, but being on the canoe in the water at night was in itself surprisingly enjoyable. You are at the mercy of the tides to a certain extent, but at least for my trip other than waiting for everyone to arrive at the staging area, there was little down time and the overall length was pretty spot on. Boat ride back in was about 45 minutes, but because it was so calm, the weather was so mild, and the boat is slow (in a good way) I was able that entire ride outside in the front of the boatwithout being wind blown or splattered by waves. A really nice way to end the trip.
  • Booked the Hong by Starlight tour after reading the stellar reviews here, and I was not disappointed. My friends and I had an amazing time and this was one of the highlights of our holiday in Phuket. We had excellent guides (Alan and Ahgen) who were friendly, knowledgeable and funny. We enjoyed exploring the caves and lagoons, and it was interesting to partake in a local traditional activity of making and floating our own krathong. Being out at sea at night on an inflatable canoe and watching the bioluminescence glow in the dark felt pretty magical. The tour was well organised and a plus point is that the food was great! Highly recommend to anyone looking for a different sort of day trip activity as compared to the usual island-hopping tours. No doubt this is considered to be one of the more expensive tours but it is well worth the bucks.

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