Phang Nga Bay is a national park and sits in between mainland Thailand and Phuket island. These droplets of limestone islands sit in the emerald green Andaman Sea. These jagged rock formations, cliffs, and small uninhabited islands with mangrove forests and caves are a great place to explore. This bay is full of hidden lagoons which you can reach by kayak and going through the small caves. The bay also has plenty of coral reefs dotted around in its waters.
This gorgeous national park is a must especially if you’re staying in Phuket or nearby to the area as the bay is easily accessible. The bay can easily be done on a day tour and there is plenty to see and do.
One of the most famous landmarks in the bay is Koh Ta-pu also referred to as James Bond Island as the famous James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed there back in 1974. This rocky pinnacle juts out of the ocean and looks top heavy, and like it shouldn’t still be standing! The surrounding areas are spectacularly beautiful although can be crowded with many other tourists doing similar day trips.
Another area of interest in the bay is Koh Panyee which is a quirky village that’s built over the water on stilts, with a giant rock column at one end of it. At lunchtime many tourists on the tours stop by to eat and shop for souvenirs. Originally fishing was the main industry for this Muslim community but today about half of the locals work in the tourism industry, while the rest still continue to fish. The village has its own school, a mosque, a health centre, lots of small handicraft shops, and a few restaurants overlooking the sea where you can enjoy fresh seafood. Khao Khien is another place worth visiting as it’s close to Koh Panyee, and has ancient paintings of boats and animals on the rock walls.
Phang Nga Bay is an amazing place for cruising around on a boat. The limestone cliffs create a picturesque backdrop and scenic appeal and have an abundance of wildlife. The area is protected from both the northeast and the southwest monsoon seasons which means the waters remain calm all year round.
The hidden away lagoons in the islands which are referred to as hong (hong meaning rooms in Thai) are collapsed cave systems being overlooked by the sky and surrounded by towering limestone walls. The mangroves in the lagoons are rich in unspoiled flora and fauna. Many of these hongs were only revealed when they were picked up on aerial surveys.
Many of the tours that run around Phang Nga Bay offer sea kayaking, where you can paddle through the caves into the mysterious centres of the islands such as Koh Panak and Koh Hong. Just make sure when kayaking through you might need to lay back, so you don’t hit your head and also make sure your mouth and eyes are closed, as many of the caves have bats in, and the last thing you want is any bat droppings going into your mouth or eyes.
Thailand was somewhere I had dreamt of going for many years all throughout my teenage years after I watched the Beach my infatuation for Thailand began, and after I graduated from university my then fiancée (now husband) decided to book a trip to Thailand – our first trip to Asia which sparked our obsession for the continent. For our first trip to Thailand, we booked a two week itinerary and went to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.
To be honest, we were really young and not very well travelled at this point and didn’t do much research before we went, so hadn’t even heard of Phang Nga Bay, the only reason we really ended up in Phuket was that we wanted to easily be able to reach the Phi Phi islands. While we were in Phuket we saw plenty of tours being offered to Phang Nga Bay and decided to book on one, and I’m so glad we did, the scenery was like nowhere else we had ever been before.
If your staying in Phuket this is an absolute must visit, this beautiful marine park is touristy and many tours operate there, but the area is large with so many limestone rocks and islands that I didn’t ever feel like it was overcrowded. The only place where it was busy was by James Bond Island which is understandable as it’s the main site. We really enjoyed our day trip here and loved kayaking into the mysterious lagoons and seeing lots of sea birds and eagles flying around, the whole place is a nature lovers dream!
Transport & Getting Around
Phang Nga Bay is easily doable in a single day and personally, I would recommend booking onto one of the many tours available by long-tail boat, speedboat, cruise or chartering a yacht. Leaving from any point along the east coast of Phuket will take you straight into the bay. There are also several launching sites on the Phang Nga province mainland too.
When going to Phang Nga Bay go prepared with a waterproof bag and waterproof cover for your phone or camera so that they have extra protection if you’re out sea kayaking. When booking onto a tour try and opt for one of the smaller boat tours and try and get on one that maybe starts a bit earlier to try and beat the crowds to James Bond Island.
- Language: Thai
- Currency: Thai Baht
- Exchange Rate
- Laws & Customs
- Safety & Security
- Visa Requirement
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx