Phang Nga Bay is located in Phang Nga Province, in southern Thailand, in the gulf between Phuket and Krabi province. Since 1981 a large section of it is part of the Ao Phang Nga National Park. The territory is rich in limestone cliffs and collapsed cave systems formed over 10,000 years ago during the last ice age. The majestic scenery, among the most beautiful on the planet, includes countless islets and cliffs, which rise from the sea as huge monoliths. Phang Nga Bay covers an area of 400 square kilometres and is home to approximately 67 islands, many of which will amaze you with their beauty or for their bizarre shapes that jut dramatically from the sea. The same limestone features jut out of much of the mainland coastline and at river estuaries around the bay. Mangrove forests delineate the bay's coastline and the banks of the many rivers.
Koh Phing Kan, or Ko Khao Phing Kan, is the most famous landmark in Phang Nga Bay. Better known as James Bond Island, the tiny island itself and surrounding area has become famous since when some scenes of the James Bond film " The Man with the Golden Gun" were filmed here. A distinctive feature of island is the great number of sheer limestone cliffs, which vertically jut out of the emerald green water just a few meters from the beach. The most famous one, that in the movie houses a laser gun, is Koh Tapu, generally known as James Bond Rock, placed about 40 metres from the shores of Koh Phing Kan. The island of a breathtaking beauty is just a limestone tower high 20 metres above sea level. All the area is now under the protection of the National Park, so you should pay a park entrance fee. If you are on a tour the park fee is included in your tour price, if you arrive privately the rangers collect a fee of 200 THB. The stop on Koh Tapu is not allowed, and any kind of boats can not approach very close to the pinnacle cliffs, for their precarious position. The two ways to view Koh Tapu are from a boat, at a safe distance, or from the beach on James Bond Island. The island is another wonderful example of what can do Mother Nature. Koh Phing Kan is a tropical paradise, with a beautiful white sand beach to the east, often crowded in high season, crystal clear water and some small caves inside. All the area is a popular destination among tourists for sailing as well as kayaking.
Koh Panyee, also known as Ko Panyi, is a giant limestone cliff located at estuary of a river along the coast of Phang Nga Bay, on the way to James Bond Island. The limestone rock became famous thanks the Muslim village built on stilts about 200 years ago at the feet of it. Only a very small part of the village, as where the mosque is built, is on solid ground, the rest grew on stilts and slowly continues to grow. Koh Panyee is really a complete village with a school, police station, a small health centre and a mosque. The resident population consists of about 1,700 people, all descendants of two Malaysian nomadic seafaring families, who moved here from Java, Indonesia, at the end of the 18th century. The central part of village is a concrete floor connecting dozens of small souvenir shops, and from there, a narrow maze of uneven planks lead to the population’s houses. Near the main piers there are dozen of seafood restaurants where you can enjoy a good soup Tom Yam Kung or other dishes based on fish. Koh Panyee is a unique village full of life, colours, lights and smells, and offers plenty of photo opportunities.
Admission fee: 300 THB for adult and 100 THB for children.
Getting to Phang Nga Bay: Despite the long distance between Phang Nga Bay and Bangkok many tourists choose buses to get to Phang Nga. Buses are much cheaper of flights, two or three times less, and are a good alternative in high season, when flights to Phuket and Krabi are full and hard to find if not booked in advance, and travelling during the night allow recovering the excess time respect to flights. The VIP buses, with few comfortable seats, toilet and air conditioning, and first-class buses connect Phang Nga to Bangkok and the other main seaside resorts of southern Thailand. From Bangkok the buses to Phang Nga depart from Southern Bus Terminal, also named Sai Tai Mai Taling Chan or more simply Sai Tai Mai. Departures are usually concentrated in the late evening, in order to face the long journey at night. The trip takes about 12 hours and costs from 600 to 900 THB depending on the bus class. Phang Nga also has excellent links with the two famous resorts closer, namely Phuket and Krabi. Phuket has two bus terminal, the old Terminal 1, with local bus departures, and the new Terminal 2, from which depart most of the buses useful for tourists, other seaside resorts and cities of all Thailand. The Bus Terminal 2 is located on Thepkasatri Road, the main road leading out of Phuket Town, between Mission Hospital and Supercheap shop. It is a station recently built, and manages all passengers coming to and leaving from the island. From this terminal there are at least 50 daily departures to Phang Nga Town, 86 km away. The trip takes about an hour and costs from 100 to 150 THB depending on the bus class. The Krabi Provincial Transport Station is the main bus station in Krabi province. It is located in Tambon Pak Nam, near the Ban Talat Kao Food & Market, about 4 km from the center of Krabi Town. The terminal is the point of arrival and departure of almost all long-distance buses, from Bangkok and neighbouring provinces, as well as all minivans from and to seaside resorts in Southern Thailand. From the terminal there are at least 20 daily departures to Phang Nga, 85 km away. The trip takes about an hour and costs from 100 to 150 THB depending on the bus class. Boat Cruises to Phang Nga Bay are available from various piers, as follows: Customs Checkpoint Pier, near the Phang Nga Bay Resort, there are boats of different sizes and they cost: for 1 - 8 persons 1,200 THB, for 8 - 20 persons 2,000 THB, for 20 - 40 persons 4,500 THB. The cruise takes about 3 - 4 hours. Surakun or Kasom Pier, Amphoe Takua Thung, provides boats for rent of different sizes and they cost: for 1 - 10 persons 1,200 THB, for 1 - 20 persons 1,500 THB, for 1 - 30 persons 1,600 THB. At Phang-Nga National Park’s pier speedboats and long-tail boats are also available. For more information contact 076 411 136, 076 412 188. Rates are: Boat for 2 - 6 persons 1,000 THB, for 7 - 12 persons 1,500 THB, for 35 - 45 persons 4,500 THB. The cruise takes about 3 - 4 hours. Note: Boat rental rates are subjected to change without prior notice.Read More
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