The bay is part of a National Marine Park & is famous for it’s mangrove swamps, coral reefs & for the sheer limestone cliffs that rise up vertically out of the beautiful emerald green seas.
The province of Phang Nga is located 788kms (475 miles) south of Bangkok & covers some 4,200 sq kms (2,500 sq miles) & despite the fact it is a complete melting pot of different cultures & religions does not suffer from any religious tension with the locals living in complete peace and harmony.
The whole of the coastal areas of the province particularly around Phang Nga Bay were devastated by the Tsunami that struck on December 26th 2004, the complete infrastructure of the area was destroyed along with the loss of many lives.
The two places that make Phang Nga Bay a “must see” destination are James Bond Island and Koh Pannyi.
“Ko Tapu” is a steep rocky monolith, about 20 meters tall that lies some 200 meters offshore & has become a popular attraction since it was featured in the 1974 James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”, and has since been referred to as James Bond Island.
“Koh Pannyi” is a small island situated in Phang Nga Bay populated by Sea Gypsies who for over 200 years have survived by fishing the abundant seas around the island. The local community of the island live precariously in wooden houses with the whole village being supported on stilts in the shallow seas around the island, the village contains its own small school, a mosque & health center, with the huge limestone cliffs as a backdrop it’s pretty spectacular!.
What makes the people of this island so special is the way that they have adapted to the “modern world”, fishing is no longer the no1 money-maker, it’s now tourism!.
What they have done is having identified that they are perfectly located between Phuket & James Bond Island, they have added lots of small souvenir shops and several large restaurants all facing the sea, where tourists can enjoy a fresh seafood lunch whilst on their tour of the bay.
The clever part here is that just as soon as the tour boats draw away from the island, the restaurants & souvenir shops close & the friendly islanders return to their fishing roots – that is what I call “maximising your opportunities!!”.
If you fancy to stay a little longer & explore this whole wonderful area Phang Nga Province offers a range of Places to Stay located all around its dramatic coastline.How about a trip a little further round the craggy coastline of the province & visit the coastal town of Khao Lak or take a boat from there out to the Similan Islands ,which are probably the world’s best underwater paradise for both coral reefs & marine life, and is a top destination for divers & snorkellers alike.
Getting There – Phang Nga Bay & Koh Pannyi can be reached by either a boat trip from Phuket, or by travelling to Phang Nga by road and then getting a tour to the islands.
If you have been to Phang Nga Bay or spent time there before, and have really great memories of places to stay, visit, or just fun things that happened, please share your Phang Nga Bay Memories here.