Southern Thailand might be the Asia’s most beautiful destination for sand and sun, but there’s one Andaman gem that stands out among the rest. That destination in Phang Nga Bay – here’s why it’s well-worth a visit.
Located about 800 kilometres from Bangkok, Phang Nga Bay is a world away from the bustle of the capital city. Nestled within the breezy, idyllic Andaman Coast, Phang Nga Bay has earned itself a place among the world’s best tropical destinations. Why? Because apart from its stunning limestone formations, vast and breathtaking ocean views and turquoise water, Phang Nga Bay manages to stay that way all year round.
The Best of Phang Nga Bay
It is blessed with natural wonders and known internationally as James Bond Island as it was the setting of the film, The Man With the Golden Gun. A vast area in the province was declared national parks due to the the diversity of nature on land and prolific marine life. Boasting some truly idyllic weather patterns that keeps the area sunny and beautiful nearly every month of the year, Phang Nga draws travellers from around the world in search of the ultimate tropical destination.
Most visitors won’t leave Phang Nga Bay until they’ve sailed past James Bond Island, so-named for its starring role in a certain 007 action flick. A mesmerising rock formation that seems to defy gravity and physics, its narrow base rises up from the water to form a bulbous, jungle-clad summit. This formation might be the most visually arresting in the area, but its structure isn’t unique. Phang Nga Bay is idyllic mainly because of its unique rock formations.
Just as beautiful – but with an extra cultural element – is Koh Pannyi, a small fishing village famous for its traditional stilted and floating homes. Most will refer to the locals that live in this area “Sea Gypsies”, as they live almost their entire lives on water. The homes here hover above the water on stilts, and most locals make their living off of fishing or other seafaring trades. Your visit here might not be lengthy, but it’s a worthwhile experience to see this fascinating corner of the bay, and the lifestyles it fosters.
Getting Around in Phang Nga
But for a look at the bay in the areas where tourists rarely tread, the best way to set off on a true Phang Nga Bay adventure is by boat. The best set off from the northern area of Phuket, and while these trips move at a more leisurely pace that won’t get you there as quickly as a standard bus-boat combo, the experience is well-worth the extra time.
Depending on the speed you want to travel, the water-bound vessel you choose might require a full day to traverse the best of the bay, or only a few hours. Speedboats into Phang Nga are a great way to connect the dots between beaches, snorkelling areas and top sightseeing destinations. For something a bit more leisurely, more traditional junks move at a slower pace. They won’t have the same whirlwind highlights excitement, but are a decidedly more peaceful way to explore the area.
James Bond Island and Koh Pannyi are just two of the more famous spots in this bay. By far the best means of enjoying the spectacular scenery, with only brief encounters with the tourist crowds as James Bond and Koh Pannyi, is to take one of the boat trips from the northern end of Phuket. The trick to making the most of Phang Nga Bay is choosing the right way to get around. Before heading out into the abyss, make sure you know how you want to experience the bay. Either way, you’re in for a truly spectacular adventure.
Ready for some Phang Nga Bay excursions and southern Thailand island hopping? Our Thailand travel experts can help you create the perfect itinerary for you, whether you’re visiting for a day, a week or a month! See how to make southern Thailand’s Andaman gem a part of your customised Thailand tour.