“Phang Nga Bay”
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Phang Nga Bay Marine National Park was added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance in 2002. The 42 limestone monoliths, dotted along the bay’s shallow turbid waters, are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including more than 28 species of mangrove, 88 birds, 82 fish, 18 reptiles, 3 amphibians and 17 mammals. You will find a wonderful adventure for visitors here and with the benefit of secure overnight anchorage.
The best way to experience the magnificent Phang Nga Bay with its stunning geography is under sail. There are plenty of sheltered moorings available, so you could drop anchor anywhere! If your budget allows, private sailing yacht charters can be booked on Phuket, and come with experienced crew. Alternatively, you can go for a “bareboat” charter, if you can prove your sailing skills and ability. If you are not a sailor but would like to learn, there are numerous sailing schools on Phuket offering internationally recognised tuition.
Too small for yachts to access are the islets and rocky knolls harbour collapsed sea caves (hongs), they are usually better accessed by canoe, kayak or dinghy. These hongs are often difficult to spot, but it is worth looking for the openings and seeking them out from the craggy surfaces on the waterline, as once inside can include; a sheltered lagoon or secluded beach for a picnic, winding caverns to explore or perhaps a spot of swimming or snorkelling, all away from the hustle and bustle!
You may choose to join a sea canoe excursion by means of exploring the bay. Multi day or single tours are bookable from most of the beach resorts and are a really good option if you’d like to be at one with nature. Support boats follow you carrying supplies and amenities such as eating facilities and toilets.
Phang Nga Bay has been the setting in quite a few films, not least the James Bond movie “The man with the Golden Gun”. Recognisable by its iconic nail-shaped pinnacle on the tiny island of Koh Phing Kan, it is must see on the tourist map. You will often hear it referred to as “James Bond Island”! Visitors are plenty though, so to avoid the main crowds, plan to arrive prior to 10.30am or late in the afternoon. You can hire a longtail boat from Phang Nga but in addition you will be charged a landing fee of 200 Baht by the Park Rangers.
The nearby island of Koh Pan Yi, also known as the “floating village” is overshadowed by a single limestone karst and is packed with all kinds of rickety dwellings amongst which there are a few restaurants and shops, a school and a mosque, all built on stilts over the ocean!
These days, most of the 1,500 islanders (originally fishermen using birds of prey to assist them in their daily catch), are connected to tourism in some form, sometimes on the island itself, or by making the journey to Koh Phing Kan, to sell snacks and souvenirs.