With limestone rock formations jutting out of the emerald green sea, Phang Nga Bay (Ao Phang Nga) in Thailand is famous the world over for its natural beauty. Many visitors to Thailand will find themselves crossing the bay on the way to popular tourist spots, such as Phuket or Krabi, but this place deserves some dedicated exploration time of its own.
With beaches, caves, lagoons, mangrove forests, and more, Phang Nga Bay is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The island first captured popular attention when it was featured in the James Bond movie The Man With the Golden Gun.
Today, boat tours offer regular guided trips to Koh Tapu, the so-called “James Bond Island.” Kayaking tours—often with snorkeling included—are another popular way to explore the bay and its spectacular limestone karsts.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Boat trips and other tours visit the bay from several locations, including Phuket, Krabi, and the Phi Phi Islands.
- Boat, kayak, and snorkel tours are best suited for active travelers and families.
- Remember to wear suitable water-friendly footwear and bring plenty of sunscreen for boat or kayak excursions.
- Tours often provide a lunchtime meal and refreshments.
How to Get There
Officially part of Ao Phang Nga National Park, Phang Nga Bay is located in the Andaman Sea between the southern part of the Thai mainland in the east and the island of Phuket in the west. The easiest way to access the bay is by long-tail boat, speed boat, or kayak as part of a guided tour with round-trip transport provided. Passenger ferries also cross the bay.
When to Get There
Phang Nga Bay enjoys the best weather through the winter months of November–March. April and May are the hottest months of the year here when temperatures and humidity are both high. Rainy season—May to October—can see heavy rainfall.
Visit the Sea Gypsy Village of Koh Panyee
Built entirely from wooden stilts by Indonesian fishermen 200 years ago, the village of Koh Panyee—floating in the middle of the ocean next to towering limestone rocks—seems like something out of a storybook. A trip to the village offers a fascinating look at a totally unique way of life. Do take note that the village is a Muslim community, and dress modestly, if you’re planning to visit.