:: PHANG-NGA

Phang-nga, a seaside province by the Andaman Sea with scenic views of forests and islands. The province offers superb natural beauty both onshore and underwater.

The province of Phang-nga is located some 788 kilometres from Bangkok. It covers an area of 4,170 square kilometres.

:: Attractions

The outer islands of Phang Nga are considered to be one of the world's best scuba diving grounds. Popular trips are live - aboard diving excursions to the Similan Islands, home of the most beautiful and colorful soft corals in the world, plus a whole range of coral fish, manta rays and other exotic marine animals. Visibility is often more than 100 feet, and the warm water temperature doesn't really require a wetsuit, though only accessible during the months of October-May. The nine Similan Islands became a national marine park in the mid-1980s, and the name 'Similan' is thought to derive from a Malaysian word meaning 'nine'. Accordingly, the islands are called Koh 1 to Koh 9 based on their location from south to north, with the southern most one being Koh 1. The park headquarters and tourist facilities are located on Koh 4. At Koh 9, underwater grottoes and swim-through tunnels add to the islands' appeal to divers.

The remote Surin Islands consist of 5 islands and is also another superb scuba diving sites with a pristine marine ecosystem. The islands are virtually uninhabited, except for a few sea gypsies. The surronding sea offers and outstanding array of soft corals with frequent sightings of rays and the elusive whale sharks. It is also a marine national park.


Aside from the spectacular limestone cliffs and islands of unusual rock formations, the Phang Nga Bay Marine National Park has other interesting attractions. The bay is home to a village of Muslim sea gypsies living on Panyi Island. About 200 families live on this tiny island with their homes built on stilts above the water. Tham Lot is a 50-m long sea tunnel through a limestone mountain, with stalactites hanging from the roof and is accessible by a small boat or canoe/ kayak.

The island of Koh Khao Phing Kan (Cliffs Leaning on Each Other Island) and nearby Koh Tapu (Nail Island) in the Phang Nga Bay were made famous in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) and are the highlights of numerous boat tours. The later island is a isolated, sheer, thin stack that just appears from the water and has some forest scrub clinging to the cracks.

The holy Wat Tham Suwan Kuha (Cave Temple) houses a reclining Buddha, tiny shrines, and chedis interspersed among the stalactites and stalagmites in the cave.

:: City Attractions

Phang-nga Bay or Ao Phang-nga National Park covers a vast area both onshore and offshore of about 250,000 rais (100,000 acres), covering the areas of Amphoe Mueang, Amphoe Takua Thung, and Amphoe Ko Yao. It was declared a national park on 29 th April B.E. 2524 (1981). Ao Phang-nga National Park is the second seacoast national park after Tarutao National Park. It has striking scenic views because of a mass of limestone formations scattered around in the sea near the shore. Also, as a result of natural changes; caves and rock formations have been formed. The park is also fertile with mangroves. Best time to visit is between December and April. The most popular way to visit is a boat ride to various islands, which include:

Ko Panyi a small island made from limestone hills and plains. This is an interesting Muslim community. There are about 200 households of fishermen. On the island, there are many restaurants and souvenir shops.

Ko Phanak is a beautiful island with caves that house stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as small cascades, which flows onto several tiers.

Khao Phing Kan Named so because of its nature of being split into two halves. The smaller rock slid down, with its foundation stuck under the ground and the upper parts still leaning against each other. Behind the mountain is superb scenery. Looking into the sea one finds "Khao Tapu", a nail-shaped island, a solitary pillar in the sea. It is the most remarkable attraction of Ao Phang-nga National Park.


Khao Machu,
a striking appearance rock formation is located on the way to Ko Panyi. It resembles a dog; its head, body, with a bushy tail.

Khao Khian, is on the way to Panyi Island. On the cliff which stands above the sea, there are pre-historic paintings featuring various kinds of animals. A study by the Department of Fine Arts has indicated that these paintings are over 3,000 years old. They are assumed to have been painted by seamen who use this place to escape from the monsoon.

Tham Lot  is a lofty limestone cave with a giant hollow whereby boats can pass through. In the hollow, there are numerous stalactite formations on its ceiling, beyond the hollow is a beautiful sight of the mangrove forest.

Ko Hong, with big and small mountains. Sailing to this island gives you a feeling of being surrounded in a large hall with two doors. It will give you an immense feeling of the power of nature's creation.

 
 
 
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