Phang Nga Bay – The Many Ways to Explore Phang Nga

Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay is one of the most amazing places we had the chance to explore. We’ve been there countless times, by boat, car, on a bike, luxury yacht, longtail, kayak and even on a Chinese Junk. Each visit is a new experience. Sunny, cloudy or rainy: Phang Nga wears a different dress for each occasion. The bay is about 20 km north of Phuket Island, and 40 km from the pier where you will probably board a boat.

Phang Nga Bay Kayaking

Getting There

Classic kayak day trips

Kayaking in Hong Island in Phang Nga

The easiest way to discover Phang Nga is simply to book a typical tour with your hotel. You will always have a fantastic day, and you won’t have to worry about anything since all tours include transfers from and to your hotel. Note that this is a basic tour so that it can be a little busy and a little noisy. If you want a real eco-friendly experience, pick the one below.

John Gray Seacanoe

Phang Nga by Sea Canoe by John Gray

Much better than the classic tours is the surreal Hong by Starlight kayak exploration with the famous John Gray Sea Canoe. The kayaks silently glide in narrow passages, with just the sounds of birds and cicadas over the soft noise of the paddlers. The guides are knowledgeable and respectful of their surrounding, and they truly take you into a magical landscape out of this world.

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Private cruises

Kudu Yai Kudu Yai Island

One of the fanciest ways we explored Phang Nga was on a luxury cruise. It adds a surreal touch to an already jaw-dropping landscape, as you drink chilled white wine on the deck and admiring the majestic cliffs rising high above our heads.

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By longtail boat

Long Tail boat to Phang Nga

Boat rides and day trip tours are effortless to book from your hotel, often including transfers from and to your hotel and lunch. However, if you have a car, it’s a lot more exciting to do it on your own. Drive to the Surakul Pier or to Phang Nga Bay Harbour (sometimes cheaper) where you can join any longtail boat. You can even rent your own, which is best, but certainly not the cheapest.

Sunset Cruise on a Chinese junk

June Bahtra

A weekend aboard the famous June Bahtra Chinese junk was definitely the most exotic of all, gazing at bright stars in a clear night sky above our heads, lying on comfortable cushions set on the top deck. The most memorable moment was to be in the almost total darkness, quietly drifting by those gigantic dark limestone rocks of Phang Nga obscuring the starlit skies.

What to see in Phang Nga?

The immense limestone cliffs standing everywhere in the bay is the main attraction. You saw them in movies, even in Star Wars and James Bond. Phang Nga has some landmarks, more or less attractive, but places are famous for a reason.

James Bond Island

James Bond Island

The best known is the intriguing ‘James Bond Island’ famous for a movie that most people nowadays haven’t even seen, called ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’.

The real name of this rock formation is Koh Tapu, which means ‘Nail Island”, well justified by the funny elongated and unbalanced shape. A tiny island next to it is where dozens of longtail boats permanently disembark hordes of tourists for the usual and unavoidable ‘James bond Island’ photo.

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Koh Panyi

Koh Panyee Village

Not far from this is Koh Panyi, another top-rated stop on the boat trip. This surprising and quite large village entirely built on stilts lives mainly from fishing and tourism. At certain times, Koh Panyee gets as crowded as the James Bond Island, but visit it outside the ‘rush hour’, and it’s all yours!)

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The Cave of the Reclining Buddha

Buddha Cave in Phang Nga

Another notable landmark you should absolutely visit is Wat Suwan Khuha with a huge golden reclining Buddha hidden inside a cave. Here too, beware of the naughty monkeys, they are known to pull rubber strips and antennas from cars. Whether you choose to explore it on your own, by car or by boat, no trip to Phuket would be complete without a visit of the fabulous Phang Nga Bay.

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Laem Haad Beach

Beach Peninsula in Koh Yao Yai Phuket

Laem Haad Beach is a beautiful strip of sand at the very north of Koh Yao Yai. Most private cruises will stop here on the way back from Phang Nga Bay for a short time, allowing you to enjoy the soft sand, coconut trees and amazing views.

Other islands you will visit.

Koh Panak

Koh Panak in Phang Nga near Phuket

Koh Panak is a small sandy cove just below an immense cliff with a cave on the side of it to access an enclosed lagoon called ‘hong’, the Thai word for ‘room’. Inside this lagoon are mangrove trees and rocks with surreal but naturally formed animal shapes.

Koh Hong

Kayaking in Hong Island in Phang Nga

Kudu Yai

Kudu Island in Phang Nga

Kudu Yai is a superb and unusual creek surrounded by unusual sharp rock formations. The beach is tiny, usually with just a few people enjoying a swim and take some photos.

Koh Yao

Koh Nok

Driving from Phuket to Phang Nga is fun. The road passing by Phang Nga town, more of a discreet small village, it lined by the same incredibly high cliffs covered with dense vegetation. At the intersection of Phang Nga Town and Krabi road, a beautiful park hidden from view reveals a small intricate maze of caves well paved and fun to explore.

The park is very popular with locals who enjoy a picnic near the cave, so you can expect to see food and drink vendors are all around the place… It’s a nice little stop, but watch out the naughty little monkeys would be more than happy to eat your sausages.

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Phang Nga Bay near Phuket

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Map of Phang Nga Bay

FAQs about Phang Nga Bay

  1. ✳️ What to do around Phang Nga Bay?

    a. The most famous landmarks of Phang Nga are:
    James Bond Island
    Koh Panyi
    The Cave of the Reclining Buddha

  2. ✳️ What are the other islands around Phang Nga?

    a. Beyond the classic landmarks, you will probably explore a few small islands, called ‘Koh’ in Thai:
    Koh Panak
    Kudu Yai Island
    Koh Yao
    Koh Nok
    Koh Hong

  3. ✳️ What are the best ways to explore Phang Nga Bay?

    a. There are several ways to explore Phang Nga, according to your budget:
    Classic Sea Kayaking
    Hong by Starlight
    Private Cruises
    Chinese Junk
    Longtail boats