Dreamy Ao Phang Nga National Park covers 400 square km and contains over 40 islands amid dramatic limestone cliffs that soar out of year-round calm green water. Millions of years ago, the whole region was an immense barrier reef that extended for thousands of kilometres. However natural forces came into play and the earth’s movements created the irregular formations, with erosion smoothing the edges, leaving the geography reminiscent of Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay or Yunnan in China .
The common tourist destinations include Ko Kan (James Bond Island), which features a unique and oft-photographed karst tower that served as James Bond’s hide out in the 1974 film, The Man with the Golden Gun, and Ko Panyi, a Muslim sea gypsy village on stilts over the sea, which has become something of a cramped tourist trap but is still worth a peek.
How to get there
Tours include a songthaew ride from your hotel in Phang Nga to the bay and are generally offered as half day (500B for four hours), full day (800B for seven hours and includes lunch) or overnight (1,900B for one half day, one full day, dinner, breakfast, and an overnight stay on Ko Panyi). The 200B national park entrance fee is included in these prices, and the means of transport is typically traditional longtail boats, although kayaking trips may also be arranged through most tour companies.