Phang Nga is a province in Thailand that located in coastal area next to the Andaman Sea. The province is famous for its archipelago beauty which well known as Ao Phang Nga National Marine Park. The National Marine Park covers 25,000 acres and it was established in 1981. It is Thailand’s second marine national park where most of the area is seawater and islands of limestone mountains.
The capital of the province is also called Phang Nga, and located around 87 km from Phuket, where we stayed during our visit to this province.
It is possible to do one day tour in Phang Nga like we did. However we visited only the highlights of Phang Nga, so if you wish to enjoy more of the nature beauty of the archipelago, I suggest staying in the area for a couple days. It’s beautiful area and you will not regret staying there bit longer.
Places we visited during our one day trip in Phang Nga –
1. Suwan Kuha Temple (Cave Temple)
It is known locally by Thai people as Wat Tam which means Cave Temple, and it is actually a temple in a cave inside a limestone mountain called Suwan Kuha. Inside of the temple, we can see a 15 meter long reclining Buddha. And there are many monkeys all over the temple. Be prepared for monkey vibes when visiting this place!
2. Koh Panyi, floating fishing village
Koh Panyi is a small island within Ao Phang Nga National Park water area. The story goes that the island was found by an Indonesian fisherman, Toh Baboo, 200 years ago. Toh Baboo left Indonesia together with his fishermen fellows looking for water that rich with fishes. They sailed separately and made promise to each other that if one of them found the place then they would send signal by raising a flag on the island. Toh Baboo discovered many fishes surrounding the island. He raised the flag on the island so his friends saw the flag and joined him. Later on they decided to live there permanently and brought their families to the island. They named the island as Koh Panyi – the island of the flag.
The island is home to around 1,500 people with their houses built on stilts on the shallow water surrounding the island. There are schools and mosque in the island. Majority of the islanders are fishermen and Muslim. Some of the residents are able to speak Malay – which is the root of Indonesian language. I spoke to some of the residents in Indonesian language and I was impressed that we were able to communicate despite the fact that Malay and Indonesian languages have developed along with the development of their societies.
3. James Bond Island
Its Thai name is Khao Phing Kan, also located in the Phang Nga National Marine Park. It was featured in the James Bond movie, the Man with the Golden Gun. It was a movie from year 1974, before I was born! Perhaps I should watch it before visiting the place to see the comparison – (No, I haven’t watched the movie until now and I visited the place certainly not because of the movie).
One thing that makes the island interesting is a tall vertical rock in the middle of the bay of the island. This vertical rock called as Koh Tapu, which means Spike Island. This rock was actually on the feature of the James Bond’s movie.
4. Tum Talu
We did cave-canoe trip in this area. Tum Talu, which means Sea Cave, is a mountain in the middle of the marine park. It has opening cave of around 50 meters wide and 40 meters high, so a small boat can sail entering the cave. There were some stalactites on the cave’s ceiling. We canoed around the mountains seawater area and I was impressed there were plenty of caves inside of the limestone mountains. We also entered a very dark cave – that was quite exciting 😉
I was experiencing “mild” photography burnout during our trip in Phang Nga. It’s just that I was not in the mood to take pictures but I felt that I had to do. I just realize that I have never looked into the photo folder of our Phang Nga trip until a couple days ago, and I also noticed that I did not take lots of pictures like I used to during the trip. My burnout was gone when we visited Koh Phi Phi islands (just after the Phang Nga trip). Somehow taking pictures during snorkeling in Koh Phi Phi had inspired me to take pictures again. Just to notify you that the beauty of Phang Nga province is beyond the pictures I presented here…