Pha Nga province that lies in Southern Thailand is mostly overlooked by the majority of travelers traveling to Thailand. Most travelers skip this island and head to the more famous neighbor, Phuket. However, most people do visit Phang Nga, usually without realizing; boat trips run to the Phang Nga Bay, probably most famous for James Bond Island, from Phuket, Krabi, and other southern areas. Here, not only can you enjoy the gorgeous bay, but the province has many different attractions to make your visit to Southern Thailand worth exploring.
Here are the reasons why you should visit Phang Nga Province.
The gorgeous Phang Nga Bay is one of the most famous destinations with hordes of people traveling here from many nearby islands and beaches. However, staying in the town of Phang Nga allows you to start the day early and beat the crowds, making you be one step ahead of the crowded tourist boats while making your trip through the bay’s major highlights. The traveling time will also decrease, and the costs are also very cheaper than taking a trip from Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi, etc. Sail through dotted mangroves, wonder at majestic karst formations rising out of shining waters, and spot ancient rock paintings.
Source: Remote Lands
Officially known as Koh Tapu, the James Bond island, along with its neighbor, Koh Ping Ghan, is one of the most iconic attractions of Thailand. You may have already seen gorgeous pictures of these islands in a postcard, travel websites, and promotional materials. Situated in the stunning Phang Nga Bay, this limestone island was very famous in the Bond Movie, “The Man with the Golden Gun.” Every day, this island attracts thousands of visitors. The waters surrounding the island are dazzling emerald, and if you dive dip, you will see small fishing and beautiful underwater world. There are also many small caves and nooks to explore.
Source: Phuket 101
Koh Panyee, a floating sea village, is anchored to a sizeable verdant limestone rock. You can anchor down at the town and wander through the wooden walkways, passing by local homes and seeing how the inhabitants spend their daily life. The village has several places where you can rest and refuel as well as many gift shops near the docking point. After wandering further to the island, you will see a stunning mosque, an important feature of the resident Muslim.
Pha Nga province also houses many caves, both on land and at sea. Some of them, you can walk through, others you can swim through, and some offer exciting kayaking opportunities. Many of these caves has fascinating rock formations, and some also lead to enchanting sights like hidden lagoons and secluded bays and waterways.
Source: Lonely Planet
Pha Nga offers an unlimited amount of activities to keep its visitors busy. The island not only offers a great number of watersports like snorkeling, fishing, diving, it also offers adventurous activities like rock climbing. It also contains many restaurants that offer delicious local cuisine. You will also get to enjoy some great shopping on this island. The island also features many resorts always ready to pamper their guests. Some of the major activities in Phang Nga are trekking and rafting in Khao Lak. This activity leads you to the off the beaten path where you can take a bamboo raft and explore pristine rivers. On your trekking trip, you will encounter different kinds of wildlife, including lizards, tropical birds, and bathing water buffalo, among many more. If you don’t like rafting, you can ride on the back of an elephant across the hillside paths. The calm and crystal clear waters surrounding this island are great for snorkeling and enjoying the underwater world. You can also kayak through the sea and visit many towering karsts in Phang Nga Bay.
The gorgeous park of Somdet Phra Srinagarindra Park Thai Chang offers something to suit a wide variety of tastes. Here, you will get gorgeous views of nature and the surrounding mountains. There are also many small caves throughout the grounds for you to explore, areas where you can relax, and ample space for kids to run and play. The park is mostly crowded in the early mornings and late afternoons when health-conscious locals come to do various exercises, and kids come to play. The park also houses many inquisitive monkeys who are often cheeky.
Source: Atlas Obscura
Just walking a short distance from the heart of town, you will reach the Wat Tham Ta Phan, one of the many hell temples on the island. Here, you will see a huge cliff with serene-looking statues and a peaceful vibe. Enter the mouth of the dragon and move through the belly and see the changing vision. After leaving this tunnel, you will reach the hell garden. This is the place that will remind people of the things they can expect in the Buddhist afterlife if they fail to live a correct and just life. Statues in the garden depict people getting ripped up by angry beasts and giant birds, demons boiling people in massive vats, naked souls climbing spiky trees, and other torturous scenes.
Source: Akyra - Hotels & Resorts
Wat Suwan Khuha is home to many macaques and is only in a short distance from the town center. The monkeys here are very naughty and will constantly try to snatch bags and other belongings from you if you are not keeping a tight hold of it. They are always in search of food, so they will try to snatch everything on you. If you want them to come closer, you can buy treats for them to feed. Taking the time to explore the temple grounds, it will be worth your time.