Nestled between Krabi and Phuket Island you’ll find the stunning and unique Phang Nga Bay. It’s a 400-square kilometre inlet brimming with natural wonders and stunning sights you won’t want to miss. From its sheer limestone cliffs to its underwater cave systems and tropical islands, you’d have a hard time finding a more idyllic place in all of Thailand.
But before you visit, you’ll want to know a little bit more about Phang Nga Bay so you’ll get the most out of your time there. To help, here’s a guide with everything you need to know about this must-see destination to help you plan your visit.
Travel Guide to Phang Nga Bay
How to Get to Phang Nga Bay
In most cases, your best option is to fly into a nearby airport and then take a chartered bus to reach the bay. This means you’ll need to begin with a flight into either the Phuket or Krabi airports.
Because most of the airlines serving the area know that Phang Nga Bay is a top tourist destination, many of them offer a minivan service to take you there. You’ll want to inquire about that possibility when you book your airfare. But if your airline doesn’t offer such a service or it doesn’t meet your needs, you can also take a bus.
Your best option to do this is to fly into the Krabi airport. There’s a bus terminal there that offers the most convenient and reliable bus schedules in the area. But you can also use the south pass to catch a bus to Phang Nga bay. Just walk out of the airport and cross the highway. There, you’ll find a yellow bus shelter where you can hail a passing bus that’s heading to Phang Nga Bay.
Alternatively you should be able to book your day trip to Phang Nga Bay from your hotel.
What to See in Phang Nga Bay
Once you arrive in Phang Nga Bay, you’ll have no shortage of sights to see and things to do. But there are a few activities you won’t want to miss if your time is limited. They include:
A Visit to James Bond Island
As the best-known place in Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island is its most popular tourist destination. Its real name is Koh Ta-pu (which means Nail Island in Thai). But it was the fictional lair of Francisco Scaramanga, the villain in the 1974 James Bond film The Man With The Golden Gun – which is where it gets its English name.
It’s a great place to go kayaking or sailing, and there are several organized tours of the area available. Most of them will include a stop in the fishing village of Koh Panyee. It’s an island built upon stilts right in the heart of the bay – and it features authentic Thai seafood and crafts that you won’t find elsewhere.
And while you’re there, you’ll also be able to check out the island’s ancient cave paintings. They’re believed to be the work of the native Malay fisherman and sea gypsies that once called the island home. And they offer a way for you to peer into the past of the region, seeing depictions of ancient wildlife and the daily lives of those who once dominated the area.
Underwater Caves and Hongs
No trip to Phang Nga Bay would be complete without a visit to its world-famous Hongs (rooms, in English). They’re essentially collapsed cave systems reachable only by water that lie inside of the islands themselves. They offer visitors the chance to see the bay’s natural environment up close, including native flora and fauna untouched by the inhabitants. They’re a world unto themselves that you won’t want to skip when you’re in the area.
Visit Wat Suwan Kuha
Wat Suwan Kuha is a Buddhist temple located in a cave and is one of the holiest landmarks in all of Thailand. Seeing it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to the area. Inside the cave, you’ll find an enormous statue of Buddha, reclining amid sacred symbols and smaller statues. The temple is also known as the monkey temple because it’s the home of countless macaque monkeys. But don’t worry, they’re friendly – and if you buy food for them as you enter the temple, they’ll happily let you feed them and take pictures to your heart’s content.
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
These days, no vacation would be complete without grabbing some Instagram-worthy panoramic shots to make your friends at home jealous. And in Phang Nga Bay, there’s no place better to do that than at the Samet Nangshe Viewpoint. From there, you’ll have a perfect view of the islets that populate the bay – stretching out to your left and right as far as the eye can see.
And if you get there just before sunrise, you’ll have the chance to see a clear view of the night sky, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The lack of light pollution in the area means that you’ll get to glimpse the centre of our galaxy without a telescope. And if you stay for a while, you’ll then be treated to the sunrise peeking out from the limestone cliffs and enveloping the bay in a stunning warm glow.
Hike Through Sa Nang Manora Forest Park
Last but not least, you’ll want to check out Sa Nang Manora Forest Park. It’s a rainforest environment filled with small waterfalls and unspoiled terrain, and some of the most beautiful views in the whole region. It’s also a favourite of bird watchers. It’s home to more than 90 species of birds, and you’ll get the chance to see them up-close in their natural habitat while you’re there.
When to Visit Phang Nga Bay
Like most places in the world, the weather dictates when your best opportunities to visit Phang Nga Bay are each year. From the middle of October to the middle of April, the weather in the area is typically clear and warm. If you’d prefer cooler weather, you may want to plan your trip sometime in December or January.
But you won’t be alone. Those months are the high tourist season in Phang Nga Bay, so many of the tourist destinations in the area will be quite busy. This means you may run into crowds at the beaches and in the Hongs. To avoid the worst of the crowds, going out early in the mornings and late in the evenings is advisable.
If you’re the more adventurous sort, you might wish to plan a trip between May and October. Since it’s monsoon season, you won’t have to deal with the huge crowds of visitors that typically pack the bay. But beware. If you visit during those months you’ll have to deal with high humidity and plenty of rain.
A Place You’ll Never Forget
No matter when you choose to visit Phang Nga Bay, you’re sure to have a vacation you’ll never forget. There’s plenty to do and activities to suit any taste. There are natural wonders you won’t find elsewhere. And the native population is as friendly and hospitable as can be. Any way you look at it, Phang Nga Bay is a premier destination that should be on the itinerary of any visitor to Thailand. The only problem is that you might have such a great time that it’ll be hard to get back on the plane to go home!
Phang Nga & Phuket Travel Map