Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island

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phang nga bay

Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island

Perhaps one of the most impressive sights in all of Thailand, Phang Nga Bay lived up to all the expectations I had. This is one place I have specifically wanted to visit since I first started to learn about SE Asia. The first time I saw pictures of it I just had to go. It was on a sailing blog called Tahina Expedition. They have since finished their trip and returned to the US, so the blog is no longer active, but I have been using it as a reference for some of the places I’ve been traveling even though their mode of transportation is completely different than mine.

From Phuket the town of Phang Nga is only about a 2 hour bus ride. I left the day after Christmas to head north and spend the night in Phang Nga and line up a boat tour of the bay for the next day. You can also arrange a multitude of tours from Phuket, but these are usually large businesses who transport loads of tourists in speed boat quickly through the bay everyday.

As with everything I am looking for a more authentic experience so after looking into it I decided I would arrange my tour in Phang Nga town where locals, who actually need the money, still operate low key long tail tours from the north through the mangroves and out into the bay.

I always enjoy spending time in these smaller, less touristy local towns. You really have a chance to see the local way  of life without dodging other tourists and trying to ignore aggressive tuk tuk drivers and other people trying to sell you things. The people are more friendly and everything is cheaper. I had a nice room with a balcony overlooking the night market where I had a nice cheap dinner that night.

phang nga night market

Earlier I walked around town a little and went to Phung Chang Cave and a couple temples. One of them, located above the cave had a great view.

cave

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Interesting sculptures outside the cave.

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view from the top.

We left a little after 9 am the next morning to head to the pier and catch the boat. I was in a group with only two other people and the friendly tour guide so we had plenty of space in the long tail. After a half hour of slowly winding out way through the mangroves I got my first glimpse of the expansive bay and the towering karst islands.

It was a perfect day to be on the water. Nice and sunny, not too hot yet, and just enough of a breeze to cool things off a little but not too much too make it a rough ride. The scenery so far had lived up to everything I was expecting and I was enjoying just being on this beautiful bay on a boat.

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The first stop was James Bond Island. “The Man With the Golden Gun” was filmed here in 1974. Ever since people have been coming to se the famous island on their own. It is now a very popular tourist attraction with the crowds to prove it. It was pretty cool to see, but honestly some of the other islands looked more impressive and I would have liked to see some of those up close instead.

James Bond Island Phang Nga

On our way back we went through a hong, which is a cave that is sometimes underwater depending on the tides. Then we made our last stop at the Muslim fishing village called Ko Panyi. The village is built completely in stilts suspended above the sea. It is really cool to walk through and see the people go about their daily lives.

hong

Ko Panyi

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floating football field

Floating soccer field in Ko Panyi.

Ko Panyi on Phang Nga bay

I arrived back to Phang Nga town around 1 and caught a bus north to Ranong to get to my next destination, Koh Chang.

Brooks

Brooks

I am traveling the world focusing on adventure and photography.

5 Comments

  • Mom

    I love the karst islands the most! They’re very awesome. I’d never seen anything like them until you sent pics!! And why did the Muslims build their city in the water? A floating soccer field -very cool. And is the temple on stilts as well?

    January 16, 2016 at 9:20 am
    • Brooks
      Brooks

      The mosque is actually the only part of the village that is built on solid ground. I don’t really know why it is built on stilts. I assume because it was a convenient spot to be for fishing and there is very limited land in the area to build on because most of the islands are steep limestone cliffs.

      January 17, 2016 at 2:35 am
  • Kaely

    2 questions- what is a long tail boat and what are the mangroves? I love the city built on stilts! Crazy! So cool!

    January 16, 2016 at 10:36 am
    • Brooks
      Brooks

      A long tail boat is basically just a boat of any size that has a big engine mounted on the back and a long axle that goes into the water to drive the propeller. They actually steer the boat by turning the propeller to different sides and using their weight.

      Remember the mangroves in Key West? They are the trees with all the roots that grow over shallow water.

      January 17, 2016 at 2:30 am
  • Cara

    Omg I want to live in a city on stilts!!!! Burke loves the floating soccer field!!! So amazing 😀

    January 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm

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