Phang Nga Bay Marine National Park was declared a protected Ramsar Site (no. 1185) of international ecological significance on 14 August, 2002. Phang Nga is a shallow bay with 42 islands, comprising shallow marine waters and intertidal forested wetlands, with at least 28 species of mangrove; seagrass beds and coral reefs are also present. A distinctive feature of Phang Nga Bay is the sheer limestone cliffs that jut vertically out of the emerald green water. Most of the islands are uninhabited. Many of them have spectacular caves (hongs in Thai) which you can only reach by an inflatable kayak.
Our day started off with a canoeing expedition which turned out to be a walk and wade thrugh the caves at Koh Panak due to the low tide. We did however get see one of the “rooms”, an open air cave if you will and watch some of the people on our boat get stuck in the mud and mangroves. Caves and Lagoons of Koh Panak include: bat cave, mangrove cave, Mud cave and Ice Cream cave.
We had a little more luck at Koh Hong or Room Island which we explored via canoe, the stalactites and stalagmites which is is a natural phenomenon around 2 lagoons called Living Room and Honeymoon Room.
Next stop was Khao Phing Kan AKA James Bond Island. Before 1974, the island was a rarely visited indigenous area. However, it was chosen as one of the locations for the 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun as the hideout for Bond’s antagonist, Francisco Scaramanga. After the movie release it turned into a popular tourist destination that has gradually contaminated Khao Phing Kan with household litter.
photo credit: www.skydance.aero
Ko Tapu is a limestone rock about 20 metres (66 ft) tall with the diameter increasing from about 4 metres (13 ft) near the water level to about 8 metres (26 ft) at the top. It lies about 40 metres (130 ft) to the west from the northern part of Khao Phing Kan.
Koh Khai Nok is a small island tucked away in Phang Nga Bay. It’s only 30 minutes or so away from the east coast of Phuket but ask anyone on the island if they’ve been there and you will probably draw a blank stare. Beware of jelly fish though as we saw a few.
Topless sunbathers seem to be quite a common occurance here.
This post is one of an 5 part entry of our January 2011 trip to Thailand.
See all the places we visited on this trip below: