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Phang Nga Province is located in the western part of Peninsular Malaysia and encompasses many islands of Phang Nga Bay, the most famous of which is James Bond Island - a ridge of limestone rising to hold the sea, spectacular as portrayed in The Man with the Golden Gun Movie. Ao Phang-Nga National Park (Phang Nga Bay), one of the most visited places, was established in 1981 to protect many of these beautiful islands. Similan Islands – an ideal destination for diving lovers also belongs to Phang Nga province.
Phang Nga Bay is known as the natural heritage of Thailand possessing beautiful and majestic natural landscapes. Phang Nga Bay is famous for its National Park with extremely famous attractions such as a complex system of islands, underwater caves, or high rock formations.

Best time to visit

Phang Nga has two distinct seasons. 

From mid-October to mid-April, the weather is clear and sunny. There is less rainfall and the weather overall is cooler and less humid, particularly during December and January - this is also the best time to visit Phang Nga Bay.

However, this is when most visitors flock to the pristine waters and beaches of Phang Nga Bay. To escape the crowds, visit the bay early in the morning or later in the evening. 

If you choose to visit between May and October, which is monsoon season, there will be far fewer people, but you may have to contend with frequent rain and high humidity. 

Check the below table for the general idea of Phang Nga Bay weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 32.1 26.9 22.7
Feb 32.4 27.2 22.7
Mar 32.7 27.7 23.6
Apr 32.8 28 24.6
May 32 27.8 24.8
Jun 31.5 27.7 24.8
Jul 31.1 27.3 24.5
Aug 30.9 27.1 24.4
Sep 30.6 26.8 24
Oct 30.8 26.6 23.7
Nov 31.7 26.8 23.6
Dec 32.1 27 23.1

Phang Nga Bay’s current weather and 7-day forecast

PHANG-NGA WEATHER

Phang Nga Bay's distinctive feature is the sheer limestone karsts that jut vertically out of the emerald-green water. James Bond Island and Koh Panyee are just 2 of the more famous spots in this bay. By far the best means of enjoying the spectacular scenery, with only brief encounters with the tourist crowds at James Bond and Koh Panyee, is by taking boat trips from the northern end of Phuket.

A leisurely day trip cruising through Phang Nga Bay's dramatic limestone islands, occasionally stopping to enjoy quiet beaches, is far more rewarding than the standard bus-boat tour.

1. James Bond Island

James Bond Island, also called Koh Ta-pu ('Nail Island' in Thai), first found its way onto the international map through its starring role in the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). And this is where most tours seem to take all of the tourists – all at the same time. 

With its signature rocky pinnacle, the entire area surrounding this island is indeed spectacular. Most tours take you up the main highway for 1 hour on the same well-worn itinerary. An integral part of these tours is lunch at Koh Panyee, a nearby Muslim fishing village.

2. Koh Panyee

Koh Panyee is a remarkable village – it's built out over the water on stilts, with a giant rock monolith guarding its rear. At lunchtime, many tourists on the James Bond Island tours stop by to eat and shop for handicrafts.

Most of it is huge, almost vertical, limestone cliffs. The hundreds of huts, shacks, restaurants and houses where the villagers live are built on stilts over the surrounding shallow sea. No one seems quite sure how many wooden and concrete piles hold up this extraordinary community, but it’s certainly a fascinating and unique feat of informal engineering. 

At first, fishing was the sole industry for this Muslim community. Nowadays, about half the locals service the tourism industry and the rest still fisherman. The village on Koh Panyee has its own school, a mosque, a health centre, lots of small souvenir shops, and a handful of sea-facing restaurants where you can enjoy a fresh seafood lunch.

3. Samet Nangshe Viewpoint

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint has very quickly gone from being practically unheard of to one of the most popular panoramas in Phang Nga. Located on a hilltop just a 30-minute drive from Phuket, it provides stunning views over the limestone islets of Phang Nga Bay and, being far enough away from civilisation to avoid light pollution, the Milky Way is even visible some nights.

The view is a breathtaking 180-degree eastward panorama, making it particularly striking at sunrise. You look out to a chain of islands stretching out of sight to both the left and right in the waters of Phang Nga Bay, across about 1.6 km of mangroves. The sun rises between the limestone karsts around 5.30am to 6am, depending on the time of year. This is often preceded by the awe-inspiring sight of the centre of our own galaxy, clearly visible overhead, though this also depends on the season.

4. Cruising Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay is a great place for boating. The interesting limestone cliffs create a picturesque backdrop and there are many safe places to anchor. The fact that it's protected from both the northeast and the southwest monsoon seasons means that its waters remain calm year-round. This adds to the appeal of its scenic wonders and abundant wildlife.

5. Limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay

Limestone is calcium carbonate, which is generally white. Over millions of years, the skeletons from a constant rain of marine organisms, plus the chemical precipitation of yet more calcium carbonate build thick layers of sediment. Eventually, the heat and pressure of their own weight turn these strata, hundreds of metres thick, to stone.

A variety of geological forces have then fractured the limestone beds and pushed up the 40 steep-sided islands that provide the exotic scenery for which the shallow bay of Phang Nga is noted. Mineral oxides from various sources paint the multicoloured streaks that characterise the cliffs of Phang Nga Bay. 

6. Hongs of Phang Nga

It wasn't many years ago that aerial surveys first revealed the hong ('rooms' in Thai) that lie inside some of Phang Nga's islands. These microcosms, hidden realms rich in unspoiled flora and fauna, are collapsed cave systems open to the sky and surrounded by towering limestone walls. 

Try sea-kayaking, where you paddle sturdy fibreglass boats through caves into the mysterious hearts of islands such as Koh Panak and Koh Hong.

7. Other islands in Phang Nga Bay

Most of the islands are uninhabited. Many of them have spectacular caves which you can only reach by an inflatable or fibreglass kayak. Koh Hong is one of the most popular of these islands. Khao Khien near Koh Panyee is worth sailing past to see the ancient paintings of boats and animals on the rock walls.

One of the few inhabited islands, Koh Maak, sits near the top of the bay and is home to a small community of fisherfolk who maintain a traditional way of life – it's not part of any tour itinerary. Bring your own food and supplies if visiting since there are no facilities for tourists. There are also no places to stay here.

There are several hotels throughout the city, although most are of relatively low standard and rather old. If you plan to see Phang Nga Bay and you want to stay overnight only for that reason you might want to reconsider your choice. In that case it might be better to stay in Phuket, Khao Lak or Krabi and take one of the frequent and inexpensive buses to Phang Nga early in the morning. You will likely get better quality of accommodation at comparable prices that way.

Right from the original bus station road is: Muang Thong Hotel near the traffic lights. A little further along the road and next door to the 7-11 on the right hand side of the road is the Rattanapong Hotel. Another 100m along is the Thaweesuk Hotel, which appears to be the most upmarket of the lot.

To the left of the road is the Phang Nga Guesthouse on the left (up the hill as you walk), and on the right is The Sleep Hotel. A little further on the same side of the road is the Pranee Home.

During the day you can get cheap and delicious meals at the market or at the restaurant in the Muang Thong Hotel. In this hotel it's also possible to have breakfast (eggs, toast, butter, & jam). There is a vegetarian restaurant on the main road if you walk south from the City centre. At night it is worth trying the restaurants on the riverside. Tuesdays and Thursdays there is a night market 500m south of the bus station (on the main road).

There are a few places in or near the town centre where you can eat - morning, noon or night. Everything in Thai, but point and ask.

Kobkun bf and restaurant, thetsaban bamrung (the restaurant is on the left side heading out of town, in front of a big orange building (joint company). about 2km from the City centre.). Cuisine from a real chef at fast-food price. New restaurant managed by a Thai couple. Thai food, Java food and western food. The chef is local but he has been study chef course in Europe. Friendly staff, happy to see some foreigners. 60-100bath.  

Duang Restaurant- about 100 metres beyond the traffic lights in the City centre, on the left hand side, and almost opposite the Krungsri Bank. Most meals are around B80, and up to B200. The menu is in both English and Thai. Beer and other drinks are available.

Getting to Phang Nga

Getting to Phang Nga Bay by Taxi

Be Aware of Prices! From Phuket, you have a wide selection of private car-hire services and taxi services. The problem with taking a taxi is how many of these agencies have been tied together through local "associations." These associations demand much higher prices, and they do not allow for competition. Tourists who have ridden with the taxis have complained about mandatory stops at the local gem vendors, or the drivers collecting a commission because the travel agency allowed it. You can still take a taxi, but demand the price meter to be turned on ahead of time. Also, negotiate no stops and only use licensed travel agencies with a certification. One of the honest taxis you could take is Khao Lak Taxi.

Getting to Phang Nga by flight

The closest airport you can fly into is either Krabi or Phuket. With the right airline, you can also get minivan service included. For example, you might take a minivan from Bangkok to Phang Nga. From Bangkok to Phang Nga, you have three types of buses to depart from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal:

  • VIP Bus
  • Standard 1 Bus
  • Standard 2 Bus

The traveling time from Bangkok to Phang Nga will be a fairly long ride of 12 hours. If you'd like more detailed information, you can call the Southern Bus Terminal.

When you fly from Bangkok to Krabi, you will be transferred over to Phang Nga via a minivan. You don't necessarily need to take the minivan service, and you can save money by taking a bus from the Krabi station to Phang Nga. Keep in mind, however, these buses will not be air conditioned like the minivans. If you want air conditioning, the air conditioned buses will normally leave closer to the evening. The problem is that the frequency and times for the buses can be unpredictable in the evening. The Krabi bus station will be a better choice for those set on a concrete schedule.

After you have left the Krabi airport, you do not need to visit the Krabi bus station. Instead, you can still go to Phang Nga by going over to the south pass closer to the airport. To do this, you walk out near the highway and cross over for five meters. From there, you will see a yellow shelter found near the side of the road. Be sure to hail down the bus as it's passing.

Contact us for the latest flight schedule and price. Or you can check via some online platform such as SkyScanner.com or Kayak.com

Here you can find some tips to book the cheapest flight

Getting to Phang Nga by train

Phang Nga has no train station, but the State Railways of Thailand operates a daily train service from Bangkok to Surat Thani. From there, you will be a two hours ride from Phang Nga via bus. Keep in mind with the buses, you will see fewer of them towards the evening.

Getting to Phang Nga by car

Should you decide to take a rental car from Bangkok, you will need to drive on Highway No. 4. You will pass through Chumphon, Prachuap Khiri Khan and the Ranong provinces. Once you have driven through these provinces, you will be taken straight to the town of Phang Nga. From Bangkok, you will drive 788 kilometers, which takes about 12 hours. You can also choose to drive a second route for new scenery from Bangkok where you take Highway No. 4 to Chumphon, but after that, you go to Amphoe Tha Chang. Once you have driven through Amphoe Tha Chang, you go straight to the intersection, make a right turn to Highway 301 and drive to Amphoe Ban Ta Khun. This takes you about 50 kilometers, and you will then take Highway No, 415 for around 30 kilometers. After that, you will be in Phang Nga.

Driving from Phuket, you will take Highway No. 402. You will pass Sarasin Bridge over to Ban Khok Kloi, and you will turn the steering wheel right for Amphoe Takua Thung. From Phuket, you have cut the distance down to 87 kilometers, which only takes an hour and a half.

Getting to Phang Nga by boat

To get to Phang Nga via boat, you will need to visit the Tha Dan pier. This can be found nine kilometers south of the town of Tha Dan.

Getting around

Phang Nga's most popular transportation method will be via public passenger pickup vehicles. Important to note, you cannot rent cars in Phang Nga, however some Phang Nga Resorts in the area can provide vehicles. If you choose explore the region, motorbike rental lets you ride in style combing through the region. When you want to visit different districts, you can use the non-air conditioned bus services, and if you want a fun day out wandering the islands, you can hire long-tailed boats. It's a unique way to learn and see Phang Nga province.

James Bond Island in Phang Nga has become an iconic tourist destination with James Bond's arch-nemesis using the island as a hideout in the 1974 film that immortalized this location forever. Phang Nga is a relatively small province, but you'll find it's much cheaper than the Phuket beach resorts.

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Thailand BLOG ARTICLES

As some of you may have seen in the news, Thailand is gearing up for a ‘soft reopening’ to vaccinated travellers a month from now on July 1.

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Then, the island will be opening Phuket International Airport to foreign travellers as proposed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The trial will be the first of its kind in the country, and if successful, may be rolled out across other parts of Thailand. The Thailand Authority of Tourism (TAT) has already earmarked Krabi, Pattaya, Bangkok, Buriram, Cha-am, Koh Samui, Phang-nga and Hua Hin as possible destinations to try out the scheme.

Each model will be slightly different, depending on geography, and international visitors will still have to get a visa in advance and fill out some paperwork (see details below). Nevertheless, this will come as promising news to those travellers desperate to visit Thailand!

If the Phuket Sandbox Scheme goes ahead, from June to September 2021, Thailand is expecting to receive up to 129,000 international visitors – will you be one of them? In this article, we’ll attempt to answer all of the questions you might have about the Phuket Sandbox and more!

Disclaimer – Information regarding the Phuket Sandbox Program is changing literally every day and is dependent on the COVID-19 situation across Thailand. While we update this article regularly to the best of our ability, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.

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Some of the feats performed include piercing cheeks with swords, walking on nails or hot coals, and climbing ladders made of knife blades! Most participants miraculously heal up without needing stitches or medical care.

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It is said that monks started remaining immobile in a temple during this time because they wanted to avoid killing insects and harming farmland. Apparently, traveling monks were crossing through fields, thus destroying the crops of villagers and farmers. After catching wind of this, Buddha decided that in order to avoid damaging crops, hurting insects, or harming themselves during the rainy season, monks should remain in their temples during these three months.

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In pre-modern times, Magha Puja has been celebrated by some Southeast Asian communities. But it became widely popular in the modern period, when it was instituted in Thailand by King Rama IV in the mid-19th century. From Thailand, it spread to other South and Southeast Asian countries. Presently, it is a public holiday in some of these countries.

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