Ao Phang-Nga (Phang-Nga Bay) National Park was declared a national park on April 29, 1981. It lies in the districts of Phang-Nga Town and Takua Thung and the total area is 250,000 rai (1 rai = 1,600 sq. meters). Most visitors are intent on viewing Phang-Nga Bay’s bizarre landscape, which includes more than 120 singularly strange looking islands. Therer are many places where boats can be rented to travel Phang-Nga Bay:
Tha Dan Sullakakorn Pier (Customs Pier): near Phang-Nga Bay Resort. Boats from small to large including ones suitable for group tours can be rented.
Surakoon (or Ka Sohm) Pier : lies in Takua Thung. Here you will find long-tail boats seating about 6 persons each.
The pier in the area of National Park : has long-tails holding up to eight persons each. It takes about three hours to view Phang-Nga Bay. The best season is from December to April, but because of the calm seas that prevail year round in this waveless body of water, trips to Phang-Nga are an on-going activity. Many companies in Phuket offer sight-seeing tours, and various modes of travel are possible: from long-tail boats, to sea canoes, to Chinese junks. Virtually all of them include lunch in the price of the tour. Check with your travel agent for details. Those wishing to explore on their own can charter a boat Check the rental fee listed on the signboard at the pier.
Places of interest within the Ao Phang-Nga National Park include :
Ko Panyee: This small island has a picturesque village, which rests precariously on small pilings and extends out across the water. It is inhabited chiefly by Muslim fisher folk, whose unique culture has existed, cut off from the mainland and most modern amenities, for more than a hundred years. Souvenir shops and seafood restaurants cater to visitors.
Khao Ping-Gan:Â The name means literally leaning mount. It is really a huge rock split in two; the smaller half has slid down and the remaining one appears now to be leaning. Though Kao Ping-gan is a very small island, Khao Tapoo or James Bond Island, is in a little bay of Khao Ping-Gan where visiting boats pull up. Tapoo means nail, and this shoreless rock projects up from the sea as its name implies flat and wide at the top, and very narrow at waterline. It is a striking sight. And the island became more famous after the James Bond adventure, The Man with the Golden Gun, was partly filmed here.
Tham Lod Grotto:Â This cave in Takua thung has beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. The long tail boat can go through another side of the cave.
Hong: Hong means room, and entering this hollowed out island by boat is much like floating through a giant reception hall with two doors.
Panak Island:Â A cave with stagmites and stalactites, where a small stepped waterfall fo regular descent adds to the beauty, is the island’s salient feature.
Khao Khien:Â The islet of writings is what the name means. Indeed, there are ancient depictions of animals and boats which the Fine Arts Dept. has dated back no less than 3,000 years. Low on the mountain walls just above the tideline of this shoreless island, they were presumably drawn by voyagers long ago who took refuge there during storms. The island lies on the way to Ko Panyee. Also of interest in Phang-Nga Bay National Park are the mangrove forests and swamps, cut by twisting channels, that line the mainland shores.