There’s little doubt that Phang Nga Bay has some of the most spectacular natural scenery in Thailand, if not the world. But this special piece of paradise is also best known as the location where parts of the 1974 James Bond movie featuring Roger Moore and a few other bad ass guys were filmed. The movie, if you haven’t as yet seen it, was called The Man with the Golden Gun.
All the local tour companies and guides seem to capitalise on this by encouraging hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers to take the day trip from Phuket to see this famous landmark. No doubt you couldn’t ask for a more exquisite and seductive retreat than the islands and bays found around here.
The way to Go
The best ways to travel around this big beautiful bay is by one of the Cruise Boats or perhaps even one of those small Chinese Junk Ships. Once you approach James Bond island, you’ll be transferred and then transported there in one of those rather noisy but a thrilling long-tail boat. They can be a lot of fun.
A word of caution though is that once you arrive here, you will undoubtedly be surrounded by loads of local traders who will try and sell you all sorts of cheap souvenirs that actually don’t want or need. You will also find the prices to be more than four to five times the cost of the same items, on the mainland.
It matters not when these traders try reducing the prices as you’d still be able to purchase the same items elsewhere at a far better price. To be quite honest, I only found this out for myself much later. It’s better to either ignore the traders altogether or just give a small donation as a kind gesture. You’ll probably feel much better afterwards. Maybe give your tour guide a small tip.
Thanbok Koranee National Park
Travel south-east from Phang Nga for approximately 50 kilometres (30 miles) and you’ll come across Than Bok Koranee National Park. Truly the most beautiful part of this region. The park open daily is dominated by huge limestone cliffs.
For a unique alternative form of seagoing transport on these waters, why not take a trip on a Chinese Junk or the Sampan called June Bahtra. There are three of them that cruise these waters and you cannot mistake them for their huge colourful sails. They are solid and offer a smooth ride. The lunch severed on board is without a doubt superb. They are well worth the trip.
The most outstanding (no pun intended) feature around Phang Nga Bay are the spectacular limestone peaks often reaching as high as 300 metres (1,000 feet). It’s not so much that I don’t have anything more to say about this great scenic wonderland I’m absolutely sure you’ll enjoy, the photo below certainly says it all.
Koh Panyi Island
Some of the tours on offer will take you to the Gypsy village at Koh Panyi as a stopover for lunch. What an absolutely remarkable village built right out over the sea on stilts with a huge limestone mountain as a backdrop. Most of the sea gypsies who live here are of the Muslim faith and earn their keep as fishermen.
Apart from the excellent lunch severed, vegetarians are also well catered for. All you need to do is to make arrangements with your tour operator prior to your journey. Throughout the season’s thousands of tourists are catered for at Koh Panyi every day.
Once the lunches are over for the day, these Gypsy islanders will close up shop and settle into their every day commune. If you have the time, it’s great to take a peek around the small shops and stalls here selling a variety of items Just remember you can purchase handicrafts here but keep in mind the higher prices.