Let me say it right upfront…I have never seen such natural beauty such as I saw in Phang Nga Bay.
Distinguished by its limestone karsts jutting out of the emerald-green Andaman Sea, Phang Nga Bay is a must-see excursion from any trip to the Thai islands of Phuket or Krabi. Beach and nature fanatics will be in their element, with caves, lagoons, and secluded beaches all part of the stunning landscape.
Phang Nga Bay tour is one of the several full day speedboat tours you can take from Phuket and I believe all the other choices are also very good, some of the other choices being Phi Phi– which includes the famous Maya Beach made famous by the movie The Beach starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Similan & Surin Islands, and several others.
Phang Nga Bay tour includes of course, the famous James Bond Island made famous by the movie The Man with the Golden Gun in which these islands were the hideout of the villain.
While I was very thrilled to see the James bond Island above, I have to say the high point of the day for me was visiting the Koh Panyee Island.
Ko Panyi (also known as Koh Panyee) is a fishing village in Phang Nga Province, Thailand, notable for being built on stilts by Indonesian fishermen. The population consists of 360 families or 1,685 people descended from two seafaring Muslim families from Java.
The village has a Muslim school ( see picture below )
which is attended by both girls and boys in the mornings. Due to the informal nature of this education, many of the boys attend schools further afield in Phang Nga or in Phuket. Further emigration from the village is encouraged as the size of the settlement is restricted by dangerous water conditions in the rainy season.
A mosque based on the island adjacent to the settlement serves the predominantly Muslim population and is a focal point and meeting place for the community. A market stocked with goods from the mainland sells basic amenities such as medicine, clothes and toiletries.
Despite the recent rise in tourism, life in Ko Panyi is still primarily based around the fishing industry as tourists only visit in significant numbers during the dry season.
I also enjoyed visting Lava Island which was great for swimming and relaxing by the sea..
Here are some of the pics I took that day…do let me know if you like them…
Koh Panyee is a small island. 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.