The hidden treasure of Phang Nga Bay, Phuket, Thailand

By: RebeccaJK

If you really want to relax and unwind, is there any better place than Phang Nga Bay just off the East Coast of Phuket?

The truth is, some of the best times Iíve spent in Thailand have been cruising around Phang Nga Bay.

If you know the East Coast of Phuket then you will know why - these islands are so beautiful.

As you probably know, Hollywood chose this location for a number of its blockbusters, including The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and more recently The Beach (2000), all have scenes shot in Phang Nga Bay.

You may remember, Scaramanga's island hideout , which featured in The Man with the Golden Gun - that island is Koh Tapu, known locally as ĎJames Bond Islandí.

The sad thing is, it's been turned into an awful tourist attraction with lots of over-priced, low quality restaurants and thereís no sign of anything remotely to do with James Bond.

My advice is don't go, you will be sadly disappointed.

But, if you avoid these nasty tourist traps, you will discover the hidden secrets that Phang Nga Bay has to offer.

As you can imagine, by far the best way to see Phang Nga Bay is to charter your own boat.

This way you can go anywhere you want.

You can stop on deserted islands and play Robinson Crusoe for the day. Eat a picnic lunch on the beach and snorkel in the warm blue waters.

The best thing is, there are so many islands in Phang Nga Bay it is easy to escape from other tourists. You may bump into them from time to time, paddling their canoes around the caves. But you can just go and find your own cave.

You can take a small dingy inside some of these caves, such as Koh Pan Nak, where you'll find lagoons and Swifts nesting high up in the rocks.

You'll see the crab-eating Macaques swinging from the trees and White-Bellied Sea-Eagles circling up above you.

If you stare into the lagoons, like the one at Thum Lod, you will see starfish and countless varieties of marine life.

Later, you could moor at Koh La Wa Yai; a deserted island in the north of Phang Nga Bay. Itís a great spot for snorkelling, just off the untouched sands.

The last time I went out, I remember our crew plucking live oysters from the edge of rocks in one of the caves. They shucked them right in front of us and passed them around. The only downside? No lemon juice.

That evening we stopped off at an almost deserted island. It turned out there was a tiny beach bar. So we watched the sun go down whilst throwing back a few cold brews with our feet in the sand.

I tried snorkelling for the first time ever in Phang Nga Bay. I couldn't believe the number of brightly coloured corals, fish and sea urchins you could see. It is difficult to do it justice with mere words but you really should go and try it.

Again, it's best to avoid places like Coral Island where all the tourists go.

One of the islands I recommend you should visit is Koh Khao Khien. Here you will find cave paintings of animals from more than three thousand years ago.

Why is Phang Nga Bay so beautiful? I think because it is still largely unspoilt despite mass tourism.

Thankfully the Thai authorities have had the sense to make it a national park.

If you havenít already, you really should go and see it for yourself.



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Rebecca Smith is a real estate journalist and author with over 15 yearsí experience. She has published 3 books to date:

'The Definitive Guide to buying property in Thailand'

'10 simple ways to slash your marketing costs and sell more property'

'The Definitive Guide to buying property in Phuket'

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