Exploring the Marine Park: The Paradise of Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay: White beaches, blue skies, green cliffs… paradise.
Phang Nga Bay is everything you want and then some. It’s waiting for your arrival. In the build-up to their holiday or travels most people will indulge in a lengthy Google image search. They’ll linger over the white sandy beaches, the soaring limestone cliffs and the crystal-clear water. Well, we have excellent news for you: Phang Nga Bay ticks all those boxes.
The islands of Thailand are probably the country’s main draw for tourists. Thanks to films like The Beach, crowds have been flocking for years. No doubt you’ll be after your own paradise island experience and we cannot recommend a trip to Phang Nga Bay enough. It’s not as famous as the classic Phi Phi or Similian trips so the crowds aren’t so intense (Note – there are still some crowds unless you get lucky!) but that’s not to say it isn’t just as impressive!
What to Expect
This is classic Thai island life. Turquoise water surrounds towering limestone karsts which protect secluded white beaches. Hundreds of boat tours head towards the 42 islands within the protected marine park that makes up Phang Nga Bay. This is one of those trips where the earlier you rise, the more crowds you avoid. If you opt for a group tour with a provider you might not have the option of choosing a departure time but it’s worth asking before booking.
Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay
One of the main activities that you can do within the bay is kayaking. Different companies work in different ways but the best have you and a partner in a kayak with 1 guide too. This enables you to have a semi-private tour and get away from the bigger boats. We’d recommend finding a tour which allows you to do this. The very best guides will go out of their way to make your tour incredibly special and memorable.
Thanks to the way that limestone naturally erodes over time there are hundreds, if not thousands, of caves to explore. These huge islands look completely impenetrable but in actual fact many are circular or doughnut shaped with small lakes in the middle. To get to the center you’ll need to squeeze through tiny cave entrances. This is where an experienced guide is indispensable. They’ll navigate expertly, deflating the kayak if necessary to allow you to squeeze through the smallest of gaps before emerging into a lost, paradise world.
How to Get to Phang Nga Bay
You’ve got three main options. Visiting with a huge tour group on a bigger boat, going with a more exclusive (but more expensive) tour group or hiring a longtail boat privately for the day.
Option 1 is the cheapest option, but you’ll be sharing the experience with up to 60 other people. The boats go on defined paths every day and often will just head straight for the big hitters such as James Bond Island.
Option 2 is more expensive but means a smaller boat (potentially a speed boat) which means you can visit more islands, more beaches and avoid the bigger crowds. Some tours even offer packages that include a starlight tour where you can see the sunset in the bay and send off your own Loi Krathong lanterns.
Option 3 is the most flexible. It allows you to choose your departure time, your return time and what you want to visit on your tour. Naturally because you’re hiring the boat and driver privately to yourself you’ll pay the highest costs. But what price can you put on your own exclusive beach?
Bodegan Insider Tip
If you have the opportunity to select islands we recommend making the trip to Koh Hong. It is rarely visited, unbelievably picturesque, has some excellent snorkeling and the softest sand on a white beach. See if you can get it included on your tour!