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Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay, located between Phuket and Krabi on Thailand’s west coast, is famed for its towering limestone karsts islands that rise from the jade-coloured ocean in spectacular form. Due to it geological and ecological importance, part of the bay is under the protection of Ao Phang Nga National Marine Park.

It was the filming of James Bond, The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974 that brought the area to the world’s attention, and since then, many visitors flock daily to Koh Khao Pingkan to see the iconic rock. Whether fans of 007 or not, this famous island is undeniably charming and dramatic in its shape, but particularly due to the proximity to Phuket, can be crowded. In the whole of Phang Nga Bay there are numerous other islands and rock formations that are just as spectacular, and we would recommend spending more time at the less-crowded islands, which our guides know well.

The geological formations of the area create truly breathtaking scenery, and can best be appreciated by taking a boat trip through the bay, stopping at different islands to admire their towering rock faces, the many colours of the limestone glistening in the hot sun as they shoot out from the clear, bright green waters.

To appreciate and experience Ao Phang Nga at its best, we would suggest staying over in the bay. Phang Nga Province includes two significant inhabited islands, Koh Yao Yai, and Koh Yao Noi. Koh Yao Yai is the largest of the islands – in Thai ‘yai’ means large, ‘noi’ means small - but it is Koh Yao Noi that has the most accommodation and here that you will find the Six Senses Yao Noi. The barefoot luxury resort has been carefully constructed in a way that minimises impact to the environment, and they have strong policies towards environmental and social responsibility. Much of their ingredients is grown or farmed on the island and sourced locally. The resort invests in drinking-water and education schemes on the island.

Staying over in the bay not only makes it possible to experience the spectacular limestone karst scenery for longer and at different times of the day, but also means one may explore the interior of the islands with their unique culture and pretty villages, perhaps on foot or by bicycle.

Phang Nga Bay is best reached from Phuket if visiting for the day, but if staying over on Koh Yao Noi, can also be accessed by boat from Krabi Province. The island is approximately equidistant from Phuket and Krabi.

Features in the following itineraries

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I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.
Bill Bryson

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