Phang Nga Bay

Dramatic limestone formations jut from this bay, creating a picturesque backdrop for cruises, kayaking excursions, or island-hopping tours. Sights range from movie sets to villages on stilts. Eco-friendly kayaking tours explore sublime lagoons that retain the signs of an earthly Eden, while numerous deserted beaches, tiny island hideaways, and undeveloped tropical lands wait to be discovered in Phang Nga Bay. Meanwhile, Ko Phi Phi enjoys a status worldwide for its natural beauty and for its reputation as a vibrant island party destination.

prac_infoKing Cruiser Wreck, Sunrise Divers (scuba diving) • 269/24 Patak Road, Karon Plaza • 07639

prac_infoSpirit of Phang Nga (full-day cruise) • 07637 6192 • 7:30am–6pm daily • Adm B3,700 onward (adult), B1,850 onward (children) •

1. Ko Phi Phi Don

With its limestone cliffs and clear waters, this beautiful island is popular for snorkeling and diving. At its heart is Tonsai village, home to most of the hotels, restaurants, and shops. The island also offers quieter resorts on more secluded beaches.

2. Ko Phi Phi Ley

Home to the stunning Maya Bay, this uninhabited island allows overnight visitors to camp on the white sands where Leonardo DiCaprio starred in The Beach. Cliff jumping, swimming, and snorkeling are other popular activities here.

3. Underwater World

A number of popular dive sites, including a sunken passenger ferry between Phuket and Ko Phi Phi, can be found in Phang Nga Bay. You can also snorkel to coral reefs.

4. Phi Phi Viewpoint

Perched high atop Ko Phi Phi Don, this viewpoint gazes down on two splendid bays, Loh Dalum and Tonsai. From here, visitors get a bird’s eye-view of the island’s unique dumbbell shape.

5. Khao Khian

Also known as “Writing Hill,” this cave in Phang Nga Bay has ancient drawings of humans, birds, fish, and other marine life. The artistry dates back some 3,000 years.

6. Ko Yao Noi

With unspoiled coastlines, pristine beaches, and thatched-roof bungalows, this island – part of a two-island chain – exudes tranquil vibes.

7. James Bond Island

The backdrop for 007’s infamous duel in The Man with the Golden Gun, the island – also known as Ko Khao Phing Kan – today represents one of Phuket’s most popular island day trips.

8. Ko Panyee

The village on this island has been constructed on stilts above the shallow waters of the south coast. Most of Ko Panyee’s landmass is consumed by a towering limestone rock. The island is one of Phang Nga Bay’s most unique attractions.

9. Chinese Junk Boat

One of Phuket’s classic boat cruises, the Chinese junk-rigged schooner known as June Bahtra explores Phang Nga Bay’s legendary islands and limestone cliffs, while a separate cruise provides sundown dinner and cocktails.

10. Kayaking

Paddle through extraordinary aquatic grottoes that open into magnificent open-air lagoons known as hongs. These lagoons are populated by exotic birds such as hornbills and kingfishers. The pristine jungle scenery inside the hongs is incredible.prac_infoJohn Gray’s Sea Canoe (kayaking) • 124 Soi 1 Yaowarat Road, Phuket Town • 07625 450507625 450607625 4507 • Daytrips B3,950 onward (adult), B1,975 onward (child) •

The “Perfect Beach”

When Hollywood set out to portray the “perfect” tropical island on the silver screen, Maya Bay won the role with its turquoise waters and white sand beach. Released in 2000, The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, makes a compelling case for Ko Phi Phi Ley’s claim as the world’s best beach. It is subjective, but no other film has done more to inspire the world’s dreams of an island hideaway.

Tip Tip: Hire a longtail boat at Naiharn Beach to visit some of the islands.
Tip Tip: Support the locals – buy food or refreshments if they’re selling them.
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