Phang Nga Bay
Phuket’s bay of fame and wonder
If you’re a Bond fan, you might recognise Phang Nga Bay for the appropriately Ko Tapu or ‘James Bond Island’ - known for its distinctive limestone cliffs. These gracious beauties jut out from the emerald-green water and are featured in the movie, ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. For those who haven’t see the film, James Bond flies over Phang Nga Bay heading to hitman Scaramanga's hideout on Ko Tapu (insert drama, intrigue and an invitation to duel).
Hollywood has been heading to Phuket for decades and it’s no surprise; the backdrop is one of unparalleled rugged beauty, tropical adventure and the feeling of uncovering unchartered land, despite the thousands of tourists who frequent the region each year. James Bond Island is definitely worth a stop, but there are also many other islands in the bay without the tourist-trap stigma.
See the bay the Bond way in a chopper, or get down to sea level and take a long tail boat trip. Taking a DIY approach for a trip to Phang Nga Bay is the way to go - it’s easy and you’ll get more out of it than a standard tour. For transport, the recommended way to head to the bay from Phuket is by hiring a car or scooter and driving around 1.5 hours to Phang Nga and hopping on one of the many longtail boats waiting to take you out to the bay.
If you can spend the time and money on a slightly longer tour, go further south to Koh Hong, passing through loads of interesting landscapes and plenty of places to stop off for a dip along the way. You can also plan your day trip to avoid the masses of other tourists. A standard tour will also include a stop in Koh Pannyi – a gypsy-style fishing community on stilts. Again, still worth a visit, but remember at midday the village is overrun with up to 3,000 tourists having lunch and bargaining for trinkets. Talk to your driver about where they’d go to see the best spots and it’ll be hard not to feel a little smug when you’re exploring your very own tropical paradise with not one other tourist in sight.