Cruise around stunning locations throughout Phang Nga Bay, including Khao Phing Kan, the island made famous in the 1974 James Bond movie ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’, starring Roger Moore. Your day out includes stops at Koh Hong, where you can explore hidden lagoons by canoe and walk on the beach, see a local fisher village built on stilts and pass by Lod Yai Cave.
Upon arrival at the Pier we get on a longtail boat for our sightseeing tour through mangrove forests and rocky islands.
About 90 minutes later we arrive at Hong Island where you do canoeing with paddle guides through caves, tunnels and lagoons. Experience the weird formations of the limestone rocks, built about 300 million years ago, as giant coral reefs were compressed by the water pressure.
On our way to Koh Panyee, the ‘island’ on stilts, we are sailing around Khao Phing Kan and the famous James Bond Island, what is in fact only a small rock in front of the twin island. The Thai name Koh Tapu (what translates with Nail Island) gives you an idea about the size! But camera angle makes a lot possible! [Meanwhile scientists found out that the old Thais spelled the name differently: ‘dha boo’ = Crab Eye. . . and they say that the small rock looks like the crabs eye peeking out of the sea like a telescope.]
The island is way too busy with thousands of visitors every day, so we stay away from the masses and take our photos from the boat.
We arrive Koh Panyee at the famous floating football field where we start our walk through the village on stilts. [There is a nice video about the beginning of Panyee FC on YouTube: See here] Only 2 buildings are on solid ground, the mosque with the cemetery and the generator hut, where they produce the electricity for the village.
More than 200 years ago 3 families from Indonesia found their way into the bay and settled here because the abundance of fish and water. They raised a flag on top of the cliff to invite others to settle with them. . . hence the name Koh Panyee = the Island of the Flag.
Meanwhile 360 families live permanently here, almost 1800 people; it is like a maze with countless huts, houses and shops. The village has all the infrastructure needed: A primary school with kindergarden and preschool, post office, clinic, mosque, small shops, restaurants and coffee shops for the local people and even a little guest house.
Today there is not only electricity everywhere but also signals for all mobile providers and access to the internet. And a few years ago they put an ATM on the island too!
Fishing was the original trade and is still very important; they catch and farm fish, crabs, shrimps and oysters and produce many sea food specialties they are famous for, and till today about 40% of the locals are in this industry. But now tourism is income source no.1 with all the big restaurants and hundreds of small stalls selling souvenirs, jewelry from fresh water pearls, clothes, snacks and drinks (no alcohol!).
On the way back to the pier (what takes about half an hour) we pass through Lod Yai Cave.
Half way between Phang Nga Town and Khao Lak we stop at the Lampi Waterfall and National Park. It is a very nice, three-level waterfall, best viewed in the early morning or late afternoon. The waterfall is only a short walk away from the car park, providing easy access for everybody. Here you also have the opportunity for a quick dip.