The water is crystal clear and the Karst cliffs, which stretch on as far as the eye can see, are more picturesque than I could ever have imagined. On first guess you’d think we were sailing through Halong Bay – the UNESCO and Seventh Wonder of Nature phenomenon on the East Coast of Vietnam. Alas, we were in Phang Nga Bay in Thailand, the lesser known stretch of coastline in South East Asia and one that I’m absolutely obsessed with!!
What Is A Visit To Phang Nga Bay Like?
After the usual hours drive to the pier from Phuket we finally made it onto our speedboat, ready to start the day. Phang Nga Bay is beautiful from the second you see it. The blue water is surrounded by huge karst cliffs jutting out every which way you look. It’s absolutely breathtaking and the boat ride to our first stop felt really short as we were so captivated by the scenery. On the way we drove slowly past Panak Island to admire the stalagmite and stalactite which had formed there.
We then arrived at Panyee island, a small, floating muslim village with a mosque and all. They had little market stalls set up to explore whilst we waited for our lunch to be served. Of course our menu was filled with an assortment of seafood they caught nearby. It was so interesting to visit this community, living solely off their little floating island.
After lunch we made our way to the infamous James Bond Island or Khao Ping Kun as it was formerly known. For those of you James Bond fans, you would know that this island was featured in the ‘Man With The Golden Gun‘ film, as I’ve since learnt.
It was a beautiful sight to see. One of those mysteries of mother nature, where you marvel at how perfect the natural formation is.
It was then onto Hong Island, our highlight of the day. When we slowed down in front of this ‘island’ which from the outside looks like every other soaring karst around us, we noticed a bunch of canoes floating on the water, tied to a stalagmite above and a Thai man snoozing inside each, under the cool shade of the rocks above him (not a bad days work, we thought). They slowly awoke and made their way to our boat.
I was a little amused that they’d provided a Thai man to paddle each kayak for the guests. Surely everyone could figure it out themselves and save having to employ twenty men just for the simple task of kayaking around an island, I thought. It seemed very strange.
I love kayaking and was quite excited for this part of the tour, so I informed the guides that we didn’t need a kayak guide, that we were able to do it ourselves. The Thai men all just laughed at me and told us to hop in the boat, which was being steered by a young but lovely guy called Mon. We were amused but hopped in as we were told. We quickly discovered why they were so amused at my suggestion.
We started kayaking through a cave, which was quite large at first but which got smaller and narrower with every minute. It was starting to get very tight and I was starting to wonder when exactly we were going to turn around when Mon simply said ‘sleep, go to sleep.’ I was confused for a second until I realised we were inches away from smacking our heads into a bunch of stalagmites and that by ‘sleep’ he meant to lie down flat, so we all quickly collapsed flat on one another, amazed at Mons perfect accuracy at paddling the kayak into this tight and narrow cave.
We were lying there admiring the stalagmites when all the sudden we broke into a lagoon, with trees and blue skies soaring above our heads. It was absolutely amazing, one of the most perfect and beautiful spots I’ve ever had the privilege of being in and one of those places you only dream exist. No photo or video we could take on our GoPros will ever give justice to the beauty we saw with our eyes, or the ecstatic happiness we felt to experience this place. I’m a pretty good kayaker but there is no way I’d be skilled enough to get us through that tight cave and I laughed at myself to think I’d even suggested it.
After the kayak tour we jumped off our boat into the warmer than desired ocean to cool down before making our way to Lawa Island, our last stop of the day, where we swam, explored and enjoyed the incredible views of Phang Nga Bay before us.
You May Also Like: Phi Phi Island, Thailand – Is It Over-Rated??
We had heard that the James Bond Island Tour was the best and we couldn’t agree more. Whilst the two tours of Phang Nga Bay and Phi Phi Island were completely different from one another, with two totally different adventures, this tour was our highlight and one we highly recommend putting on your own itinerary.
Amazing Canoes Tour Company, who we used for our James Bond tour, were nothing short of incredible. Throughout the day the guides went out of their way to make sure we were all okay, kept bringing out ice-cold sodas, water and fruit and kept us very entertained with our jokester tour guide and some sweet tunes to dance along to. This was again all inclusive and again instead of the 3000 baht advertised we bartered it down to 1000 Baht. I cannot recommend them or this tour enough!