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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

PHANG NGA BAY - VISITING ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC PLACES OF THAILAND AVOIDING THE TOURIST CROWD: PHANG NGA BAY WHERE JAMES BOND'S MOVIE WAS SET - 7 SIGHTS OF AO PHANG NGA - THAILAND

Ko Tapu, also called by the "farangars" James Bond Island :-)


What is Ao Phang Nga National Park?

You can arrive at Ao Phang Nga with one of the many guided tours from Phuket that later will drop you off in one of the many souvenirs supermarkets where you can finish all the money you have in your pocket. 

Can't wait to visit Ao Phang An ?

I wasn't satisfied when I heard such a description of Ao Phang Bay.

I couldn't believe such a wonderful place I heard so much about can only be that. And in fact I was right. You can see and visit Ao Phang An from a completely different prospective.

Ao Phang Nga National Park is one of the most beautiful national Park in Thailand. 

The main feature of the park are certainly the amazing rocks that make the panorama so special and unusual, as you can see in the photos on this post.

You can explore them on a boat cruise admiring the wildlife and the beautiful landscape of the area.

Ao Phang Nga National Park is one of the few places in Thailand when you can still be able to explore some wild nature and enjoy the typical Asian and Thai sights. Do not miss it!

What is James Bond Island? 

In front of the island along a beautiful  beach overcrowed by tourists from all over the world, shouting and taking photos at everywhere that moves, dozens of stalls sell the T-Shirt everyone buys where is written "I visited James Bond Island".

Ko Tapu, one of the most famous and visited rocks, in the Ao Phang Nga National Park, is also known as the island of James Bond because it was chosen as one of the locations for the 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun as the hideout for Bond's antagonist, Francisco Scaramanga. But Ko Tapu and the surrounding Ao Phang Nga Bay are part of the Ao Phang Nga Marine National Park and this fact seems to me much more interesting.



Where is Ao Phang Nga Marine National Park?

Phang Nga Bay is a large bay situated in the Andaman Sea, between the island of Phuket and the mainland of the Malay peninsula.

The National Park covers an area of 42 islands with at least 28 species of mangrove, 88 bird species, including the globally threatened Malaysian Plover, 82 fish species, 18 reptiles, three amphibians, and 17 mammal species.

And you don't need to stay or go to Phuket to visit such a paradise (see below)!


Great views from the boat in Ao Phang Nga National Park

More great views

As I wrote in other posts about other places in Thailand (see Koh Tao, Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya), Thailand still has a lot to enjoy away as much as possible from the touristy crowd.

Below some tips to visit Ao Phang Nga and the James Bond Island (ooops! sorry I mean Ko Tapu!) at their best.


Away from the touristy crowd, Ao Phang Nga National Park offers wonderful panoramas and a lot of quiet and inspiration

What is the best way to visit Ao Phang Nga Marine National Park?

Make your base at Phang Nga. A little modern town 750 Km away from Bangkok and 80 Km distant from Phuket. Phang Nga has some beautiful walks to offer, a beautiful evening market, offers cheap accommodation and it is away from the beaten track.

Go at Phang Nga bus station and book a tour for there, not just for James Bond Island but for visiting even the other islands, the one that take a full day.

Early morning with few other tourists (as not many tourists stay in Phang Nga) you will be collected by minivan and took to the harbour of Phang Nga. From there you will enjoy a wonderful cruise through the typical vertical limestone rocks emerging from the Andaman Sea.

You will visit James Bond Island, but you will also enjoy wonderful panoramas, visit amazing caves in the lime stones, eat on a secluded beach and have a refreshing swim in a safe sandy bay.  

You will visit a nearby fishermen muslim village, that, although full of souvenirs stalls, it is interesting with its own bazar and the old mosque. It is built on palafites and I think it is a very different experience from any other village in Thailand, particularly if you only have been Northern than Phang Nga in your travel.

You will have a completely different experience of this area away from the noise and the beaten track. 



How to get to Phang Nga area?

Although the Ao Phang Nga National Park is very touristy, it is not so easy to get to the area.

Most of the tourists visit Ao Phang Nga National Park on a day trip from Phuket with a day ticket that includes bus, boat, food, etc.

If you want to go to Ao Phang Nga National Park by yourself and avoiding organized trips you should get first to the little town of Phang Nga.

To get to Phang Nga you can either take the only daily bus to Bangkok (which is usually sold out, so try booking an advance) or travel first to Phuket or Surat Thani and from there to Ao Phang Nga, by bus or mini van.

See above on the section "What is the best way to visit Ao Phang Nga Marine National Park?", for the best way to get from Phang Nga to the National Park.

You can access the park only by boat and there is not much of official accommodation inside the park, so a day trip is mainly the only choice you have at the moment of writing.


Typical tourist boats in the Park.



Typical Thai Sail boat

Don't you feel on the set of the Man with the Golden Gun ?



What to visit after Ao Phang Nga National 

Park?

If you haven't yet visited the old famous Thai temples consider heading to visit either Ayutthaya or Sukhothai, if you are looking for some relax and beautiful beaches head to Kho Tao





Are you looking for more great 

destinations in Thailand?


Here some posts ready for you:

PHANG NGA BAY: "James Bond Island. One of the most iconic places in Thailand".
Visit one of the most beautiful National Parks in Thailand, much more to see than just James Bond's island!

KHO TAO - "A wonderful island in the Andaman Sea" Photos and some useful tips to visit one of the most unspoiled islands in Thailand, away from the noise, relatively unspoiled and just an hour away from Thailand's famous Full Moon Parties.

SUKHOTHAI: "Want to visit the best archaeological site in Thailand?"
A visit in Sukhothai, the most impressive and best kept archaeological park in Thailand, many great photos, two maps and lots of practical info to visit Sukhothai.

AYUTTHAYA - AN AMAZING INSPIRATIONAL PLACE JUST 2 HRS FROM BANGKOK Just 2 hrs away from Bangkok Ayutthaya is a perfect destination for a day trip to explore the famous Thai temples. It is also the first stop for a visit to the North, read the post and watch some great photos!

The Holy City of Chiang Mai is where to go to admire the famous "pagoda temples". In the post you will explore one of the most famous destinations in Thailand. Photos & practical info.



Are you planning to travel in Thailand?
Read more of Thailand secluded secrets, itineraries and practical tips for your travel on our page about Thailand - CLICK HERE