Phang Nga is a land of tin mines and beautiful scenery nestled among mountains which rise up around the town as if they were the town wall. The majority of the area is mountainous with very little basin area.

Phang Nga Covers the area of 4,170.9 square kilometres, 57% of which is mangrove and evergreen forest. Its major geographical characteristic is forest and mountains bordering other provinces as follows:



To the North : Ranong and Surat Thani

To the East : Surat Thani and Krabi

To the South : Phuket and the Andaman Sea

To the West : The Andaman Sea

Administration: Phang Nga is administratively divided into eight Amphoes (districts): Muang Phangnga, Khura Buri, Thap Put, Kapong, Takua Thung, Takua Pa, Thai Muang, and Ko Yao.

 


 

Understand

Phang Nga is a seaside province by the Andaman Sea with scenic views of forests and islands. The province offers superb natural beauty both onshore and underwater.

History

Phang Nga was originally inhabited by small communities and named Kraphu-nga. During the reign of King Rama II, nearby areas (including Thalung, now known as Phuket) were occupied by the Burmese and so many people fled to Kraphu-nga. In 1824, Siamese troops defeated the Burmese and the invaders were expelled. King Rama III renamed the area Phang Nga and in 1933 the town was expanded to be a province.

People

Phang-nga is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas is Muslim. Phang-nga however, does not suffer from any religious tension and the folk live in peace and harmony. Outside of the provincial town, the rural folk speak with a thick Southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand. With this kind of mixture, Phang Nga is always celebrating something be it part of Thai Buddhist, Thai-Chinese or Thai-Islamic tradition. Situated on the small island of Ko Surin is a community of Morgan Sea Gypsies who still live their traditional life as sea-faring people. These sea gypsies speak Yawi dialect and are more than welcome to tourists. However, just like the Long-necked Karen in Mae Hong Son, some folk complain that their village resembles a bit like a human zoo with hoards of tourists walking around gawking at the villagers. There are organized tours from Phang Nga which go there.

 


 

Get in

By car

First route: From Bangkok, take Highway No. 4, passing the provinces of Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, and Ranong, then drive straight to Phang-nga town. It is 788 km from Bangkok. The trip takes around 12 hours.

Second route: From Bangkok, take Highway No.4 to Chumphon, from there, take Highway No. 41 to Amphoe Tha Chang, then go straight to an intersection where a right turn is made to Highway No. 401, keep driving to Amphoe Ban Ta Khun for about 50 km, and then take Highway No. 415 for 30 km, take a right turn to Phang-nga town. Visitors travelling from Phuket should use Highway No. 402, passing Sarasin Bridge to Ban Khok Kloi, take a right turn to Amphoe Takua Thung. It is 87 km from Phuket. The journey takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

By plane

There is no airport here. The closest ones are in Phuket or Krabi.

Thai Airways International operates Bangkok-Phuket flights daily. From Phuket, take a bus or rent a car to Phang-nga for about 58 kilometres. For more information, call Thai Airways tel: 1566 or 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000 or Phuket office at tel. +66 76 360444.

Bangkok Airways has daily flight connecting Phuket Airport with Pattaya and Ko Samui. For more information contact their Bangkok office at tel. 0 2265 5678. Reservation can be made at tel. 0 2265 5555 or Phuket office tel. +66 76 225033, +66 76 225034.

Air Asia [www.airasia.com] also offers several daily flights connecting Bangkok and Phuket Airport. Call 02 5159999 or Phuket office at tel. +66 76 351428, +66 76 369182 for reservations.

By train

There is no train station here. You must catch a bus for Phunphin, near Surat Thani. The State Railways of Thailand operates daily train services between Bangkok and Surat Thani. A trip to Phang-nga can be made by getting off at the Surat Thani Railway Station and then take on a bus for another two hours. For more information call Bangkok’s Hualamphong Railway Station tel. 1690.

By bus

Buses from Phuket, Takua Pa and Krabi pass through Phang-Nga. During daytime there are many buses from the bus station to Phuket, Krabi, Takua Pa and Surat Thani. In the evening however there are hardly buses but if you're lucky you might catch a bus on the Phuket-Krabi road. (4 km from the city) The phone number of the bus station is +66 76 412014

There are daily bus services from Bangkok to Phang-nga. Air-conditioned buses, varying in 3 types, depart from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal at the following times:

VIP Bus – 6.30PM.
Standard 1 Bus – 7.30PM.
Standard 2 Bus – 6.30AM. and 4PM.

Travelling time is 12 hours. For more information call the Southern Bus Terminal at tel. 0 2435 1199-200 or the Phang-nga Bus Terminal at tel: +66 76 412300, +66 76 412014.

By boat

The pier, Tha Dan, is 9 km south of the town.

By taxi

From Phuket there are a variety of taxi and private car-hire services. However there is a stranglehold on many of these agencies through local "associations" that demand high prices and disallow competition. It is a common complaint that passengers are made to stop at local gem and/or travel agencies allowing the drivers to collect a commission. To avoid this - demand a meter to be turned on or agree to price ahead of time - with no stops. You may also used licensed and certified agencies.

 


 

Get around

The most popular form of getting around in Phang-nga is by Songthaew (public passenger pick-up vehicles). To get to and from other districts, there is a public non air-conditioned bus service or even cars for rent. And for a day out on the islands, there are long-tailed boats for hire. You can use the songthaews for travel in the city. If you want to explore the area, it is better to rent a motorbike.

Amphoe Muang

Rusisawan Cave and luk Sua Cave These two caves are located on Khao Chang Road in the vicinity of Muang Phangnga municipal area near Phetchakasem Highway, slightly opposite to the Provincial Court. One can walk inside from one cave through another. The Rusi Sawan Cave is in front of Luk Sua Cave facing the edge of Phetchakasem Highway. The municipality utilizes this area as a public park for the people.

Phung Chang Cave This cave is located, in Muang Phangnga municipal area, behind the Provincial Hall before entering Phangnga Market area make a turn via a 500 meter asphalt road to Wat Praphat Prajimkhet where one can walk to the cave.

Sa Nang Manora Forest Park This, also known as Sa Nang Manora Waterfall, is located in the area of Tambon Nop Pring Amphoe Muang. To access the park one has to use Phangnga-Krabi route (Highway No. 4) for a distance of five kilometers where a turn is made at the Electricity Generating Station via a three kilometer laterite road to the fall area. The park occupies an area of 180 rai and, in general, it is a pleasant forest having various kinds of plant and wood species. The outstanding characteristic of this park is the fall originating from a stream flowing along the hillside and cascading down to the big reservoir all year round.

Ao Phangnga National Park This marine park is situated in the vicinities of Amphoe Muang, Takua Thung, and Ko Yao occupying an area of 250,000 rai and it was announced as the national park area on April 29, 1981. To access Ao Phangnga from the township area, one has to use Highway No. 4 heading southward to Tambon Khok Kloi passing the Provincial Hall and when arriving at KM.8 make a left turn for another four kilometer distance via Highway No. 4144 to Ao Phangnga National Park. At the Customs Check Point Pier one can find boating services operated by private enterprises {besides this pier, one can use the Surakul Pier or Kasom Pier in Amphoe Takua Thung). Those who travel as a big group tour should use the boating service at the Customs Pier because suitable vessels are available there. Sightseeing route will commence from the pier passing Khao Machu, Khao Khian, Ko Panyi and stops will be made at Tham Lot, Khao Tapu, Khao Phing Kan.

Ko Panyi is a small flat island of about one rai. There are about 120 households and the majority of the population earn their living from fishery, selling souvenirs and food to tourists. There is one public school named Ban Ko Panyi School, and the villagers are mostly Moslem.

Khao Phing Kan This small hill is located in the area of Amphoe Takua Thung. The origin of this name is that a rocky hill is broken apart and the smaller piece slid down with the base sunk in the earth while the upper part still abuts on another posing the present leaning hills. Behind Khao Phing Kan the scenery is very picturesque and when looking afar to the sea "Khao Tapu" is seen amidst the sea. It looks like a nail, e.g., having a big top while the bottom part touching the sea is slim.

Tham Lot This cave is located in Ao Phangnga area. Stalactites and stalagmites found in the cave are very beautiful.

Khao Machu This rocky hill has a shape similar to a dog. It is located on the way to Ko Panyi.

Tham Kaeo This cave is a home of swallows and there are beautiful reflecting rocks inside.

Khao Khian It is located on the way to Ko Panyi and there are various paintings of animal of different types. The Fine Arts Department has studied and found that the age of those paintings is not less than 3,000 years and it is believed that those paintings were made by seamen, in the ancient days, who stopped over to hide from a heavy storm.

Tham Nak The name of this cave is given in compliance with the shape of stalagmites which look like a big curled up snake.

Ko Khai There are two small islands named Ko Khai Nok and Ko Khai Nai having beautiful beaches and rocks. There are also coral reefs around the islands. For accommodations in the area of the national park, contact the National Park Division, Foresty Department, Tel: 5790529, 5794842.

Khao Hong comprises small and big hills situated in a mixed-up manner like the stage partitions of a AO PHANGNGA NATIONAL PARK theatre. Looking around on a boat when sailing in, one will feel like staying in a big hall having two doors. Tourists mostly do not visit Khao Hong because it is located outside the usual sightseeing route. To visit it properly, careful timing must betaken into consideration to match with the proper tide level because its beauty will be decreased by too high a tide while too low a tide requires smaller vessel for boating inside the area.

Ko Phanak is a beautiful island having various stalactites and stalagmites eaves with small levelled waterfalls inside.

Amphoe Thaimuang

Khao Lampi-Had Thaimuang National Park This park covers an area of 45,000 rai and was proclaimed as a national park area on April 14, 1986. Places of interest in the vicinity of this national park are:

Lampi Waterfall This fall is situated in Mu 6, Tambon Thai Muang, along the Phetchakasem Highway (Highway No. 4). Between KM. 32-33, a laterite road of 1.5 kilometers branches off on the left to the fall. Lampi Waterfall, medium sized falls, has three levels each of which is about 100 meters in height. The falls exist all year round and more people like to visit during rainy season.

Ton Phrai Waterfall At KM. 28-29, a seven kilometer laterite road branches off on the left but a foot trip is stilt needed for another kilometer to view the fall. This is a large sized waterfall with cascading water all year round and a trip to see this waterfall should be made during the dry season for travelling convenience. There are very few tourist here since it is far from the main road. However, it locates in the national park area. There always has the national park staff working there.



Thai Muang Seashore This is located in the vicinity of Thai Muang Sanitary area where a 1.5 kilometer asphalt road branches off on the right to join the beach road. for another five kilometer to reach the office of the national park. Thai Muang Beach is a 13 kilometer clean sandy beach parallel to the Highway. The water is clear, good for swimming; from November to February sea turtles will come up to the beach for laying eggs. This started a tradition of walking to observe egg laying turtles in the bright moon night. After the hatching period there is also a turtle releasing festival called "Turtle Walking Tradition"

Amphoe Takua Pa

Bang Sak Beach This beach is situated in the vicinity of Tambon Bang Muang along the Phetchakasem Highway at KM. 75-76 where a one kilometer road branches off on the right. Bang Sak Beach has clean white sand and good weather. The grilled fish here is very famous the same as at Rawai Beach of Phuket Island.

Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park Declared national park in 1989, Khao Lak-Lam Ru covers a total area of some 93,750 rai of Amphoe Thai Muang, Amphoe Ka Pong, Amphoe Ta Kua Pa, and Amphoe Muang and consists of the following attractions:

Khao Lak Taking the route No. 4 (Thai Muang-Ta Kua Pa) for 25 kilometers from Amphoe Ta Kua Pa then turning left between kilometer markers 56-57, Khao Lak Mountain with a shrine of Chao Pho Khao Lak is situated opposite to khao Lak Seashore renowned for its stony beach.

Lam Ru Waterfall A 5-tiered yearlong waterfall on Kradai Range, Lam Ru Waterfall is accessible by a branch road from the Highway No. 4090 via Amphoe Ka Pong with a 1-kilometer turn to the falls.

Amphoe Ko Yao

Ko yao covers an area of 137.6 square kilometers consisting of 2 main islands, Ko Yao noi and Ko Yao Yai, and several surrounding islets. Beautiful beaches include:

Hat Pa Sai This clean white sandy beach is located seven kilometers from the office of Amphoe Ko Yao. It is surrounded with pleasant shady-trees and swimming can be done safely. Looking out from the beach several islands of Krabi Province are seen.

Hat Tha Khao This rocky beach is located five kilometers from the office of Amphoe Ko Yao. There are colourful rocks and gravels with various designs on the beach. Not so far from the shore, there is a small island called Ko Nok where one can access by walking during the low tide time. On the island there are wild plants and orchids which are lovely to see.

Ao Tikut This bay has white clean sand and there is a picturesque rocky cape at the northern area of the bay. Pine trees line the shore making a pleasant shady area.

Ao Khlong Son This clean white sandy beach is pleasant with shady pine trees. There are small rocky cliffs and colourful rocks on the left. Swimming can be done safely here and beautiful coral reefs can be observed. During low tide one can pick up beautiful shells for collection.

Loparaet This is a shady beach surrounded with coconut groves. The long beach is covered with white powdery sand. There is a rocky cape located at the north of the bay. Swimming can be done at any time here.

Laem Hat This is a very long white powdery beach and looks pleasant with shady coconut groves, chashew nuts, and pine trees. It is conveniently accessible by road and by boat.

Ao Hin Kong This beach is pleasant with shady Khiam forest but it is not good for swimming because of a huge number of ray fingerlings.

Laem Nok Ok This cape has a beautiful beach with rocky cliffs and colourful rocks and it is the place where one can swim at all times.

Ao Sal This is a white powdery beach with beautiful rocky cliffs and swimming can be done at all times.

Ao Lan This is a beautiful sandy beach where swimming is possible but the northern part of the cape is a steep cliff with deep water under the cliff. Water transportation is more convenient than land transportation to reach there.

To get to Ko Yao, you are recommended to travel by passenger boat, chartered boat, or speed boat from Ao Po Pier, Phuket Province. The travel takes about one hour and 15 minutes. Chartered boat is also available at Ao Phangnga Pier and Leam Sak Pier Amphoe Ao Luk, Krabi Province.

Amphoe Thap Put

Tao Thong Waterfall This waterfall is in the vicinity of Tambon Bo Saen. To access the waterfall, the same route to Sa Nang Manora Park has to be used but one has to go further to Mu 3, Tambon Bo Saen where a laterite road of 11 kilometer distance branches off to the fall.



Bang Reang Temple The temple located on the mountain surrounded by dense forest. There are many budhism constructions for example, stupa, giant budha, etc.

Amphoe Takuathung

Wat Suwan Khuha This monastery is located at Mu2, Tambon Krasom. To get there one must use the Phangnga-Khok Kloi route (Highway No. 4) for a distance of seven kilometers to arrive at Mu 2 (KM. 31), Amphoe Takua Thung, a one kilometer asphalt road branches off on the right. This Wat Suwan Khuha is generally called, by the villagers, "Wat Tham" which is an interesting monastery having the most importance in Phangnga due to its being an important historical archaeological site. In the vicinity of the monastery area, there is a mountain having several big and small caves situated in both low and high locations. The important caves are: Tham Yai, Tham Chaeng, Tham Mued, and Tham Kaeo.

Tham Yai is located at the lowest level where one must pass through prior to entering other caves. The size of this cave is larger than any other caves having a width of more than 20 meters, and a length of more than 40 meters. The cave floor is flat while the ceiling has a semi-circle shape like a boat roof. There are decorations with earthenware of various colours, sizes, and designs along the entire cave length. Tham Yai is used as a Vihara enshrining various sizes of stucco Buddha images; the most important one is a very beautiful 15 meter Reclining Buddha.

Raman Waterfall This fall is situated near Wat Tham Suwan Khuha, i.e., from KM. 31, there is a seven kilometer branch road on the right leading to the fall. Raman Waterfall, medium sized falls, is surrounded by thick jungle providing water all year. There is a large sized rest pavilion but other facilities are not available there.

Tha Nun Seashore Branching Highway No. 4 through Highway No. 402 to Phuket one can see sandy beaches on both sides of Pak Phra Channel before arriving at Phuket island. There are sea turtles laying eggs on these beaches every year during the season.

Khao Pilai Seashore This locality is situated in the vicinity of Tambon Khok Kloi and it is adjacent to Tha Nun Beach. Even there are some rocky cliffs on the white sandy beach, swimming can be done.

Amphoe Kapong

Wat Narainikaram Situated at Tambon Le, some 14 kilometers from Amphoe Ka Pong, the monastery is where the sculptures of Narayana, Laksaman, and Sita, all related to the historical background of "Takola" (former name of Ta Kua Pa), are enshrined. They also attest to the spread of Indian culture to this region.

Ka Pong Hot Spring The mineral spring of 65 C is located at Tambon Tha Na, 8 kilometers from Amphoe Ka Pong.

Amphoe Kuraburi

Ban Thung Tuk Ancient Town This remains are located on the back part of Tambon Ko Kho Khao, Mu 3 area, Amphoe Khura Buri between the ends of Muang Thong Canal and Thung Tuk Canal which is the mouth of Takua Pa River area. Characteristics of the area are sand, plain, covered with trees and some spots are brushes. The reason why it is generally called, by the villagers, "Thung Tuk" is that there are at least three archaeological remains. They look similar to a building or sanctuary, on this sand plain in the brush area. Parts and components of a Bhraman religious place and religious symbols, such as stone carved into a pedestrian shape with a pit at the bottom, it looks like a base whereupon a Siva Linga or an idol is places. In addition, pieces of Chinaware, earthenware, coloured glass containers as well as various types and colours of beads, Indian coins are scatteredly found on the ground of this Thung Tuk archaeological remains. The majority of archaeological expert has resolved that Thung Tuk was a location of an ancient port town where Indians, Arabians, and Malayans were so well acquainted due to its being an important spice market situated on the west bank of the Malayan Penninsula. It is located in a suitable locality having appropriate natural circumstances to anchor in safety from big storms. Besides its perfect natural resources, it is situated nearby the deep open sea where big vessels can access conveniently, and yet located on the mouth of Takua Pa River which is also the center of water communication.

Mu Ko Similan National Park This park occupies an area of 80,000 rai and was announced as the national park area on September 1, 1982. There are two ways to access the Similan, i.e., taking a boat trip from the pier in Ban Thap Lamu, Amphoe Thai Muang, through a distance of 40 kilometers which takes about three hours or taking a boat trip from a pier in Amphoe Khura Buri through an approximate distance of 40 kilometers and it also takes about three hours. Similan, a small archipelago in the Andaman Sea comprises nine islands. It is appraised by the Skin-Diving Magazine of USA as one of the top ten islands having both surface and under water beautiful scenery. A tourist can enjoy scuba diving or angling and it is convenient to start the trip from Phuket where boat-hire service is available for tourists. The best time to make a trip for diving and angling is from late December to mid April. March is regarded as the month with best weather, free from storm, and clear water. Some attractive islands of the national park include:

Similan Island With wonderful underwater scenery and rather shallow sea level, the horseshoe-shaped island, partly encircling a small bay in the west, is suitable for skin diving to look at coral reefs and colourful fishes. In the north, large stones of different shapes and sizes are noticeable from a distance. Ko Similan is the largest island among the Similan Islands.

Ba Ngu or Hua Ka Lok Island Ko Hua Ka Lok or Skull Island is the seventh island in the Similan group. A rocky island of peculiar sharp, it looks like a skull when views from one certain point. Ko Hua Ka Lok is renowned for its breathtaking underwater beauty on a many-tired seabed.

Hu Yong Island Ko Hu Yongis well-known for its longest stretch of white sandy beach where sea turtles lay their eggs.

Miang Island With sufficient supply of fresh water, Ko Miang is the second largest island where the office and guesthouses of the Similan Marine National Park is located. The island is famous for its beautiful beaches and colourful coral reefs.

For accommodations in the area of the national park, contact http://www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/nature.asp?lg=2

Mu Ko Surin National Park This park is situated at Mu 5, Tambon Ko Phra Thong, occupying an area of 84, 375 rai. It was announced as a national park area on July 9, 1981. To access Surin National Park, the shortest distance between the park and Phangnga is to use the fish marketing pier of Ban Hin Lat around the mouth of Nang Yon Canal area (the folks there call it Thun Nang Dam Canal). The access road to the fishmarketing pier is a one kilometerearth road which branches off from Ranong-Takua Pa Highway at KM.110 (from Ranong), 5 kms. from Amphoe Khura Buri. To travel from this pier take only 4-5 hours Travelling by boat from Phangnga (township area), it will take about 13 hours. If boating from Kapur of Ranong the time will be seven hours approximately. The best time to visit Mu Ko Surin National Park is only from December to March. Attractions within the national park are:

Surin Islands The area consists of Ko Surin Nua and Ko Surin Tai with more than 10 bays among which Mae Khai or Mae Yai Bay is renowned for its serenity while Ao Luk or Deep Bay is famous for its deep dark green waters with a most beautiful coral reef in the shallows.

Seamen Sing tribe, the last seamen living a primitive life in their houseboats in Thailand, inhabit Ko Surin Tai beach. Opposite to the national park office, there is a carved wood sculpture similar to an American Indian totem. It is most revered by the seamen tribe. The tribe convene here annually for a 3-day gathering on the full moon night of the 3rd lunar month to pay respect to their totem spirits.

For accommodations in the area of the national park, contact http://www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/nature.asp?lg=2

REMARKS: The most appropriate time to go sightseeing in the Andaman Sea is from the beginning of November to mid summer around the end of April. However, prior to starting each trip information on weather status should be obtained from the Weather Forecasting Division, Department of Meteorology(Tel: 2580437-9) in advance for safety.

 


 

Eat

In Amphoe Muang, during daytime you can get cheap and delicious meals at the market. There is also a vegetarian restaurant on the main road if you walk south from the bus station. At night it is worth to try the restaurants at the riverside. Tuesdays and Thursdays there is also a night market 500m south of the bus station (on the main road. Many guidebooks recommend Duang as a good place to eat. However as a tourist you will probably pay more than Thais. And Malaysians may have to pay even more than other tourists.

 


 

Sleep

 

 


 

 

Buy

 

Khanim batik: A lady group in Amphoe Thaimuang affected by Tsunami in the past. They were trained by many Tsunami recovery organizations to create a new carreer for villagers. You can buy the quality handmade product and you can also enjoy the process of batik making. Click here for the map.