Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga is breathtakingly beautiful at any time of the day but our favourite experience is to cruise this bay as sunset approaches. Head northeast from Phuket and it’s a short trip in a power boat across the bay. Here you will experience the photo opportunity of a lifetime.
The whole area of 400 square kilometres, including 42 islands, was named a national park in 1981; twenty years later it became an area ‘international ecological significance’. The bay was geologically formed by faulting of the rock formations some 10,000 years ago. At this time, the area was above sea level. With the subsequent ingress of sea water the limestone formations became cliff structures called karsts.
The surrounding rock faces and the islands that resulted, rose sheer from the waterline producing stark vistas of stunningly varied structures. Rock pillars, bridges and caves in profusion are silhouetted against the bay’s shimmering blue surface and as the sun sets the scene, gradually darkens into shadows without substance, the moon rises and the silence of the night prevails. Add a comfortable boat, a seafood banquet and plentiful supplies of champagne, and you will have an experience, the memory of which will stay with you for a lifetime.
If you are anchoring overnight and rise at dawn, the bay is often softly clothed in a morning mist which lends a magical element to the seascape, until the sun rises fiery red and another day has begun. It is not just the divine, breathtaking beauty of the bay which makes it special. The relatively shallow waters are rich in plankton and sea grasses which support an exotic cast of marine species such as puffer fish, hammerhead shark, angel fish, dolphin, porpoise and manta rays, many of which come here to spawn. Include crustaceans and there are more than 80 of nature’s sea treasures to be found here.
The rain forests and mangrove swamps which border the bay also teem with wildlife – myriad species of birds (some unique to the area); the margins are home to at least 30 amphibious fauna. This is an awesome microcosm of tropical wildlife which has no match anywhere on earth.
Archeologists come here to marvel at cliff paintings on Khao Kianis which are said to be more than 3,000 years old. Many of the other islands and their caves are worthy of closer inspection.First is the famous, some would say now notorious, Tapu Island which was the location for the filming of the James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. Inevitably, a steady traffic of tourists followed. On your own charter boat you can get arrive after the speed boats leave and still enjoy this very special place.
Panyee island is home to a village – their houses built on stilts over the water. They still use traditional shallow water fishing techniques, which do not damage the environment.
Khao Phing Kan has a unique formation which forms the perfect back ground for a solitary, top heavy pillar called Khao Tapu. Ancient legend has it that the bay was created when this ‘nail’ was thrown into the waters by a frustrated fisherman; well, it makes a good story. Tham Lot is a huge flooded cave and small boats can actually sail through the marvel of the stalactite formations to an inland lake.
Panak island, nearby, also has a water-created grotto and a small stream cascading down the wall. Beautiful. Sailing towards Hong Island you enter a narrow passage framed on either side by tall cliffs; a stark, pressing illustration of the seismic powers which created this marine palace. If you’re minded to explore the area up close then kayaking through the caves can be rewarding and not too strenuous. We at DaVinci will be happy to provide you with all additional equipment as required.