Phang Nga is a province in southern Thailand with much mountainous beauty and water based beauty. The range of natural activities to do here is wide and diverse. A primarily tourist destination, it is incredibly seasonal, with May to October making the province almost a ghost town, as monsoons rage through and make even locals hide indoors, waiting for high season. November through April is a completely different story, as tourists come from all over the world to come enjoy the beach and mountain beauty of Phang Nga province.
The region incorporates many national parks, including Similan National Park and Khao Lak National Park. It’s also home to quite a few festivals, including the Watermelon Festival, the Turtle Festival, the Vegetarian Festival and of course, Songkran, the Water Festival, the biggest of them all.
Phuket used to be an island, until a highway originating in Phang Nga province was built to connect Phuket to the mainland.
Phang Nga was one of the regions most heavily affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, where thousands lost their lives and homes. Many of the industries, including tourism, are still in recovery today. In select places that are not frequented by tourists, the devastating effects of the tsunami can still be seen.
Phang Nga province was first inhabited by a small group of people at the riverbank, in a district now known as Kraphu Nga. At the time, the district was under the reign of King Rama II when the Burmese troops invaded the south of Thailand. The Thai Army, which was based in Bangkok, did not arrive in time, and the towns of Takua Pa, Takua Thung and Thalang (modern day Phuket) fell to the Burmese. The town was eventually reclaimed by the Thai Army, and Phang Nga became its own province in 1933.
The Khura Buri District, particularly Koh Phra Thong is known as “smuggler’s paradise” as this is a key entry point for refugees who are smuggled into Thailand.
Ranong is known for being one of the wettest provinces in Thailand with a rainy season of over eight months. Its main industries are white clay mining, fishing, rubber, and cashew nuts. It is one of the most sparsely populated provinces in Thailand.
Often the jump off point for travelers heading to the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, Surat Thani is not a whole lot more than a traveler’s hub. There’s a train station as well as a bus station in town, making it an easy place to transit to and from. Surat Thani is also the province where Ang Thong National Park resides, home to some gorgeous scenery and an archipelago of islands.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in SE Asia, Phuket is world renowned for its nightlife, beautiful scenery and beach activities. A family friendly destination as well as a destination for backpackers and couples, Phuket is one of the most Westernized places in Thailand, with all of the amenities you could possibly ever want but at a fraction of the price and with Thai spirit.
Krabi is another popular beach destination in the south of Thailand. One of the most popular and beloved rock climbers’ haven lies in Tonsai, and Krabi is also the kickoff point for Koh Phi Phi, the island that is featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Beach.
Phang Nga has many hotel options for all kinds of travelers. Check out our top choices below.
A simple, stylish and unpretentious Thai style beach resort. Family managed and localled staffed, this resort is intimate at only 19 acres of land filled with tropical trees, a natural saltwater lagoon and direct, easy access to the Bangsak beach promenade. The natural environment is perfect for relaxing in.
A classic Thai resort makes you feel right at home in these lush and beautiful surroundings. This ideal romantic hideaway is located on Nang Thong Beach, and is a 4 star small boutique resort in Khaolak in Phang Nga district. This location is only 5 minutes to the beach and a 10 minute walk to Khaolak Center where there are plenty of restaurants and shops. It’s a more low-key version of Phuket, with plenty of resources and beauty for nature lovers.
Chongfah Khao Lak Resort is small boutique resort situated alongside the Andaman sea in Khao Lak. A haven of peace and tranquillity, this charming Khao Lak resort is surrounded by nature and features 30 rooms, including 16 deluxe rooms , 6 quaint deluxe bungalows and 8 seaview bungalows just a few steps from the enticing crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea. The Resort has a restaurant, and a swimming pool with a great view of the seaside.
The closest airport to Phang Nga is
You can also fly into Krabi International Airport and take transport to Phang Nga which will take you about 2 hours.
Buses from Bangkok to Phang Nga are available daily, departing in the morning and evening. Travel time will takes around 12 hours.
Some of the buses have air conditioning, and some of the cheaper ones don’t. Some companies offer bus and ferry combinations, and these are often a good way to go. However, don’t expect the ferry to wait for you if the bus is late. Express buses cost about 500 THB and VIP buses with aircon cost about 900 THB. There are occasional bathroom breaks and they usually hand out a bottle of water. You’ll store your luggage under the bus, so make sure to bring a small bag where you can keep your valuables and things you’ll need throughout your journey.
There is no direct train to Phang Nga. The State Railways of Thailand operates daily train services between Bangkok and Surat Thani. Visitors can get to Phang Nga by getting off at the Surat Thani Railway Station and then transferring to a bus for another two-hour trip. Unless it’s necessary that you travel by train, buses are much faster and more efficient.
Train tickets are available 60 days before the date of departure and usually have 3 classes. The trains from Bangkok to Surat Thani are usually night buses, where you can get a sleeper and be able to lay down.
Getting around Phang Nga is quite easy during the high season, when options are readily available. A songtaew, or modified truck bed to get around. Remember to ask for the cost of the fare before getting on.
You can also hire a driver for the day and depending on the type of transportation, the cost will vary. A motorbike driver will go for about 300 THB a day if you’re good at haggling, whereas a car taxi can usually be hired for about 2000 THB a day.
Made famous by the 1974 movie; The Man with the Golden Gun, Khao Phing Kan has since been affectionately called “The James Bond Island”. Thais like to name their physical structures based on what they look like, so Koh Tapu translates to “Spike Island.” Koh Tapu is the name of the giant vertical rock island that’s in the middle of the bay. Since it’s the site that made this place famous, this is what tourists tend to want to see. Show up early to avoid the crowds.
Opening hours: 08:00 to 17:00, daily
Entrance fee: none, but there is a 300 THB for adults and 100 THB entry fee for Phang Nga Bay itself.
This 125 sq km national park is a gorgeous collection of cliffs, hills, beaches and dome shaped mountains made of granite. Tin was once a main industry in this region. There is much variation in the flora and fauna available here, making it a prime spot for botanists and those interested in nature. There are waterfalls, hikes, and swimming activities within the park.
Opening hours: 6:00 to 18:00, daily
Entrance fee: 200 THB for adults and 100 THB for children
A typical Thai market with all the usual food, inexpensive clothing, vegetables, random knick knacks, electronics (beware, they don’t always work, try out everything before you buy it). Although open everyday, the best days to visit are Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, as those are the primary days for most vendors. Bring plenty of cash, and be ready to haggle!
Opening hours: 10:00 to 22:00, daily but best on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Entrance fee: none, but bring plenty of cash to spend at the market!