Canoeing is one fun activity esp for group. If you avail a package tour...canoeing is usually included in the package.
You will be given about an hour to explore the island. At first, someone from the tour company will join you to be familiarize with the place..then on your next canoeing activity you will be given the chance to explore the island on your own.
Maximum 3 persons per canoe.
We booked a trip to PhangNga Bay on Christmas eve. We booked through a Phuket travel agent, selecting the PhangNga package from a company call Holiday Sea Canoe. The cost of the trip per person is 1400THB. List price printed on the brochere is 2500THB/pax.
We were picked-up at 745am & transported by minibus to Ao-Poh Pier, where we boarded a boat to PhangNga Bay.
First stop is to Koh Panak, into a sea cave call the "Bat Cave". In this cave, you can see many bats hanging from the top of the cave. Kayaks are used to transport us into the caves. 2 person and 1 paddler on each kayak. No paddling required, the paddler will do all the work. Torchlights are provided as our kayak goes into the dark cave.
If you make an Excursion to the Pha Nga Bay, you will not only see James Bond Island, but also visit the swimming city of the Sea Gypsies.
Not the whole city is actually built into the water, one small part (where the mosque stands) is on a small island.
Behind the Mosque you can see a big tree. This one is only still standing because it is an Iron Tree - and the wood of them does not swim.
Most of the sea gypsies are muslim (hence the mosque).
They live of the fruits of the sea - that they do also sell and of the tourists that come visiting them.
If you arrive you will soon have a whole bulk of people around you, trying to sell you something.
Just say "no" if you don't want anything.
It is also easy to get lost in the many small alleys ... stay with the group if you have not enough time.
I highly recommend canoeing in Phang Nga Bay. This normally involves taking a large boat out into the bay (usually from the east coast of Phuket). A typically trip will normally visit 4 islands. You're transported to each island by the large boat and transfer to the canoes to explore each island. Canoeing is the only way to explore these islands properly!
Most tour companies serve lunch and snack aboard the large boat and will take you to an island where you can just lay on the beach.
We have been on Sea Canoe Tours 3 times on previous trips with various companies (which we thoroughly enjoyed) but this was our first time with John Gray Tours and there was definately that little something extra on the John Gray Starlight Tour.
The tour cost 3,250 per person and pickup was about 12.30pm. Lunch as well as a seafood dinner is included in this tour.
First thing we noticed that was different is that there is a lot of emphasis on safety, we were impressed with this.
Both meals supplied were very good, with lots of choices.
At the end of the tour the Lead Guide after thanking everyone etc didn’t ask the passengers to make sure they tip their guides well. (This has happened every time we went with other companies) Of course we did tip our guide, but it was nice not being told to.
The guides are very environment friendly, picking up any rubbish they see in the Hongs. Was surprising the amount of plastic bags they picked up.
Of course the making of Kratongs?? with our guides then going into the caves at night was very special.
Though I still don’t enjoy the extremely tight squeeze we had to get through for one of the caves, actually I hate that part, it seems to take so long, and slowly slowly you are inching forward thru what seems like a hole of a few inches then whoosh you’re propelled thru with a burst. I always say I’m not doing it if it’s like that again but I do.
There is only ever a maximum of up to 24 people on this tour, all the guides are highly trained in cave-kayaking, natural history, lifesaving, first aid/CPR and they can all swim and are trained lifeguards.
It’s a great tour with some spectacular scenery and well worth every cent. We absolutely recommend doing the John Gray Starlight Tour.
Lots More Photos
Next stop of this tour, James Bond Island, where Roger Moore filmed Man with the Golden Gun many years ago.
We are on Kao Ping Gan. The name means literally leaning mount. It is really a huge rock split in two; the smaller half slid down and the remaining one now appears to be leaning. You can see the huge split when on the island.
The pointed island behind Lifoong is Kao Tapoo or James Bond Island, it is in a little bay of Kao Ping Gan and a popular tourist destination. Tapoo means nail.
We have a short stop here, and then it's back to the boat, with lunch waiting on board.
We went on the sea canoe trip with "Phuket Siam Sea Canoe" to Phang Nga Bay. When we first arrived at the port about 8.30 a.m.. We started thinking it was a bit dodgy, however after a long tail boat took us out to the main boat, the service was excellent, food and non alcoholic drinks included, and cheap beer as well. Panak Island 1st stop, 2 people to a canoe and a Thai guide paddles you through the bat cave into a lagoon in the middle of the island, with mud skippers and a family of monkeys, just amazing. Onto Hong Island, more canoing and caves, just beautiful. Stopped at James Bond Island, what a let down, market stalls on the beach and very pushy shop keepers, worth a quick look, thats all. On the boat and lunch, very nice and ok to eat. Stopped for a swim on the way back at a beautiful secluded beach, a show on the way back to the harbour and dropped off about 5 p.m. Book this trip at any tour stall, don't book it at your hotel or resort, they will rip you off. Tour desks are everywhere in Patong, barter with them for the best price and compare, we paid about 1600 baht for the both of us I think (a bit over $53 AU), well worth it for a full day. The organisers will pick you up at your hotel and drop you back.
Update 2008, still the best trip to do, excellent..................
Go to the small shops offering tour package and bargain for the best price.
A cheaper package ranging from 650Bht-1,100Bht
will include a little bit of seacanoeing when possible and the rest of the journey is using a long tailboat.
Sea canoeing package with excursion by big faster boats with buffet lunch onboard usually goes to Phang Nga and will tour few islands.
I got my tour priced at 2900Bht per person for only 1500Bht.
Tour includes transfer from Hotel,Cruising to Phang Nga by big boat,Seacanoeing at Panak Island (where caves accessible during low tide water), Canoeing to Hong Island where u can view the Hongs (rooms), short trip to James Bond island (nothing special,a tourist trap) buffet lunch onboard before stopping by at Lawa Island to relax /swim and heading home
Overall its a good value for money trip
An experience to be remembered.
A nice day out crusing around Phang Nga Bay in a speedboat. See the amazing ecosystem around Phang Nga Bay, visit "James Bond island", and relax on the small but beautiful Khai Island. A wonderful day out.
What you will be doing
Land transfer to pier at Boat lagoon Marina
Depart to Phang Nga Bay
Arrive at Phang Nga Bay and discover the fauna and floral of this amazing landscape at Koh Panak and Koh Hong learn more about the eco-system of this bay.
Visit Tapu island and Ping-gan island for 30 minutes. (Tapu island is also called "James Bong island")
Continue to Koh Talu to explore the labyrinth of mangrove swamp and pass through Tham Lod Noi and Tham Lod Yai. (Depending on the tide level and weather conditions)
Enjoy a great lunch at Panyi Village, after lunch a guided visit to a surprising village and free time to look around.
Depart to Koh Khai Nai island
Arrive at Koh Khai Nai island for snorkeling, swimming, or simply relaxing. Soft drinks, beach chairs and umbrella are free of charge.
Time to go back.
Arrive at pier at boat Lagoon Marina and transfer back to your hotel.
Tour leader, boat trip, insurance, lunch, fruit in season, drinking water, coffee, tea, full snorkeling equipment, land transfers, national park fee.
It's not actually in Phuket province, but Phang Nga Bay is one of the most popular trips for visitors to Phuket. Understandably so, as the limestone formations in the bay just north of Phuket are quite spectacular and a definite must-see.
Most trips start in the early morning, and turn back to Phuket mid-afternoon; but since I'm not an early riser I found one that started at about midday. The tours seem to go via a pretty standard set of places; my main aim was to visit James Bond island, since all the tours seem to go there, this wasn't a problem!
Most of the tours, including mine, go out onto the bay in long-tail boats, but this wasn't a problem when I was there as the water was very calm. You do get a life-jacket! The boats aren't all that fast, or noisy - so there's plenty of time to sit back and take in the scenery.
Last stop of this tour, Naka Yai Island. Uncrowded beach with white powdery sand and clear blue water, ideal for swimming.
We tried to feed bread to fishes here, but all we got are a few shy fishes that wouldn't come near us.
We spend 1 hour on the beach, then it's back to Ao-Poh Pier and transfer by minibus back to hotel. We reached our hotel in Patong around 5pm.
I had a fantastic time in Phang Nga Bay because I splurged a bit on this tour because they had cut the price to half during this time. The tour operator picked us up from the hotel and brought us to the pier where we went on a private boat complete with our own canoe guide. Food and drinks were plenty onboard and the hour journey to Phang Nga was comfortable.
The first stop was to the infamous James Bond Island where the famous flick, "The Man with the Golden Gun" was filmed. Then, it's a fabulous lunch onboard the boat of Thai food. Then, the tour operator took us to two islands where we went on the canoe and made our way through the limestone structures. The area is predominantly mangroves, but you do get to go throught a bat cave in pitch dark. The experience was wonderful because it can get really quiet when you're in the middle of the island. After canoeing, we headed back to Phuket but before that stopped at a deserted island to catch some sun & laze around on the beach.
Phuket Sail Tours have one day and overnight tours through some of the most beautiful and uninhabited islands of Phang Nga Bay. Nothing is more relaxing than the tranquility of sailing around these magnificient islands on board the Sakai.
You will also visit beautiful islands, go swimming and explore caves.
The Sakai is a shallow draft vessel which means that she is able to enter places that larger vessels cannot and Phuket Sail Tours avoid overpopulated areas, instead concentrating on remote peaceful places to give you that extra special experience.
One of the highlights of the day is the food. Fresh seafood is bought directly from the fishermen during the trip. All of the food served is fresh, and as much as possible, prepared onboard or cooked on the beach for a relaxing picnic. You definately will not go hungry on this trip!!
You can also buy drinks on board at very reasonable prices.
There is plenty of room for up to 10 passengers and a crew of 3 for day trips.
For overnight trips, the Sakai can accommodate up to 6 passengers plus a crew of 2, with tents for sleeping ashore for another 4 passengers. There is a detailed report on our sailing tours under Things To Do Tips, Phuket Sail Tours (Part 2 and Part 3 for their Sunset Tour).
For lots more info and prices have a look at Phuket Sail Tours website or send Mark an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
More photos and info here
The best way to enjoy the beauty of Phang Nga Bay is to go sailing. We had a wonderful experience as we had chartered the SAKAI from Phuket Sail Tours. Captn. Mark and his fun loving crew made sure that we had a great time. Fresh Prawns from the fishing boats for lunch and dinner around a campfire on a secluded island. Snorkeling and swimming away from the crowds and exploring the Hongs. Learning the basics of sailing and enjoying great thai food. This trip had it all.
This was a really special trip and would recommend it. Contact Captain Mark at email@example.com
For Steve's birthday we hired a 25' speedboat for the day. We decided to re-do the islands in Phang Nga Bay which was really good, because when we did it ourselves on our boat, we had no guides to give us additional information.
We engaged Phuket Master Team Co. as they had the best boat we inspected. It included 'outside' seating as well as sheltered seating whereas a couple of others just had uncovered seating. Too much sun for a whole day.
These guys ended up being about 7,000 baht cheaper too, which was a great bonus. Our day-trip (10.00am-6.30pm) cost only 15,000 baht. We had 6 people, but there was room for many more.
Instead of the usual 'cowboy' Thai speedboat driver I was dreading, our driver Thar was an excellent boatsman. He manoevered the boat incredibly well through the hongs (caves) in Phang Nga. He let us cruise at an appropriate speed instead of banging our way through the water. I was VERY impressed with him and his mate.
These guys also run day tour excursions to Phi Phi and Khai Islands at; adults 2,800 baht and children 1,400 baht including cool drinks, fruit, lunch, National Park admission fees, transfers and snorkelling gear. I have included an itinerary on my tips for any who are interested.