If there were sea in Eden, it should have looked something like in the Bay of Phang Nga. The Phang Nga Bay is one of the most spectacular regions of Thailand, where you can find a lot of really unique attractions. It is pretty easy to see why James Bond chose this place, among the towering cliffs with the nests of swifts to arrange his lair in the famous film "The Man with the Golden Gun." Most of the Gulf, as well as part of the coast are now included in the National Park of Phang Nga. Most tourists visit it from Phuket town and tours are advertised as "a trip to James Bond Island".
The city and province of Phang Nga: General Information
The city of Phang Nga is located on the coast of the Andaman Sea and it is at 788 km from the capital city of Thailand. At the same time, it is the administrative center of the province of Phang Nga. Phang Nga is a primarily agricultural province in southern Thailand. This is a melting pot of Buddhists, who came from China, Muslims and even sea gypsies. Most of the population in rural areas is Muslim. Despite the ethnic diversity, all communities live in peace and harmony and are not sources of any religious tension. The vast territory of the province has been formed by a number of national parks, diverse and rich nature, abundant marine life. The most famous national parks of the province are : Phang Nga, Khao Lak , Mu Koh Similan.
Phang Nga Bay is one of the most attractive places in the world according to the rating of many influential publications and agencies. It is only 15 km from the town of the same name where you can order a basic tour. Of all the provinces of Thailand, located on the coast of the Andaman Sea, the islands of Phang Nga Bay are the most famous and popular. And not just because of stunning landscapes, gorgeous beaches and beautiful weather, but the fame which they acquired after the shooting of one of the most popular series in movie history, James Bond 007. In 1974, a Forest Park was formed on its territorty. After examining the area, specialists of the Royal Forestry Department came to the conclusion that there was a need for a national park here, which was established by the Royal Decree on April 29, 1981.
Phang Nga is the second largest national park in Thailand, located on the coast. The Park, an area of 400 km2 protects the largest area of mangrove forest remaining in Thailand today. More than 80% of the park is covered by the sea and 42 islands are the largest natural attraction in the region. Most of the islands are uninhabited. The height of some of them is more than 100 meters, the water eroded their base, forming tunnels and caves. Scattered small islands off the coast have strikingly picturesque views. The area is almost in the same way as hundreds of thousands of years ago when this area had not yet been mastered by man. Each island is unique, it has a beautiful shape, with caves, small beaches and evergreen trees, which can only be seen by boat or canoe.
Tourism in the region focuses on the advocates of eco-tourism,that does not need comfortable living conditions, food and entertainment. In Phang Nga Bay you will find a large number of extensive beaches, as many of the islands have rising vertical cliffs. Resting on the small but beautiful beaches, as a rule, pursues a variety of trinkets dealers trying to sell all goods. The most popular way of exploring the islands is by boat, you always get the most from a trip to Phang Nga. The best time to visit is from December to April.
Sightseeing in Phang Nga
The most popular attractions of Phang Nga are the Khao Island and the Ko Tapu Pinkan, the first gained international fame with the film "Man with the Golden Gun" with James Bond in the title role.
Koh Pannyi village is notable for the fact that the Indonesian fishermen built it on stilts in the sea. All one-story dwelling is adjacent to the south of the island. The population consists of about 300 families, they number between 1,500 and 2,000 people who descend from three families of Malay fishermen who founded Pan Bay in the late 18th century. It was in this period, the law restricted the ownership of the land for the people of Thai nationality, so this village was built entirely on water. With the increase of welfare of the community, a growing tourism industry in Thailand and the legal ability to purchase land on the shore of the island was built the first building of the mosque.
Koh Pan island is small, most of which is a huge, almost vertical cliff. Hundreds of huts, shacks, restaurants and homes in which residents live are built on stilts above the surrounding shallow sea. No one really says how much wood and concrete piles keep this extraordinary village, but it could be considered interesting and an unique achievement in engineering. From the first days of existence, fishing was the only craft of the Muslim community, but today it lost its position due to tourism. Today, half the residents are employed in the tourism sector and 40% are still fishing. The village has a school, a mosque, a clinic, many small souvenir shops and several large restaurants, all overlooking the sea, where tourists can enjoy a fresh seafood dinner. The last major construction project on the island of Koh Pan was the construction of a bungalow, offering its visitors a cheap accommodation. At lunchtime, from James Bond Island come here up to 3000 tourists. As soon as the travelers leave, restaurants and shops are closed and the island is transformed into a quiet community of fishermen.
Since Koh Pan is located in the Phang Nga National Park, construction is allowed only to residents of the community. More recently, life on the island has been very difficult without electricity, fresh water from the mainland and new technologies. Today, there is electricity, even though it is 6 times more expensive than in Phuket, Internet, fresh water. The island has only a police officer, who has virtually no work,good news for everyone. Today the village of Ban Ko was one of the main attractions of Pha Nga Bay. But despite the significant growth in tourism, life in Koh Pan still depends primarily on fishing, as tourists visit the village in large quantities only during the dry season, during the rainy season the number of visitors is limited.
Koh Hong is a group of islands at an hour's drive from the town of Krabi , within which there are many famous and beautiful caves, which are divided into many "rooms" with stalactites hanging from the ceiling. Koh Hong is translated from Thai meaning "island-room" or "island cave." Its name comes from the process of erosion of caves on the island, which was formed as a result of a large lake with a small passage to the sea. At high tide, boats and kayaks are included in the "room" where visitors can swim in crystal clear water with a depth of about one meter. The island of Ko Hong contains a large number of swifts nest which is an important ingredient to make soup, a delicacy. Soup of the nests of swifts is considered a delicacy not only in Thailand but also China, Vietnam and some other countries in Southeast Asia. The thing is, that swifts during the construction of their nests exclusively use saliva. Here you can witness an unusual scene where young people climb to great heights with bamboo sticks to collect nests of these birds, really risking life and limb. Deaths and injuries occur, so be careful! The island has only a beach, the Pelay Beach, but it is very beautiful, with fine white sand, coral and numerous species of tropical fish. The beach is framed by high cliffs Pelay, giving it a sense of privacy. In combination with the small number of guests, visitors feel as a "desert island".
Talu Nok Island is a limestone hill with a very broad and long cave, whose length is 50 pm. It serves as a tunnel, which allows it to sail by small boats. The ceiling of the cave is quite low, stalactites hanging down from a height of about 2-4 m above the sea level. Visit Khao Talu is included in most tours of Phang Nga Bay.
Panaca is located to the south-west of Koh Hong and it is known for its extensive network of caves where the depth of 50-150 m is the best to explore the cave kayaking. Panaca has beautiful scenery around the island, cliffs and beautiful stalactites are almost the same as in the caves of Koh Hong.
By Romanelli Ana
The Best Places to Visit in Thailand .
Others from The Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Thailand has a rich and colorful culture and many exotic monuments and stunning beaches, which attract millions of visitors each year, from all people with a minimum budget to those who can afford to indulge in luxury. The country is often called the "land of smiles", because here there are more people smiling than in any other part of the world. Only in Thailand you can take a cruise on a converted rice barge, you can scream upstream in a boat or bamboo raft, you can go into a dizzying journey and you can stay in jungle tree houses or homes of villagers floating on the river. Equally memorable are the trails leading deep into the rainforest past cooling waterfalls and beautiful endless white sand caressing the translucent sea.
Do not miss the dynamic city of Bangkok, with its futuristic buildings juxtaposed against the glittering Grand Palace. Early morning, monks dressed in robes leave the sanctuary of temples to receive alms from the people or in a dusty village or on crowded city streets. Here Buddhism is a way of life and, with the respect people have for the monarchy, a dynasty that has maintained an independent country for centuries, resulting in a blend of tradition and contemporary living. His Majesty King Bhumibol is the longest reigning monarch in the world, having come in 1946. With the end of absolute monarchy, Thailand moved towards democracy, but this was thwarted by the military, who staged coups in protest at government policies. The latest blow came in September 2006 when a bloody revolt overthrew the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and replaced him with an interim prime. Thailand has surpassed the economic collapse of 1997, SARS, avian flu and the devastating tsunami in December 2004 to become a popular destination for tourists, with its many natural beauties and rich cultural heritage. Thailand is a tropical country, so it's warm all year round, but the best time for tourists is from November to March during the dry season.
The main attractions
• Wonder at the beautiful architecture in Bangkok Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo, a temple complex which houses a statue of the Emerald Buddha. Further up the river are the royal barges. They are richly decorated and are only used for special processions on the Chao Phraya River.
• Do not miss Wat Pho, Bangkok's largest temple and the place where Buddha is Down. The statue is huge - 46m long and 15m high.
• Discover Vmanmek, a lovely palace with 18 rooms, the former royal summer residence, rebuilt in Bangkok in 1900. Let yourself be excited by the former house of silk merchant, American Jim Thompson.
• Travel north to Chiang Mai, the second largest city of Thailand and a center for excursions to temples in the region, hill tribes and the Golden Triangle. Climb its 300 steps to the temple of Doi Suthep to have wonderful views of the city.
• Visit Kanchanaburi, a place about the horrors of the Second World War and Allied forces forced to build the Death Railway and the Bridge over the River Kwai. From the town you can go on trips to explore the waterfalls and the jungle region. You could spend a night on a floating house.
• Take a trip back in time and visit Ayutthaya, the former Thai capital. Wander among the ruins of palaces on foot,by bike, or even on the back of an elephant.
• A visit to Ayutthaya is not complete without a trip to Sukhothai, an ancient capital of the Thai. Beyond the city walls there are ruins of ancient temples and a few ancient engravings.
• Visit the north-eastern Thai, less known, especially Phimai, one of the most important Khmer historical sites in Thailand, dating from the eleventh century. The complicated structure resembles that of Angkor Wat.
• Thailand is not about just beaches and temples. Venture Khao Sok National Park exploring the southern Thai. Here the rainforest covers the limestone cliffs crossed by streams and waterfalls. Experience the lifestyle of a tree house or a house on the water, made of bamboo.
• Make a day trip from Bangkok by train over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, on the bridge that was built by Allied prisoners, led by the Japanese during the Second World War.
• Admire the skills of kite fighters. Your opponents kites male Chula and female high Pakpao in a battle of the sexes. Do not miss playing takraw, which involves handling a cane ball from one player to another, which are disposed in a circle, using in acrobatic feet, knees, thighs and chest. The goal is to keep the ball in the air and place it in a suspended basket.
• Take in a Thai kick-boxing match. This traditional sport can be seen every day in stadiums across the country. Boxing matches are preceded by elaborate ceremonies and accompanied by music.
• Get rid of all worries through meditation. Thailand has dozens of temples and meditation centers specializing in vipassana . You can attend one lesson or you can follow a whole.
• Meet more closely with northern Thai, especially remote provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son, hiking, riding elephants and rafting on the river.
• Join the crowd that goes to Suri, where elephants assembly occur in November. There are demonstrations of techniques and re-training scene of episodes in history.
• Enjoy thousands of kilometers from the Thai coast on the sand or under water. Try kayaking, canoeing in the limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay and explore the grottoes and caves that are half under water.
• Learn traditional massage and the healing properties of herbal medicine at ancient Wat Pho.
• Try Thai cooking at one of the many cookery schools. Learn how to blend herbs and spices for the unique flavors of Thai food. In some schools students encouraged to buy food in the market themselves.
• Take a boat trip through Bangkok's Floating Market or network of channels of the river, lined with dwellings opening directly to water. Life has hardly changed over the centuries to those who live on canals. • Dive with the Sharks at Siam Ocean World aquarium in Bangkok and experience to tell the tale.
• Take tea in the afternoon at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, one of the most famous hotels in the world. The former residence of Somerset Maughan and Joseph Conrad, today is attended by kings, princes and celebrities.
Thai cuisine is famous for the way that balances the five fundamental flavors in all meals and dishes - spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter (optional). Thai cuisine which includes specific four main regions of the country - North, Northeast (Isan), Central and South America. The cuisine of each region is influenced by neighboring countries of that region. Thai dishes include plenty of fresh, not dried herbs, spices and fish sauce. Nam pla is a fish sauce, flavored, which is found in almost all dishes. It is widely used and shrimp paste. Thais are accustomed to eat so much rice at every meal even. Most of them consider sandwiches not a meal but a snack. Also, locals do not really sit at table, because, especially children and teens eat when hungry. If you do meet a Thai, you may be wondering "gin khao yung" every time you meet, meaning " did you eat ?" or better said "have you eaten rice?". If you visit Thailand and stay at a local family take care not too eat too much, your body will get fat.
Thailand existed as several small states since 1000. Influenced more by India, Burma and Khmer people, the region was quickly engulfed in Buddhism. By 1350 the kingdom of Siam was created. At a distance of more than two centuries the Portuguese arrived, along with other Europeans, dealing with trade or were missionaries. Siam avoided European colonization but was forced to cede control of more distant areas (portions of Malay, Laos and Cambodia) France and Great Britain. Occupied by the Japanese in 1941, Siam declared war on the United States and Great Britain, while secretly monarchy suppressed resistance movements against the Japanese. During the Vietnam War Thailand was significant especially for the U.S. Army. Attracting investors and tourists, Thailand developed until 1996, when the military government triggered a decline in the economy.
The royal family is highly esteemed in Thailand, which must be respected by visitors. Locals are concerned with the public manifestations of anger as a fact and creates a very humiliating public image. It also discourages emotional manifestations gender and touching a person's head or your foot to straighten, it is a lack of good manners. Take care of your shoes before entering someone's house or a temple.
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