Travel Thailand Phang Nga Province.
           Phang Nga is the forest islands city because are more than 160 islands scattered in its bay that make the real magnificent topography both on land and in the sea.
          Focusing on the distance.Phang Nga lies 788 kilometres far from Bangkok Its land and sea area include 4,170 sqare kilometers with 8 amphoes Muang Phang Nga, Khura Buri, Thap Put, Kapong, Takua Thung, Takua Pa, Thai Mueang and Ko Yao Island.
          The northern area of Phang Nga is close to Ranong province, and connected to Phuket at the southern end by Sarasin and Thao Thepkrasattri Bridge. The eastern side is next to Suratthani province as the Andaman Sea of the Indian Ocean lies along the western coast.
           Phang Nga’s climate is a real tropical temperature level. The summer is from Januar-April and the rainy season is from May-December.
          The slogan of the province is the ten-thousand mill on value of mines, house among the water, magniticent cave, exotic cliff, magnolia tree, fertile land of naturalresources.
Getting to know Phang Nga
          Just an hour from Phuket, the area around Phang Nga Bay is extremely scenic, with high limestone cliffs, spectacularly eroded rock for-mations, tower like islands deep marine caves and predominantly Muslim fishing villages. The turquoise waters are studded with hundreds of sheer karst outcrops, some of which are inhabited by Muslim fisher folk living in precarious stilt villages.
              Just over 95 km from Phuket, the area around the Sea of Phuket has startlingly beautiful sheer lime­stone cliffs ringing the bay, whilst unlikely karst towers carved by the millennia into extraordinary shapes rise sheer from the azure waters.
           Along the road north from Phuket towards Phang Nga are scat­tered tiny villages inhabited by local fisher folk and farmers. Further inland, amongst the massed ranks of coconut palms, the characteristic, up-turned eaves of temple roofs may be distinguished, as can the narrow minarets of local mosques -for this is southern Thailand, where Muslims share a long tradition  of friendly coexistence with the region's Buddhist majority The road north from Phuket winds through rich coconut

 








 

groves and past a number of rustic kilns used for firing bricks and pottery At various points tanta­lising views of clear seas and white sand can be glimpsed through the trees. The beaches around Khok Kloi and Thai Muang are rarely busy, and on weekdays are all but deserted Tamarisk and palm trees shade stretches of pristine sand while in a few places thatched umbrellas have been built for tables and chairs. There are even a few small bunga­lows and a number of small seafood restaurants and cafes. Prices are reasonable and food invariably fresh.
             Natural and undisturbed the coast may be, this is fishing country, and unlikely ever to become a major tourist resort like Phuket or nearby Krabi. The local people aren't too concerned by this, however. Calm, industrious, and stubbornly tradition­al in their outlook many look with disfavour on the prospect of discos and beer bars, topless bathing and other manifestations of commercial tourism. For the present, these vil­lages remain off the beaten track, quietly prosperous, and definitively tranquil.
              At Khok Koi, the road divides, the coastal route heading north through Thai Muang to Takua Pa, the road east leading to sleepy Phang Nga, These districts of Phang Nga province are of little interest in them­selves but are departure points for other destinations.
               From Khuraburi, you can reach the remote Surin and Similan lslands, or from Takua Pa you can head east to Khao Sok National Park and Surat Thani.
               ln the district of Thai Muang may be found Hat Thai Muang National Park where sea turtles come to lay eggs between November and February. Thap Lamu, about 25 kilo-metres north of Thai Muang, has a pier with boats to the Similan lslands. Next, comes the little visited beach of Hat Bang Sak, comprising a long, sandy beached fringed with casuarina trees. lt's mainly a desti­nation for local Thais out for a pic­nic or drinks and seafood at one of the little open-air places that line the shore. The gently curving beach offers good views of the coast.
              About fifteen kilometres to the north is the historic town of Takua Pa. There's not a lot to see there now, but the town has a long histo­ry dating back almost two thousand years when the area was first settled by traders from southern lndia who may have been Tamils. They brought with them sophisticated sculpting techniques, as well as South lndian script. Seemingly great traders, they laid the foundations of lndic culture in the region A particularly fine 9th  century statue of Vishnu found near Takua Pa and now housed in the Phuket National Museum is attributed to this culture. Until around a hun­dred years ago the area was an important tin mining region, but today Takua Pa is a quiet and unremarkable place with little evidence of its former greatness.
                Returning to Khok Kloi, the road east leads directly to Phang Nga town, which is a quiet place domi­nated by foliage covered limestone cliffs. There's not a lot to the town except as a gateway to Phang Nga Bay and perhaps as a place to stay overnight when visiting the islands, Unless you happen to be here dur­ing the annual Vegetarian Festival, which falls each October, there are no real attractions. The town has a high population of ethnic Chinese, as is apparent from the shop signs and from the Sanchao Mae Chinese Temple on Phetkasem Road. There are restaurants and places to stay overnight, but nothing exceptional.  

       










 

Mu Ko Similan National Park (Phang Nga)
            The white thin clouds scattering around make the sky look as if it were harmoniously painted by an artist, The sea is so clear that we could see the sandy bottom.
        Long time ago, the shoreline around Mu Ko Similan (Similan group of islands) was submerged and strikingly eroded by the sea to form some strange geography of a steep cliff and no big bay. The rocks at Mu Ko Similan are mainly granite at the age of 65 million years. Due to its remote location fiom the coast, both terrestrial and aquatic ecology of Mu Ko Similan are still in perfect condition, As of the rich and beauty of their underwater, Mu Ko Similan used to be honoured as one of the world's top ten attractions of underwater coral reefs by the Skin Diving Magazine, USA.
         Mu Ko Similan was proclaimed as the marine national park in 1982 embracing land and sea around the island group. It is situated at Khuraburi District, Phang-nga Province  covering 140 square kilometres. The area of island group, 15 square kilometres, is also included. It consits of both big and small islands, that is, Ko Huyong, Ko Payang, Ko Payan, Ko Miang, Ko Ha, Ko Puyu, Ko Pusa, Ko Similan, Ko Ba-ngu, Ko Bon, and Ko Tachai including two emerged rockpiles of Hin San Chalam and Hin Ko Ha. The most suitable season for tourism is the end of December to mid-April. March seems to have the best climate because of no monsoon.
 
       "Similan" in Yawi or Malayan language means nine. Mu Ko Similan consists of nine islands in the Andaman Sea stretching from south to north. Ko Nueng is located at the southernmost and Ko Kao is located at the northernmost, respectively. Ko Similan represents the biggest area of five kilometres while the smallest island is Ko Chet or Ko Pusa.
         Since the geology of Mu Ko Similan is the submerged shoreline, therefore it has no mangrove. The common flora involve lowland forest. The lowland forest is divided into two categories, that is, beach forest and evergreen forest. Beach Forest is generally scattered near the sea. The plants grow loosely and the main species are, for example, Hu Kwang (Terminalia catappa), Chik Thale (Barringttonia asiatica), Lamut Pa (Manilkara sp.), Toei Thale (Pandanus odoratissimus),Po Thale (Hibiscus tiliaceus), Nguang Chang Thale (Tournefortia argentia). and Prong Thale (Cycas rumphii). Particularly, Lamut Pa is a rare plant. It is mostly found on big islands along the west coast. However, it can be found at the front of the National Park's lodge at Ko Si, Additionally, Nguang Chang Thale which is another rare plant can be noticed around the beaches.
          Another kind of forest at Mu Ko Similan is evergreen forest. It is mixed with deciduous and evergreen plants. The examples of plants found are Yang Pai (Dipterocarpus  costatus),Takhian Sai (Hopea avellanea), Mao(Eugenia grandis), Po I Keng (Pterocymbium malayanum), Thung Fa (Alstonia macrophylla), and Tao Rang (Caryota urens) which is seen in the lowland near the beach forest. Furthermore, Wai Kamphuan (Calamus longisetus),Phlu Chik Siao (Monstera deliciosa), Khruea (Tetrastigma sp.), Mueai (Gnetum cuspidatum), and Liphao Pa (Lygodium sp.) can also be noticed.
          The animal survey in 1992 notified that the amount of birds were not less than 39 species. It comprised Resident, e,g., brahminy kite and white-breasted waterhen; Winter Visitor, e.g,, pinital snipe and grey wagtail; and Resident but partly migrated, e,g., barn swallow, Pacific reef-egret, and watercock. The birds normally found in the National Park are nicobar pigeon (a rare bird), Pacific reef-egret, pied imperial pigeon, white-bellied sea-eagle, and collared kingfisher. 
         There are only 27 species of mammals such as bat, squirrel, rat, and bush-tailed porcupine, Common reptiles of 22 species are, for example, chameleon, Siamese hawksbill turtle, leathery turtle, Indian monitor, water monitor, reticulated python, banded krait, green pit viper, and Pope's pit viper, More four species of amphibians arc ornate froglet, common Asian toad, grass frog, and four-lined tree frog, Moreover, another interesting animal is land crab which is easily observed around Hat Lek at Ko Si or Ko Miang.
        The most interesting activity is scuba diving. Due to the beauty of the underwater world, the stunning scuba diving sites are the followings: Hin San Chalam exhibits the advantage of some big fishes, especially the silvertip shark and leopard shark. There are also some sea anemones and anemone crabs around the rockpiles. The Stonehenge is the huge rockpiles overlapping, The ray and bowmouth guitarfish are usually found here, The Bird Rock is a submerged rockpile of approximately 20 metres deep. The common aquatic lives here are the fish of the Carangidae family, bird ray, and moray. Hin Muan Diao exhibits some beautiful collections of corals and sea fans. Suan PlaLai holds wide sand area inhabited by hundreds of eels, The Deep Six is an enormous steep rock, It consists of soft corals and sea fans hanging along the cliff. Ruean Kluai Mai is a submerged rockpile, The outstanding features are colourful soft corals and several caves, The lionfish and large ray are usually found here. Ko Chet is a scuba diving site, There are a great number of soft corals  along the rock cliff. Diverse fishes may be found, The Beacon Reef represents a rock cliff with soft corals and vast fishes swimming around, The Fantasy Reef includes the submerged rockpiles where every kind of aquatic lives can be noticed. The black ribbon eel, fire goby, and large fishes are reported to be found at Christmas Point. The leopard shark is usually observed around Ko Bon. There are also several schools of large fishes at Kong Hin Dan Nok, Ko Tachai. It can be concluded that the Similan Sea is a true paradise of the underwater world.
Making a trip
Bycar: From Bangkok, take Highway 35 around 80 kilometres. Then turn left to Highway 4 and turn left to Mueang Chumphon District, Tourists can then use two routes as follows:
1. From Pathomphon Intersection, take Highway 41. Then turn right to Highway 401 around 40 kilometres. Turn left at Ban Phakkuan Nuea Junction to Highway 415 about 30 kilometres until reaching the junction and then turn right to Phang-nga City. Take Highway 4 to Lam Kaen Sub-district until arriving at the junction. Then turn right around 10 kilometres to Thap La Mu Pier.
2. From Pathomphon Intersection, turn right to Ranong until reaching Khok Kloi Sub-district, Then turn left to Takua Thung District leading to Phang-nga City and then use the same route as route no, 1.
By bus: Both regular and air-conditioned buses are avail­able to Phang-nga, Then catch alocal bus to Thap La Mu Pier. For more information, contact Tel. 0-2435-1200.
By train: Bangkok -Surat Thani train no.35, 37, and 171 depart every day. Then catch alocal bus to Thap La Mu Pier, For more information, contact Tel.0-2223-7010.
By plane: 1. From Phuket, two kinds of boats are available, i.e., public and rental boats. The public boat departs from Patong Beach, Phuket to Ko Paet. Tourists can get a rentalboat at Ao Chalong Pier or other piers.
2. From ThapLa Mu Pier, Phang-nga, the public boat departs every day except Wednesday and Saturday, The National Park's boat departs irregularly every week. For more information, contact TeL. 0-7641-1914,
Accommodation
         The maximum tourists of 300 people are limited to stay overnight at Mu Ko Similan. To make a reseva­tion, contact the Marine National Park Division, Royal Forest Department, Tel, 0-2561-2918-21 Or contact the office of Mu Ko Similan National Park, Phang-nga, TeL. 0-7641-1914.

     













  

Mu Ko Surin National Park (Phang Nga)
           The golden sunlight gradually dawning from the horizon glitteringly reflects into an expanse of water. The singing birds harmonized with the movement sound of leaves gently wake the visitors up to experience such stunning beauty of the natural surroundings. 
        Mu Ko Surin is approximately 839 kilometres away from Bangkok. It takes about eight hours drive to the National Park Pier at Khuraburi District, Phang-nga.
        Mu Ko Surin is situated in the Andaman Sea stretching just eight kilometres from the Thai-Myanmar boundary. Mu Ko Surin National Park represents both land and sea areas of approximately 135 and 102 square kilometres, respectively, It consists of five islands, that is, Ko Surin Nuea, Ko Surin Tai, Ko Ri (Ko Storke), Ko Klang (Ko Pachumba), and Ko Khai (Ko Torinla). Furthermore, there are two emerged rockpiles, Hin Phae and Hin Kong. Setting nearly 14 kilometres fiom Mu Ko Surin, there is a group of rocks called Richelio which is accounted to be a remarkable scuba diving site. The Royal Forest Department declared Mu Ko Surin to be a nationalpark on July 9, 1981 It was ranked as the 29th national park of Thailand.
       Geographically, Mu Ko Surin comprises numerous small and big beaches. The sea is more than 50 metres deep around the island group.The abundant jungles on the island group help prevent some soil erosion and sediments from flowing down to the sea, Hence, the sea surroundings are extremely transparent. The underwater sight may reach as far as 20 metres. The perfect season for travelling is December to May.
         Mu Ko Surin involves evergreen forest, beach forest, and mangrove forest, Evergreen forest exhibits numerous kinds of costly wood such as Yang Yung (Dipterocarpus  grandiflorus), Takhian Thong (Hopea odorata), Krabak (Anisoptera costata), Hua Ka (Pterygota alata), Samrong (Sterculia foetida),Po I Keng (Pterocymbium malayanum), Chik Khao (Bapringtonia sp.), and Wai (Calamus sp.), Beach forest found around the lodges and beaches possesses some plants of Hu Kwang (Terminalia catappa), Man Thale (Cordia subcofata), Lam Chiak (Pandanus odoratissimus), Po Thale (Hibiscus tiliaceus), Tin Pet Thale (Cerbera odllam), and Phakbung Thale (lpomoea pes-caprae), etc. Mangrove forest around Hat Mai Ngam, Ko Surin Nuea comprises Kong Kang Bai Lek (Rhizophora apiculata),Phangka Hua Sum Dok Daeng (Bruguiera conjugata), Tabun (Xylocarpus sp,) and Ngueak Pla Mo Thale (Acanthus spp.)                    
         Due to a rich abundance of the forest, it is therefore the habitats for several birds and wild animals. Particularly, it includes more than 80 species of birds such as edible-nest swiftlet, common sandpiper, hill myna, pied imperial pigeon, greater racket-tailed drongo, nicobar pigeon (a rare bird), Pacific reef-egret, common tern, and brahminy kite. Furthermore, there exist more species of animals, for example,Malayan flying lemut, pigtailed macaque, large-billed crow, squirrel, lesser mouse deer, Indian monitor, Indian python, common flying fox, and shrew bat.
        Besides the amazing beauty of the underwater world and landscape, another interesting place at Mu Ko Surin National Park is the Moken community which settles at Ao Bon Lek of Ko Surin Tai and near the aquatic life conservation area at Ao Sai En, Moken is one of the Sea Gypsies in the Andaman Sea. The Moken migrated from small islands in Myanmar such as Ko Yai Lam, Ko Yan Chueak, and Ko Tung. Nowadays, the Moken starts to settle at one place. In non-monsoon season, the Sea Gypsies live in a boat which serves as a house. They have no written language and most of them speak Yawi and some Thai, The Sea Gypsies have their own unique lifestyle and tradition.
   
      The main activities at this National park are the nature trail at Hat Mai Ngam, snorkelling, and scuba diving.
         The nature trail is about two kilometres long, It takes more than one hour to survey. The trip starts from the Headquarters to Hat Tawan Tok Din, Getting into the jungle, there are many information stations on the way as follows: Station No, 1: Ao Chong Khat, Station No. 2: Ton Krang (Ficus altissima), Station No. 3: Submerged Coastline, Station No. 4: Beach Forest, Station No. 5: Ton Krathing (Calophyllum inophyllum), Station No. 6: Wai (Palmae Family), Station No. 7: Mangrove Forest, Station No. 8: Sai (Ficus sp), Station No. 9: Kapho (Licuala sp,), and Station No. 10: Fen (Platycerium sp.), Passing the last bush, crystal clear water and white sandy beach are waiting for us here, Hat Mai Ngam. 
         The charming of Mu Ko Surin's underwater world is the diversity of corals and aquatic animals. Kong Hin Richelio, which is the emerged rock mountain placing 14 kilometres away from Mu Ko Surin, is one of the best example. It serves as a food source of various aquatic lives, The whale shark, barracuda, cuttle fish, colourful soft coral, sea squirt, cleaner shrimp, and sea whip are commonly found here. The crystal clear water helps support Mu Ko Surin to be the most stunning snorkelling site of Thailand.
        The sea always comprises magic and charm no matter when the sun is gradually rising from the horizon or the sun is strongly shining over the beach and expanse of water. Sometimes it seems that being in the embrace of nature is merely enough.
Making a trip
By car: From Bangkok, take Highway 35 around 80 kilometres until reaching 3-way junction. Then turn left to Highway 4 until arriving at Pathomphon Intersection, Chumphon, Tourists can then use two routes as follows:
1. From Pathomphon Intersection, take Highway 41 to Phunphin Intersection. Then turn right to Highway 401 until reaching Ban Phakkuan Nuea 3-way Junction. Turn left to Highway 415 until reaching the 3-way junction to Thap Put District. Then turn right to Highway 4 about 10 kilometres. Turn left to Highway 415 around 30 kilometres until reaching the 3-way junction. Then turn right to Phang-nga City, From Khura Buri District, take Highway 4 and turn left at Kilometre 720 to Khura Buri Pier. Tourists can catch a boat here to Ko Surin Nuea.
2. From Pathomphon Intersection, turn right to Ranong. Turn left to Phang-nga City at Khok Kloi Sub-district and then use the same route as route no. 1.
By bus: Both regular and air-conditioned buses to Phang-nga are available. For more information, contact the Southern Bus Terminal, Tel.0-2435-1200.
By plane: For more information, contact the Thai Airways International, Tel. 0-2628-2000.
Accommodation
               Tourists should reserve the lodges in advance during holidays. For more information, contact the Marine National Park Division, Royal Forest Department, TeL. 0-2561-2918-21. Or contact Mu Ko Surin National Park, Khura Buri District, Phang-nga 82150, Tel, 0-7649­-1378, 0-7641-9028.

 













 

Ao Phang-nga National Park (Phang Nga)
            The daybreak twilight at sunrise over the water expanse extending towards the edge of the sky combining with the limestone mountains in the morning mist fascinatively creates attractive scenery for the visitors. The natural beauty created seems to be the valuable sculptures that would last forever with the pleasant atmosphere here, Ao Phang-nga.
          About 136 million years ago, there were some faults at the Tanaosi Range and Phuket Range bordering between Thailand and Myanmar. The rock structure then transformed to originate some valuable minerals, for example, tin, lead, wolfiam, and gold. Furthermore, the sediment rock mountains alternated with limestone mountains were formed around Phang-nga, Krabi, Trang, and Satun. These mountains were eroded to be some spectacular caves, cliffs, and narrows by the elapsed time. 
         Due to the exquisite beauty and rich abundance of the nature, the Royal Forest Department proposed Tham Lot, Ko Panyi, and Khao Phing Kan to be the forest park named Si Phang-nga Forest Park in 1974 and then turned to be the national park in 1981. It covers nearly 400 square kilometres including about 42 small and big islands, such as Ko Khao Tao, Ko Phra At Thao, Ko Maphrao, Ko Boi Noi, Ko Boi Yai, Ko Raya Ring, Ko Phanak, Ko Hong, Ko Panyi, Khao Phing Kan, and so forth. The north is bordered to the mangrove area in Mueang Phang-nga District, The south is adjacent to the sea area in Ko Yao District, Phang-nga and the sea area in Phuket. The east is touched by the sea area in Krabi. And the west is adjoined to the mangrove area in Takua Thung District and Mueang Phang-nga District, Phang-nga.
         There remain some prehistoric paintings around Khao Khian, Ko Panyi, Khao Raya, and Tham Nak including the archaeological evidences, for example, the earthenware at Khao Phang and the ancient axe at Ko Phra At Thao. More than forty black and red coloured paintings illustrating man, fish, shrimp, langur, bird, elephant,boat, and fishering devices were found in 1987, The paintings were supposed to be more than 1,000 years of age and were painted for sacred purpose. The archaeologists consequently assumed that there were humans inhabiting around Ao Phang-nga more than 11,000  years ago in the late Ice Age since these islands used to be the mountains  containing some caves, cliffs, and hollows before.
          After the Ice Age, the past sea level was higher than the current sea level about 1.5-4.5 metres, The limestone mountains were eroded by the  seawater generating numerous jagged features. About 1,500 years later, the sea level was gone down to the present sea level. The astonishing scenery around Ao Phang-nga therefore had been accumulated for thousand years to exhibit such amazing beauty. Additionally, Khao Tapu was a scene in the well-known movie, James Bond: The Man with the Golden Gun. It accordingly atlracted the tourists from all over the world.
       The climate at Ao Phang-nga National Park is warm, humid, and heavy rainfall almost all year round. The most suitable season for travelling is November to April since the weather is pleasant. However, tourists can visit the National Park all year round.
        Ao Phang-nga, moreover, contains the fertile forests resulting from mild current and moderate wind that help settling the sediments to form a wide mud beach. Ao Phang-nga is claimed to be the largest mangrove forest in Thailand comprising Kong Kang Bai Yai (Rhizophora mucronata), Kong Kang Bai Lek (Rhizophora apiculata), Thua Khao (Bruguiera cylindrica), Phangka Hua Sum (Bruguiera conjugata), Prasak Daeng (Bruguiera sexangula), Tabun Khao (Xylocarpus granatum), Lamphu (Sonneratia caseclaris), Lamphaen (Sonneratia alba), Samae Khao (Avicennia alba), Chak (Nypa fruticans),Ngueak Pla Mo (Acanthus  ebracteatus), and so on. Along the coastline, there remains some absolute marine ecology such as mangrove forest, coral reefs, and sea weed's sources, Due to the supreme quantity of plankton, it then serves as the habitats for diverse kinds of aquatic animals, for instance, giant tiger prawn, green tiger prawn, giant seaperch, grouper, and pomfret.
        On the plain or in the valley, there exists some soil accumulation which turns to be the moist evergreen forest. The plants found are Takhian Sai (Hopea avellanea), Pradu (Pterocarpus macrocarpus), Toei Ho (Pandanus nuicornutus), Tao Rang (Caryota urens), Wai(Calamus sp.), Thao Phan Ling (Bauhinia concreta), and some orchids. On the limestone mountain, common plants are Chan Pha (Dracaena sp.),Salat Dai (Euphorbia lacei),Toei Khao (Pandanus dubius), Prong Khao (Cycas pectinata), Nat Hin (Boea elegans), and Cha Nat Khao (Dichiloboea speciosa). 
         In 1991, the Royal Forest Department discovered 17 species of animals at Ao Phang-nga. The endangered species were serow and common white-handed gibbon once inhabited around Khao Pho Ta, Khao Phang, and Khao Khian. They are now assumed to be extinct from this area. The other animals observed are smooth-coated otter, spectacled langur, crab-eating macaque, and serveral kinds of bats especially at Ko Phanak which are claimed to be the threatened species. Besides there are 18 species of reptiles, for example, water monitor, Indian monitor, and common saltwater snake. Three species of amphibians are sea frog, four-lined tree frog, and grass frog.
          The birds found around Ao Phang-nga National Park are 88 species consisting of 67 and 21 species of the Resident and Winter Visitor, respectively, The examples of birds are Pacific reef-egret, white-bellied sea-eagle, collared kingfisher, oriental pied hornbill, and edible-nest swiftlet. 
          The remarkable activity at this Park is canoeing along mangrove forest or the lagoon. The popular programs are canoeing at Ko Phanak and Ko Hong. The motor boat departs around 9:00 am from Ao Po, Phuket heading to Ko Phanak. The canoes are then dropped down to the water. Each canoe contains one leader, which also acts as a paddler, and two tourists. The leader would lead tourists to experience the challenging atmosphere along limestone mountain, cave, and lagoon.
         The coastline of Phang-nga represents the diverse and abundant ecology along with the fascinating limestone mountains. It consequently serves as a marvellous eco-tourism of Thailand. Additionally, it is a resourceful learning site awaiting tourists to experience the great history, culture, and lifestyle.
Making a trip
By car: From Bangkok, take Highway 4 to Phang-nga. Otherwise take the route Bangkok -Chumphon -Surat Thani. Before reaching the city of Surat Thani, take Highway 401 toBanTa Khun District about 50 kilometres and then turn left to Phang-nga City by Highway 4. Take Highway 4144 to the National Park.
By bus: There are the first and second class air-condi­tioned buses and normal buses, For more information contact Tel. 0-2434-5557.
By train: The Sprinter, rapid, and express trains Bangkok ­Surat Thani are available. For more information, contact the State Railway of Thailand, Tel. 0-2223-7010.
By plane: For more information, contact the Thai Airways International, T el. 0-2628-2000 .
By boat: The service boats from the different piers are AS follows:
      -Custom Duty Check Point Pier is near the Phang-nga Bay Resort, It provides various sizes of boats including a big boat for a large group.
      -Surakun Pier or Kasom Pier is placed in Takua Thung District. Tourists can rent a long-tail boat for six people.
     -The pier is located at Ao Phang-nga National Park. Tourists can rent a long-tail boat for eight people.
        It generally takes about three hours to visit Ao Phang-nga National Park. It can then be arranged as a half-day trip.
Accommodation
       Ao Phang-nga National Park provides the lodges for tourists, For more information, contact the Royal Forest Department, Tel. 0-2561-2918-21 Or contact Ao Phang-nga National Park, Mueang District, Phang-nga 82000, Tel, 0-7 641-2188.

     

















 

Exploring Phang Nga Town
           
Phang Nga Bay is not the only attraction in Phang Nga; it also has numerous attractions scattered in its districts.
Amphoe Muang Phang Nga
             The old Phang Nga City Hall was built in A.D 1930 during the reign of King Rama Vll. lt is a one-story building of the Panya style At present, it houses some government offices.
                 Khao Chang (Elephant Mountain) Look from the old city hall to the right side, you would see a large mountain shaped like a prostrating elephant. Local people call it Khao Chang. lt is respected as a symbol of the province. Here is a cave called Tham Pung Chang or ele­phant abdomen cave enshrining a Buddha image.
            Tham Ruesi Sawan and Tham Luk Sua are found in the Somdet Phra Sri Nakarin Park on Petchkasem Road. There is a throughway between these two caves, but the entrance is at Tham Ruesi in the front. The weather in both caves is pleasantly cool with clear stream stalagmites and stalac­tites. ln front of the cave on the side of Petchkasem Road is a park founded by the municipality for people to relax.
                 Khao Ngum is opposite the entrance of Tham Pung Chang and has beautiful stalagmites and stalac­tites. On one side of the cave, fos­sil shells in great numbers were found embedded in its wall.
                Tham Sum is a small old cave. ln front of it lays a natural large pond. lnside, there are ancient co­loured paintings of 200-250 years old. The figures of these paintings are birds, Chinese monk, shadow puppet and Buddha image carved on stone at the mouth of the cave.
               Sra Nang Manora,The stream is a small waterfall or Sra Nang Manora Waterfall. lt is on the route of Phang Nga-Krabi. When reaching kilometre marker 3, then turn right and go further for 3 kilometres. lts general condition is a shady green forest with various kinds of plants. lt has a nature trail of 2 kilometres long going through Tham Pla, Tham Pluck Hoi with shell fossils of thou­sands of years old and Tham Kang Kao or bats' cave, as there are many bats living inside it.
                The Wild Animal Breeding Centre is where animals are bred and raised for research lt is also open to the public like a zoo. lt has a cool and pleasant atmosphere.
Amphoe Kuraburi
                Sri Phang Nga National Park covers the area of Kuraburi and Ta Kua Pa districts. This is a meeting ground of a number of beautiful waterfalls, but one has to trek to reach each of them. On the trekking route, one would be entertained with plants wild animals and birds of var­ious kinds. Those falls are Tam Nang, Ton Toei and Tone Tone Sai Falls. There is a 2 kilometre trail which one maybe able to see rare hornbills of various varieties; Helmeted Hornbill and Black Hornbill as well as rare plants like Rafflesia kerrii and Sapria himalayana.
Amphoe Ta Kua Pa
                Bangsak-Khao Lak seashore is a stretch of beach of ten kilometres running parallel with Petch-kasem Road. There are many beaches lying separately, but all can be reached on foot. The beaches pro­vide a calm atmosphere. There is accommodation available on Bang Sak, Nang Thong and Khao Lak Beaches.
              Khao Laik-Lam Ru National Park has spectacular beaches and water-­falls. The park office is located on Khao Lak Beach. There is another office at Tone Chong Fa Waterfall. This is a large-sized falls with 7 tiers surrounded by tropical evergreen forest; wild animals and rare birds are also found here. There is a walk­ing trail from the park office to Hat Lek The trail is on the cliff close to the sea. There is a viewpoint that visitors can get a glimpse of the long and stretching beaches. At Hat Lek, one can enjoy snorkelling among the coral reefs.
Amphoe Kapong
             There are enshrined images of the Gods Narai, Lakshaman and Lady sita. These stone-carved fig­ures are related to the history of Takola (the old name of Takua Pa) and the access and spread of lndian culture in this region.
               Kapong Hot Springs are situated 8 kilometres from town. The water has sneaked through layers of stone in the valley and the district has cre­ated a well to let water accumulate. The temperature of this hot springs is about 65 Celsius.
               Lam Ru Waterfall is a waterfall in the area of Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park. The waterfall is of medium height with 5 tiers of falling water flowing throughout the year.
Amphoe Thai Muang
               Khao Lam Pi-Hat Thai Muang National Pak is another park offering views of the sea and beautiful water­falls. Thai Muang Beach and Khao Lam Pi range is an evergreen forest with many kinds of wild animals. There are 2 large waterfalls in the area.
               Lam Pi Waterfall is on the side of Petchkasem Road (kilometre mark­er 4). lt originates from the Lam Pi range. lt is a medium size waterfall with 4 layers and is active all year round.
               Tone Prai Waterfall is a waterfall that originates from Doi Tone Yai Sai. It is a large-sized waterfall with water flowing throughout the year. The trip to the Tone Prai Waterfall can be done in the dry season since it is easier for trekking.
              Thai Muang Beach is in front of the'national park office. lt has clean white sand running parallel for 13 kilometres side by side with Highway No. 4. The seawater is clear and swimming can be enjoyed here; however, the beach is rather steep. Sea turtles come to lay eggs on the beach during November -February. This creates an activity to watch tur­tle laying eggs on the full moon night. However, at present the beach is overdeveloped. Hence, this has discouraged turtles to continue doing so. Chulaporn Underwater Conservation Centre is located in the Royal Thai Navy Division Region 3 It exhibits the marine ecological sys­tem, marine life and how to be a good ecotourist. 
               The Turtle Nursery is also locat­ed in the Royal Thai Navy Division. During January -March, baby turtles may be released to the sea.
Amphoe Takua Thung
              Wat Suwan Kuha is locally known as "Wat Tham". lt is an inter­esting and important temple of Phang Nga Province since it is an important archaeological and histori­cal site. On the Iocation of the tem­ple, there is a mountain with many caves of various sizes, some impor­tant ones are Tham Yai, Tham Chaeng, Tham Mue and Tham Kaeo, which is a large cave located on the lowest level. This cave is a passage to the others, its floor is flat, its ceil­ing is semi-circular like a boat's roof. Its length is decorated with terracot­ta, bowls, Lai kram and Benjarong pottery ware.
              Raman Waterfall is located close to Wat Tham Suwan Kuha. lt is a medium-sized waterfall with 8 layers surrounded by fertile forest with water flowing all year round.
             Than Noon Seashore -When dri­ving on the highway from Phang Nga to Phuket, one would pass a narrow strait sandwiched by beach­es on both sides ln the past many turtles came to lay eggs here, but at present this does not occur like on other beaches.
               Khao Pi Lai Beach is adjacent to Thai Noon Beach On the beach lay some big stones, The beach has white sand but it is steep. Swimmers can enjoy themselves here. However, it is more for driving for leisure along this 20-kilometre highway passing through a number of beaches and some forests on them.

 
       



 

Festivals
Sea Turtles Conservation Fair
          This fair is scheduled annually 1-7 March at Thai Muang Beach in front of Khao Lam Pi-Hat Thai Muang National Park. The beach still accommodates the largest number of turtles laying its eggs. The fair is celebrated for 7 days. The salient features of the fair are releasing many bred and natural birth baby tur­tles into the sea. This is done to conserve and increase the population of sea turtles There is an exhibition, sales of products and cultural performances.
Goddess Ma Cho Po Shrine Procession Fair
         Goddess Ma Cho Po is highly revered by the residents of Phang Nga ln March, the image of the Goddess would be mounted on a palanquin and be carried in a procession around the city. Mediums of various deities would par­ticipate in the procession, too. The city residents would set up altars in front of their houses. Celebrations would be organized for 7 nights with local enter­tainment performed throughout.
Sea Gypsies Boat Floating Tradition Fair
          This is a tradition of the Morgan Sea Gypsies on Ko Surin. The tradition is observed in the 5th lunar month or late April. The sea gypsies would stop from fishing to celebrate the occasion. They would make boats and put some offer­ing and some hair and nails before releasing into the sea. The Morgan Sea Gypsies from Myanmar also attend this event.

       




 

Suggested route:
By Car
 
              There are 2 routes to reach Phang Nga and Phuket The first one starts from Bangkok using Thonburi-Pakthor via Phetchaburi Prachuap Khiri- Khan Chumphon, Kraburi dis­trict, Muang district, Kaper district of Ranong then Kuraburi district, Takua Pa district, Muang district, Ta Kua Thung district, Ban Kokkloi in Phang Nga covering a distance of 788 kilo-metres. lf one’s journey passes Thepkrasatri Bridge or Salasin Bridge then the distance is 862 kilometres.
           The second route is following the first one until Chumphon province, then take Highway No. 41 to Punpin district in Surat Thani and continue with Highway No.401 until reaching Ban Takhun Then turn to Highway No. 415 at Phang Guan Nua village, follow this route until reaching Kokloi This route has fewer curves and turns compared to the first one.
Buy Bus
          The government enterprise Transportation Company Limited operates daily buses between Bangkok-Phuket  and Bangkok-Phang Nga The buses leave from the Southern Bus Terminal on Borom Ratchoni Road (Pinklao Nakhon Chaisri) Kilometer No. 3. The buses are of VIP Air-conditioned Standard 1 and standard 2 and Non Air-conditioned ones. For VIP and Air-conditioned Standard 1 Tel: 0-2435-1200, 0­-2435-1199. For ordinary non air-conditioned and Air-conditioned Standard 2 buses Tel: 0-­2435-1195.
Private Joint Bus Companies
For Phang Nga ,contact Phuket Central Tour Company Tel 0-2435-5019 and Lignite Tour Company Tel : 0-2435-5016.
By Train

        There are no direct lines to these  province; however if one wants to travel part­ly by train to Phang Nga and Phuket then go from Bangkok to Surat Thani station (Punpin district) and continue by bus or by taxi . For more detailed information, please contact the Travel Services Section State Railway of Thailand Tel: 0-2223-7010, 0-2223­-7020.
By Plane
There are no direct line to these province.If one wants to travel party by Plane to Phang Nga,then go from Bangkok to Phuket and continue to Phang Nga by bus. Thai Airways (Public) Company Limited has many flights between Bangkok and Phuket and 2 daily flights . Phuket Air has one flight each between Bangkok-Phuket on Friday-Monday Tel. 0-2679-8395-6.
Means of Transportation within the Province
          If going to other districts of  Phang Nga, take a bus at the bus terminal. There are also songtaew from Phang Nga Maket to some tourist attractions.
Traveling to the Islands
Similan Islands
          There is a daily boat service leaving from Thablamu Pier in Thai Muang Drstrict, Phang Nga to Ko Si This boat is available after the monsoon season from 16 of November -15 of May and normally takes about 4 hours to the world famous Similan lslands. As well groups are also possible to rent a boat to the islands. From there, going out for snorkelling, diving or visiting other islands, that one has to rent a small boat from a welfare shop on the island Besides this, tourists also having a chance to buy a package tour to the Similan lslands at Thablamu Pier. There are both return trips within one day and overnight tours. Starting from Phuket, there are boats from Patong Pier every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday at 8.00 a.m. The journey takes about
4 hours Tourists can contact tour agents in Phuket for more information. Besides this, there are some other tour companies selltng packages for the Similan lslands.
Surin Islands
          At Kuraburi Pier in Phang Nga province there is the National Park Tourist Services Centre. There is a daily boat to North Surin lsland after the monsoon season. This is start­ing around 16 November -15 May taking 4 hours, where tourists can also rent a boat from here. 
          From Ranong tourists can rent boats at Kaper district Pier lt takes 7 hours. Tourists can contact Chansom Thara Hotel for this pur­pose. The hotel operates a boat from Chan Damri Beach to Surin lslands.
Phang Nga Bay
          Tourists have to rent a boat from various piers in Ao Phang Nga National Park Contact the park restaurant or Customs Department Pier and Surakun Pier at Takua Thung district. These 3 piers have both large and small boats for rent .