Phang Nga Bay is a magnificent bay located in southern Thailand. It is fames for its striking limestone cliffs and unique rock formations. The bay is home to several small islands, including the famous James Bond Island. Exploring this intriguing area is best done via a private speedboat tour, where you will get the opportunity to visit the islands and see various caves and lagoons found within them at your own pace.
The bay is also home to several sea gypsy villages, where you can take the opportunity to learn about the local culture and way of life. Kayaking is an increasingly popular activity in the area, as are caving and swimming; more about these activities later on in this guide.
The scenery around Phang Nga Bay is truly impressive, and is a must-see destination for anyone who is visiting or living in Phuket. The area is also known for its wildlife and marine life, including monkeys, macaques and rare species of birds.
Overall, Phang Nga Bay is a unique and a one-of-a-kind day trip destination that offers visitors the chance to explore stunning natural landscapes, learn about the local culture, and participate in a range of outdoor activities.
Top Instagram Spots
Phang Nga Bay is a popular spot for Instagramable shots; some of the top places to get snap happy at include:
- James Bond Island: This iconic small island with a unique limestone tower is one of the most photographed spots in Phang Nga Bay. Find out why later on in this guide.
- Koh Panyee: This island is home to a Muslim fishing village and is built on stilts, offering a unique and picturesque setting for photos.
- Hong Island: This area is very well known for its beautiful lagoons and turquoise waters, making it a popular photo hotspot, with no filter needed.
- Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay: This is a great way of exploring the bay and its islands, offering numerous opportunities to take in the natural beauty of the area and capture unique photos.
- The Caves: The bay is home to many caves and lagoons that can only be accessed by boat or sea canoe. These unique limestone formations offer a great backdrop for your Instagram pictures, and we talk more about a number of them later on in this guide.
- Mangrove Forests: The bay’s mangrove forests offer a different type of scenery, with twisted roots and dense foliage providing an interesting contrast to the limestone cliffs and islands.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat. . .
Sea canoeing is a fascinating way to explore the Phang Nga Bay area and they provide a popular option to explore the bay’s limestone cliffs, caves, and lagoons. Be guided or take yourself through small tunnels and into caverns and lagoons that larger boats cannot reach, finding hidden gems and plenty of fantastic photo opportunities.
Phang Nga Bay’s landscape is regarded as among the most beautiful in Thailand, with towering limestone cliffs providing a stunning experience as you glide in the water past these renowned formations.
Crew onboard your 5 Star Marine private speedboat are able to organize this experience for you, and will also be on hand to brief you on the seascape and how to enter tunnels and caves at certain times. Note that access is dictated by tides and water levels at certain areas.
Ultimate Caving Spots
We can carve out a bespoke itinerary with you to ensure you get the best out of your day to the Phang Nga Bay area. This means we can beat the crowds and come up with a flexible day plan to suit you, so if you wish to explore caves, you have come to the right place! You have the opportunity to discover secret caves and lagoons, and immerse yourself in the natural and hidden beauty of this area.
Canoe through turquoise waters, into secret tunnels and intriguing lagoons that lead up to spectacular caverns. Phang Nga Bay has various caves that are popular for exploration. Some of the most popular include:
- Tham Lod Cave is a big limestone cave with a tight entrance that leads to a wide chamber filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. It’s also home to a colony of bats.
- Koh Panak Cave is located on Koh Panak Island, this cave has numerous big chambers with remarkable rock formations and clear pools of water.
- Panak Island Caves also include Oyster Cave, Diamond Cave, and Mangrove Cave which may all be explored at different times.
- Hong Cave can be found on Hong Island. This cave is famous for its magnificent rock formations and crystal-clear water. It also serves as a haven for a significant number of bats.
- Tham Phra Nang Nai is located on the island of Koh Tapu and is a cave with a vast chamber with a beautiful rock formation that resembles a reclining Buddha.
- Tham Khao Mao Khao can be found on the island of Khao Phing Kan. This cave has a big chamber with spectacular formations and a small lake.
Please keep in mind that these caves are not always accessible due to changes in tide and weather, and access to some of them is limited for certain periods. Our knowledgeable staff can help you pick the best sites to get your caving fix.
The Famous Island
Located in Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island is an exciting area to explore. This limestone island is part of the Ao Phang Nga National Park and was featured in the film “The Man with the Golden Gun” in 1974; starring Christopher Lee and Roger Moore, where the island was the hideout location for Scaramanga.
The James Bond Island Tour that 5 Star Marine provides remains a highly enjoyed trip as a result of the popularity of the film. During this private tour, the experienced crew will take you out to the famous Koh Tapu (James Bond Island) so that you can take in the sights of Phang Nga Bay’s most iconic location.
This is actually a marine protected area, therefore boats cannot go too close. However, nearby Koh Ping Ghan is an island with a huge leaning rock and several caves to explore, and serves as a great vantage point for taking pictures of the renowned site. As a result of the film, this attraction has helped to support the surrounding inhabitants, stalls and restaurants.
Bioluminescence: A Natural Wonder
The capacity of some creatures to emit light is known as bioluminescence, and it may be found in numerous forms in the Phang Nga Bay area. One of the most noteworthy instances is the bioluminescent plankton present in the bay’s waters. These tiny organisms emit a bright blue-green light when disturbed, producing a captivating appearance in the water. The phenomenon is caused by chemical reactions within the plankton, which produce light as a by-product.
Bioluminescent plankton can be found in the Phang Nga Bay area all year round, but the very best time to see them is during the rainy season, which runs from around May to November. This time of year produces conditions which are favorable for their growth. The best time to see the bioluminescence is at night, when the water is calm, and the light from the plankton is more visible. If you want to experience these natural phenomena, you may opt for a multi-day tour with 5 Star Marine to the area with a bespoke itinerary to include this.
It’s important to note that bioluminescence is a fragile ecosystem, and human activities can impact the population of these organisms, therefore visitors are encouraged to be mindful of their impact and to follow responsible tourism guidelines to help ensure the preservation of the bioluminescence in the bay.
Floating Island Football
Koh Panyee is a small island located in Phang Nga Bay which is best known for its floating Muslim fishing village. Built on stilts directly over the water, this fascinating village is home to those who primarily make their living through fishing.
This floating island may only be reached by boat, and makes for a unique stop during your day out in Phang Nga Bay. Once on Koh Panyee, you can explore the village which features traditional wooden houses, a school, a stilt-mounted mosque, several modest souvenir stores and a few restaurants with views of the Andaman Sea.
A highlight of this small island is their floating football field, which is located in the middle of the village and is built on a raft made of bamboo. The field sits directly on the water and it is used by local children to play football as well as other sports. This provides a great place to take photos and understand the community’s passion for sport and their resourcefulness.
There are a few restaurants on Koh Panyee Island where you can try local seafood and other traditional Thai dishes. Some restaurants on the Island include:
- Koh Panyee Village Restaurant: This restaurant is located on the north tip of the village and offers a wide range of traditional Thai dishes with a good seafood selection. Although the Thai food is quite reasonable, expect to pay a little more for your seafood choices here.
- New Fern Restaurant: There is a walking exit into the floating village from this restaurant, so you can explore easily after your lunch. They serve the usual fare, sometimes with a buffet option, plus you can find vegetarian options here too.
- Andaman Seafood: Serving fresh seafood with pleasant service, this is a popular lunch spot. Prices area a little higher here, as is the case with most tourist frequented restaurants.
Panyee Muteara restaurant: This restaurant has a nice atmosphere and helpful service. Food reviews can be mixed, but mostly guests enjoy the traditional food and the scenic location with ocean views.
Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Highlights
Although no two itineraries are the same, we like to give you an idea and some inspiration for what your special day out on the water might look like. We work with you to come up with the perfect itinerary that works for you and your guests, plus avoids the masses; but just to give you an idea of possible places to visit during your day out in Phang Nga Bay, here is a sample day guide:
- Stop by Panak Island to float along gently inside one of the hidden caves surrounded by mangroves, before enjoying the peaceful golden bay all to yourselves.
- Move onto Ko Kudu Yai to take in the exquisite beauty of the clear turquoise water in this stunning lagoon.
- At lunchtime why not make your way to the small island community of Koh Panyee; where huts, houses, and restaurants are built on stilts over the water? Here you can enjoy some traditional food as well as helping to support the local community.
- Then get your Bond Instagram pose ready as you make your way to James Bond Island, which is viewed from Koh Ping Ghan.
- Continue on your private tour around Phang Nga Bay with some sea canoeing or cave exploring before making your way back to base.
- Alternatively, make a final sunset stop at Koh Pear, a small strip of an island which looks and feels like you are walking on water – the perfect end to your memorable day.
To book, or find out any further information on discovering Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island or any of our other island destinations, please contact us directly and we will be more than happy to assist you:
Hello Phi Phi!
The Phi Phi Islands are a collection of six small islands off the coast of Thailand, located in the Andaman Sea. Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh are the two main islands in this particular group. The larger of the two, Phi Phi Don, is a vast archipelago off the coast of Phuket which attracts visitors to its pristine beaches and the variety of activities and dining options available.
Located in the south, Koh Phi Phi Leh is the island which was made famous by “The Beach.” Maya Bay is a small, sheltered bay with clear blue waters, white sandy beaches and towering limestone cliffs making it a popular day trip destination in Phi Phi.
Bamboo Island, Mosquito Island, Yung Island, and Palong Island are the other four islands that make up the remainder of the Phi Phi Islands group.
Maya Bay Complete Guide:
- The Bay – This famous bay, situated on Phi Phi Ley, is perhaps the best-known destination in the whole archipelago. The 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Beach” used it extensively, which was a major contributing factor to the area’s fame during the years which followed.
- Top Tip – So, when is really best to visit Maya Bay? At 5 Star Marine, we have experienced captains and crew who know how to miss the crowds. When planning a private tour to the Phi Phi islands area, we suggest that in order to have a quieter experience, you should visit Maya Bay either early in the morning (between 7am – 9:30am) or later in the afternoon (around 3pm – 4:30pm).
- Rehabilitation Efforts – Maya Bay remains one of the most iconic areas you should visit on your Phi Phi Island private day tour; and right now, the beach is open to visit and walk on. For purposes of natural rehabilitation, Maya Bay will close for certain months during the year. However, fear not – this does not mean you cannot enjoy Maya Bay as you can still take in the beauty of the Bay from a short distance away on board your private boat, yet you simply cannot walk on the actual beach during the rehabilitation times.
- Respectful Tourism – 5 Star Marine are committed to ensuring that guest can enjoy the beauty of Maya Bay, whilst practicing responsible tourism, to help keep the area protected and allow it to continue regenerating. The Marine Park have worked tirelessly to get Maya Bay back up to its previous paradise condition; so, all private Phi Phi day trips adhere to the new rules and help demonstrate respectful tourism.
- Getting There – A floating pontoon is situated on the opposite side of the island, so our Phi Phi private day tours take guests to Phi Phi Leh to the pier at Loh Samah Bay. Here you will be greeted by a National Park ticket booth before you make your way to a wooden boardwalk and nature path which connects Loh Samah to Maya Bay.
- *Please note that the May Bay National Park will in future (updated January 2023) require all visitors to pay fees online prior to entering; 5 Star Marine can assist with this process or any questions guests might have once it is implemented.
Phi Phi’s Ultimate Snorkelling Spots:
A trip to these islands would not be complete without a spot of snorkeling; after all this area is renowned for being home of excellent underwater opportunities. The clear, warm waters house a wide variety of marine life, including impressive coral reefs, colorful tropical fish plus other marine animals.
You are spoilt for choice with so many snorkelling spots around the islands to select from; including shallow coral gardens and deeper areas with more diverse marine life. Some of the most popular snorkeling areas around the Phi Phi Islands include:
- Yong Kasem Bay, which is also referred to as “Monkey Bay” and is not only home to these long-tailed macaques, but the soft sands and coral reefs here can only be reached by boat, making it a perfect stop on your custom Phi Phi day trip.
- Nui Beach can be found on the west coast of Koh Phi Phi Don and is a truly beautiful little cove enclosed by steep karsts to the south of Loh Lana Bay. There is excellent snorkelling to explore on both sides of Nui Bay.
- Bamboo Island is a charming island with bright, shallow waters suitable for both snorkelling and swimming. This small island is located a short boat ride from the larger Phi Phi Islands and is known for its stunning soft sand beaches and clear waters. Take the opportunity to try to see the abundance of tropical fish here or perhaps even the sea turtles.
- Leam Tong Bay is a picturesque bay located on the island of Phi Phi Don and is acclaimed for its clear, turquoise waters and pristine white sandy beach, as well as its excellent snorkelling opportunities. The bay has several spots to select from and discover the beauty of the marine and coral life just underneath the surface of the clear waters.
- Viking Cave is a prominent attraction found on Phi Phi Although the bay and cave are well-known for their scenery, much more can be found underwater with some excellent and noteworthy snorkelling. This cave was named for the ancient, Viking-like murals inside which are thought to have been drawn by sea gipsies or pirates who sheltered here from storms.
- Loh Samah Bay is known for its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life, making it another great spot for snorkelling. Some of the species you could be lucky enough to discover include parrotfish, angelfish and clownfish as well as a variety of corals and other marine life.
Phi Phi’s Quietest Beaches:
It is worth noting that many of the beaches on Phi Phi can get busy during peak season, so if you are looking for a truly quiet and secluded spot, you may want to consider visiting one of the smaller, less well-known beaches on the island. Our crew are there to assist you with local knowledge on where is best to go and when in order to miss the crowds. Here is a small selection of secluded, picturesque beaches you could expect to experience on your Phi Phi private luxury day trip:
Ao Nui or Nui Beach is a visually stunning and secluded small cove beach is known for its crystal-clear sparkling waters and soft, white sand. It is an ideal spot for relaxing and sunbathing and is surrounded by lush vegetation, adding to its natural beauty. Located south of Lana Bay, on the west coast of Phi Phi Don, you will find only limited facilities. Therefore, this is a good spot for an arranged beach picnic whilst on your private Phi Phi boat tour.
Moo Dee Bay is located on the south eastern end of the island, providing a secluded and peaceful beach that is perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun. It is surrounded to the south by coconut groves and to the north by a lush jungle making it feel even more remote.
Laem Tong Beach is only accessible by boat, and located on the north-eastern side of Koh Phi Phi. This access makes it an ideal site for a tranquil beach visit, where if timed right you could enjoy virtually complete privacy here.
Phak Nam Bay, which is often referred to simply as Relax Bay, is located on the east coast of Phi Phi Don Island, just south of Loh Bagao. This beach provides visitors with an off-the-beaten-path felling, and is nestled between the sparkling ocean and the complementary shades of the jungle folliage.
With so many stunning, soft white sandy beaches to pick from, our crew will be happy to help you decide based on your criteria for the day. No two day trips are the same, so we work with you to establish the perfect itinerary to make the most of your day out.
We count ourselves lucky to have so many beachfront restaurants, providing a unique and tropical opportunity to dine view of the ocean, sand in your toes and breeze in your hair. Enjoying a holiday vibe lunch with a view of the beach and the ocean can be a genuinely spectacular experience.
Dine on local seafood and other Thai and western foods, often inspired by what is in season and providing you the opportunity to experience something new and different. We round up just a few beachfront restaurants to inspire you with idyllic and unique dining experiences that combine local food, a tropical environment and a laid-back beach ambiance:
- Malee Seafood Restaurant, Koh Phi Phi Don
This local, low-key beach restaurant serves fresh and tasty Thai dishes with notably friendly service. Prices are reasonable, and the menu is varied; offering choices from Thai salads to authentic curries, all enjoyed directly on the beach.
- Takada Restaurant, Zeavola Resort & Spa, Koh Phi Phi Don
Located at the northern tip of the island, Takada beachside restaurant and bar offers 5 Star Mediterranean food which you can enjoy with a calming sea wind and your toes in the soft sand. Light lunches are available, including lamb, steak, salmon, seabass, and local seafood specialties, in an upscale setting.
- Chilli and Pepper, Phi Phi Don
Ok, so this one isn’t quite beachfront but more treehouse on stilts nestled into the cliff at the end of the beach! This is a small, hidden gem with a picture-perfect sea view. Food is freshly made to order, authentic and good value with decent portion sizes at this family-run, off-beaten-track unusual restaurant.
- Hippies Bar, Koh Phi Phi Don
Fun bar with quality local food right on Tongsai beach. Portion sizes are generous and a selection of Thai and Asian favorites are served. Here you will be surrounded by a friendly, laid-back atmosphere, good service, and decent drinks to top it all off.
- Tonsai Seafood, Koh Phi Phi Don
A renowned name in the restaurant lists of Phi Phi; Tong said Seafood has a fantastic beachfront location. A popular spot with seafood lovers due to the generous portions of local seafood and Thai dishes which come with uninterrupted sea views.
- Jasmin Restaurant, Koh Phi Phi Don
This beachfront restaurant in Laem Tong Bay specializes in seafood, Asian and Thai dishes. The owner and staff are all very welcoming and food served is authentic and highly rated. The menu is varied and can cater to vegetarians plus other dietary requirements. It also serves cocktails and drinks, all with enticing oceanfront views.
- Mama Ping, Phi Phi Don
Authentic Thai cuisine situated directly on the beach. Mama Ping is renowned for its friendly, family atmosphere, beach style laid back vibe, and good honest food. With Thai, seafood and vegetarian options you will be sure to find something to suit everyone here.
Phi Phi Don is an excellent hiking location, especially if you appreciate picturesque routes with stunning vistas. The treks on the island are typically moderate in effort, but you may select from a variety of paths based on your interests and fitness level.
The Viewpoint Hike and the Loh Dalum Bay Hike both provide panoramic views of the island and its surroundings, while the Phi Phi Don Village Hike, for example, allows you to tour the local village:
The Viewpoint Hike: This is the most popular hike in Phi Phi and offers panoramic views of the island and the surrounding area. It is a moderate hike that takes about 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your pace and the level you decide to go up to.
West Koh Phi Phi Coastal Trail: This 2.7-km point-to-point trail is generally considered an easy route; it takes an average of 45 min to complete. It starts from Loh Dalum Beachfront and goes all the way North of the island, all on the coastal trail.
The Phi Phi Don Village Trail: This hike takes you through the village on Phi Phi Don, giving you a chance to see how the local people live and work. It is an easy to moderaate hike that takes about 1 hour to complete, depending on your pace.
The Loh Dalum Bay Hike: This hike takes you to Loh Dalum Bay, a popular beach located on the north side of the island. It is a slightly longer hike that takes about 2-3 hours to complete.
For more hiking / trekking inspiration and detailed routes, you can refer to All Trails. Please remember to wear appropriate footwear, bring plenty of water and be mindful and always respectful of your surroundings when hiking in Phi Phi Don.
The 5 Star Marine crew can assist with the best island drop off points depending on the trail you might want to try out.
Get Me To Phi Phi:
Getting to the Phi Phi Islands from the 5 Star Marine base in Boat Lagoon is an easy affair. The private speedboat journey will take around 45 minutes to 1 hour, where the crew will ensure your comfort throughout.
A Luxury 5 Star Experience:
Through the assistance of our knowledgeable crew and captains, your tour to the Phi Phi Islands can certainly be tailored to fit your specific requirements. So, whatever you are looking for, you get the chance to craft your own unique itinerary and take pleasure in the results of the collaborative planning for the perfect day out exploring Phi Phi.
To book, or find out any further information on discovering Phi Phi or any of our other island destinations, please contact us: