Attraction in Khao Lak
In Phang Nga Town
Far and near in Phang Nga province, you can enjoy the wondrously beautiful nature. Just before reaching Phang Nga town, the first natural wonder of the province waits to welcome you at your first visit; it is Khao Chang or Elephant Mountain. This mountain became the landmark of Phang Nga for its resemblance to the kneeling elephant.
Behind the Provincial Hall, in the compound of Wat Prajimkhet, there stands Phung Chang, or Elephant Belly Cave which represents itself as the stunning chef d’oeuvre of nature. Inside, there are the spectacular formations of stalactites and stalagmites which are never found elsewhere. The dazzling stalactites and stalagmites form themselves in different shapes; one in a form of hundreds of elephant walking one after another in circle; the others are a stalagmite protruding like a sitting elephant under a royal umbrella and a terraced stalagmite in gold color which became glistering when reflected with the light. In addition, there is a stream running through the cave all year round, offering moisture and coolness to the cave. The cave is located in the middle of Khao Chang. Visiting in the cave is a kind of adventure; you have to walk in the water, raft or canoe to appreciate its beauty inside, the trip in the cave takes about one hour, yet it is rewarding, indeed.
Reusi Sawan and Luk Seua Cave is another place to appreciate the striking beauty of stalactites and stalagmites and relaxing amidst the tranquility beside the twisty stream which trickles therein. You can walk from one cave through the other as they are connected; Reusi Sawan Cave is in front before reaching Luk Seua Cave. The cave stands in Somdej Pra Sri Nakarin Park on the opposite side of the Provincial Courthouse.
Surprisingly, only in town where is normally reserved for residence, Phang Nga town possesses two Parks sharing its territory and natural fertility.
One of the two is Sa Nang Maonara Park which houses the long range of limestone mountain stretching in the northeast to south direction. The Park is covered with the rain tropical forest abundant of flora and fauna. With the different levels of its terrains, small waterfalls were created around the areas. The outstanding spots in the Parks are firstly Sa Nang Manora waterfall. The fall is characterized by its medium-size ponds which are abundant of waters all year round with the small flows trickling down. Also, there is a two-kilometer- nature trail on which you can walk to appreciate the Park’s flora and fauna in close-up without guide within an hour. The Park is located in Nob Pring sub-district, 4 kilometers from town. To reach there, follow Route 4, Phang Nga-Krabi Road about 3 kilometers, and then turn right at the fork road for about 4 kilometers.
Now it comes to the leading star of Phang Nga and also the co-star of Roger Moore in James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun- that is Phang Nga Bay National Park where the so-called James Bond Island or Khao Tapoo is located. It was declared a National Park in April 29, 1981, covering the boundary over Phang Nga town and Takua Tung district with the area of about 400 square kilometers. The Park is composed of dense forests, mangroves, and more than 120 exceptionally strange looking islands, creating the wondrous landscape of Phang Nga Bay. Tourists often visit Phang Nga Bay to see its strange characteristic of each island; while floating in the bay, you will feel like being in the topiary garden due to its likeness of its shapes to different things, requiring your imagination of what they should be like. Places of interest in the Park include:-
- Koh Panyee (Gypsy Village Island) is the smallest island in Phang Nga bay, but it houses a 500-households-community of Gypsy people. Their houses are built on stilts submerging in the sea water. These gypsy people are mostly Muslims who earn their life fishing and retain their own culture untouched by the mainland for hundred years. On the island, there are several souvenir shops lining around.
- Khao Ping-Gan literally means leaning mount. It is a huge rock spilt in two; the smaller half has slid down and the remaining one appears now to be leaning. A little bay of Khao Ping-Gan faces the most outstanding island in Phang Nga Bay, Khao Tapoo or the famous James Bond Island. Tapoo means nail which describe well its formation. The shore less island juts out from the sea with its flat and wide top and its narrow base at the waterline, making it the striking sight. It got more reputation when the James Bond movie was partially filmed here.
- Khao Khien has the meaning of its name as writing. There are ancient depictions of animals and boats which the Fine Art Department has dated back not less than 3,000 years; they are presumed to have been drawn by voyagers who took refuge there during storms. The island lies on the way to Koh Panyee.
- Tham Lod Grotto is a huge cliff punctured with a hole through which a small boat can pass until reaching the other side of the cave. The ceiling of the cave is adorned with the impressively glittering stalactites. You can paddle to admire its beauty inside by a canoe boat.
- Panak Island is a beautiful island composed of a cave which houses the extraordinary formation of stalactites and stalagmites.
- Hong Island which literally means room conceals the fabulous realm inside. The towering limestone cliffs enclose the small sea with wonderful sandy beach, teemed with the unspoiled mangrove forest, allowing an excellent habitat to wild animals and aquatic creatures. Underneath the crystal clear water, there are the abundant beds of corals, creating excellent site for snorkeling. The best way to appreciate the island is to enter by boat. While floating into a hollow, you feel like floating in an enormous reception hall with two doors, hugged by the sheer limestone cliffs with the roof opened to the bright blue sky above.
- Yao Island is made up of two islets, Yao Yai and Yao Noi Islands (Big Long and Little Long Islands), surrounded by many other small islands. The total area is 137.6 square kilometers, covered with forests, beaches and rocky headlands, backed up by the scattering karst formations in Phang Nga Bay. The Island is largely unaffected by the overdevelopment form outside, it offers thus pristine beauty of nature. Inhabited by a large amount of Muslims, the way of life of people here is still traditional. You can charter Tuk Tuk to see the rustic scenes around the Island. On Yao Yai Island, there are interesting beaches with its great beauty along the shore, for example, Tikood Bay, Ao Klong Son, Ao Sai, Ao Larn, Ao Hingong, Lo Ra Raed Beach, Laem Nok, Hat Tha Khao and Hat Pasai. Travel to Yao Island is hiring a boat from Phang Nga, Krabi, and Phuket, but leaving from Phuket is the most convenient.
- Khai Island is known for its beautiful rocks, corals, and secluded beaches. Its clear greenish water and colorful coral beds are good for snorkeling or skin-diving.
Located about 8 kilometers form Phang Nga town, the Phang Nga Bay National Park can be reached by different ways.
Take the Route 4 from Phang Nga town toward Koke Kloy district and go about 8 kilometers. Turn left to Route 4144. The national park office is about 4 kilometers further on. Those who do not own a car can take a local bus from Phang Nga town to the different piers which have boats for traveling to the Park.
There are many places where boats can be rented to viewing the islands in Phang Nga Bay:
Tha Dan Sullakakorn Pier or Tha Dan Pier (Customs Pier) is located near Pang-Nga Bay Resort. Boats from small to large size can be rented here.
Surakoon (Ka Sohm) Pier lies in Takua Tung district. Long-tail boats with seats for about 6 persons each are available for renting.
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