Thailand Highlights Holiday
Experience adventurous highlights of Thailand which include ethical elephant sanctuaries and remote hill tribe trekking.
Perfectly poised between the bustling beach hubs of Phuket and Krabi, Phang Nga is an epic scenic wonderland. Phang Nga town is small and humdrum however the real star is Phang Nga Bay, an other-worldly landscape filled with ancient limestone karsts shooting out of the glimmering emerald water.
Jagged and jungle-clad, the karst islands soar to heights of up to 300 metres and are quite an awe-inspiring sight. They are believed to have formed around twelve thousand years ago when rising sea levels flooded the mountain ranges, leaving only their eroded peaks above the surface.
These enchanting karst islands are filled with secrets. Years of erosion have hollowed them out, revealing hidden lagoons (hongs) that are only accessible by kayak or canoe and only at certain tides.
Beyond the limestone karsts, Phang Nga Bay holds many natural treasures including forested wetlands, the largest mangroves in Thailand, and beautiful coral reefs offering incredible snorkelling and diving opportunities.
The bay is well-preserved as much of it lies within the protected Ao Phang Nga National Park. Free from mass development, you'll be immersed in unspoiled nature with only the occasional sighting of a traditional fishing village.
The best way to explore Phang Nga Bay is with a guided boat tour that can take you to some of the lesser-explored areas. You can see the iconic sites such as Koh Tapu, known as James Bond Island for its famous feature in a Bond film. Then, dodge the crowds and venture further afield to Phang Nga's quieter gems.
Swim under towering karsts, float through secret lagoons, snorkel in the coral reefs, explore ancient caves and rock paintings, and lounge on the pure white sands of tranquil coves.
It's also possible to explore the bay by night. You'll watch the brilliant sunset, feast on fresh seafood, release your own Loy Krathong (lantern) into the sky and watch bioluminescent plankton lighting up the waters with their nightly dance. It's a magical experience.
Phang Nga is surrounded by many incredible attractions. Visit Sa Nang Manora Forest Park, a tropical rainforest filled with gushing waterfalls, refreshing pools and exceptional bird watching. Over 90 species have been discovered within the forest, including the endangered Malaysian plover.
Phang Nga and the surrounding areas have three distinct seasons, making it easier to choose the right time for your holiday. The best time is during the cool season from November to February, with dry, sunny conditions. December and January draw the biggest crowds, so avoid these months if you prefer a quieter holiday.
The hottest season runs from mid-February to early May, and although the weather is still dry and sunny, the temperatures can get extremely hot. The monsoon season starts in April and May, bringing short, heavy downpours mixed with blue skies and sunshine. It's still a good time to visit as the weather is cooler, the crowds are fewer and the rainforest lights up with lush greenery. Avoid the wettest months of September to mid-October as it can rain for longer periods and spoil outdoor activities.
We feature a day trip to Phang Nga on many of our luxury Thailand itineraries. You'll explore hidden lagoons, release lanterns and see illuminated plankton on the Hong By Starlight experience with our Thailand Highlights Holiday and Thailand Family Adventure. You can combine the adventure of the jungle-clad north with the pristine beaches of the sunny south with our Elephants & Islands and Northern Thailand Adventure with Beach holidays. Although our suggested trips only include a day trip to Phang Nga, any of our itineraries can be customised to include more time in this spectacular destination, including multiple night stays at luxurious retreats in Phang Nga Bay.
Phang Nga can be accessed with an easy day trip from Phuket, and you can stay at some luxurious resorts on the larger island including The Vijitt Resort Phuket and Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach. For a more immersive experience, you can stay amongst the magical islands of Phang Nga Bay. A stay on a remote island at the stunning Six Senses Yao Noi is a luxury getaway like no other.