Interesting Things to Do in Phang Nga Town
Phang Nga is a small and quite town located in Ao Nang National Park. Most people just pass by on a day trip from Phuket or Krabi on the way to cruise the Phang Nga Bay. However, those few who decide to stay for a night or two are rewarded by a relaxed atmosphere, cheap and authentic food, and some surprisingly spectacular sights nearby. The inland scenery is breathtaking and give a good glimpse of what to expect while cruising the bay. Which is way cheaper when booked in Phang Nga directly. Need more reasons to visit? There’s a lot to do around Phang Nga Town, so read on!
The Scenic Surroundings
Phang Nga is wonderfully situated in the middle of jaw dropping limestone cliffs and mountains. The town has a relaxed and sleepy atmosphere, which just increases the dramatic views. One of the best things to do is hop on a scooter and drive around admiring the surroundings.
Wat Tham Ta Pan or Heaven & Hell Cave and Temple
Wat Tham Ta Pan is without a doubt the weirdest temple we have ever visited, but definitely a cool thing to do in Phang Nga. The temple offers a journey through Buddhist Heaven and Hell. At first sight the temple looks a bit abandoned and decrepit, which adds to the eeriness of the place…
Start your visit by entering the wide open mouth if a huge Chinese dragon. This is the beginning of the ‘journey’ through the representation of Buddhist heaven and hell. Walk though a long, very dark tunnel with only few tiny windows lighting your path. Stepping outside and you’ll have a glimpse of a vision of hell…
However, continue your way towards the left until you’ll find a deep cave. Enter the cave heading towards Nirvana. Walk for about 10 minutes inside a dark cave with bridges crossing over a river. Heaven is symbolised by two Buddha statues (one sitting and one standing) at the end of the cave. We were there is August and the whole path was covered in deep, slippery mud. The place was so crazy, that we followed the path wanting to find out more. We must say that Heaven was somewhat disappointing. Specially in comparison to the wildly depicted Buddhist Hell! We won’t describe it: just see pictures for yourself ☠️
Wat Tham Ta Pan is indeed a one-of-a-kind place well worth a visit due to its weird originality. For sure we will never forget this temple. ?
Somdet Phra Srinagarindra Park
Somdet Phra Srinagarindra Park is a beautiful park in the centre of Phang Nga town. It’s a great place to walk around and explore the caves. There are so many of them here!
↬ TIP : Just across, there is the Phung Chang Cave – or Elephant Cave- and it’s one of the main attractions in the area. Apparently you can rent kayak to go through the cave. But when we got there we saw office building destroyed and abandoned and there was nobody on the site. We don’t know if it’s closed down for good or we got unlucky.
Wat Suwan Khuha & the Monkey Cave
Wat Suwan Kuha is a surprising cave sheltering an immense reclining golden Buddha. It’s located only 10min scooter drive from the centre of Phang Nga. Except of the Buddha statue, the temple is known for monkeys that live in the forest next to the cave. The primates learned to expect food from tourists and there are hundreds of them on the grounds. You can buy a bag of fruits or nuts from one of the vendors for 50 THB to attract the monkeys.
Please collect your trash and throw it into the bin. We were sadden by amount of trash thrown on the street. We collected as much as we could, but that was just a drop. Littering is wrong!
↬ TIP : There is 20 THB (0,6EUR) entrance fee to the cave
Phang Nga Bay
Everybody who comes to Phang Nga town wants to visit the bay. It’s not a surprise: this place is worldwide know for its impressive mountains and limestone cliffs rising straight from the water. James Bond Island being the most famous of them, where they shot “The Man with the Golden Gun”!
The Food Market
We came across a small food market on our way back from the Monkey Cave. The market was centrally located. There were food stalls with different local delicacies. We tried a noodle soup, meat sticks and rice pancakes. Everything was delicious. And we payed 180 THB (5 EUR) for dinner for both of us ?
↬ TIP : Bring a natural mosquito repellent. After dusk mosquitos are pretty annoying.
Getting to Phang Nga
The easiest way to arrive there is by bus. We took a bus from Surat Thani (200 THB, 6 EUR each), after arriving there by ferry from Koh Tao. It took us 2H to reach the Phang Nga bus station. Once at the bus station, for your own sake: IGNORE MR KEAN ?? Why? We explain all about this devious individual & Island hopping in Phang Nga is this travel blog ?
Phang Nga is located perfectly in the middle in between Phuket and Krabi. It’s very easy to get here from either cities.
The cheapest way from Krabi is a regular bus from Krabi Bus Terminal. The ticket costs 80 THB (2.3 EUR). The buses depart every 2 H starting at 7 AM. The journey of 80 km takes about 1.5 H. Be aware that those buses are not air conditioned.
There are many minivans departing from from Krabi as well. Some of them offer a pick up at your hotel (for an additional cost). The regular ticket costs 120 THB (3.5 EUR) and trip takes 1.5 H.
Buses and minivans from Phuket depart from Phuket Bus Terminal 2 multiple times a day. Bus ticket costs 80 THB (2.3 EUR) while minivan ticket is 120 THB (3.5 EUR).
Traveling from Phang Nga
Minivans from Phang Nga bus station to Krabi or Phuket depart every half an hour. The ticket costs 120 THB (3,5 EUR) and trip either way takes around 1.5 H.
There are also regular buses departing few times a day. The ticket costs 80 THB (2.3 EUR). Be aware that those buses are not air conditioned.
Note that minivan or bus drivers aren’t especially precise people. They will not necessarily drop you where you want, expect or asked… In order to avoid bad surprises or problems, be sure to ask them to show you exactly where you will end up. The official minivan from Phang Nga to Krabi didn’t drop us quite in Krabi town as expected…
Getting around Phang Nga
The best way to do all those things in Phang Nga is with a scooter. You can usually rent a scooter directly at your accommodation. The price is the same as in any other places in Thailand 200 THB (6EUR) for a day. Make sure to wear a helmet and take an International Driving Permit with you.
Where to eat
There are few nice places to eat in Phang Nga. If you happen be around the food market we mention above, we recommend you to try the food there. Otherwise, choose from the variety of cafes and restaurants.
Kohukai cafe’ and restaurant a modern restaurant and cafe in the center of Phang Nga. The food selection is good. Their coffee is great!
ระรื่น พังงา Cafe & Restaurant is nice cafe with lake view.
โรงพัก Rong-pak is a good place for a summer time drink. Cute ambience.
ร้านครกยักษ์ พันธุรัตน์ we didn’t try this place, but it was recommended by locals. Typical Thai food, great for budget.
Where to stay
Sametnangshe Boutique is located an hour drive from Phang Nga, but its views are an absolute dream. It was sold out on our dates so we couldn’t visit. ?
↬ Find all the hotels in Phang Nga on booking.com