I arrived in Phang Nga bay, one of the most spectacular sceneries in Thailand, in a long tail boat as the sun was setting.
Although i was welcomed by a gentle drizzle, the sunset colors were warm and inviting, highlighting the phallic rock Koh Panyee village hangs on to.

The village is almost completely built on stilts …

Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

… and small scale fishing seems to be one of the main activities.

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

After spending the night at the only accommodation in the village catering to foreign tourists, I set off at dawn. In the early morning light, the village is still very sleepy.

Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Apparently being the only tourist – and the only foreigner – on the island, I charter a long tail boat all for myself, eager to discover this universe.

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Ahead, the islets dotting the bay are slowly emerging from the morning mist.

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Fishing is still very traditional and small scale.

Fishing in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Some of the islands are lined with beautiful mangroves …

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

… and narrow passageways invite exploration.

Mangrove in Koh Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

The village’s mosque is by far its most beautiful – and striking – building.

Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Beyond fishing, the village lives off the daytime tourists who invade it for a quick lunch break and a stroll down its central “avenue”.
In the morning, the villagers prepare for the onslaught… which doesn’t always come.

Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Tourists are kindly reminded of the local rules, inspired by the Muslim practices of the villagers.

Tourist instructions in Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Overall, the houses are simple…

House in Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

… and very open …

… like the few stores.

Store inKoh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

As outdoor space is extremely scarce, distractions are limited.

The new football/soccer “field” located in front of the school is very popular. To find out how thanks to a committed bunch of local kids football/soccer became the village’s unlikely top sport, and how they became Young Champions of Southern Thailand 5 years in a row, you can watch this inspiring 5 minute documentary.

Soccer field in Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Another soccer pitch, remake of the original floating wooden one, is quite spectacular and actually famous around the world. It became one of the village’s top tourist attractions.

Floating soccer pitch in Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Totally impractical to play, it is mostly used as a dock where longtail boats unload passengers 😂

Floating soccer pitch in Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Even the fishing equipment “store” is a testimony of the island’s passion for football…

Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

The evening is another magical time, as the sun sets …

Sunset on 
Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

… and the villagers return home …

Sunset in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

… and get to settle …

Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

… for a well-deserved dinner.

Koh Panyee village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

If the Koh Panyee village is well known, Khao Ping Kan, with its spectacular “needle” rock, is probably the most famous sight in Phang Nga bay.

Khao Ping Kan

It is probably better known as James Bond island, as it was used as a key backdrop for the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun

Christopher Lee and Roger Moore in The Man with the Golden Gun, © 1974 MGM/UA
Christopher Lee and Roger Moore in The Man with the Golden Gun, © 1974 MGM/UA

Tourists now flock the place to recreate the famous shot…

Khao Ping Kan

… or alternate versions.

Khao Ping Kan

A day and a half went so quickly… It’s already time to go and say goodbye to this amazing bay.

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

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More to come, stay tuned!
Didier.