Phang Nga Province

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Phang Nga
พังงา
Province
Islets in Phang Nga Bay
Islets in Phang Nga Bay
Official seal of Phang Nga
Seal
Map of Thailand highlighting Phang Nga Province
Map of Thailand highlighting Phang Nga Province
Country  Thailand
Capital Phang Nga
Government
 • Governor Yiamsuriya Phalusuk (since 2008)
Area
 • Total 4,170.0 km2 (1,610.0 sq mi)
Area rank Ranked 53rd
Population (2011)
 • Total 254,931
 • Rank Ranked 71st
 • Density 61/km2 (160/sq mi)
 • Density rank Ranked 69th
Time zone Thailand Standard Time (UTC+7)
ISO 3166 code TH-82

Phang Nga (Thai: พังงา, pronounced [pʰāŋ.ŋāː]) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand, on the shore to the Andaman Sea. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Ranong, Surat Thani and Krabi. To the south is the Phuket province, but without land boundary to Phang Nga.

Geography[edit]

The province is located on the west side of the Malay Peninsula, and includes many islands of the Phang Nga Bay. The most famous one is the so-called James Bond Island, a needle formed limestone rock in the sea, which featured in the 1974 movie The Man with the Golden Gun. The Ao Phang-Nga (Phang-Nga Bay) National Park was established in 1981 to protect the many fascinating islands. The Similan Islands, one of Thailand's main diving destinations, are also part of Phang Nga province. It is located 788 kilometres (490 mi) from Bangkok and covers an area of 4,170 square kilometres (1,610 sq mi).

Phang Nga City Hall/ in front of Chang Mountain

History[edit]

During the reign of King Rama II, nearby areas (including Thalang, now known as Phuket) were occupied by the Burmese and so many people fled to Kraphu-nga. In 1824, Siamese troops defeated the Burmese and the invaders were expelled. King Rama III renamed the area Phang-nga and in 1933 the town was expanded to be a province.

On the morning of December 26, 2004 Phang-nga Bay was devastated by a Tsunami disaster and thousands of people lost their lives.

Symbols[edit]

The provincial seal shows the Phu Khao Chang mountains in the background, and the City Hall in front. It also shows a dredge to represent the tin mining in the province.

The provincial tree is Cinnamomum porrectum (Hardy Cinnamon), and the provincial flower is Anaxagorea javanica.

The provincial slogan is Massive mining industry, Ban Klang Nam “floating house” delightful caves, strangely shaped hills, Jampun flower, rich in resources.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Phang Nga is subdivided into 8 districts (amphoe), which are further subdivided into 48 communes (tambon) and 314 villages (muban).

  1. Mueang Phangnga
  2. Ko Yao
  3. Kapong (Malay: Kampung)
  4. Takua Thung
  5. Takua Pa
  6. Khura Buri
  7. Thap Put
  8. Thai Mueang
Map of Amphoe

Transportation[edit]

Roads

  • Highway No. 4 is the main route that connects all districts in Phang-Nga (except Kapong and Koh Yao).
  • Highway No. 401 connects Phang-Nga to Surat Thani.
  • Highway No. 402 connects Phang-Nga to Phuket Province.
  • Highway No. 4090 connects Muang to Kapong district.

Rail systems There is no rail system in Phang-Nga Province. The nearest railway station is at Phunphin district, Surat Thani Province.

Bus There are both non air-conditioned and air-conditioned buses to Bangkok and other provinces. There are also non air-condition inter-provincial buses.

Songthaew (public passenger pick-up vehicle) The public passenger pick-up vehicle is the most popular mode of public transportation in Phang-nga.

Motorbike-taxi These are found mainly in the town areas and are used mainly for very short distances. The charges differ according to the distance travelled through the Motorbike-taxi.

Airport There is no airport in Phang-Nga Province because many high mountains around the town. The nearest airport is Phuket International Airport.

Tourism[edit]

Mushroom Rock Island and Ko Tapu aka. James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay.

Situated on the Andaman Sea, Phang-nga province is famed for the natural beauty of its water, beaches, islands, mountains and forests.

Phang-nga was damaged in the 2004 Tsunami, although tourism has largely recovered.[citation needed]

Sights / Attractions[edit]

  • Ao Phang Nga (Phang Nga Bay) National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติอ่าวพังงา) was declared a national park in 1981. It has scenic views and features mass limestone formations scattered around in the sea near the shore. The same factors contribute to the density of caves in the area. The park is fertile with mangroves and there are a number of islands in the vicinity.
  • ko Panyi a Muslim Fishing Village on stilts.
  • Mu Ko Similan National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติหมู่เกาะสิมิลัน) was declared a national park in 1982. Similan is a small group of islands comprising nine islands stretching from north to south and is highly praised for its beautiful scenery, both onshore and underwater.
  • Mu Ko Surin National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติหมู่เกาะสุรินทร์) is an archipelago of 5 islands: Ko Surin Nuea, Ko Surin Tai, Ko Ri, Ko Khai, and Ko Klang. It was declared a national park on July 9, 1981. The archipelago is located in the Andaman Sea, near the Thai-Burmese oceanic border, to the west of Thailand. There are coral reefs and the area is suitable for snorkeling.
  • Ko Phra Thong (เกาะพระทอง), located in Tambon Phra Thong. It is a large island northwest of Phang-nga. The island has many beaches. There is a large fresh water reservoir on the island.
  • Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาหลัก-ลำรู่) was declared a national park in August 1991. The park occupies a vast area of 150 square kilometers (58 sq mi) and covers Amphoe Thai Mueang, Amphoe Kapong, Amphoe Takua Pa, and Amphoe Mueang. The interesting attractions are: Khao Lak (เขาหลัก), which has the Chao Pho Khao Lak Shrine, Laem Pakarang (แหลมปะการัง) which has groves of pine, making it good for camping and relaxation and Namtok Ton Chong Fa (น้ำตกโตนช่องฟ้า) or Ton Chong Fa Waterfall.
  • Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Mueang National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาลำปี-หาดท้ายเหมือง) The park occupies an area of 18,000 acres (7,300 ha). It was declared a national park on April 14, 1988. Interesting attractions in the park include: Namtok Lampi (น้ำตกลำปี) is a 6-tiered waterfall that runs all year round, Namtok Ton Phrai (น้ำตกโตนไพร) is a huge waterfall that runs all year round and Hat Thai Mueang (หาดท้ายเหมือง) being a long beach where the Sea Turtle Festival is held annually.
  • Wat Suwannakhuha (วัดสุวรรณคูหา), located in Tambon Krasom, is a temple in Phang-nga. It is of historical and archaeological importance. Within the boundary of the temple is a mountain with numerous caves out of which one is also used as a temple and houses various manners of Buddha images. There are also Royal Monograms inscriptions on the walls of the cave.
  • Ko Yao (เกาะยาว) covers an area of 137 square kilometres (34,000 acres). The majority of the population are Muslim. The island is made up of 2 large islands: Ko Yao Noi and Ko Yao Yai.
  • Hat Khao Lak (ชายทะเลเขาหลัก), located 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Takua Pa, is a long scenic beach along the Andaman Sea set beneath the green mountain of Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park, parallel to the coast. The accommodation of Takua Pa along Khao Lak and Bang Sak Beach is built in the original southern architecture style.
  • Wat Rat Uppatham or Wat Bang Riang (วัดราษฎร์อุปถัมภ์ หรือ วัดบางเหรียง), located in Tambon Bang Riang, the temple, situated on Khao Lan hill, contains several structures including an elaborate bell-shaped pagoda called Chedi Phutthathambanlue. The hilltop pagoda overlooks surrounding undulating mountains and hills as well as a huge Buddha image and a Guan-yin Chinese Goddess statue.
  • Kainui Mountain (เขาไข่นุ้ย), located in Tumbom Thungmapraow (ทุ่งมะพร้าว), is a mountain in Phang-nga that has a cool weather and surrounded by the sea of mist similar to the north of Thailand. It is a wonderful viewpoint to see the sunrise and sunset of Andaman.

Activities[edit]

Elephant cave trekking to Tham Phung Chang which is a cave with numerous stalactites and stalagmites.

Rafting in Ton Pariwat Wildlife Sanctuary north of Phang Nga town.

Rock climbing is a popular activity which passes through the routes including high quality limestone, steep, pocketed walls, overhangs and hanging stalactites.

Kayaking - Phang Nga's coastline, which consists of mangroves, limestone, small coves, caves and islands, and an interior with rivers lined with fascinating cave systems, has transformed the area into a haven for tourists wanting to try out kayaking. The most popular place of all is Khao Lak.

Bird watching - Many rare birds can be seen in Phang Nga, which include: Gurneys, Finfoots, Bigwinged Brown Kingfishers, egrets, and herons.

Sailing and cruising in Ao Phang Nga National Park

Fishing - marlin, sailfish barracuda and tuna can be found.

Jungle trekking - There are rich flora and fauna in Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park and Si Phang-nga National Park.

Bamboo Rafting is a popular activity along Lam Ru Yai Canal at Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park.

Golf - There are two 18-hole golf courses near Khao Lak: Tablamu Navy Golf Course and Thai Muang Beach Golf & Marina.

Spa - Many hotels and resorts offer world-class spa services. Many of these spas are accredited by the Thai Spa Association, with properly trained therapists.

Cultural exchange and Homestay - Visit a local village to see how people try to maintain their traditional way of live through community-based tourism.

Diving

  • Similan Islands are one of Thailand's most famous diving sites. The islands are famed for their reefs, coral and variety of marine life. Tourists like to spot chevron barracuda, giant trevally, manta rays, leopard sharks and rainbow runners.
  • Surin Islands are virtually untouched with reefs that slope to the seabed. The islands are situated 80 km (50 mi) west off Ranong Province along the west coast of Thailand. Located near the Surin Islands is the horseshoe-shaped Richelieu Rock, which is considered by hoards of divers to be the best dive site in the whole of Thailand.
  • Khao Lak Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park has a palm-fringed coastline with newly discovered reefs. The area is home to a plenitude of marine life and even a couple of wrecks.

Camping

  • Kainui Mountain , the tourists can tent on the clearing area for see the sunrise in the morning and see the sunset at night , they also have thai pancake and coffee shop for the tourists in the morning.

Local Products[edit]

Created by the local Farmer’s Housewives Organization, artificial flowers made from rubber and fish scales are souvenirs symbolic of Phang-nga province.

Nightlife[edit]

Scattered around the beach and bay areas are several clusters of beer bars and live music venues. There are also hotel bars. Generally speaking however, the nightlife in Pha-nga is comparatively much more laid-back than that of Krabi’s.

Local Culture[edit]

Lifestyle[edit]

Phang Nga is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas is Muslim. Phang Nga however, does not suffer from any religious tension and the folk live in peace and harmony. Outside of the provincial town, the rural folk speak with a thick Southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand.

With this kind of mixture, Phang Nga is always celebrating something be it part of Thai Buddhist, Thai-Chinese or Thai-Islamic tradition.

Situated on the small island of Ko Surin is a community of Morgan Sea Gypsies who still live their traditional life as seafaring people. These sea gypsies speak Yawi dialect and are more very friendly. However, just like the long-necked Karen in Mae Hong Son, some folk complain that their village resembles a bit like a human zoo with hoards of tourists walking around gawking at the villagers.

Cultural Activities[edit]

  • Manora or Nora (มโนราห์หรือโนรา) is an art form native to southern Thailand. The performance has graceful and beautiful dance postures. The singer will sing the lyrics ad-lib. Therefore, he or she would have to be a quick thinker to find words that rhyme and that are meaningful in lyrics, dance and costume. Accompanying musical instruments include drums, cymbals, gongs, Java pipes, and castanets. Nowadays Nora has developed into incorporating modern instruments.
  • Shadow Play (หนังตะลุง) is a popular art of southern Thailand. Dried animal hide is carved into drama figures like a hermit, a lord, a lead actor, a lead actress, a giant, and a clown. The figures are held up behind a lighted screen to create shadows on it. Nai Nang or the puppeteer will sing verses or narrate the performance. He must have exceptional reflexes and be able to narrate the whole story by himself. Musical instruments used are the same as for Nora, with perhaps So U and So Duang (stringed instruments) added in.
  • Li-ke Pa (ลิเกป่า) is also called Li-ke Bok or Li-ke Rammana. This type of performance is different from the usual Li-ke as the performers wear other kinds of costumes. Li-ke Pa is popular among Thai Muslims. Only 3 performers play in a single set the whole show. However, the set will have a location name change to correspond to the story being played. Musical instruments used include 2-3 tambourines, cymbals, gongs, and pipes.

Festivals / Events[edit]

  • Water Melon Day (งานวันแตงโม) is organized every year. There is plenty of watermelon on offer and a food and beauty contest.
  • Free The Turtles Fair (ประเพณีปล่อยเต่า) is annually atThai Muang Beach. The celebration takes place for 7 days. During the festival baby turtles raised by the Fisheries Department are released into the sea at Thai Mueang Beach.
  • Songkran Festival (งานประเพณีสงกรานต์) There are a merit making ceremonies, a water-pouring ceremony to pay respect to monks and elderly people, and many shows performed by local students.
  • The Ma Jor Poh Statue Procession (งานแห่เทพเจ้าศาลเจ้าแม่ม่าจ้อโป๋) It's a yearly ceremony. The statue of Ma Jor Poh is carried on an ancient Chinese carriage around the town along with the weapons of various sacred spirits from the Chinese temple with traditional music played on Chinese musical instruments.
  • The Chao Ley (sea gypsy) Boat Floating Festival(งานประเพณีลอยเรือ) It's a ceremony to celebrate the ancestor's spirits (Nia An Lo Pong). Morgan sea gypsies of all kinds join in this ceremony. The ceremony includes spirit dwelling, ancestor worshipping, fortune telling, music performances, dances, and "Kabang" floating which is believed to take away all sickness and bad luck from their families and community.
  • The worshipping ceremony of Narayana and his followers (งานบวงสรวงเทวรูปพระนารายณ์และบริวาร) There are also various shops, several forms of entertainment, and activities performed by students.
  • Vegetarian Festival (ประเพณีถือศีลกินผัก) The Phang-Nga Vegetarian Festival: Similar to the well-known Vegetarian Festival in Phuket and Trang, this festival is held from the first through the ninth nights of the ninth Chinese lunar month.
  • Amazing Phang-Nga Festival: High Season Opening in Phang Nga (งานเปิดโลกมหัศจรรย์แดนสวรรค์เมืองพังงา) There is an opening and special events ceremony Khao Lak Center. The ceremony features entertainment, cultural shows, an exhibition of tourist attractions, water sports and local sport competitions, local products shops, and enjoy vast variety of sea food from many resort in Khao Lak.

Local Food[edit]

In general, Southern Thai food is renowned for its spiciness. Much of the cuisine has its origins in Malay, Indonesian and Indian food. Favourite dishes from the south include Indian-style Muslim curry (massaman), rice noodles in fish curry sauce (Khanom Jeen) and chicken birayani.

Phang-nga’s Panyi Island is famous for its Shrimp Paste and Takuapa for its Chinese-style baked cakes.

Medical Health Care[edit]

The main medical facility available at Phang-nga is General Hospital. Whereas, in case of severe conditions of patients or international standards, people normally go to nearby Phuket. For nothing too serious there are plenty of clinics and pharmacies.

Retirement[edit]

There are a great number of retirees in Pha-nga and their number is growing rapidly. Many are concentrated in the Khao Lak region. There are some other retirees though, who reside in extremely quiet locations away from the tourist scene as the cost of living off the beaten track is far cheaper.

Media / Contact[edit]

Local television, satellite TV channels are available. English language newspapers and magazines are available in some bookstores. You can order your newspaper from home via the NewspaperDirect Network (Printstation in Bang Niang, Khao Lak) (http://www.newspaperdirect-asia.com). A local bi-weekly English language newspaper for Khao Lak was available online as well as in print, but it ceased publication in early-2012. (http://khaolakecho.com)

Landline telephone, satellite phone and all mobile phone systems are available at Phang-nga town and village areas. Internet can be had in hotels, resorts and internet cafés. There are post offices in every district.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 8°26′23″N 98°31′5″E / 8.43972°N 98.51806°E / 8.43972; 98.51806