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 km2 (1,610 sq mi)
Area rank Ranked 53rd
Population (2014)
 • Total 261,370[1]
 • Rank Ranked 71st
 • Density rank Ranked 69th
Time zone ICT (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 of the Andaman Sea to the west and Phang Nga Bay to the south. Neighboring provinces are (from north, clockwise) Ranong, Surat Thani, and Krabi. To the south is the Phuket Province, connected by a highway bridge.

Geography[edit]

The province is on the west side of the Malay Peninsula, and includes the 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 islands. The Similan Islands and Surin Islands, two of Thailand's main diving destinations, are also part of Phang Nga Province.

Phang Nga City Hall

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 promoted to provincial status.

On the morning of 26 December 2004 the Andaman Sea coastline of the province was devastated by a tsunami and thousands lost their lives.

Symbols[edit]

The provincial seal shows the Phu Khao Chang mountains in the background, with city hall in front. It also shows a dredge to represent the tin mining in the province.

The provincial tree is the 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 Phang Nga
  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

  • Hwy 4 is the main route that connects all districts in Phang Nga (except Kapong and Ko Yao).
  • Hwy 401 connects Phang Nga to Surat Thani.
  • Hwy 402 connects Phang Nga to Phuket Province.
  • Hwy 4090 connects Muang to Kapong District.

Railways There is no rail system in Phang Nga Province. The nearest railway station is at Phunphin, Surat Thani Province.

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

Public transit Songthaews are 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. Charges correspond with distance traveled.

Airport There is no airport in Phang Nga Province. The nearest airport is Phuket International Airport.

Tourism[edit]

Mushroom Rock Island and Ko Tapu (James Bond Island), Phang Nga Bay.

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 9 July 1981. The archipelago is 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), 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 14 April 1988. Interesting attractions in the park include: Namtok Lampi (น้ำตกลำปี) is a 6-tiered waterfall that runs all year round; Namtok Ton Phrai (น้ำตกโตนไพร), a huge waterfall that runs all year round; and Hat Thai Mueang (หาดท้ายเหมือง), a long beach where the Sea Turtle Festival is held annually.
  • Wat Suwannakhuha (วัดสุวรรณคูหา), 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 monogram 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), 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.
  • Wat Rat Uppatham or Wat Bang Riang (วัดราษฎร์อุปถัมภ์ หรือ วัดบางเหรียง), in Tambon Bang Riang, the temple, 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), in Tambon Thungmapraow (ทุ่งมะพร้าว), is a mountain that has cool weather and is surrounded by the sea of mist all year round. Kainui Mountain has been promoted by Mr.Kai (ลุงไข่) and uncle Mr.Nui (ลุงนุ้ย) who are the owners of this land. In 2012, Subdistrict Administrative Organization (SAO) of Tambon Thungmapraow (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลทุ่งมะพร้าว) has been started to play a role to develop and organize this place to be another attractive place for tourists in Phang Nga. Kainui Mountain has been renowned in its landscape of sunrise-sunset, the sea of mist and the mountain range. In good weather, the Andaman sea can also be seen on the top of mountain. Since the location of Kainui Mountain is not too far away from the city, it's easy to visit. Moreover, SAO has a service for the tourists to lift from the ground to the top of the mountain by a four-wheel car with a hundred baht charge per person.

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.

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

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 and Marina.

Diving

  • Similan Islands 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 80 km (50 mi) west off Ranong Province along the west coast of Thailand. 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, tourists can tent on the clearing area. So that in the morning, you can see a spectacular landscape of Kainui Mountain with sunrise and the sea of mist.

Lifestyle[edit]

The majority of the population in 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.

On the small island of Ko Surin is a community of Sea Gypsies who still live their traditional life as seafaring people. These sea gypsies speak Yawi dialect. 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.

Festivals / Events[edit]

  • Watermelon Day (งานวันแตงโม) is organized every year. There is plenty of watermelon on offer and a food and beauty contest.
  • Free The Turtles Fair (ประเพณีปล่อยเต่า) annually at Thai 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 worshiping 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 destival 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 resorts in Khao Lak.

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).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Population of the Kingdom". Department of Provincial Affairs (DOPA) Thailand (in Thai). 2014-12-31. Retrieved 19 Mar 2015. 

External links[edit]

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