Ao Phang Nga National Park

Coordinates: 8°21′0″N 98°29′0″E / 8.35000°N 98.48333°E / 8.35000; 98.48333
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Ao Phang Nga National Park
Ao Phang Nga National Park
LocationPhang Nga Province, Thailand
Nearest cityPhang Nga
Coordinates8°21′0″N 98°29′0″E / 8.35000°N 98.48333°E / 8.35000; 98.48333
Area400 km2 (150 sq mi)
Established29 April 1981
Visitors999,035 (in 2019)
Governing bodyDepartment of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP)
Official namePhang Nga Bay Marine National Park
Designated14 August 2002
Reference no.1185[1]

Ao Phang Nga National Park (Thai: อุทยานแห่งชาติอ่าวพังงา), located in the Phang Nga Province of the Southern Thailand, encompasses parts of Mueang Phang Nga District and Takua Thung District.[2] The park is predominantly maritime, featuring a section of the Strait of Malacca dotted with numerous limestone tower karst islands.[3] Among these islands, Khao Phing Kan stands out as particularly well-known, having gained the nickname 'James Bond Island' due to its use as a filming location for the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.

The park's landscape is characterized by its islands, which have steep, sheer sides. This topography has contributed to the area becoming a sought-after tourist destination.[4] In addition to its geological features, Ao Phang Nga National Park is significant for its environmental conservation efforts. It is recognized for protecting the largest expanse of native mangrove forest remaining in Thailand. [2]

Rivers and mangrove forest at sunset


Ao Phang Nga National Park was established by a royal decree, as documented in the Royal Gazette under proclamation number 98, section 64, dated 29 April 1981. The park spans an area of approximately 250,000 rai, equivalent to around 400 square kilometres (150 sq mi).[5]


In response to the environmental impacts of mass tourism, Fodor's Travel included Ao Phang Nga National Park in their "No List" for 2018. This inclusion was part of a recommendation for tourists to temporarily avoid visiting the park. The intent behind this recommendation was to facilitate environmental recovery and mitigate the effects of over-tourism, which was described as 'loving the park to death.'[6]


The mountain range within the region, according to geological studies, is believed to have originated in the period spanning from the Cretaceous to the early Tertiary, approximately 136 to 36 million years ago. This formation is attributed to structural geological features, notably faults, including the 'Khlong Marui fault' and 'Phang Nga fault.' The region also exhibits a combination of sedimentary and metamorphic rock formations, particularly evident in the limestone mountains. Over time, these geological changes have led to the formation of numerous caves and holes in the natural landscape.

In 1987, archaeological research at Khao Tao within the Phang Nga Bay National Park uncovered prehistoric human burial sites, providing evidence of early human habitation in the area. Further studies, including the examination of shell fossils in caves and on islands within Phang Nga Bay, indicate significant fluctuations in sea levels. During the Pleistocene and early Holocene epochs, around 11,000 years ago, sea levels were considerably lower due to the Ice Age. The current islands, mostly upland rocky mountains at that time, witnessed a gradual rise in sea level around 7,500 to 8,500 years ago, reaching approximately 4.5 meters above the present level. Subsequent fluctuations occurred, with sea levels rising and falling interchangeably around 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. Approximately 2,700 to 3,700 years ago, the sea level stabilized but remained 1.5 to 2.5 meters higher than today. Around 1,500 years ago, the sea level was about 1.5 meters higher than current levels.

Flora and Fauna[edit]

Ao Phang-nga National Park is home to one of Thailand's largest and most well-preserved mangrove forests.[7] This ecosystem plays a crucial role in the coastal environment, serving as a natural barrier against storms and as a vital breeding ground for various marine species.

The mangrove forest in Ao Phang-nga is characterized by a diverse range of plant species. Notable among these are Rhizophora apiculata, Rhizophora mucronata, Avicennia alba, Avicennia officinalis, Bruguiera cylindrica, Bruguiera parviflora, and the cannonball trees Xylocarpus granatum and Xylocarpus moluccensis. Beyond the mangroves, the park's islands support tropical rainforests with species such as Hopea ferrea, the pea plant Parkia timoriana, and Acacia catechu, the mulberry tree Artocarpus lacucha, the Clusia tree Garcinia cowa and Morinda coreia, and on more calcareous soil Colocasia gigantea, Pandanus monotheca, and Cycas ingas.

A 1991 inventory of the park's wildlife identified 206 species, including 17 mammal species, 88 bird species, 18 reptile species, 3 amphibian species, 24 fish species, and 45 other marine animals. Notably, the lar gibbon and serow once found in the area, are now extinct in the region.

Among the endangered mammal species in Ao Phang-nga are the smooth-coated otter, leaf monkeys, smoky leaf monkeys, and the crab-eating macaque.[7] Birdlife in the park includes the brahminy kite, pacific reef heron, white-bellied sea eagle, various species of kingfishers, the asian dowitcher, and the edible-nest swiftlet.

Reptiles and amphibians, such as mangroves snakes, rhacophoridae frogs, and saltwater frogs, are also present in this diverse habitat.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Phang Nga Bay Marine National Park". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Ao Phang-nga National Park". National Park website. Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Thailand: Ko Khao Phing Kan (James Bond Island), Ao Phang Nga (Phangnga Bay) National Park, Phang Nga Province". Pictures from History. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Tourism Statistic". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  5. ^ "ข้อมูลพื้นที่อุทยานแห่งชาติ ที่ประกาศในราชกิจจานุบกษา 133 แห่ง" [National Park Area Information published in the 133 Government Gazettes]. Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (in Thai). December 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2022, no 25{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  6. ^ "Fodor's No List 2018". Fodor's Travel. 2017-11-15. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  7. ^ a b c National Parks in Thailand (PDF). 2006. ISBN 9742860874. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2021-02-17. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)

External links[edit]