Asia Travel

Travel || Panak Island, Thailand

We knew that we wanted to explore the area as much as possible, whilst still be able to spend maximum time relaxing, so we planned some really particular outings. We knew that we absolutely wanted to go see “James Bond” Island (really named Khao Phing Kan). And after doing some research, we booked with SeaStar to take us out there. 

We only have the best things to say about their Royal Phuket Marina branch. We left from the Phuket Marina bright and early in the morning in the capable hands of our group leader, Joker. (Who was, incidentally, hilarious. Which is probably how he got his name.) We flew through Phang-nga Bay by large speed boat to our first area Panak Island (also called Hong Island). 

Panak Island is the first island that you pass when you depart Phuket via the bay. This area is famous for its incredible stalactites, caves, and lagoons. Also island dwelling monkeys that can swim and catch crabs. Once we got to Panak Island, we hopped out of our speedboat and into little canoes so that we could go in and out of the caves and lagoons. Each canoe was assigned a guide and ours was literally the best. He had an amazing sense of humour, was super knowledgeable about everything we were seeing and he took us to different lagoons than everyone else went to. 

Each cave “hong” (meaning room) has been created by the flow of the tide. Most have both an entrance and an exit tunnel. Deep within Koh Panak you can even find a hong filled with mangrove trees. The island was formed long ago, originally from sedimentary layers on the bottom of a tropical ocean, with no volcanic activity involved in the island formation. So the rock is soft and the limestone and minerals can ooze over time. 

Being in the little sea canoe and going in to different lagoons is one of the highlights of my life; it was so memorable, and it’s the ultimate proof (in my mind) of the importance of experiences over things. I also realise yet again that I have literally no upper body strength; when given the opportunity to row by myself I just kind of jittered in circles. 

After leaving Panak Island we headed towards James Bond Island, which is another post for another day! 

Have you ever explored any caves via boat? 

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  • so beautiful! did you try paddling too?

    • I did! I was absolutely rubbish at it so Sam was too busy laughing to get a picture of my bad paddling! x

  • It was really amazing! It made me really want to go back and explore other areas – like Cambodia, for example! x

  • Ooooh I loved reading this! Your snaps are so beautiful, makes me miss Thailand even more. We went on a lovely boat trip to Phi Phi – would have been amazing to hop off and explore further in canoes etc… Next time… Fingers crossed! Immy x

  • Wow this place is breathtaking! Love the photos of you and Sam together as well! The colour of the water is incredible! Alice xxx

    • It was such an amazing thing to get to do. The water everywhere in Thailand was amazing. In this part it was quite green, but in other parts (posts I have yet to write) it’s almost crystalline turquoise! x

  • Laura Torninoja

    Looks like such a wonderful place! I wish I was by the seaside now – the way the sun glistens from the water is such too pretty! x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • Christine Everyday

    Wow, what an amazing place! Those caves are especially cool.

  • Wowzers – such beautiful photos! Looks amazing!
    Holly xx ///

  • ah, this makes me miss Thailand! we did a kayak excursion on our cruise through Ha Long in Vietnam last summer and our guide had us paddle through a cave that is only passable when the tide is right – low tide and you’d get stuck on rocks, high tide and there would be no room above the water. as it was, we had to do some wierd limbo in our kayak to make it through, and thankfully I had a waterproof case on my phone to use for a flashlight. this looks much more enjoyable! [and less claustrophobic!]

    • I had rigged up a not super convincing waterproof protector for our camera out of a plastic ziplock bag. Luckily it never truly got tested 😉 I’m really awful with small spaces so your experience makes my palms feel a bit stress- itchy! x

  • That looks like an incredible experience. I’ve only kayaked in lakes and rivers, never through caves or anything that spectacular. Experiences over things always!

  • What a stunning place! I’ve only done Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand, but I’d LOVE to do the beaches and islands!

    C x | Lux Life – Luxury Travel & Lifestyle Blog

    • The islands are so gorgeous – I definitely recommend them. Especially Phi Phi and Similan x

  • Miu

    Caves are always equally fascinating and scary for me 😉

  • The views are to die for!!!

  • Angie SilverSpoon

    Yes! I’ve done this! Super pretty 🙂