Ao Phang-Nga Marine National Park

The classic karst scenery of the 400-sq-km Ao Phang-Nga National Park was famously featured in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun. Huge vertical cliffs frame 42 islands, some with caves accessible only at low tide. The bay is composed of large and small tidal channels, which run north to south through Thailand's largest remaining primary mangrove forests.

Ao Phang-Nga's marine limestone environment conceals reptiles like Bengal monitor lizards, two-banded monitors, flying lizards, banded sea snakes, shore pit vipers and Malayan pit vipers. Mammals include serows, crab-eating macaques, white-handed gibbons and dusky langurs.

In high season (November to April) the bay becomes a clogged day-tripper superhighway. But if you visit in the early morning (ideally from the Ko Yao islands) or stay out later, you might just find a slice of beach, sea and limestone karst of your own. The best way to explore is by kayak.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ao Phang-Nga Marine National Park.