Towns in Phang Nga Province
There are several small towns in Phang Nga province. They are not great tourist attractions in themselves. Phang Nga's tourist appeal is generally its natural attractions at the beaches and countryside. The towns are all fairly standard small Thai towns. They have shops, markets, temples, etc, that are moderately interesting to see but there are no major tourist attractions within the towns.
Just the same we will give a quick description of the main towns in Phang Nga. They can be useful bases to visit the surrounding areas and they do provide an insight into authentic Thai life.
Phang Nga Town
This is the province's capital and is therefore sometimes referred to simply as 'Mueang' which is the Thai word for town. It is small for a provincial capital with a population of 12,000 people. The town itself is a fairly standard provincial town with no great appeal. However the area it is located in is absolutely stunning. The town is surrounded by great limestone cliffs rising spectacularly and vertically from the ground. The scenery is special.
The town might not be greatly interesting but the surrounding area is full of attractions. The greatest of them all is Phang Nga Bay with its mass of great limestone karsts rising spectacularly from the sea. You can hire a boat to take a tour and visit attractions such as James Bond Island and Koh Panyee.
There are several interesting caves nearby such as Phung Chang Cave in the Khao Chang limestone karst that towers over the southwest corner of the town. There is also a nice recreational park here.
There are several lovely waterfalls. Off route 4 only 5km north of town is the lovely Manora Waterfall in Sa Nang Manora Forest Park. A few kilometres west of town off route 4 is Raman Waterfall National Forest.
There are also several interesting temples (wats). On the way to Raman Waterfall is Wat Suwan Kuha with a big Buddha in a cave and a large population of cheeky moneys outside. In town is Wat Thamtapan which has a cave, a great view across town and a quite disturbing vision of hell.
Phang Nga Town has one of the provinces two main hospitals. It also has the immigration office, a police station and a Big C shopping centre.
So the town might not be very exciting but you could easily base yourself in this area and spend two or three days exploring the surrounding area.
There are a few budget guesthouses in town. For something a bit more comfortable you could base yourself at the lovely Bor Saen Villa where you can get your own villa with pool. It is 10KM out of town on route 415.
Bor Saen Villa (5 star)
Takua Pa is one of the more interesting towns in Phang Nga province. As well as being the closest town to the main tourist area of Khao Lak, it also has some interest in its own right.
The town is divided into two parts. The new town is situated along the Takua Pa River. It is a typical Thai town. It has one of Phang Nga's two main hospitals. There is also a large indoor market and a bus station. You can shop and enjoy dinner by the riverside.
However it is the old part that holds the charm of the town. The old town is a distinctly separate area and here you will see buildings that are over 100 years old and built in the Sino Portuguese style that is also common in Phuket Town.
The port at Takua Pa was once the major seaport on the west coast of Thailand and was an important trading centre. The Chinese were very influential in Takua Pa's business circles at this time and they influenced the area's architecture in just the same way as the Chinese did in Phuket. Takua Pa even does its own mini version of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.
In the pre-second world war period many foreigners came hoping to make their fortune in tin. Although the tin boom never materialised in Phang Nga you can still see some of the fine houses they built during this period if you drive out on the back roads that run into the countryside from the old town.
There are good restaurants overlooking the river and you can take tours up the river on small longtail boats so you can enjoy observing the wildlife that abounds in the unspoiled countryside.
Thai Mueang is a small but charming little town on route 4 south of Khao Lak. It has a population of 8,000 people with 21,000 in the entire district. The town has a quaint little temple and a Tesco Lotus.
However it is mostly known for Thai Mueang Beach and Lampi Waterfall. The whole area is a national park which includes the 14km stretch of beach, the backing mangrove forest and Lampi Mountain and the waterfall. The Khao Lampi - Hat Thai Mueang National Park is a beautiful and diverse attraction that is well worth a visit.
Since the area is national park there are no major hotels here. There are a few budget guesthouses in town. Another budget option just out of town is Sawasdee Lagoon Camping Resort. This is camping in a bit of style. The tents are under protected roofs and next to a lake. The camp site includes leisure activities such as kayaks and bicycling.
Sawasdee Lagoon Camping (1 star)
This is the first town you come to if you are coming from Phuket. It is a small and frankly, totally uninteresting town. It does have a small Tesco Lotus and a selection of other shops and amenities.
The surrounding area is a mostly flat plain with a variety of agricultural activities. The most interesting local attraction is the hot volcanic springs near Natai Beach. There is a holiday resort that pumps the mineral rich, hot volcanic water into bathing pools. You can relax in the steaming hot water that can be as hot as 45 degrees and slowly easy away your aches and pains.
The Hotspring Beach Resort & Spa (4 star)
Natai Beach is a spectacular long stretch of sand that runs all the way from opposite Phuket all the way north to Thai Mueang Beach. It is a straight length of beach that slopes steeply into the sea. During the rainy season it is not at all suitable for swimming as it is much too dangerous. It is safe enough for a swim during the dry season. There are three other hotels dotted along this very quiet beach.
Kuraburi is the northernmost town in Phang Nga province. The town itself is purely a trading centre and holds little interest to visitors.
The surrounding area has several points of interest. Most particularly, it is the starting point for trips to the Surin Islands. There is also Phra Thong Island that has a lovely sandy beach on its west coast.
The other main attraction near Kuraburi is Sri Phang-Nga National Park that is located between Kuraburi and Takua Pa Town. The park is 240 sq km of rainforest and is home to a wide array of fauna and flora.
There is very little accommodation in Kuraburi but just south of town is the charming little Kuraburi Greenview Resort. It is next to the main road but still a lovely isolated spot built around a sunken lake.
Kuraburi Greenview Resort (3 star)
Route 4090 is a winding back country road that runs between Phang Nga Town and Takua Pa Town. About halfway between them is the little town Kapong. It may be a back road town but it is quant. It is located on the eastern side of Khao Lak-Lamru National Park. It is the closest starting off point to reach the five level Lamru Waterfall. There are also some nearby hot springs.