Ao Phangnga National Park in the southern Phangnga province will open some attractions to welcome tourists starting on Aug 1.
The national park is located along the Andaman coastal line and north of Phuket. It oversees an area of 400km² or about 250,000 rai including islands, islets and the country's largest mangrove forests. The national park is among the top 10 popular national parks in Thailand.
To support the government's Phuket Sandbox policy, the Ao Phangnga National Park will allow visitors to visit the park's iconic site Khao Tapu, the karst islet standing tall not far from Khao Phing Kan Island. The islet was one of the shooting locations for the ninth film in the James Bond series, The Man With The Golden Gun in 1974. Thanks to the film, the islet has been known as James Bond Island ever since.
About 40m away from the Khao Tapu Islet is Khao Phing Kan Island where tourist boats can dock for visitors to have a good view of the Khao Tapu Islet. The Khao Phing Kan island has a white sandy beach, a facility for locals to sell their handicrafts as well as public toilets.
The mangrove forest of Ao Phangnga National Park. (Photo © Ao Phangnga National Park)
Located about 15km away from the mainland, Khao Tapu and Khao Phing Kan can be accessed by speedboats from Phuket. The one-way travel time from the resort island to Khao Tapu islet is about 90 minutes. Visitors from Phuket can book a one-day trip from local tour agencies.
In addition, the Ao Phangnga National Park will open Koh Thalu, a popular leisure destination for canoeing. Lastly, it will allow visitors to stay overnight in an accommodation facility at the park's headquarters on the mainland.
Ao Phangnga National Park is about a 45-minute drive from Phuket International Airport.