A distinctive feature of Phang Nga Bay are the sheer limestone karsts that jut vertically
out of the emerald-green water. James Bond Island and Koh Panyee are just two of the
more famous spots in this bay. By far the best means of enjoying the spectacular
scenery, with only brief encounters with the tourist crowds at James Bond and Koh Panyee, is to take one of the boat trips from the northern end of Phuket.
Snorkeling is a popular recreational activity, particularly at tropical resort and scuba
diving locations. The primary appeal is the opportunity to observe underwater life in a
natural setting without the complicated equipment and training required for scuba
diving. It appeals to all ages because of how little effort there is, and without the
exhaled bubbles of scuba-diving equipment.
The Racha (or Raya) islands, some 12 km south of Phuket, are best known as excellent diving
and snorkelling daytrip destinations. Racha Yai reveals itself in splendid fashion, with most
arrivals landing onto a strip of fine white sand tucked deep into the long, U-shaped main bay,
called Ao Tawan Tok or Ao Bungalow. The water here is clear and perfect for snorkelling, though
the bay gets quite busy with visiting boats in the afternoons.