Phang Nga Bay (Thai: อ่าวพังงา, RTGS: Ao Phang-nga, Thai pronunciation is a 400 km² bay in the Andaman Sea between the island of Phuket and the mainland of the Malay peninsula of southern Thailand. Since 1981 a big part of the bay is protected as the Ao Phang Nga National Park. It is situated in Phang Nga Province, at 08°17'N 098°36'E.
Limestone cliffs with caves, collapsed cave systems and archaeological sites are found about Phang Nga Bay. Some 10,000 years ago, when sea levels were lower, one could walk from Phuket and Krabi.
Phang Nga Bay Marine National Park was declared a protected Ramsar Site (no. 1185) of international ecological significance on 14 August, 2002. Phang Nga is a shallow bay with 42 islands, comprising shallow marine waters and intertidal forested wetlands, with at least 28 species of mangrove; seagrass beds and coral reefs are also present.
At least 88 bird species, including the globally threatened Malaysian Plover (Charadrius peronii) and Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus), can be found within the site, as well as 82 fish species, 18 reptiles, three amphibians, and 17 mammal species. These include the Dugong (a vulnerable species), White-hand Gibbon (Hylobates lar), the endangered Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis), and the Black Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides).
A number of diverse cultures co-exist in local communities, which practice fishing, harvesting Nypa palm fronds for thatch, and catering to an international tourist presence drawn both by the natural beauties and by the archaeological sites, which have paintings more than a thousand years old.
The most famous of the many islands in the bay is the so-called James Bond Island, a needle formed limestone rock in the sea, which featured in the movie The Man with the Golden Gun. Nearby villages include Ao Luk.
Khao Phing Kan means "Hills leaning against each other" in Thai, reflecting the connected nature of the islands, and Ko Tapu can be literally translated as "nail" or "spike" island, reflecting its shape. With "Ko" (Thai: เกาะ) meaning "island" and "Khao" (Thai: เขา) meaning "hill", the terms Ko, Khao, and Ko Khao are frequently interchanged in the naming of the islands. After appearing in the 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, Khao Phing Kan and sometimes Ko Tapu became widely referred to as James Bond Island, especially in tourist guides, and their original names are rarely used by locals.
Most of the island is covered with deciduous limestone shrubland and evergreen trees. Some plants, such as pandanus, cycads, euphorbs and prickly pear cactus grow on nearly soil-free cliffs, such as those of Ko Tapu, penetrating their roots into the numerous cracks and surviving on rainwater.
Shallow water depth, warm and stable temperature and rich nutrient supply from mangrove forests and several rivers running into the Phang Nga Bay result in abundant plankton and other marine life. The bay around the island host species of reptiles, species of fish, species of shrimp, species of crabs and species of manta rays, sharks and game fish. Most fishes are typical of coral reefs, such as butterflyfish. Other common inhabitants are blue crab, swimming crab, mudskipper, humpback shrimp, mud lobster, pomfret, sole, anchovy, scad, rock cod, rainbow cuttlefish, soft cuttlefish, musk crab, mackerel, moray eel, puffer fish, rabbitfish, groupers, black sea cucumber, brain coral, staghorn coral and flowerlike soft coral. Amphibians include Fejervarya raja, cricket frog (Fejervarya limnocharis) and Rhaco phorusleucomystax. Aquatic plants are represented by red algae, halimida, seagrass and plant plankton. There are more than 100 species of birds in the area such as Striated Heron, Pacific Reef Heron, Little Egret and others.