The sky is clear and the breeze is warm. It is a perfect day to go on a boat trip. We are on Phang Nga Bay and heading for the famous Koh Panyee. Koh Panyee is about 20 minutes by long-tail boat from Surakul pier in Phang Nga province.

Many people flying into Phuket will have looked down on this village seemingly floating in the magical bay and wondered what it is like to live in the place. went out to Panyee to take a look and discovered the true meaning of the phrase, ‘a simple life’.

There are 1,485 people from 315 families who live permanently on Koh Panyee, the youngest being a baby boy born just a month before our visit. All of them are the descendants, directly or indirectly, of Toh Baboo and his family and friends, who were the first people to settle on Koh Panyee some 200 years ago.

Toh Baboo and two other families left their homeland in Indonesia by boat, looking for a new place to live. The three families made a vow to each other that if one of them found a place where there were lots of fish and where everyone could live, that they would signal the others by raising a flag on a mountain as high as possible, so that the others could see it and join them.

Toh Baboo discovered the island with its abundance of fish and, true to his promise, raised a flag atop its soaring cliff, That is how the island got its name, Koh Panyee – the Island of the Flag.

Koh Panyee is a small island. Most of it is huge, almost vertical, limestone cliffs. The hundreds of huts, shacks, restaurants and houses where the villagers live are built on stilts over the surrounding shallow sea. No one seems quite sure how many wooden and concrete piles hold up this extraordinary community, but it is certainly a fascinating and unique feat of informal engineering.

At first, fishing was the sole industry for this Muslim community but nowadays it is No 2. These days, half the locals service the tourism industry and 40% are still fisherman.

The village has its own school, a mosque, a health center, lots of small souvenir shops and a handful of large restaurants, all facing the sea, where tourists can enjoy a fresh seafood lunch. The latest development on Koh Panyee is the construction of bungalows that offer overnight accommodation for as little as 300 baht.

You can rent a long-tail boat from Surakul pier for around 1,700 baht for three hours. The boat can carry up to ten people – so if you fill it up that’s just 170 baht a head.

Alternatively, there are many good tours to Panyee which include pick-up from your hotel.

What to Wear? This is a Muslim community so women should not wear short skirts or shorts. T-shirts and jeans are acceptable but anything that exposes too much flesh risks a cold shoulder from the locals.

By Rungtip Hongjakpet Izmen (
Source Photo :
conse... whatmysoulsees csaeys Vitaly Shepelev

5 ความคิดเห็น

K.C. said... @ February 4, 2009 at 5:16 PM

is Panyee island ok after the tsunami? when is this article written? many thnaks and please reply to ( thinking of spending my honeymoon there! please help

Reporter said... @ February 5, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Koh Panyee is the only island that ok during tsunami, no people got a scratch, all people about 200 families safe and sound till now. So, you can spend your lovely honeymoon there. :)

Anonymous said... @ May 26, 2009 at 11:10 PM

I was recently at this village and took a wonderful photo of 5 girls during school that I would like to mail to them. Do you know how I can get it to them? I cannot find an Post Office Box or address.
Thank you!

Reporter said... @ July 7, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Koh Panyee school :

Moo 2, Tambon Koh Panyee Amphur Muang
Changwat Phang Nga PO.Box 82000.

Phuket Hotels Thailand said... @ September 27, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Nice Island!! I never go there....I doubted that how people live and how those houses built....looks amazing

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