Koh Panyee, also sometimes written Koh Panyi or Ko Panyi, is a small fishing village in Thailand's Phang-Nga Bay. One of the key identifying features of the village is that it is largely built on stilts over the water. This makes for some great photos and a truly unique visiting experience. Here's what you need to know to make the most of your stay in the area.
A Bit of History The village was originally built by Indonesian fishermen. All of the current residents, which encompass about 1,700 people, are descended from the original Muslim settlers. Back in the 18th century, Thai law only allowed Thai nationals to own land, which made it difficult for these nomadic fishermen to find a place to live. Because of this, they built the village over the water. This way, they would be able to provide easy access for incoming fishermen while also enjoying the protection of the bay.
Over the years, as laws changed and more tourists began to flock to the region, the people were able to purchase land on the actual island. This enabled them to build a mosque, a freshwater well, and other essential structures.
Getting to Koh Panyee The floating village is made up predominantly of residents' houses, a few local shops and several restaurants serving the day's fresh catch. There are few lodging establishments on the island, but you can stay in nearby Phang-Nga Bay or Phuket, where you'll find plenty of accommodation options.
The easiest way to get to Koh Panyee is via long-tail boat. You can hire one in the harbor for about $50. You'll have access to the boat for around three hours, and the boats can usually accommodate up to 10 passengers. To make the most of your transportation investment, you'll want to spend as much time as possible in the village.
Respect the Local Culture Adopt a modest dress code when you visit Koh Panyee as the residents are conservative in nature. This means no shorts or short skirts and dresses. Women should cover their chests and midriffs as well. T-shirts, jeans and other casual attire are acceptable, but take care to not show too much skin overall. The locals will appreciate your efforts.
Do Some Local Shopping Many of the villagers sell their wares right out of their homes. You'll find a variety of local goods in Koh Panyee, including souvenirs, batik prints, clothing and items crafted from seashells. The locals are used to the prevalence of tourists, and they'll keep going about their day as usual unless you look like you want to buy something, so don't expect dedicated customer service as you browse.
Get Lost in the Maze of Streets Take some time to just wander around the village. Close to the waterfront, everything is packed in quite closely together, and the streets become a bit like a maze. It's a lot of fun to meander through the tight alleyways as you explore. The locals are friendly and helpful, so don't be shy about asking for help if you get lost. It's half the fun!
Sample the Catch of the Day No trip to Koh Panyee would be complete without sampling fresh seafood from some of the local restaurants. It is a fishing village, after all, so you can expect some delicious food. There are numerous restaurants on the island, but don't feel like you need to visit them all. Try out one or two of theses restaurants as you can always come back again another day.
Book Your Accommodations in Phuket Here at Rental for the Holidays, we provide long-term apartment rentals in Phuket, giving you easy access to Koh Panyee. In a private apartment or condo, you'll have the chance to live as the locals do, and you'll have plenty of opportunities to visit Koh Panyee during your stay. Get in touch with us today to make a reservation.