Fishing village on wooden stilts in Phang Nga bay
Koh Panyee is one of the popular tourist attractions in Phang Nga bay and most Phang Nga bay tours stop there for a look around. Many tours have lunch on the island.
The village is built next to Panyee Island which provides shelter from the elements. The first settlements were established there around the end of the 18th century by three small boats carrying families from Java, Indonesia. They were exploring the region for a place to live and fish.
The story goes that the boats split up to search a larger area. When one of the fisherman found the island, which he thought offered excellent protection and fishing, he climbed to the top of the island and raised a flag to signal the other boats to come. Koh Panyee translates as raised flag island.
Over the years the settlement has increased in size and the buildings have spread out. Now there are over 300 families living there (about 1,500 people), all originally descended from the early fishermen.
Fishing has always been, and still is, the main livelihood of the community. In recent years tourism has been introduced and has become profitable. If you visit the village when every other tour boat is there, the village can seem like a tourist circus. But once the boats depart normal life is resumed.
The community is Muslim and the mosque is the dominant building on the village. You can also see the local school and local shops, just stroll around the raised wooden walkways. Remember to dress appropriately and do not take alcohol onto the village.
Whilst at Koh Panyee be sure to check out the unique floating football pitch. The story of how it came about has made it very popular.