Ko Panyi, Krabi Overview

Ko Panyi, also known as Koh Panyee or the Muslim Village, is a fishing village in Phang Nga province known for being built on stilts. It is called Pulau Panji in the local language. The village is self-sufficient with its own mosque, market, medical centre, and houses. It is a popular stop for travellers visiting James Bond Island or other parts of the province.

Dating back to the 18th century when people from Java migrated to this province, this village was originally built on stilts as the local laws at the time limited land ownership only to Thai locals. Although some buildings have now been built on the island, including the settlement’s mosque, the village continues to exist on the waters today, earning the name ‘the floating village’. There are recently- constructed bungalows for anyone who would like to stay overnight at Koh Panyi, but it is more popular as a day-trip.

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Ko Panyi

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Koh Panyi Attractions

1. Floating Football Pitch

Apart from existing on stilts, Koh Panyi’s greatest attraction is its floating football pitch. Back in the late 1980’s, the local children were inspired by the FIFA World Cup and built a pitch of wood and old fishing rafts. After a lot of practice, their football team entered an inland tournament and even made it to the semi-finals. Since then, the villagers have been very enthusiastic about their football and Panyee FC is one of the most successful soccer teams in Thailand. One can visit their original floating pitch and see the new pitch inland.

2. Walking Tours 

Ko Panyi
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Walking Tours are organised to explore the narrow walkways of Koh Panyi and visit the local shops. They sell souvenirs like batik prints, clothing, and seashell jewellery. Don’t be afraid to bargain as some shopkeepers may be selling these items at higher prices than the mainland. 

3. Seafood

As a popular fishing village, it’s no wonder that Ko Panyi is known for its seafood. There are dozens of restaurants across the village seeling both Thai and western cuisines. Most restaurants have a kind of sit-down, mini-buffet. Best of all, they don’t restrict servings.

Villagers and the Floating Village

Ko Panyi village comprises of over 300 families, making a total population of a little less than 1,500 people in total. They are all descendants, directly or indirectly, of Toh Baboo. According to local stories, Toh Baboo and two other families left Java by boat to look for a new place to settle, vowing to signal if they find a suitable location so the others could join them. Toh Baboo found this island and planted a flag at a cliff as a signal. That is how the island got the name ‘Koh Panyi’ meaning ‘Flag Island’.

Ko Panyi
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The village is fully functioning and self-sufficient. They have their own school, mosque, health centre, restaurants, shops, and a market that brings supplies from the mainland. For centuries, this was primarily a fishing village but in the last decade, Ko Panyi has become a popular tourist destination. Over half of the population is employed in tourism such as guided tours of the village, boating, and running restaurants. The latest development is the construction of bungalows on the island where tourists can stay overnight. This is now operated by locals who play host.

Tips

1. As this is a Muslim village, do not carry any cigarettes, alcohol, or pork to the island to be respectful of its inhabitants.
2. It’s a good idea to dress modestly by covering the shoulders, legs, and torso while visiting the island. Also, opt for loose fitting rather than figure-hugging clothes. 
3. Help the locals in preserving the environment by being mindful. Don’t litter or take items (like coral or other natural objects) from the island.

How To Reach Ko Panyi

Ko Panyi is 53.1 kilometres (approximately 20 minutes) from Surakul pier by boat. A long-tail boat for 10 people costs THB 1,700. Alternatively, there are many guided tours to James Bond Island and neighbouring parts of Phang Nga province that stop at Ko Panyi for meals. These services start at around THB 500 per person depending on the duration and travel company.

Best Time to Visit

Ko Panyi, like most of Phang Nga province, has two seasons – the cool season and the wet season. The cool season from November to March is the best time to visit the village as there is lower humidity, little rainfall, and plenty of sunny days. These months are the busiest months for tourism with higher prices for accommodation and travel. 

As Ko Panyi is located off the coast of Phang Nga and can only be reached by boat, avoid travelling there in the months from September to October. These moths have the heaviest rainfall and it can be dangerous to be out at sea during this time.

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