Approaching Koh Phanak from the south, beware of the drying rock to port. Koh Phanak changes its profile considerably according to the direction of approach, but it has four obvious peaks from the east or west.
South West Bay
A secluded anchorage in approximately 4 metres with good holding on a muddy bottom, the southwest bay is an ideal overnight haven in the northeast monsoon season. There is interesting exploring to be done by dinghy under spectacular limestone overhangs along the entire west coast.
North West Bay
The northwest bay also offers good holding in approximately five metres. This is another fine overnight shelter, with the added attraction of many passages and lagoons (known locally as hongs) which lie hidden inside the island, accessible only by dinghy or canoe at certain states of the tide.
Tourists visit these hongs every day, with many canoes vying to get in and out of the tunnels at the right tide times. If staying overnight you will have quiet access to them (if you can find them) after the tour companies depart.
Opposite this anchorage on Koh Phrao is the Natural Island Resort, which can be accessed by dinghy from mid tide or by using the makeshift floating jetty. This small bungalow resort has a restaurant overlooking the bay.
This is our recommended overnight stop during the southwest monsoon. Secure holding in mud can be found in approximately 4 metres. Vessels should approach from the east until a comfortable anchoring depth is found. The Hong in this location is a difficult access and only at lower than mid-tide.
Do not under any circumstances run dinghy engines in the caves or hongs. The two-stroke petrol fumes and noise can play havoc with the bat population and other elements of these delicate and otherwise unspoiled ecosystems.