Located in the Phang Nga Bay off of the coast of Phuket, Ko Panyi is a lush, tropical fishing island with more to offer tourists than just gigantic palm trees and crystal clear waters. Ko Panyi has undeniable charm: the main village is built on stilts and sits just off of the shoreline. Fishermen go about their business relatively unchanged by the increasing tourism though you can expect all necessary amenities including lodging, running water, bathrooms and restaurants ranging from simple, local food to exquisite gastronomy.
Ko Panyi is often featured as a stop on tours of the Phang Nga Bay. Native islanders use fragrant spices to produce delicious seafood dishes. Catches are always fresh because fishing is the basis for this little island’s economy. A taste of stardom washed up here during the 19th season of “The Amazing Race” when contestants made a pit stop here for one of the stops during their race.
Culture on the island is based in strong Muslim faith. According to the story, two families set out from Java on a voyage by sea to make a new life for themselves when they found Ko Panyi and settled there. Since then, the Malay descendants of these two families have inhabited the island and developed it. There is a Muslim school on the island where male and female youths are informally taught together. Traditionalists generally send their children to Phuket for gender segregated educations. Particularly popular to learn and play in Ko Panyi now is soccer. The Panyi FC is a youth soccer club in Southern Thailand and they, as of 2011, were extremely good. Their ranking among the top contenders throughout Thailand can be traced to the island village’s decision to create a floating football stadium out of scrap wood and broken fishing rafts.