f the many limestone cliffs jutting out of Phang-nga Bay in southern Thailand, Ko Panyee is unique.
Rather than towering over calm waters, the narrow island stands guard over a bustling Muslim community built on pilings. Governed by the tides, Ko Panyee villagers make their living as fishermen, canoe operators and shop workers. Many are now buoyed by a tourism influx since the filming of a James Bond movie nearby in the 1970s.
A gold mosque dome rising above the village’s cramped houses signals the people’s prayerful core – a focus that organizes their daily life of food preparation, soccer and religion lessons.
Founded in faith and supported by the sea, Ko Panyee is not just the place tourists read about. It is home.