Several schemes have evolved over the years but the zoo and botanical gardens may be the one that gains funding, Phang Nga's head of strategy, Prayat Chorpakaphan, said yesterday.
The project would be on 560 rai at tambon Nop Pring,near Song Preak and close to Phang Nga Town.
''It would be the biggest botanical gardens and zoo in the south, modelled on Chiang Mai Zoo,'' he said.
The idea has won some government support and a budget is expected to be set in the finasl quarter of 2012.
''It could be open and operating within a year,'' Khun Prayat said.
The zoo and botanical gardens would be set in a valley and include whitewater rafting, bicycle trails, viewpoints and camping facilities.
Phang Nga, directly north of Phuket, has a growing reputation for natural sacenic beauty but retains a low profile with tourists. Some people think it is part of Phuket.
While the diving off the coast of Phang Nga is excellent and its beaches are kept free from jet-skis and vendors, the monsoon seasons usually keep visitors away at some times of the year.
Having a zoo and botanical gardens would provide many visitors with an additional reason to stay in Phang Nga longer and spend more money there, rather than simply making a fleeting day trip from Phuket.
The limestone formation karsts that rise up on land and sea give Phang Nga Bay and the surrounding region a prehistoric quality that Phuket cannot match.
One of the ideas that was once being developed, a 200 million baht, 120-metre observation tower - a concept talked about by former Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob in his earlier role as Governor of Phang Nga - appears to have lapsed.