There aren’t many movie franchises that are as successful and well known as the James Bond franchise. Starting in 1953, James bond has an incredible history with scenes shot in the most beautiful places in the world, including Thailand. Out of the 24 James bond movies, 2 were filmed in Thailand; Man with the Golden Gun (1974) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997).
One of the most famous scenes in the Man with the Golden Gun is when Scaramanga proposes a pistol duel with Bond on the beach and the two men stand back to back with this big limestone islet coming out of the water in the background. This islet is Koh Tapu, more famously known as James Bond island. In this guide, we will focus on James bond island and Phang Nga Bay.
- Why is it called James Bond Island?
- Where is James Bond island?
- Tours to James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay
- Other things to do at Phang Nga Bay
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Why is it called James Bond Island?
Koh Khao Phing Kan, otherwise known as Khao Phing Kan is a small island that played host to the James Bond movie, “The man with the golden gun”. Shot in 1974, this movie highlighted the beautiful 20-meter tall limestone islet, called Koh Ta Pu which is around 40 meters off the shore of Khao Phing Kan. Koh Ta Pu means Crab Eye island.
A long time ago Koh Ta Pu was originally a part of the Koh Khao Phing Kan but has been over time scoured out the tide and then separated from the mainland. As soon as the movie came out, the islet became world-famous.
This fame brought many people to Thailand and Khao Phing Kan Island. Due to the popularity of the James Bond film, people started calling it James Bond island. Since then, tourists only know it as James Bond island and it has become a prominent tourist attraction in Thailand.
Where is James Bond island?
Many people aren’t sure where the island is with many thinking it’s located in Phuket, which isn’t correct. James bond island is situated in Phang Nga Bay in southern Thailand. Phang Nga bay is a national park called Ao Phang Nga National Park located just northeast of Phuket.
Phang Nga Bay itself is a shallow bay with 42 islands, mangroves, caves and lagoons. James Bond Island is the main attraction but there are many other things to see and do in the bay.
Use the map below to see where James Bond island is located⬇
Tours to James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay
There are many tours to Phang Nga Bay that include James bond island along with a few other activities in Phang Nga Bay. These tours usually depart from either a pier in Phang Nga or from Phuket.
Tours to James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay from Phuket
Most tourists who visit James Bond Island come from Phuket. There are a wide variety of tour companies that do daily tours. The tours are split into two groups based on how you get to the bay, speedboat and ferry.
Both tours are generally the same but we recommend taking the ferry as it’s slower and gives you a better view of the bay as you approach it. It also provides you with the ability to take beautiful pictures which you won’t get on a speedboat.
There are many tour companies to choose from however all the tours are very similar. Program Itineraries normally go as follows:
- Pick up from your hotel.
- Depart from the pier.
- Sightseeing and exploring Panak Island.
- Canoeing at the Bat Cave or Hong island.
- Swim and relax at Lana Island or Naka Island.
- Have lunch on the boat if you take the ferry or have lunch at Panyee Island if you are taking the speedboat.
- Visit James Bond Island and Khao Ping Kan island for pictures.
- And depending on the tour you can also visit Ice Cream Cave or Diamond Cave.
- Head back to the pier.
We recommend choosing a tour that does kayaking on Hong island. It’s beautiful and there are many caves and rock formations to see by Hong island that will add great value to your trip.
Before you book a tour, ask them if it includes the national park fee. If it doesn’t then you have to pay the national park fee at Khao Ping Kan island.
The National park fee: Foreigners 300 baht for Adults, 100 baht for Children between 3 and 14 years old. Thai locals 60 baht for Adults and 30 baht for Children.
Most of the time these tours can cost anything from 2000 baht to 3200 baht and most of the time include the national park fees.
Book a Tour to James Bond Island From Phuket
Tours to James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay from Phang Nga
Getting a tour from Phang Nga is a little bit more difficult than Phuket. Some hotels offer tours but many don’t. Luckily, many piers are easy to find that offer tours to Phang Nga Bay. All tours from here are on longtail boats which we love. Most piers offer two tours:
- James bond Island
- Pingkan Mountain
- Lod cave
- Pan-Yee island
- James Bond Island
- Pingkan Mountain
- Nok Krarian Cave
- Hong island
We chose tour B since it includes kayaking by Hong Island.
These tours from Piers in Phang Nga bay cost 2000 baht per boat with a maximum of 4 people per boat. The tours don’t include the national park fee and the kayaking fee which you pay once you arrive.
The National park fee: Foreigners 300 baht for Adults, 100 baht for Children between 3 and 14 years old. Thai locals 60 baht for Adults and 30 baht for Children. The kayaking fee at Hong island was 300 baht per person.
Our Experience with Tour B
On our tour, our first stop was James bond island and Pingkan mountain. We were lucky to get there early because there weren’t that many people there. We spend about an hour and a half looking around and taking pictures.
When we left, tours started rolling in and the crowds of people started coming. Our next stop was Hong Island which was the highlight of the trip.
Our guide paddled us around and took us into tight caves. He showed us all the interesting rock formations and views and even offered to take pictures of us during the tour. The kayaking took about an hour.
LTIU TIP: Put on Sunscreen before you get into the Kayak. The whole trip is in the sun and you will get burned.
The next stop was Keaw Cave. We were the only people here which made it feel so special. The cave isn’t very big which is a good thing since there is no light inside of it.
We spent around 30 minutes here. After this stop, we made our way back to the pier. The tour took around 4 and a half hours. Overall, it was an incredible experience and we couldn’t believe how beautiful this bay is.
Other things to do at Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga bay is an incredible place to visit. So seeing from another vantage point is a must. We highly recommend going to Samet Nangshe Viewpoint to see the whole of Phang Nga bay and get a sense of how big and magical this place is.
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is a beautiful viewpoint that offers a panoramic view of Phang Nga bay. It’s located an hour and a half from Patong beach in Phuket. From here you can admire the limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay.
There are two ways to get to the viewpoint. You can hike up or pay some of the locals to drive you to the viewpoint. The entrance fee to the viewpoint is 30 Baht per person. If you want to get a ride up to the viewpoint, it’s 90 Baht per person. We recommend getting a lift to the viewpoint. It’s a 1KM walk up an extremely steep hill.
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