Thailand offers some incredible scenery that is often hard to believe is real. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of with stretching white sand beaches, beautifully blue waters and island landscapes to die for. You can’t not embrace these things when visiting Thailand and so we did exactly that during our recent visit by heading out to the famous James Bond Island.
Khao Phing Kan & Ko Ta Pu
James Bond Island is located in Phang Nga Bay which is located northeast of Phuket; it forms part of Ao Phang Nga National Park. This makes it a great place to visit from numerous locations along Thailand’s west coast.
The island name also encompasses 2 separate islands. The first and largest of the 2 islands is Khao Phing Kan, this being the one that you will step foot on and explore.
The second island is Ko Ta Pu which is the towering rock formation that lies 40m from the shore of Khao Phing Kan. This stands at around 20m tall and forms the main attraction at James Bond Island.
The Man With The Golden Gun
James Bond Island as it’s most commonly known is of course not just a name someone made up one day for this place. It’s famous as it is where they shot the James Bond film, The Man With The Golden Gun with Roger Moore way back in 1974.
Despite being over 40 years ago the number of people who flock to see this island, or more accurately described, pillar of rock is quite staggering especially when considering that the majority of the tourists here are too young to have heard of the film, let alone see it!
But hey that’s how tourism works and certainly the legacy of filming locations around the world that support local economies and employment so I’m all for it!
Siam Adventure World – “James Bond and Beyond” excursion
We booked our trip to James Bond Island via Siam Adventure World, booking their James Bond and Beyond Tour. Due to the popularity of James Bond Island it gets incredibly busy from around 10am so the Siam Adventure World team run the trip from a very early start to avoid the crowds and create a better experience for everyone.
We stayed in Cape Panwa and this meant getting a minibus transfer from our hotel (included in the booking) at an eye watering 05:50 following a 05:00 alarm – there’s no denying that this was the worst part of the day! Arriving at Siam Adventure World’s reception area at the Phuket Marina just before 07:00 we checked, were given a wristband for the day and helped ourselves to the selection of fruit juice, tea, coffee and pastries made available to us. At 07:30 we were then called by our wristband colour to board the boat and with the sun barely risen, we set off.
As our trip was a full day we made another stop along the route at some caves however the transfer to the island took around an hour with us arriving just before 09:00.
Exploring James Bond Island
James Bond Island has 2 locations where boats are able to drop people off.
The view from here faces south and looks back to the islands of Ko Khai, Ko Lo Lo, Ko Na Khae, Panak Island and Ko Sawang Yai which offers a beautiful view of Thailand’s natural landscapes.
The first thing you’ll see when you arrive on James Bond Island is a rock fault known as Khao Phing-Kan which was created when a crack in the rock face led to the rock sliding away under gravity.
Beyond this you’ll find some information boards, stands where vendors are selling the usual tourist goods and toilet facilities – appreciated having just spent an hour or more at sea! The information boards here describe the formation of the rocks and there is of course a sign to pose at for photos – just be prepared to queue for this!
When our tour boat of 16 of us landed we were the only people on the whole island which was amazing as unimpeded photos were really easy to take. I fully expect however that when the crowds pick up here it will be a bit a jostling for the best position situation with someone else’s elbow or selfie stick in the frame!
Where we landed on the island this immediately led us to the gravel beach where those famous Roger Moore scenes were shot back in the 70s.
From the beach there is a single path which leads around to the other side of the island and finishes on another beach. This is the other location where boats can moor up.
On the island there really isn’t anything to do other than buy the vendors merchandise and take your photos of the iconic island. The path between the 2 beaches offers numerous viewpoints however so you can take your time and pick your favourite angle.
There are also monkeys on the island (although we didn’t see any) so keep your eyes and ears peeled!
Finally before you leave the island, at the second beach that we visited, away from the vendors, take a look across the sea to the island on the opposite side. If you look closely there is a strange formation of trees that looks like a lion/tiger jumping on what appears to be a pig/other animal!
James Bond Island review
Our visit to James Bond Island was excellent for several reasons. The fact that we had the island to ourselves and with no other boats in the water was incredible thanks to the Siam team taking us there so early. The Siam Adventure World really were fantastic; they were organised, welcoming and didn’t overload the boat which ultimately made for a really safe and enjoyable trip. It was also an easy transfer to the island as part of a larger day trip and was really brought to life and made all the more interesting by our fantastic English speaking guide from Siam Adventure World, Ron.
If you’re unsure about whether to visit James Bond Island then I would recommend to stop considering and start booking! Not only that but use Siam Adventure World for a far more premium and private experience. You really won’t regret it.
Are you planning a trip to Phuket and James Bond Island this year? Let us know in the comments!