After exploring the Muslim fishing village on Koh Panyee, we hopped back in our long tail boat to continue our tour of the beautiful Phang Nga Bay. This part of southern Thailand is dotted with spectacular limestone karst islands, and the next on our schedule was the famous Ko Khao Phing Kan, more commonly known as “James Bond Island”.
The island became famous after the 1974 James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed here, therefore taking on it’s now more commonly used name, James Bond Island.
From Koh Panyee, it was only a short boat ride to the island, and ignoring the many boats and other tourists, I could instantly see why they chose to use the island as the villain’s secret hideout in the movie. Two tall, rugged limestone karsts rise up out of the water, with a tiny beach connecting them in the middle. As we arrived at the beach, trying to find room to pull in next to the parking bay of long tailed boats, I noticed lots of sea caves in the cliffs, along with hordes of tourists inside of them.
We all stumbled off the boat and splashed down into the warm tropical waters, which I was pleased to see were crystal clear and free of rubbish, and we were then free to explore the island.
The central beach was completely covered in tourists and also has a line of makeshift shops selling various┬ásouvenirs. Passing quickly by them we took the short walk over to the opposite side of the beach, where we got our first view of the famous Ko Tapu, a tall limestone spire that rises up out of the water, and is a draw card for tourists.
Dodging all of the people getting their photos taken of them pretending to hold up the spire, I took a few photos and then continued up the trail that follows around the cliffs of the island.
The rocky path climbed up and down part of the rugged limestone cliff, and came down onto another, less crowded beach on the other side. The beach itself cut in under the cliff, providing some great shelter from the sun. With less tourists we were also able to stop and stand out in the water and take in the true beauty of the island.
We made our way back to where the boat was waiting for us, and with some time to spare I decided to climb up and explore some of the sea caves that are cut into the cliffs of the island. The hordes of tourists that were in there when we had arrived had now disappeared and I had the place to myself.
The limestone caves have some amazing rock formations, and looking out onto the sea the formations provided “windows” to view the boats coming in and out of the small bay.
The caves were interesting to explore, and after taking a few more photos I made my way back to the beach, where we hopped back into the boat to continue our journey.
To be honest, Ko Khao Phing Kan is a huge tourist draw card, and it’s not somewhere to go to have a peaceful island escape. However it is without a doubt a very beautiful place, it’s very photogenic and also, who wouldn’t want to visit the secret hideout of the villain from a James Bond movie?
Have you been to James Bond Island in Thailand? What did you think?