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James Bond Island (Ko Khao Phing Kan), Thailand

by Dean Wickham on January 17, 2012

in Asia, Destinations, Featured, Thailand

Long tail boat in Phang Nga Bay near James bond island, Thailand

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.

Sea caves at James Bond Island, Thailand

Sea caves line the cliffs of the island

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.

Long tail boats at James Bond Island, Thailand

The parking bay for long tail boats

The central beach was completely covered in tourists and also has a line of makeshift shops selling various souvenirs. 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.

Ko Tapu at James Bond Island, Thailand

A boat makes it’s way past Ko Tapu

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.

Beach at James Bond Island, Thailand

A less crowded beach on James Bond Island

Ko Tapu at James Bond Island, Thailand

Another view of Ko Tapu

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.

Inside sea caves at James Bond Island, Thailand

Inside the caves

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.

Boats from sea caves at James Bond Island, Thailand

Looking out from the caves

Sea caves at James Bond Island, Thailand

Looking through the “windows” of the caves

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.

long tail boat at James Bond Island, Thailand

Our long tail boat at James Bond Island

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?

 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Dayna January 18, 2012 at 12:49 am

Those caves look incredible!

Reply

Dean Wickham January 18, 2012 at 8:49 am

Hi Dayna, the caves were quite interesting. I found it amazing how the water has carved out the limestone like that.

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Brock - Backpack With Brockb January 18, 2012 at 8:58 am

Those cliffs and rocks are amazing… and scary! Were you able to climb up to the top?

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Dean Wickham January 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Hey Brock. No I wasn’t able to climb to the top, the cliffs are basically vertical all around. You would have to do some serious rock climbing to do it, but I bet the view would be incredible! :)

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Cam January 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Haven’t been to that island…. yet! I can’t get enough of Thailand ;-)

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Dean Wickham January 19, 2012 at 10:36 am

Hey Cam, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. I can’t get enough of Thailand either. I was only there a few months ago and already want to go back :) Cheers

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Christy @ Technosyncratic January 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Wow, this looks beautiful. We’re actually trying to figure out what Thai island(s) to visit next month, so this is helpful. Overall, which one was your favorite? :)

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Dean Wickham January 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Hi Christy, James Bond Island is very beautiful, but it’s tiny and only good for a day trip from Phuket or other nearby places. My favourite island in Thailand was Koh Phangan, we had just had a really relaxed time there in our beach bungalow right on a beautiful quiet beach for 500baht per night. Highly recommend it, but get away from Haad Rin – the main party beach. Cheers!

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Jade - OurOyster.com January 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Wow it looks really beautiful! I never went to the south of thailand when I was there – it is so much different from the north!

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Dean Wickham January 22, 2012 at 7:05 am

Hi Jade, the South of Thailand definitely is a lot different to the north. It really shows how diverse the country is.

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cheryl January 22, 2012 at 10:35 am

Sometimes really touristy destinations aren’t so bad! Especially this one … so pretty and picturesque. :)

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Dean Wickham January 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I agree, sometimes the touristy places are well worth visiting. There’s usually a reason why so many people visit the place! :) Cheers Cheryl

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