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James Bond Island, Phuket, Thailand
James Bond Island
James Bond Island has become a major attraction for tourists visiting the island of Phuket. The island which is known to locals as Ko Phing Kan was made famous by the James Bond film 'The Man with the Golden Gun' as end scene of this film was shot at this location. The film starred Roger Moore, Christopher Lee and Brit Eckland. The island is where Scaramanga's (the bad guy played by Christopher Lee) hideout was located. It was on the large limestone rock where he had hidden his laser weapon. It is this huge rock, locally known as Ko Tapu (Nail island) that the tourists come to see and photograph.
James Bond Island is in fact part of the Phang Nga Bay National Park which consists of more than 40 small islands with huge limestone cliffs, caves, mangroves and coral reefs. Phang Nga Bay is situated in the Andaman Sea, it was established in 1981 and covers an area of roughly 400 sq km.
From the island of Phuket there are day trips and excursions to James Bond Island. Information can be found in most hotels or alternatively there are tour operators scattered all over Phuket, found at the tourist hot spots. Our trip started with an early morning pick up by mini bus from our hotel in Karon Beach. After travelling a while we stopped at the Monkey Cave Temple to see the large reclining Buddha statue and the monkeys which seem to everywhere. The monkeys didn't have to search far for a meal as most people on the trip seemed intent on feeding them.
After a quick browse around, with enough time to take some photos, feed the monkeys and have some refreshments, we continued on to the departure point at Phang Nga Bay. Once here were put on our life-jackets and boarded the long tail boat which took us to James Bond Island. As we made our way to the island the boat twisted its way through the narrow waters flanked by lots of small islands with mangrove trees. We travelled through limestone caves and took in the wonderful sights and stunning scenery.
After a while we arrive in the open sea and we passed the Muslim Village where we stopped on the return journey for something to eat and drink. We traveled a little further and arrived at the island. We were given about 30 minutes to explore the island and take some photos.
The main attraction of James Bond Island is of course the large rock which stands in the sea, a short distance from the narrow beach. The rock is made of limestone and stands about 20 meters high, the top is 8 meters in diameter and tapers down to 4 meters at the bottom.
There are also many vendors on the island selling souvenirs and trinkets, however many of the gifts are vastly overpriced so be prepared to barter the price down or you will get ripped off. It should also be noted that many of the items for sale here can be purchased at the Muslim Village if your are strapped for time.
On the return trip we stopped off at the Muslim Village for lunch. The village, which is built on large wooden stilts that are sunk into the sea bed, backs onto a large limestone rock. There is also an opportunity to shop for souvenirs, clothes etc. You can also have your photo taken with some monkeys or an eagle for a small fee.
It was then back the boat as we travelled back to shore, finally returning to the hotel on the minibus.