Thursday, March 1, 2007

James Bond Island in Phang-Nga

James Bond Island
Phang-Nga

What does it take to put a tourist destination on the international map? Great beaches, crystal clear water, clement weather? Not really… You are certainly best off trying to get it into a James Bond movie! The 1974 film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ is remembered for three things; a gun (made up of gold jewellery), an arch villain (Scaramanga), and those odd shaped little islands where Scaramanga set up base.

Although on the tourist circuit they are collective know as James Bond Island, there were in fact two islands featured in the movie. Koh Khao Phing Kan in Phang-Nga Bay was the bad guy’s base and cone-shaped (broad at the top and narrow at the bottom) Koh Tapu where he hid what we would call today a ‘weapon of mass destruction’.

Although there is no doubt that James Bond Island is a ‘must see’ destination, you are probably aware of what you will get. Most people reach the island by tour and although there are some genuinely beautiful sights to be seen, the tours usually involve you being dropped of on a beach to be confronted by swarms of vendors trying to palm off tasteless souvenirs! Classic! The tours do often include a lunch at Koh Panyi which is a step in the right direction.

Our advice: Do it… despite everything, it’s an enjoyable trip!

How to get there: There is a bus boat that moves around the islands and ends up at James Bond Island but by far the largest number of people do this trip via a tour from Phuket that takes people through some of the major sites on the way. Alternatively, take a boat cruise from the north of Phuket Island – less crowds and a bit quieter.

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