James Bond Island, a once in a lifetime experience

I decided to go on a James Bond Island tour just after the Covid lockdown. It turned out to be perfect timing.

James Bond Island got its name from the 1974 James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun,” where the stunning limestone cliffs in Phang Nga Bay were an essential part of the film.

The iconic Ko Tapu was the biggest star and still is. Now almost 50 years later, when 007 is gone, it still looks stunning, and is still the main attraction in Phang Nag Bay.

A boat trip to James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay is usually a day trip, where you visit several exciting places.

Depending on the tour, it can include a visit to the floating village on Koh Panyee, a canoe trip in the mangrove forest, some snorkeling, and a visit to the bat cave at Panak Island.

But, the fantastic limestone cliff formations, you see all over the bay are something you’ll remember for years.

But no matter which tour you choose, in most cases, you’ll be sitting with 20-30 other tourists like a herring in a barrel, in a noisy speedboat for the whole day.

Some might like it and find it charming, but it’s not for me, so I decided to take a more individual approach to my little adventure.

Instead of booking one of the traditional tourist tours, I took my car and drove toward Phang Nga Bay, northeast of Phuket.

When I crossed the bridge from Phuket, I didn´t have to drive very far before I started to see primitive hand-painted signs.

They all had pictures of James Bond Island and advertising boat trips there.

I followed the signs to Hin Rom Pier to find a longtail that would take me to the island.


007 island Phuket Thailand 02
When I arrived at Hin Rom Pier, it was not a problem to find a longtail boat that would take me to 007 Island. 
Before I even came near the pier, the boat people tried Shanghai me to get on their tour.
At every pier I’ve visited in Thailand, I’ve experienced salespeople wanting to sell me tours to whatever island might be nearby.
But I like to see the boat first, so I went straight to where the boats were moored and chose the long-tail boat I thought looked best and safest.  

From Hin Rom Pier, it was only a short boat ride out to the island, and it was a great experience to sail past all the fantastic limestone cliffs.

Even though I have been out exploring Ao Phang Nga National Park many times, I am always amazed to see the cliffs dotting the bay.

It is particularly fascinating to think that 2-300 million years ago, these were not rocks but a coral reef 300 meters below sea level.

007 Island, is not one but two islands. All boats docks at the larger of the two, Khao Phing Kan.

Because it is a protected national park, you have to pay an entrance fee, so the first stop on the island is the Ranger Station, where you buy your ticket.

Once you have paid for your ticket, the next stop is an area with souvenir shops. It usually is packed with tourists, but when I arrived, there were none.

Only half of the shops were open, but they were empty; there wasn’t a tourist to be seen. The Covid lockdown still had its grip on the island.

You must take the small footpath to get to the other side of the island, where you can admire the iconic Ko Tapu. 


This beach, almost without people, makes this picture very special.

The beach is usually completely packed with tourists. So you’ll have to queue up to get a spot on the beachfront, so you can photograph the “nail,” as the limestone rock is called in Thai.

But when I visited, there were only 5-6 other tourists, on the whole island, so I had it almost to myself.

Ko Tapu stands like a nail 20 meters tall in the small bay 40 meters from the shore of Khao Phing Kan.
Sure, the Covid lockdown was terrible, but from a photographer’s point of view, maybe not so bad.
Being able to have it all to yourself is beyond even the wildest dreams.
I visited the 007 island for the first time in 2000, already then, there were too many tourists, and it was hard to get nice pictures.
The kind of pictures, without a million other tourists taking selfies.
It spoils the illusion that you are on a deserted island and you are ’the man with the golden gun’ about to meet James Bond.
At one place on the island, the rocks have shifted so that there is an almost entirely smooth wall.
On the wall are plaques with the autographs of the actors who starred in the James Bond film “The man with the golden gun.”
The plaques have been changed several times since they were first put there.
They get worn down by all the fingers who want to touch the autographs.
There are also a few small caves on the island that you can explore. But they are small and quickly get crowded when the tourist are back in full numbers.
So you can easily get a claustrophobic feeling—like if you are in an overcrowded elevator that has broken down between 2 floors.
But once more, I was lucky; they were empty when I was there, so I got some nice pictures.

Here a picture taken from the beach. You can only see two small local fishing boats in the shallows if you look closely

In the background, you can see the stairs leading to the other side of the island. 

The picture below shows a close-up of the iconic Ko Tapu. (but you properly already figured the that out 🙂

How to visit James bond island Phang Nga bay

Visit James Bond island by speedboat:

Most of the tours to the iconic island are by speedboat and include a tour guide. You can book a tour at many places; at your hotel, online, and at the boots selling tours you see everywhere around Phuket, just to mention a few options.

But be prepared; it will be a group tour, so you loos control, the moment they pick you up in the morning 🙂

Visit James Bond island by private boat.

My favorite is to visit James bond island by private boat as I did,. It is very easy. Go to a pier close to the Island and find a boat.
 In that way, you are in control of everything, and you can also ask the boatman to show you other small islands around Phang Nga bay or the Muslim fishing village on stilts.
Click on the picture and go to Google maps
Click on the picture and jump to Google maps.