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.
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.
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.
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 🙂