James Bond Island (Khao Ping Kan) is one of the many must-see places people want to tick-off their list when in Phuket. There are many positive and negative opinions about James Bond Island, and most are justified. Before that old 1974 James Bond movie ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ with Roger Moore and Christopher Lee (remember ‘Count Dracula’ and ‘Saruman’ in Lord of the Rings?) no one knew about it.
The movie wasn’t even good (45% on Rotten Tomatoes). Of course, James Bond Island had a local name before: Koh Tapu, meaning ‘Nail Island’ for the pointy rock, and Koh Phi Khan for the island surrounding it, meaning ‘hills leaning against each other”.
After the movie, the popularity of the remote James Bond Island literally exploded. The same thing happened for ‘The Beach’ in Phi Phi Island after the DiCaprio 2000 movie (19% on Rotten Tomatoes) and the Sky Bar at Lebua Hotel in Bangkok after the movie ‘The Hangover II” (33% satisfaction, because I know you would ask).
So let’s list what’s good and what’s not about James Bond Island. You will then be in a better position to decide if you want to see it or not.
- The location is out of this world! James Bond Island is in Phang Nga Bay and even the cruise from Phuket Island through the fantastic limestone cliffs is breathtaking.
- James Bond Island itself is very scenic. It’s a natural curiosity and a great photo opportunity, the reason why it was selected for the movie.
- It’s always fun to see the real thing from a movie, even old, and to realise there is no door to the secret lair and no radar coming out of the rock!
- It’s part of a beautiful day trip to the above mentioned fabulous Phang Nga Bay, and it usually includes a lunch at the surprising floating village of Koh Panyi
- You can buy and eat some delicious flat dried squid (Pla Mook Haeng). That’s if you like this kind of local treats 😀
What’s Not So Good
Not much considering what you get in return:
- James Bond island is a big tourist attraction, and the place is full of vendors selling all kinds of souvenir, just the way it is everywhere around the world.
- The place gets crowded at high season, with lots of long tail boats and lots of people posing in front of the rock, you know the sill shot similar to the Pisa Tower: “oh look! I’m holding it!’. Fun times 🙂
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