James Bond Island or locally known as Khao Phing Kan is a pair of islands situated on the West Coast of Thailand. Located in the Phang Nga Bay of Andaman Sea, the massive nail-like rock structure rising from between the water is a limestone cliff. It is a famous getaway from Phuket and is most popular for the 1974 James Bond movie, ‘Tha Man with the Golden Gun' which was shot here.
The island was renowned as the James Bond Island because of the 1974 James Bond movie, ‘Tha Man with the Golden Gun'. Since then the island has been immortalised as the James Bond Island. Soon after earning a name, it became a famous getaway from Phuket and one of the top tourist destinations of Thailand.
Read More on James Bond Island, Phuket
Highlights of the Island
The Phang Nga Bay houses around 100 islands and James Bond Island is one among them. Most of the islands in the bay are known for their unconventional formations. Similarly, James Bond Island is known for the rocky pinnacle like structure which was featured in the 1974 James Bond movie.
Risk Factors However, the island is under the protection of Ao Phang Nga National Park; hence, no boats are allowed to get close to the island. Another risk factor is the formation of the limestone cliff, which is big on the upper part and slimmer at the bottom. For this reason, James Bond Island is viewed from the boats or the beaches of Koh Ping Ghan.
Exotic Flora and Fauna When talking about flora and fauna of the James Bond Island, one will find evergreen trees, shrubs, prickly pear cactus, cycads which survive on the rainwater. The shallow waters, warm temperatures also favoured the growth of mangrove forests and nourishing around 24 species of fish, 14 species of shrimp, 26 species of reptiles, 15 species of crab, 16 species of manta rays, sharks, and a lot more. Besides these, blue crabs, mudskipper, rainbow cuttlefish, Pomfret, mackerel, and some bird species like the striated heron, little egret, etc.
Things to Do In James Bond Island
Since the time the island of Khao Phing Kan and Ko Tapu received worldwide fame, tourist activities have increased in the island. You will mostly find several tour operators providing a combined package of events along with the visit to the famous islands. This package also includes lunch in nearby villages.
Tour Package Rates Mostly the usual rates of these tours start from THB 3,800 (INR 8,460). Also, there is a small entry fee for James Bond Island, which is THB 300 (INR 668) per person. 1. Sailing It is better to select a tour operator which provides sailing through the island in their package. The local sailing boats will have the necessary facilities, and they will take you along the Phang Nga Bay. But know that they will not be able to bring you very close to the limestone cliffs in the water. It is solely because of the precarious state of the island. Besides this, you can also rent a longtail boat to experience more freedom while exploring the place. Cost: A longtail boat will cost between THB 1500 to 2000 (INR 3,341 to 4,454) which can carry up to ten people.
2. Kayaking If you want to explore the majestic beauty of the place yourself, you can opt for kayaking in the Andaman Sea. You can wait until the evening to witness the sunset while kayaking. Cost: Kayaking can cost THB 1,500 (INR 3,341) for adults and THB 1,200 (INR 2,670) for children between three to eleven years.
3. Swimming The pure waters of the Phang Nga Bay is irresistible when it comes to taking a dip in it. The water is fresh enough to swim across the islands and find some marine life. Cost: Some tour operators also provide swimming facilities, and this can cost around THB 4,000 (INR 8,900) which would also include canoeing and lunch on the boat.
Local Names of the Island - Khao Phing Kan and Ko Tapu
The Etymology of Khao Phing Kan and Ko Tapu is quite impressive. Khao Ping Kam translates to “hills leaning against each other” and Ko Tapu to “nail” or “spike.” The islands get their names because of the unique shapes of the limestone cliffs. However, after earning the title as James Bond Island, the original names are barely used by anyone, including the locals.
Best Time to Visit James Bond Island
November to February is the best time to visit James Bond as the water in these months does not get icy; hence, it provides an ideal time for exploration. The hot months from April to June and the rest of the rainy season is not a conducive time to visit the island.
Since most of the activities involve contact with water, it is advisable to carry electronic equipment safely.
It can be dangerous for boat tours; hence, do not try the same when opting for individual kayaking or sailing.
Start your trip early so that you can avoid the selfie-taking crowds.
How To Reach James Bond Island
By Bus From Phuket and Krabi, a local bus to Phang Nga Bay will take around two hours, costing THB 100 (INR 222).
By Boat After this, one needs to hire a longtail boat which can cost between THB 1500 to 2000 (INR 3,341 to 4,454). A group of ten people can get on the longtail boat at one time.
Private Tour Besides this, one can also book a private tour which will allow you to have a longtail boat for yourself. Prices: Individual tour package - THB 8,000 to THB 10,000 (INR 17,800 to 22,288).
If you do not find a longtail boat, you can also opt for six to eight-seater speedboat to get to James Bond Island. Prices: THB 1,800 to 2,800 (INR 4,200 to 6,300) from Krabi and Phuket respectively.