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Visit The Unique Scenery Of James Bond Island In Thailand

James Bond island (Koh Tapu), Thailand
James Bond island (Koh Tapu), Thailand [Image by Joan Campderrós-i-Canas/Flickr]
Phang Nga Bay in Thailand features around 100 unusual islands including one iconic rock known as James Bond Island. It was back in 1974 that the 007 movie, The Man with the Golden Gun made this sheer, jutting rock famous.  Meanwhile, the rock is more officially known as Koh Tapu (Nail Island) for its vertical shape, jutting out of the water.

Visit James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay first got the notice of international travelers after starring in the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun. Now, it is a famous landmark in the bay. However, what makes the bay particularly distinctive is the many sheer limestone shapes that stand vertically in the emerald-green water.

Close up of James Bond Island
Closer view of Koh Tapu [Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay]
The outline of the island, known in Thai as Koh Tapu or “Nail Island” is next to another, equally popular site, Koh Ping Ghan. In fact, the entire surrounding area is spectacular and bizarre, although this does mean it gets crowded with tourist boats in the high season.

Highlights of Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay covers an area of around 400 sq km (250 sq mi) and hosts approximately 100 islands. Many of these islands also have distinctive and peculiar shapes.

The bay is a protected marine area in the Ao Phang Nga Marine National Park, which means boats can’t get too close to James Bond Island. This makes sense with its delicate and unusual structure, with the large upper part and narrower bottom. However, visitors can view the island from a boat or from the small beach on Koh Ping Ghan.

James Bond island (Koh Tapu) with Koh Ping Ghan on the right
James Bond island (Koh Tapu) with Koh Ping Ghan on the right [Image by kmarius from Pixabay]
Meanwhile, Koh Ping Ghan is a fascinating rock, which is high-leaning and has a number of small caves. The small beach tends to get crowded as there are market stalls selling souvenirs crafted from wood and shells.

Things to do around James Bond Island

The bay surrounding the iconic island is popular for kayaking and sailing. Meanwhile, organized tours can be found, taking travelers to other popular islands in the Andaman Sea. These offer a fresh seafood lunch at Koh Panyee, a Muslim village built on wooden stilts, where locals make a living by fishing.

Koh Panyee village, Thailand
Koh Panyee Village, Thailand [Image by Mathieu Schoutteten/Flickr]
The village is remarkable, as it was built over the water with a large rock guarding its rear. Meanwhile, there are many huts, shacks, houses and restaurants in the village, also built on stilts in the shallow water. No one seems to know how all the many wooden structures hold up this unusual community, but it is a unique feat of informal engineering. Meanwhile, for those who have seen the Apple TV+ series, Foundation, it somehow brings to mind Gaal Dornick and the other natives of the water planet, Synnax.

For those wishing to be more independent, long-tail boats are available for rent at Surakul Pier in Phang Nga. Each can accommodate around 10 people, making this convenient for groups.

Find out more about Koh Panyee and the area on the tourism website here. Just for fun, watch the scene where James Bond (Roger Moore) arrives at Koh Tapu Island below.


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