As a movie fan, I am being completely honest when I say that James Bond was a big favorite of mine. The action and suspense along with the irresistible romance was a faultless recipe that captivated millions of people. So much so, that twenty-seven Double 07 movies have been made over the past 60 years.
Now that I am ranting on about the Bond movies, you might be wondering how they relate to such a small Thai island. Well, allow me to explain. James Bond Island is also known as Khao Phing Kan, and the island is world-renowned after it starred in The Man With The Golden Gun film in 1974. These island-featured scenes still live on today through visiting this fascinating spot, and I loved every second of being here.
I found the island itself to be larger than expected, and there are quite a few caves here to explore. In this guide, I will walk you through my experience of James Bond Island along with nearby islands that I visited at Phang Nga Bay. This includes the most interesting part of the entire tour, the amazing Ko Ta Pu!
One Marvellous Day on James Bond Island – A Guide to Khao Phing Kan
- How to Get to Khao Phing Kan
- Why Is It Called James Bond Island?
- How Long Does It Take to See Everything?
- Panak Island
- Ko Tapu (James Bond Island)
- Koh Panyee
- Koh Hong
- Panya Beach
- How To Book a Group Tour for Phang Nga Islands
How to Get to James Bond Island?
The only way you can get to the island is by boat. These boats exclusively operate for tours so you will need to book a tour of Phang Nga Bay to be able to get there. The island is 25 kilometers away from the Ao Por Pier and is in the northeast direction of Phuket.
It took us around an hour to get there from the harbor, although there were countless sights on the way which made the journey run smoothly. Most of the day trips around James Bond Island are 8-9 hours, so for this reason you can expect an earlier start at around 8 am-9 am.
This early morning start ran very smoothly for us, and our tour included a hotel pickup which made things a lot more tolerable.
Why Is It Called James Bond Island?
There is no hiding the fact that James Bond is an incredibly famous film. So much so, that this entire island has been named after the film series. However, it isn’t the island itself that is related to James Bond for the most part, but a tall floating rock that lies close to the center of it.
This rock is known as Ko Tapu and it is extremely high to say the least. It is a whopping 20 meters tall and was the main feature in The Man with the Golden Gun Bond movie in 1974. As most tourists come here because of the James Bond film, this is the reason the island was named after the film’s star character.
Panak Island was the first stop on our tour of Phang Nga Bay. This gorgeous island with crystal blue waters was more than a sight worth seeing. I was surprised to be greeted by a monkey here which I was not expecting in the slightest. Our tour guide told us that the monkeys at Panak are special because they can hunt and catch crabs in the water.
Although I only saw one which was sitting on the ocean shore where the boats arrive, most of them reside in a cave at Panak Island. In fact, there are so many monkeys in this exact cave that it is officially nicknamed “The Monkey Cave.”
One of the most significant activities to do here as explained by our tour guide is to explore the local caves. The cave we explored is known as the Batcave. But you have to pass through the cave and get back out again before the high tide otherwise there is no way to get out.
If you are thinking about going to the Batcave here, it is important to mention that it is very dark inside as you venture further into the cave. Luckily, we were all equipped with torches as part of the tour, so this wasn’t a problem at all.
Ko Tapu (James Bond Island)
Ko Tapu island was the second stop on our amazing tour, and it had the one spot that me and my friend were most excited about. The ultra famous James Bond Island! An interesting fact about this location is that the island is officially called Khao Phing Kan. However, a large number of tourists began visiting this location after the movie was released so it was given the nickname James Bond Island.
After arriving, the first place to see is of course Ko Tapu. You can find this iceberg-shaped rock directly in the center of Khao Ping Kan. Upon coming here, it felt instinctive for me to take as many photos as I could, and that is exactly what I did!
Ko Tapu is precisely 20 meters tall, and the name literally translates to the “nail” or “spike” island. While seeing this little floating piece of land, it became obvious very quickly why it has this name. Although it quite honestly looks more like a tooth or diamond!
I would highly recommend getting a photo next to Ko Tapu for your Instagram and other social media feeds. A photo here really does stand out, and you can tell your friends you’ve visited an island where a scene from James Bond was filmed.
As a person who has traveled around Indonesia extensively, I found it fascinating to discover that Koh Panyee is inhabited by Thai Muslims from Java. Although the population of slightly less than 2,000 people is minuscule, I was still amazed that tourists can visit here and see how these local families experience their day-to-day lives.
Koh Panyee is essentially a floating fishing village, and fishing is one of the main ways that the locals here sustain their way of life. For this reason, there is plenty of seafood on offer that you can buy and take home with you if it is your preference. Another fun thing to buy is the jewelry on offer here, this serves as both a charming souvenir and it helps support the local people of the village. I saw quite a lot of necklaces on sale in Koh Panyee and some of them were honestly quite beautiful.
This special little village is worth visiting and it is an exceedingly rare and authentic experience. It is not often you can come to a place like this, and it offers an alternative perspective compared to busy cities or more densely populated areas.
That is what travel is about after all!
Another unmissable part of our island tour that we visited was Koh Hong Island. Although there is a terrific-looking beach here, I would say the best thing by far to do is to canoe around and take in all the stunning scenery. The emerald green water at Koh Hong is truly a natural wonder to feast your eyes on, and I don’t believe I’ve seen water that is like this color in all my years of traveling.
Although I didn’t go snorkeling while I was here, it is one of the more popular activities to do while visiting. I saw a lot of tourists with their snorkeling gear on, and it is easy to book a snorkeling tour online with websites such as Net Tours Asia.
Besides snorkeling and canoeing around the Ice Cream Cave in Phang Nga Province, taking in the sights of this natural island sensation is more than enough. In addition to the fact it is uninhabited and has been preserved extremely well over the years.
Our last stop on our tour adventure of James Bond Island was Panya Beach. I really appreciated coming here because I hadn’t relaxed all day, and this was a well-planned choice by the tour operators. What I loved most about Panya Beach wasn’t just the fact it was spacious with crystal white sand and deckchairs to sit on. It is also situated on the tiny island of Pa Klok, which ensured that it was considerably less busy than other more densely populated beaches I’ve been to.
I relaxed here for a while and enjoyed a cold fruit juice from Na Ka Island bar before finishing our tour. This beach completed a perfect end to our island visit and provided the energizing vibes that our tired bodies craved after the long day tour.
How to Book a Group Tour for Phang Nga Bay
There are several useful websites and apps that offer tours of Phang Nga.
I still recommend Get Your Guide as a touring company because they have always been great in my experience. You can choose from different tours depending on several factors including:
- The reviews of the tour
- The length of time it is on for
Get Your Guide is always my go-to tour booking company and I love using them for experienced guides who know the local area. Our tour of the islands went especially smoothly with them too.
Discover James Bond Island with the tours below
- Experience James Bond Island on a luxury cruise equipped with a full bar, day beds, DJ, and dance floor on this Phuket: James Bond Island Luxury Sunset Cruise
- Enjoy a wonderful day trip to the world-famous James Bond Island by luxury boat, with lunch included on this tour Phuket: James Bond Island & Canoeing Day Tour by Luxury Boat
1. Is It Possible to Stay Overnight at Phang Nga Bay?
Yes, I was surprised to find out that there are several good hotel options in Phang Nga to stay at. Most of these are on the island of Koh Yao Noi which means you can quite easily stay there and visit the neighboring islands in your own time. This is especially good for those who want to explore Phang Nga Bay at a slower pace.
I understand that not everyone wants to explore the islands in less than a day, so it makes sense that there is the option of staying over at Koh Yao Noi. There are some impressive hotels choices on this island, although be aware because some do come with a steep price.
2. Is It Worth Visiting James Bond Island?
Yes, I would definitely say so and even more if you enjoy the James Bond films. Some of the scenery here is absolutely stunning and tour prices are very reasonable. For this reason, I would highly recommend coming here for a day trip from Phuket.
There is plenty to do at Phang Nga Bay, and most group tours will allow you to see the most exciting places smoothly and easily. The diverse range of scenery from caves and beaches to gorgeous limestone formations at the popular islands make it an unmissable part of Phuket to see.
Although James Bond Island was the highlight of my trip, there is more than enough to see here and I’m sure you will not regret visiting!
Remember to bookmark this page for the next time you visit to ensure your trip is the best it can be.