James Bond Island is most popular landmark in Phang Nga Bay. It first found its way onto the international tourist map when it was chosen as the site of Scaramanga’s lair in the James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. Before that 1974 Bond movie starring Roger Moore and Christopher Lee no one knew about this island. A distinctive trait of this famous bay is the number of sheer limestone cliffs that vertically jut out of the emerald-green water. James Bond Island had a local name : Koh Tapu, meaning ‘Nail Island’ for the pointy rock, and Koh Phi Khan for the island surrounding it, meaning “hills leaning against each other”.
Although the island of Phuket is stunning and exotic setting in its own right, one of the biggest draws for the people visiting Phuket is the opportunity to indulge in some island hopping! In the shallow blue green waters of the Phang Nga Bay is a karst landscape with vertical cliffs and overhanging rocks having craggy, icicle-shaped formations jutting from their underside. When you pass by in a boat, it gives you the feeling of being an ancient seafarer discovering the mysteries of the sea.
Visited by thousands every day, it is a majestic, gravity-defying structure that rises in the middle of water, creating a unique island formation that captured the imaginations of the very people that made the movie franchise a worldwide phenomenon. The origins of Koh Tapu has an interesting mythical story.
According to legend, a fisherman used to fish in the waters where the rock island is located today. This fisherman caught plenty of fish every day, but one day, all he caught with his net was a piece of nail. He threw the nail back into the water, but when he threw his net, he would catch it again – with no fish in sight. In a rage, he hit the nail with a sharp object with all his might, forcing one-half of the nail to jump into the water, which led to the rising of a rock formation that is the Ko Tapu.
It is a protected marine area of the Ao Phang Nga Marine National Park, so boats aren’t allowed to get too close to the island. This formation is under the protection of Ao Phang Nga National Park and since 1998 boats have not been allowed to sail too close to the island. This ban is part of a programme to slow the erosion of the limestone rocks that if unchecked could eventually result in its collapse. The two best ways to view James Bond Island are from top or from a small beach on Koh Ping Ghan. Koh Ping Ghan is a very high leaning rock with several small caves inside. It’s pretty amazing and fun to check them all out.
James Bond Island is a sight not to miss in Phuket. It is an incredible sight to behold and makes for an excellent experience with the beauties of nature.
Tips to the Travelers :
1) 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. Make sure you spend your time in shopping after finishing the island trip.
2) The place gets crowded at high season, with lots of long-tail boats and lots of people posing in front of the rock, so wait for your turn to come.
3) You can buy and eat some delicious flat dried squid (Pla Mook Haeng). That’s if you like this kind of local treats.
4) Please carry your drinking water and energy bar along with sunglass and sunscreen.
5) For private trip you have to pay 400 bhat to the National Park Ranger’s as entrance fee.
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