A Visit to James Bond Island

James Bond Island Thailand
On James Bond Island, the filming location of The Man With the Golden Gun, in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Since I was a young boy, James Bond has had an important role in my life. I still remember watching the TBS marathons with my father in the Poconos: especially The Man With The Golden Gun. The image of solar panels rising out of a rock in the middle of the water has been ingrained in my head for two decades: how lucky that that rock was just a boat tour away.

Every day thousands of tourists board boats for tours with dozens of agendas: but they all seem to stop at James Bond Island around lunchtime. This was exactly what I did not want, but after looking around with little success I resolved to joining the masses: until we found Sim’s Tours.

Offering a twilight cruise around Phang Nga Bay (pronounced fang-nah), Sim’s tour began with a cruise around the crags and concluded with a stop on James Bond Island just before sunset. However, first we had to get there.

 

Phang Nga Bay - James Bond Island - Thailand
Paying admission to get onto James Bond Island

Where’s the Bus?!

James Bond Island magnets
James Bond Island magnets

After being five minutes late to the pickup due to our timeshare presentation we found that the bus to the dock had left without us. Repeated calls to the bus resulted in more frustrations, as they did not want to wait for us. However, after some pleading they agreed, so we flagged down a motorcycle taxi and told him to step on it so we could catch up with the bus.

In true Bondian fashion we sped down the streets of Phuket, weaving in and out of traffic before finally catching up with the bus. However, after that it was smooth sailing. The tour was amazing, the crags beyond beautiful and James Bond Island was just as I imagined it. Best of all, when we arrived we were the only boat there for a solid few minutes. I was, of course, the first to jump off to ensure that my photos did not have any other tourists in them.

 

The Muslim Gypsy Village

Phang Nga Bay - James Bond Island - Thailand
The most iconic part of James Bond island

The one other stop on our tour was the Muslim Gypsy village: a collection of houses on stilts that used to be a traditional town but has since become a tourist trap. It was sad to see that the entire village is now a floating market filled with stall after stall selling the same tee shirts, magnets, post cards and souvenirs…many with James Bond Island plastered across them. Still, although I did not like what I saw, I couldn’t resist the chance to get some keepsakes for myself.

Though Sim’s tour met all our crag-viewing needs, we had already signed up for another tour. So, the next day we hopped onto a sweet yacht and headed to a series of islands near Krabi for some snorkeling, sightseeing and relaxing on pure white sandy beaches. Highlights included an island whose rocks looked like a chicken, seeing rock climbers hard at work on Rai Lay Beach, watching tourists cross an underwater sand dune and a delicious lunch overlooking the blue waters. Even the snorkeling was impressive…and I am not a fan of snorkeling.