James Bond Island Tour with Longtail Boat - Schedule & Price

This is the following standard schedule and price of a day trip tour package to James Bond Island via Longtail Traditional Boat for tourists departing from hotels in Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga:

Long Tail Tourist Boats in Thailand
Long Tail Tourist Boats in Thailand
  1. Prepay Longtail Traditional Boat Tour at your hotel or nearest travel agent for a price ranging from 1,100 to 2,000 Thai Baht ($34 to $62) per person, depending on season and promotional pricing (always check for an extra discount :) ).
  2. Tourist Bus will usually arrange pick up at your hotel or nearest collection point between 9am to 10 am in the morning.
  3. The Tourist Bus will then proceed on a 1.5 hour journey to Phang Nga Pier however there is a short sightseeing break at the Monkey Caves attraction where visitors can see the caves with special Buddha statue, feed the monkeys and also grab quick snacks and refreshments before continuing to the Pier destination.
  4. Once arrived at the Pier you soon are loaded onto a Traditional Thai Longtail Boat which will start off your sea adventure with a Tour of Phang Nga Bay which is famous for its natural environment, rocks, islands and caves (as well as 007 movie locations).
  5. Next up is a stop at Koh Panyee aka Muslim Fishing Village, a manmade ring of houses built on stilts around a tall rocky island. This is where you most likely have a traditional Thai lunch as well as tour of the souvenir shops and stalls while looking at the fisherman's unique way of life.
  6. Right after lunch is a trip to the Sea Caves at Talu Island for some impressive canoeing and sightseeing that makes the trip even more worthwhile - it has to be seen to be believed!
  7. Finally it will be time to visit the main attraction of James Bond Island for the special tour and photo opportunities based on the movie and around the James Bond Rock aka Koh Tapu / Nail Island. Time on the island is short but you get the chance to see and photo everything possible, or even buy a souvenir from the local stalls... Overall it is a great experience for all fans of "The Man with the Golden Gun" movie.
  8. After that last island visit you get taken back to the Pier by longtail boat and usually returned via bus to your Hotel by around 6pm

Schedule times often vary and in high season it's common for the schedule to be mixed around into an early morning, a midday and a lunchtime trip to accommodate higher levels of tourist demand so always be sure to check with your travel agent when booking a Traditional Longtail Boat Tour to Bond Island!

 

Top 5 Bond Island Tour Packages with Best Prices?

If you have to ask the price for something then the common wisdom is you probably cannot afford it.

However in Thailand it is far better to arm yourself with all the info about specifications, costs, add-ons, extras, dual-pricing and plain old scams in the cutthroat tourist industry a little research can point you towards the good operators, or at least the transparent ones willing to give you a good, safe day of fun in the sun, "Thai James Bond Style".

If you are like 90% of tourists to Southern Thailand and Phuket then you will find there are five types of tour packages that will be most accessible, affordable, fun and good value for money including:

  1. Longtail Traditional Tour
  2. Cruise BoatTour
  3. Speed Boat Tour
  4. June Bahtra Siamese Junk Tour
  5. Speed Boat Tour to James Bond Island & Krabi

In each of the following 5 posts each of these top 5 tour group packages are covered with all the key itinerary details, timings, costs and alls sorts of pros & cons so that all excitable Bond and Thai tourism fans can make informed decisions about which tour suits them, their friends and family's the best!

Was a Castle built on James Bond Island by an Irish Billionaire during the global property boom?

No, of course not you silly sausage. The heavily viewed image of a castle on top of a famous tourist island in Thailand was never built nor even considered by anybody in Thailand nor in Dublin where this "Castle Rock Ireland" was stated to be located somewhere off the coast of the Irish Republic.

"Castle Rock Ireland" in Dublin, Thailand, Facebook or Pinterest?
"Castle Rock Ireland" in Dublin, Thailand, Facebook or Pinterest?

However a magical half castle, half island was merely a creation from the imagination of one naughty prankster's mind combined with set of decent photoshop skills and a burst of self-propelling viral hoaxing via social media. Mind you with architectural ambitions like this its no wonder the Irish Property Bubble imploded!!

The image in fact combined Koh Tapu (aka Nail Island aka "James Bond Rock") and a very nicely integrated selection of Lichtenstein Castle in Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany which resulted in a magical fairy tale castle perched upon a tropical island somewhere along the Emersld Isles.

This photoshopped piece of trickery was soon being twittered and facebooked across the globe under the title "Castle Rock Ireland" and "Castle Rock Dublin."

But it was thanks to Pinterest, Posterous and a few other Social Media sites that led to an extra 20,000 visits to this site in a month in 2011, most of whom were trying to find out the history of the Southern Thai islands near Phuket and Krabi made famous by the "Man with the Golden Gun" 007 movie.

Lichtenstein Castle & James Bond Rock before Photoshop Shotgun Wedding
Lichtenstein Castle & James Bond Rock before Photoshop Shotgun Wedding

 

5 Best Bond Photos, Movie Poses & Island Snapshots for 007 Sharpshooters

Whether you are a professional photographers armed with a top of the range Canon DSLR or just a happy snappy tourist using your iPhone camera you will both be essentially aiming to capture a similar handful of photos.

Based on my much enjoyed long tail tour boat trip to the island I can say that the 5 Best Bond Photos, Movie Poses & Island Snapshots for 007 Sharpshooters are as follows:

 

1) A photo of the James Bond Island "Rock" (sadly without laser gun)

Photo of James Bond Island Rock
Photo of James Bond Island Rock

2) Recreating the Bond & Scaramanga Beach Duel Movie Pose

Photo of Bond & Scaramanga Beach Duel Movie Pose
Photo of Bond & Scaramanga Beach Duel Movie Pose

3) Taking some clever "Rock in your Hands" photo shots

Photos of some clever "Rock in your Hands" shots
Photos of some clever "Rock in your Hands" shots

4) Being lucky enough to photo potential Bond Girls in your tour group

Photos of Potential Bond Girls in your Tour Group
Photos of Potential Bond Girls in your Tour Group

5) Being officious enough to take snaps of the Official Bond Island Sign

Photo of Official Bond Island Sign
Photo of Official Bond Island Sign

 

Is there a hotel based inside Scaramanga's Lair on Ko Khao Phing Kan? Which other hotel areas are suitable for the tour?

Not only is there no hotel on the island but there is not even a place where Scaramanga could have built his impressively complex Bond Villain Lair.

The island is just not big enough to accommodate such a building (although it could be partially submerged somewhere I guess) and all those interior movie shots were filmed at Pinewood Studios in the UK while the exterior was just a simple facade.

Even Nik Nak was too big for Scaramanga's non-existent Lair

In fact the only buildings that exist are the souvenir shacks and a decidedly un-Bond like concrete toilet block.

This means that the nearest and best hotels are all pretty much based an hour or more away on Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi or Khao Lak.

Bond lovers should have no fear when deciding to book at any of those four provinces as they will all absolutely be able to offer a variety of suitable tour packages to get you to James Bond Island.

Many tourists either book a tour through their hotel or try to find a deal with one of many package tour agents who can be found around every single tourist hotspot.

 

Are the 007 Movie Skyfall Island and Koh Khao Phing Kan located near to each other?

No, Koh Khao Phing Kan aka James Bond Island are based in Phang Nga Bay and nearby to Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi in Thailand but the island used in the new 007 movie "Skyfall" starring Daniel Craig is actually a place called Hashima Island in Japan.
Skyfall Hashima Island in Japan, u Thailandkkkk
Skyfall Hashima Island in Japan, not Thailand
Hashima Island also has a nickname due to its unique appearance and is called locally by Japanese as "Gunkanjima" which means Battleship since the island resembles a large battleship in terms of size and layout.
Similar to the filming experiences in Thailand on Koh Khao Phing Khan the Hashima Island in Japan was mainly used for external shots while internal filming inside villain, Raouk Silva's secret lair where shot at Pinewood Studios in Great Britain and with CGI helping to fill out the other parts.
Hashima Island is just one out of 505 islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture that all remain uninhibited and are located just under 10 miles from the main area of Nagasaki.
The islands used to be the sites of major coal mining industry but after petroleum began to overtake coal in the 1979's Japanese economy then all the mines eventually shut down.
However due to the recent surge in interest due to the Skyfall movie being released in 2012 there are now some regular tourist boat operators bringing tours to the islands to see the film location as well as other ghost towns from the coal mining areas.

Top 5 Things to do on James Bond Island aka Koh Khao Phing Kan?

These are the top 5 things to do once your tour group finally gets to the island and you arrive back on dry land for the 007 themed tourist attraction:
  1. Have a walk from the boat docking area, up past the tourist souvenir shops then down and around to the beach island area next to the bay where Koh Tapu aka "James Bond Island Rock" is located.
  2. Make movie poses and re-enact favourite scenes from the MWTGG with you, your family and friends taking on the roles of 007, Scaramanga, Nik Nak and Ms.Goodnight.
  3. Browse (but probably don't buy) from the multiple rows of identical souvenir shops who surprisingly don't sell much in the way of James Bond merchandise or keepsakes.
  4. Take lots of photos of the Bond "Rock Island" as well as taking snapshots while doing Steps 1, 2 and 3
  5. Get ready to leave since this is pretty much the extent of the average long-tail or speedboat island tour and since it is so popular there will be more groups preparing to land at the same time as you leave.
However despite the relatively quick pace of the tour the whole day package tours usually also include various other visits and stops at places like the Monkey Caves and the Floating Fishing Village while on specialised environmental activities like kayaking are possibile as well.

How do you get to James Bond Island from Phang Nga, Phuket, Phi Phi or Krabi?

As demonstrated in the "Man with the Golden Gun" movie there are only two main methods of approaching the island; the first is by air and seaplane ala Roger Moore while the second, and much more common method, is by sea via long tail boat, speedboat, Chinese style Junk or even by Kayak if you are so environmentally and energetically inclined.

Mr. Bond visited by Seaplane, most tourists prefer boats
Mr. Bond visited by Seaplane, most tourists prefer boats

What does the real name of James Bond Island "Koh Khao Phing Kan" mean in Thai?

The island cluster that tourists actually visit and walk around on (and where Scaramanga's beachside lair was located) is named as "Koh Khao Ping Kan" in the Thai language which roughly translates as "Island with Hills Leaning Together".
The actual tall vertical rock that stands out in the middle of the bay of Koh Khao Ping Kan is known as"Koh Tapu" which means Nail Island or Spike Island in Thai due to the unique stature of the rock island which Scaramanga had turned into a laser based weapon of mass destruction in the Bond movie "The Man with the Golden Gun".
Of course all of these islands are now known to every 007 fan around the world, and to every tour guide operator in Phuket and Krabi, as James Bond Island.

Where is James Bond Island located on the Thai Map?

The location of James Bond Island in Thailand can be seen clearly on this Google Map snapshot as being in the west side of Phang Nga Bay, with Phuket and Phi Phi islands being found below to the South and Krabi province to the East:

Map of James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay
Map of James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay

Looking at a close up satellite map shot of the island cluster it is visibly recognisable that Koh Phing Khan and Koh Tapu are indeed the filmset location made internationally famous by the James Bond and Roger Moore movie "The Man with the Golden Gun" and which have forever since been known as the popular tourist destination of "James Bond Island":

Koh Phing Khan and Koh Tapu aka James Bond Island
Koh Phing Khan and Koh Tapu aka James Bond Island

James Bond Island Introduction

James Bond Island, known originally and locally as Ko Tapu or Nail Island, found fame through the 1974 Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun". The film starred Roger Moore and Christopher Lee (as the three nippled arch-villain Scaramanga) but it was the scenic topography that helped make the film into a firm Bond favourite. It also turned the previously unknown Phang Nga Bay into a major tourist attraction.

The island as a tourist attraction

Everyday tour buses packed with thousands of tourists leave Phuket for the daylong sightseeing trip driving two hours to Phang Nga Bay, often stopping at the popular Monkey Caves (Wat Suwankuha) to see the large reclining golden Buddha inside the caves and the large flocks of monkeys outside.

After this the bus takes them to Phang Nga Bay where they travel by long tail boat for lunch at Koh Pannyi, a floating Muslim fishing village that is referred to by some locals as "Bin Laden Village". After exploring the floating fishing village everybody gets back onto the long tail boat and heads for the prime attraction, James Bond Island.

A 15-minute boat ride later and the island comes into view.

The island that you disembark onto is crowded with stalls selling seashells and trinkets but unfortunately nobody has taken the initiative to create or sell anything of interest to Bond fans. No replica golden guns, no postcards of the film, not even a DVD of the film. The people on the stalls are pushy but easy to avoid, just don't go near them.

Beer is pretty expensive on the island at double the market price but it is not available at the Muslim fishing village so this is the place to get it if you fancy a can. Confusing signs are placed around the island that try to explain how the rock was formed but these are written in "Tinglish" so make very little sense. The tour guides normally give you 30 minutes on the island; just long enough take some pictures, have a drink and go to the toilet.

Sunset Cruises at James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay

While the tour bus and long tail boat trips are more commonly promoted in tourist areas it is companies like June Bahtra that offer more exclusive and enjoyable trips. In fact fans of the film may prefer to take the trip they offer as you take a Junk similar to the boat that Scaramanga had. They offer sunset cruises that are famed for their romantic atmosphere and are hugely popular with those that want a more relaxed tour.

The Tsunami

According to some reports online the island was said to be extremely hard hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, although I have found no reports of casualties. When I visited in 2006 there was no visible damage nor mention of fatalities or even injuries.

The Man with the Golden Gun - The Film

Released in 1974, the Man with the Golden Gun was the ninth film in the EON Productions James Bond series and was Roger Moore’s second outing as Bond. In the film Bond comes up against Francisco Scaramanga, the world’s most expensive assassin who charges US$1 million per hit. Each time he uses his golden gun and never needs more than on golden bullet. A chase through Hong Kong and Bangkok leads Bond to a duel on the now famous James Bond Island, said to be in Chinese waters.

Geographic errors and film trivia

According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) Scaramanga’s flying car is meant to have been found "200 miles west of Bangkok", which would actually have put it somewhere off the coast of Burma.

Added to that the island they end up heading for is said to be about eight hours' sail from Hong Kong. That is at least 1,000 miles from Bangkok in the other direction.

Also of interest is the fact the film was nearly made in Cambodia a few years earlier but had to be postponed due to the Vietnam War. Had that terrible conflict never happened perhaps it would be some island in Cambodia that would have benefited from the millions of dollars in extra tourism.