Selling of the James Bond Island Package Tours is almost ubiquitous amongst travel agents in Phuket's tourist areas as it remains a popular staple on tourist to-do lists when they visit Thailand.
|Canoe Tour at James Bond Island & Phang Nga|
Before visiting James Bond Island as a group there is an opportunity to explore the natural environment in your own canoe around Phang Nga Bay.
The itinerary for the Phang Nga Canoe Tour should look something like this:
|Ko Tapu at James Bond Island|
Ko Tapu, Koh Tapu or Khao Tapu at James Bond Island is the tall vertical rock island that stands out in the middle of the bay of Koh Khao Ping Kan and it is this funny looking rock that featured so heavily in The Man with the Golden Gun movie by hosting the solar panels for harvesting the power of the sun and for powering Scaramanga's laser gun.
Ko Tapu actually translates into English as nail island or spike island and it got this name due to its tall and rocky nature.
The limestone rock is around 20 metres tall with a diameter ranging from about 4 metres at the bottom and up to 8 metres at the top (hence the name of nail island).
|The ever popular option of visiting via Longtail Boat|
The following is an itinerary for a James Bond Island Tour by Longtail Boat which is pretty standard and gives you an idea of what to expect during your sightseeing:
|10.00-10.15||Pick-up from your hotel by minibus and transportation to the pier in Phang Nga province.|
|Visit Monkey Cave (Suwankuha Temple).|
|Sightseeing in Phang Nga Bay National Park by longtail boat.|
|Set lunch in the Muslim fishing village on Koh Panyee Island and experience the local life style.|
|Explore the nature and sea caves by canoe at Talu Island with experienced paddlers as guides.|
|Visit James Bond Island.|
|Depart from the pier to Phuket.|
|17.30-18.00||Arrive back at your hotel.|
|The Man With The Golden Gun!|
1) James Bond Island Tour by LONGTAIL BOAT - 1,200 Baht
2) James Bond Island Tour by CRUISE BOAT - 1,400 Baht
3) James Bond Island Tour by SPEED BOAT - 1,700 Baht
4) James Bond Island Tour & Krabi - 2,350 Baht
5) James Bond Island Tour by June Bahtra JUNK BOAT - 3,400 Baht
All these options have their own positive points but all five of them will offer a memorable day out to visit James Bond Island.
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|
- 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 :) ).
- Tourist Bus will usually arrange pick up at your hotel or nearest collection point between 9am to 10 am in the morning.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
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:
- Longtail Traditional Tour
- Cruise BoatTour
- Speed Boat Tour
- June Bahtra Siamese Junk Tour
- 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!
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?|
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|
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 Bond & Scaramanga Beach Duel Movie Pose|
|Photos of some clever "Rock in your Hands" shots|
|Photos of Potential Bond Girls in your Tour Group|
|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.
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.
|Skyfall Hashima Island in Japan, not Thailand|
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take lots of photos of the Bond "Rock Island" as well as taking snapshots while doing Steps 1, 2 and 3
- 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.
|Mr. Bond visited by Seaplane, most tourists prefer boats|
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.
|Map of James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay|
|Koh Phing Khan and Koh Tapu aka James Bond Island|