James Bond Island is a famous landmark in Phang Nga Bay.
It first found its way onto the international tourist map through its starring role in the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun. A distinctive trait of this famous bay is the number of sheer limestone cliffs that vertically jut out of the emerald-green water.
The bizarre – why-doesn’t-it-fall-over – outline of James Bond Island or Koh Tapu ('nail island' in Thai), lies next to the equally popular Koh Ping Ghan (sometime spelt as Ping Gan or Ping Gun). The entire area surrounding this island is indeed spectacular, but it can get crowded with tourist boats during high season.
Covering an area of 400 sq km, Phang Nga Bay has around 100 islands, many of which have peculiar shapes. James Bond Island, with its signature rocky pinnacle, has been a major attraction since it was featured in the 1974 Bond movie.
It's protected marine area of the Ao Phang Nga Marine National Park, so boats aren't allowed to get too close to the island. Its precarious position is big on the upper part and relatively slim at the bottom. You can view James Bond Island from a boat or 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. On its crowded eastern beach, there are stalls and stands selling souvenirs mostly made from shells and wood.
James Bond Island is a popular destination for sailing and kayaking. Most organised tours stop at other popular islands in the Andaman Sea, including a seafood lunch at the charming Koh Panyee – a Muslim fishing village built on stilts. While tour companies usually hand out plastic bags to protect your camera, it's best to bring along a snap-shut and waterproof bag.
If you want to have more freedom, you can rent a long-tail boat from Surakul Pier in Phang Nga for around 2,000 baht (3 to 4 hours). It can accommodate up to 10 people, making it convenient and cost-effective for groups.