WHEN visiting Phuket, it is always a good idea to set aside a couple of days to discover some of the surrounding islands you can find near the pearl of Andaman. Many of those islands are well-known, such as Koh Phi Phi and Coral Island, but if we had to choose one to pay a visit during your stay, it would be Khao Phing Kan, also known as James Bond Island.
James Bond Island was gifted its fancy name a few years after 1974 when the island gained a lot of popularity following the movie The Man with the Golden Gun, a true classic in the James Bond filmography. Remember Francisco Scaramanga? Yep, that guy had a super villain lair on the island.
The way from Phuket to Khao Phing Kan can be relatively short or quite long depending on which kind of boat you fancy using to reach your destination. Personally, I did prefer the slower boats, as it allows for better pictures and more opportunity to discover the marine life on the way there, though the speedboats can get you there in about 45 minutes, give or take.
Before reaching the main beach, make sure to canoe or snorkel your way through some of the natural limestone caves that can be found on the side of the island. Some may lead to very interesting places, such as secret lagoons and mangroves.
If there is one thing more famous than James Bond Island itself, it must be Ko Tapu, a single limestone deposit in the shape of a needle, located a few dozens of meters from the main beach. Ko Tapu is certainly what makes people associate this location with the James Bond movie, and has since been taken into pictures more than hundreds of thousands time.
However, do expect not to be alone when visiting, as the destination is well-known to tourists, who usually arrive en-masse in the afternoon; it is best to find a boat that can bring you there in the early morning should you wish to be alone on your selfies.
Top and first inset: The famous Ko Tapu as seen from James Bond Island.
Second inset: Another memorable vista from James Bond Island.
Below: Tourists enjoying themselves at James Bond Island’s main beach.
By Nattha Thepbamrung