James Bond Island Thailand

We perplexed whether or not to go but after hearing the tourist minister on TV pleading for visitors to return we took the plunge and booked the holiday – Bangkok then down to the island of Koa Samui just off the east coast of Thailand.

James Bond Island

James Bond Island

Whilst staying in Bangkok we took the opportunity to take a trip to the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai near Kanchanaburi.

Bridge over the River Kwai

Bridge over the River Kwai

Of course the wooden bridge is no longer there but the metal bridge – brought from Java by POW’s forced into labour by the ruthless and murderous regime of depravation, cruelty and brutality instigated by the Japanese Army – was assembled at the River Kwai. In addition to the estimated 16,000 British, Dutch, Australian and American prisoners of war who lost their lives an estimated 49,000 forcibly recruited labourers also died during the construction of the bridge and the Death Railway that leads to Burma. Bombed several times in 1945 it was rebuilt after the war with the original curved spans being used in its reconstruction.

The main allied war cemetery

The main allied war cemetery

We visited the main allied war cemetery which contains the remains of 6,982 British, Dutch, Australian and American prisoners of war who lost their lives during their captivity in the camps. Sixty years after the end of the Second World War I cried like a baby as I read the inscriptions on the headstones. I’ve seen the 1957 film but, my goodness, nothing can prepare you for the awesome walk through the museum with its gruesomely graphic images of torturous squalor and deprivation those brave, brave men endured.

I suppose, really, because of SARS, Bird Flue and the devastating Tsunami along with the distance we would travel to get there – over 6000 miles – coupled with a little nervousness, we hedged our bets and took the easy option by staying on the east side of Thailand. Within 24hrs of our arrival we had arranged a two day trip over sea land and sea again to get to the James Bond Island (Home of Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun) in Phang Nga Bay in the Khao Ping Gun National Park. Our guide, Nopporn, picked us up at 6am and drove directly to the ferry for the 90 minute crossing to Suratthani on the mainland. He continued for a further two and half hours until we arrived at our departure point at Ka Sohm Pier in Takua Thung district just south of Phang Nga Town.

Phang-Nga Bay

Phang-Nga Bay

As there were only three of us, including Nopporn, we took the half hour ride in a small longtail boat. We eased our way through the almost deserted channels of mangrove swamp and gazed in awe at the stunning scenery that lay ahead of us. In the distance we could see the market village of Koh Pannyi.

Koh Pannyi Fish Cages

Koh Pannyi Fish Cages

This remarkable village is built on stilts over water with a giant rock monolith guarding its rear. As we drew closer we could see masses of cages holding fish of every type and description. Behind, and almost completely devoid of humanity, stood a market and small group of enormous restaurants that, in previous years, had been capable of handling 3,000 tourists for lunch whilst on James Bond Island tours.

Afterwards we headed out to James Bond Island viewing the spectacular rock formations and the staggering geography of Phang Nga bay on our way. My wife, the ever suffering anti-Bond, kept asking where it was and I kept looking… and looking…and anticipating. Not until we had passed another almost deserted floating restaurant and had sailed under a natural rock archway did we see what we had travelled so many miles to see.

James Bond Island

The first view of James Bond Island

The first view of James Bond Island

The Island is, in fact, two small islands Ko Tapi or Nail Mountain and Ko Khao Phing Kan or Leaning Island. They are, without doubt, stunning. Although small they must be one of the most thought provoking visions I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Lost in my own world I hummed Lulu’s song as we gently approached the jetty… I wondered just how many people had walked the very same steps that we were about to take. Slowly, we walked up and around the steep and awkward path that hugged the rocky outcrop toward the main beach. We could see just how few visitors were actually there. I remembered internet images of boats moored up like cattle trucks – we could see none of them just the sight of perhaps ten stalls selling trinkets and maybe thirty other visitors – devastating for the traders but, to be fair, excellent for today’s unhindered visitors. We stayed for about an hour and left as quietly as we arrived the heat beating down on us whilst the sea gently lapped the small beach.

Duncan & his Wife on James Bond Island

Duncan & his Wife on James Bond Island

They say an image can speak a thousand words – it is true! I can wholly understand why the area was made a national park – it is a national treasure – no self respecting lover of natural beauty could ever want to harm the eco system that sustains such pure unadulterated exquisite splendour.

James Bond Island

James Bond Island

I realised those lucky people who scour the world scouting for locations had, in one film, created a whole tourist industry that supported thousands of people. In the space of a few minutes on December 26th 2004 that industry was destroyed. For all the boats now tied up idle on their moorings and all the unemployed people waiting for the tourists to return my heart goes out to them. The catastrophic loss of life in countries and areas nearby has had a cataclysmic effect on even the unscathed areas.

If you were thinking or are thinking of visiting Thailand and its wonderful smiling people check the internet, read the paper or watch TV but do take your holiday and whilst you are there visit

The James Bond Island

The Man With The Golden Gun

James Bond Island is one of the many stars of the film The Man With The Golden Gun starring Roger Moore as James Bond, Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga, Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight and Maud Adams as Andrea Anders. But not forgetting Hervé Villechaize as Nick Nack.

Take a Trip…

For more information go to:
http://www.gothailand.com/phuket/island/phangnga.htm
http://www.phuketjettour.com/tour/phangnga/phangngabay-coach.htm

James Bond Island

James Bond Island

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.