James Bond Island also known as Nail Island or Khao Phing Kan and Koh Tapu are two islands located in Phang Nga Bay in southern Thailand; just northwest from from Phuket. These islands have grown in popularity to become one of Thailand's most famous landmarks since the release of the James Bond 007 movie more than 40 years ago, (back in 1974) which was called 'The Man with the Golden Gun'.
These Islands which are made of limestone are both heavily vegetated and only accessible by boat. While Khao Phing Kan in Thai means 'Hills leaning against each other' Koh Tapu on the other hand means 'nail' or 'spike' island. Both terms relate to the overall shape of the respective islands.
As there are no hotels on these islands and no famous Thai beaches the main reason people choose to visit here is due to the nostalgia of this location. However, people do kayak within the surrounding waters which is available through several of the day tour operators who visit these islands.
Koh Khao Phing Kan and Koh Tapu are among 40 such islands which exist within Phang Nga Bay and form the Ao Phang Nga Marine National Park which was established back in 1981. Prior to the release of the 007 movie these groups of islands were rarely visited.
However, today thousands of visitors come here each year to stand on the set of one the worlds most popular franchise movies. Here, you can basically walk in the same footsteps and experience the same sights and sounds that the famous actors from the Bond movie did 40 years ago.
Due to the national park status there is no accommodation on Khao Phing Khan and no popular Thailand beaches to sunbathe on, thus a visit to this island will be as a day tour only. However, if you would really like to spend more time within this breathtakingly beautiful marine environment there are hotels on the Muslim sea gypsy village which is also a popular place to visit within Phang Nga Bay.
THE BOND MOVIE
The Bond movie also featured the 20 metre high Koh Tapu Islet or Nail Island (which sits about 40 metres offshore) as a backdrop for actors Roger Moore and Christopher Lee (see image below). Koh Tapu still proves to be a popular backdrop even today for visitors to the island wishing to snap that perfect Bond photograph.
However, tourist boats are not allowed to approach Koh Tapu itself due to its fragile nature so pictures of this natural feature need to be taken at distance from the boat or from Koh Khao Phing Kan.
In addition, to the filming which occurred on these islands, the 1974 Bond movie was also shot at locations within the provinces of Bangkok and Thon Buri.
Once you arrive on James Bond Island there isn't a great deal to actually do except to admire the location and its beautiful scenery. There are a few caves on the island (including a large one that you can walk in) and two very small beaches where you can take a quick dip and cool off. However, the most popular activity on the island is photography so be sure to bring you phone or camera if you would like a memento of your visit.
There are also several tourists styled shops that you will encounter once you
get off the boat selling mainly tacky souvenirs and cold drinks etc.
The character of 007 James Bond (see below) in the 1974 film was played by actor Roger Moore and it was his second time featuring in the fictional spy role. The movie also featured Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland and was released in December of 1974.
The best way to travel to James Bond Island is by boat from Phuket. Flights from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Phuket International Airport occur daily with a number of local airlines servicing the island including Nok Air, Air Asia and Thai Airways.
Being an international airport direct flights to Phuket are available from a number of countries including Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan to name a few. There are an abundance of taxi's and mini-vans located outside the Phuket airport to transport you to your hotel.
Buses to Phuket depart Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal daily with the journey taking approximately 13 hours.
You can visit James Bond Island all year round. The best way to get there is by either speedboat or long boat which you can ride from Phuket. Many day tour packages are available and they are priced between 1,500-3,700 Thai baht.