Sunday, August 19, 2018

James Bond Island - Made Famous by Movie: The Man with the Golden Gun @ Phuket [Thailand]

James Bond Island is pretty well known in Thailand and even though i have never watched the 1974 movie (i.e. James Bond: The Man with the Golden Gun); i was drawn by the heavy publicity by local travel agents in Phuket and decided to pay it a visit as part of a package.

Located in the Ao Phang Nga National Park that's about 25 kilometers away from the jetty where we took the speedboat, James Bond Island's original name is Ko Khao Phing Kan but i guess it's easier for foreigners like myself refer to it as James Bond. 

Approaching the drop off point with a towering cliff. As James Bond Island is a popular stop for many tourists in the national park, i was half expecting a place filled with many people.  

Disembarkation.

Without a proper jetty, we literally had to jump from the boat into the shallow water. I am not worried about jumping down; more with climbing up later, especially if you have an elderly companion or someone with a bad wrist (as i did when i had De Quervain's Tendinitis).

Our Amazing Canoeing speedboat; shall share a comprehensive review on the entire package once i am done with the individual postings on Naka Island and Panyee Island. 

More traditional looking boats - frankly, after you have been to quite a few island tours in Malaysia and Thailand; i would only go for speedboat so as to save time / see more things. 

Rules and regulations in Thai, English and sometimes Chinese; recent inclusion has to be the banning of drones. Even for me, i was tempted to get one as i have always preferred aerial views (as depicted in The Eyes in The Skies) and am thankful i didn't waste my money. 

Dad with two huge downward facing stones; hm.... are they stalactites? If they are, then it might be better for the authority to barricade the area as laymen like us would just treat them as stones; unless otherwise advised. 

Making our way to the stairs where everyone seemed to be going.

Had to quicken our pace as the tour guide only gave us 30 minutes to roam around which i thought was insufficient as there appeared to be a cave (separately charged) that i doubt i would have enough time for. 

Icon of James Bond Island - this is actually called Kkao Ta Poo (no relation to the poo we know) and was a breakaway structure from the main James Bond Island. However, it's so iconic that all James Bond Island packages would feature it on their brochures. 

Continuing our walk as many first timers to the island were crowding around the tiny space to take pictures. Well, i was thinking of returning later instead, when the crowd had thinned. 

Found another photo spot.

Again, too many people and with tourists posing for picture after picture, the impatient me rolled my eyes numerous times and decided not to waste any more time. 

Pathway was rather primitive (dirt path, flanked on both sides by rocks and trees) even though i thought it's more charming than having something man-made.  

Arrival at the main lagoon area. 

We did the right thing by not waiting to take photographs earlier as there was ample space in this area and there's no need to jostle for space with others! 

The large signboard proclaiming our location.

Clear view of Kkao Ta Poo; the 20-meter tall iconic limestone rock that used to be a part of the main James Bond Island and now stick out like a rusty nail.

A perimeter was set to prevent people from swimming and tourist boats from approaching Kkao Ta Poo, as there's a chance of the structure toppling given its top heavy structure (diameter on top was twice the bottom).

Photographs of Kkao Ta Poo with my dad as the model! 

13 minutes left now that we were done with the icon! I think my family is a stickler for tour timing as we have been taught since young that we shouldn't inconvenience others and it's better for us to wait for others rather than others to wait for us.

Those with time to shop can go through the line of stalls selling touristy trinkets, seashells, pearls, beachwear etc. You can take a swim in the lagoon if you want but the water was mud-like with low visibility.

Another drop off point that's nearer to the lagoon.

Notice the interesting geological crack (blue arrow)? It did seem like a clean cut in between the hill and is that even possible given our modern technology? Maybe laser? 

It actually gave the island the name of Ko Khao Phing Kan which according to Wikipedia, "reflects the particular shape of the island which appears as if a flat limestone cliff tumbled sideways and leaned on a similar rock".

Using the panorama feature on my iPhone to capture the above photo; it was way more impressive in person; the walls were relatively smooth and it's as if a giant with a humongous sharp sword had managed to cut through the hill. 

Smoking corner! 

Making our way back as we had only about five minutes left and dad was already telling us to hurry up! I actually wanted to explore a small cave next to the "crack"... :( 

More boatloads of tourists streaming in! 

Random photo (because i took too many). Anyway, most photos were taken using the Olympus Tough camera but i wasn't happy with the quality. Would have loved to carry my DSLR along but i am worried it would suffer from water damage. 

Stepping into water in order to get back in the speedboat. What would be my piece of advice here? don't wear cover shoes and if you must have your feet covered, get a pair of CROCS. 

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Part of the James Bond Island Trip 2 Itinerary offered by Amazing Canoeing that we purchased from At Akarin Tour near Swissotel Resort (Patong Beach).

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