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The James Bond Island has always fascinated us and we wanted to see the famous rock once with your own eyes. The island lies in the Ao Phang Nga National Park between Phuket and Krabi and you can book day trips at both places. We decide on Krabi and make a short trip from Bangkok to the vacation resort Ao Nang.
Journey to Thai Chang
Early in the morning, a minibus picks us up in front of our hotel. Except for two places, it is already occupied.
For almost 2 hours, we drive on country roads through rubber plantations and rainforest to the 90th km remote Thai Chang. Again and again, the landscape is interrupted by powerful rock formations. In Thai Chang, we change to a speedboat that brings us to James Bond Island.
Boat trip to James Bond Island
There is another 15 km on the water in front of us. We pass extensive mangrove landscapes and the floating fishing village Ko Panyi, which we will visit on the way back.
Unfortunately, the sun hides behind a gray haze, so that the colors of nature do not really come into play. According to Wikipedia, there are 189 days of rain per year in this region, so you definitely have to expect rain.
James Bond Island – Khao Phing
The island with the rock needle lying in front became world-famous by the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun with Roger Moore. We are approaching the island from the back. Immediately after leaving the boat, two people from the security staff arrive and demand that we have to give them the tripod and the camera. Growling, we obey the force.
Because of the visitor crowds, we still might understand that one classifies the tripod as a safety problem, but certainly not the camera, a PXW Z100 which it is only insignificantly larger than a hand-held camera. Presumably, it was once again an attempt to get extra cash from us. In this case, we always have a smaller spare camera whose image quality is almost as good and so we did not engage in the discussion. Obviously, the tourism managers of these countries do not understand that they only harm themselves by such actions. Actually, they should have the interest to get beautiful unadulterated videos of their tourist destinations.
It is a wonderful experience to see the rock needle (Khao Ta-Pu), which one has often seen on television, with own eyes. One expects every moment that a parabolic mirror unfolds at the top. However, usually, the crowds and especially the souvenir stands are not shown.
A small path leads from the sandy beach along the rocks on the left-hand side to the front of the island, with another beautiful sandy beach. This is also the place where the larger boats land. Noteworthy is the huge overhanging cliff with huge stalactites below.
Ko Thalu Ok
On the way back, we land at the neighboring island of Ko Thalu Ok to take a break. Some restaurant ships are at anchor and you can rent paddle boats to paddle through a huge rock arch.
We decide to go by boat to the opposite mangrove forest.
Our coxswain would like to show us mud jumpers, small fish that spend most of their time on land. They do not have any lungs but store waters in her gills. At their movements, one can recognize well how the ancestors of man from the sea conquered the country.
Our coxswain has ventured so deep into the mangrove forest that it was impossible for him to turn. He fought 15 minutes with the use of all its powers until he bailed out the boat again and rides backward into a side channel, where it could turn round.
The next stop is Ko Panyi. In the floating city is populated by 360 families with about 1700 people. The Muslim population once migrated from Java. A large mosque dominates the place.
The narrow walkways are lovingly planted with flowers. Sometimes empty spaces give a clear view to the ocean floor. With the tide, the water rises to just below the footbridges. The people live from fishing and tourism, chickens and ducks provide the carnal food.
They are very friendly and even allow us to film. Unfortunately, we have not enough time to find out what is a “floating Football Field”, which was recorded on a direction sign.
After we had firm ground under his feet again, we go by minibus to the Monkey Cave. It owes your name to hundreds of free running macaques. Beware of their teeth and shelter your personal belongings, because they are notorious for stealing.
The cave has been transformed into a Buddhist temple (Suwankhuha Temple) with a 15-meter reclining Buddha. Inside, a monk in the cave is willing to give his blessing for a small donation.
The last stop of our trip to James Bond Island is the popular Manora Waterfall in the National Park Rainforest. However, nobody of our group feels like taking a bath, perhaps because on this day the sun did not burn so strongly and due to the rains there was a relatively strong current.
After an almost two hour drive, we reached Ao Nang after this eventful day.
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