Back when Roger Moore was James Bond and making the 10th Bond movie, “The Man with the Golden Gun”, it was filmed, in part, on an island near Phuket, Thailand.
Even though the film was shot close to 40 years ago, was a critical dud and one of the lowest ranked films of the Bond franchise, the rock is somehow still a major tourism draw. The gun may not have been golden but the rock’s fame has been golden for Phuket.
Before leaving home we booked a (complimentary, thank you very much Viator) speed boat day trip to James Bond Island. We knew the land to island journey was about an hour and a half but didn’t realize that it would take 45 minutes to get to the departure pier. It was a long day – 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. – but it was also a lot of fun.
The boat left from Chandara Resort and Spa Phuket. We only saw it from the outside but it looked lovely, peaceful and was away from the craziness of town. If you’re considering going to Phuket you may want to see what traveler reviewers have said about that property.
The boat was very nice, in excellent condition and the staff, captain and guide all did their jobs very professionally. We marvel at how tour guides can keep track of everyone, deal with some difficult personalities (yet another sly bigoted comment about Russian tourists) and at least appear to be cheerful while imparting a lot of information that most of the people (especially us) will immediately forget. We had a total of 18 people on our trip.
James Bond Island is only one of the many fascinating formations you see on the journey (massive hairy bellies are also amazing formations you may see but they provoke a different kind of fascination).
There are caverns and other geologically interesting stuff dating back to the Pleistocene era when Brunette was in college. (Or was it high school?)
The area where all of this is concentrated is Phangna Bay which is referred to as a drowned kartsiand (don’t get your hopes up – we didn’t say a drowned Kardashian – they have a lot of built-in flotation devices).
According to an educational sign we took a picture of “a kartsiand is an irregular region with sinks, underground streams and caverns”. If you’d like to know more about kartsiands please use your own time to learn about them – we’re all maxed out on geology at this point.
After viewing a couple additional islands and having a swim we were taken to a floating village for lunch. Our guide said the village consists of 1,656 residents 99% of whom are Muslim which is unusual for Thailand.
Lunch was the standard buffet fare for tourists with the exception that the meat was all halal because of the religion of the island inhabitants. As we have had our share of food poisoning incidents we are wary eaters in many locations. Although the floating village was extremely basic it seemed to be quite clean. Even so we only ate food that had been boiled – rice and veggies – and bought a bag of potato chips. Weird maybe but safe.
The village was also home to a small but odd collection of birds and other animals.
After another stop for a swim and (disappointing due to reef damage) snorkeling we went to a last small island for some fruit, water and soft drinks before returning home. The tour companies are smart about having your last stop be very close to the pier where you departed from earlier so it’s a thrill that you don’t still have hours of bouncing over the waves when you’re a bit maxed out on aquatic activities.
If you do one of these tours be sure to pay attention on the drive to the pier (we failed to do that) so you can tell if you’re being taken back by the same or a reasonable route. We wondered how we had been the last to be picked up in the morning and the last to be dropped off in the evening. The answer was that the driver asked us where we were staying on the way back then apparently forgot completely, dropped everyone else off all over the place then asked us again. We had driven by our place at least once if not twice but hadn’t been smart enough to tell him to stop. It isn’t hard to be smarter than we are so be vigilant unless you like to end your day with a long drive in intense traffic in a somewhat stuffy van.
Despite the bummer of a return trip we really enjoyed the day and seeing the whole area, especially James Bond Rock, because we’d heard about it a lot over the years and needed to satisfy our curiosity.
It’s unlikely that Roger Moore is out in a boat trying to find a location where we appeared in a home movie from 40 years ago but that’s his loss, not ours.