Phang Nga Bay in Thailand is full of exotic island scenery, and one of the best things to see in the bay is the famous James Bond Island, with its unusual balancing rocks.
Also known as Nail Island or “Ko Ta Pu” in Thai, James Bond Island got its current nickname when the location appeared in the 1974 Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.
Nowadays, Phang Nga Bay is a national park in Thailand where you can go kayaking and see dozens of stunning islands featuring caves, mangroves, wildlife, and even a floating village called Koh Panye.
It’s easy to visit Phang Nga Bay on a day trip (boat) from Phuket, Krabi or Khao Lak, and this gives you enough time to see James Bond Island and the other major sights in the bay.
This travel guide to Phang Nga Bay will explain how to get there, the top things to see and do, the best tour packages to use, where to stay.
Best Phang Nga Bay Tour Offers
The only way to visit James Bond Island is to take a tour, and GetYourGuide has you covered Pre-scheduled day tours from Phuket or Similar day trips from Khao Lak or Crabbycomplete with hotel transfer, boat ride, lunch, shared island tour, and return on the same day.
These day tours visit all of Phang Nga Bay’s top sights, including James Bond Island, Hong Island and the floating village of Koh Pani, and you can also use.
They have it too Private tours or Semi-private tours If you prefer, though the prices are higher. We’ve used GetYourGuide on a lot of tours and day activities around the world, and it’s great. Highly recommended!
Where is James Bond Island located?
There is no airport, hotels or accommodation in the bay since it is a national park, but you can easily visit it from other places in Thailand.
How to get to James Bond Island in Thailand
The only way to get to James Bond Island is to book a Phang Nga Bay tour by boat. You can choose between a Thai longtail boat, a large wooden boat, or a speedboat, and any of these are good options.
The speedboat is faster and usually in a smaller, more private tour group, but it costs more. We have toured James Bond Island with all types of boats, and always had a good experience with each of them.
The closest place to fly for this is the International Airport in Phuket (HKT) or Krabi Airport (KBV). Both of these airports have cheap flights from Bangkok. You can Shop for trips to Thailand On Skyscanner.
There are a range of boat companies that operate a trip to James Bond Island daily from Phuket, Krabi or Khao Lak, usually including a hotel shuttle. Again, we recommend using GetYourGuide for their files subscriber or Private tours!
The boat ride across Phang Nga Bay is awe-inspiring in itself, with dozens of rocky islands rising from the sea in all directions. It’s probably one of the most amazing paddling experiences I’ve ever had anywhere in the world!
Visiting James Bond Island: What to expect
When you first arrive at James Bond Island, the boat will stop on the back side of the main island (Khao Veng Kan) and then you can get off and walk around the island for a while.
Khao Vieng Kan is a very unusual island covered in limestone hills, and its main attraction is the balanced, pointed rock, which appears to be floating on the sea. Unlike other places in Thailand, snorkeling is not good in Phang Nga Bay because the water is murky and there is no coral.
However, if you’re lucky, you can still see some wildlife here. We saw a hawk fly around, and later we saw a lizard monitoring the kids near the beach. We took some pictures of him before he climbed a tree and disappeared.
Most Phang Nga tour packages give you one hour on James Bond Island, enough time to swim at the beach, see the famous floating rock, and try out James Bond’s best photo poses.
Of course, due to its natural scenery, James Bond Island has become one of the most famous places in Thailand, so it is very crowded with tourists at most times of the day unless you arrive early in the morning.
There are a bunch of temporary souvenir stalls on the island to take advantage of, but the prices are a little higher than usual, so it’s not a good idea to do any shopping here.
If you want to escape the crowds and take some nice photos, you can climb the concrete steps and there are usually fewer people at the viewing points above the rock, while the area near the beach always tends to be the busier and busier part. Al Jazeera.
James Bond Island became famous and earned its current title after it was featured as the villain’s hideout in the 1974 Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. The film was well received by critics, but the website was a hit.
Despite the crowds, we were happy to see that the island was completely clean, and we did not notice any trash on the ground or in the water. Overall, it’s a great place and you should see it at least once!
Visit Phang Nga Bay – tourist fees
Phang Nga Bay is a national park in Thailand, so they charge a tourist fee of 300 baht (about $9 USD) for adults, and 150 baht for children ages 3-14.
Some Phang Nga Bay tours may already include this fee in the total price when you book, but you usually pay it separately in cash when you first start the tour, or when you get off the boat on James Bond Island.
There is more to Phang Nga Bay
Here is a list of some of the top attractions in Phang Nga Bay. You can see most of these places (besides James Bond Island) on a day tour:
- Koh Hong Island: Not to be confused with Koh Hong in Krabi Province, it is a beautiful island in Phang Nga with a sandy beach and several limestone caves that you can explore by kayak. It’s one of the most amazing kayaking spots in Thailand, so don’t miss it!
- Koh Vanak Island: Another large limestone island with several caves, including Bat Cave and Ice Cream Cave, which gets its name from the bright white stalactites inside.
- Koh Panyi Floating Village: A very interesting little fishing village with a population of about 1,700 people. Founded about 200 years ago by Malay Muslims, this floating village is often a lunch stop during James Bond boat tours.
- Samit Nangshi’s point of view: This stunning viewpoint is located outside the national park, and you can only visit it by land (not on a James Bond boat tour). However, it has amazing views of Phang Nga Bay, along with many mangroves and islands. It’s one of the best views I’ve seen anywhere in the world, and the sunrise is impressive too. I will be writing a separate travel guide for this viewpoint soon!
One-day itinerary for James Bond Island tour
Here is a sample itinerary of what a James Bond Island tour generally looks like:
- 7:30 am – Transfer from the hotel and go to the pier by bus or minibus
- 8:30 am – Transfer to the boat and start the trip to Phang Nga Bay
- 12:00 pm – Have lunch on the boat or in the floating village (Koh Panei)
- 1:00 pm -More tourist attractions in Phang Nga Bay
- 5:00 pm – Arrive at the pier and return to your hotel by bus or minibus
Keep in mind that every tour is different, so your schedule may not follow this exactly. You can check with your tour provider about your itinerary before going.
Is James Bond Island open/closed?
Yes, James Bond Island is open to tourists from 2023!
The Thai government likes to close some of its islands for conservation during the rainy season, but Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island generally remain open all year round.
The best time to visit James Bond Island in Thailand
Any time is a good time to visit James Bond Island, although there are some seasonal differences.
The weather in Thailand’s Andaman Sea region (including Phang Nga Bay) is best from November to April, when it is drier and sunny. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so it is busier with day tours.
The weather is not good from May to October. There are more rainy days, and there are frequent storms in the evening. However, there are fewer tourists in these months and it is still possible to have a great trip.
It is unusual for boat trips to be canceled on James Bond Island because it is located within a large bay that protects it from strong waves coming from the sea.
We did experience some big storms in the rainy season, but these were usually in the evening when we returned to the hotel, so it wasn’t a problem. Most of the photos in this James Bond Island travel guide were taken in July, during the rainy season.
We visited Phang Nga Bay in the dry season and also in the rainy season, on separate trips. Either way, we had a great time and the weather was mostly great for weeks.
In conclusion, there really is no bad time to visit James Bond Island!
What to bring to Phang Nga Bay
Here are some packing suggestions for your visit to James Bond Island in Thailand:
- Water bag. Essential for keeping your electronic devices safe on boats around Ko Ta Po Island and Koh Hong. Everything stayed dry, even when I took the bag swimming a few times!
- Waterproof phone case. Great if you don’t have other electronic devices and just need a little something to protect your phone.
- sunblock cream. There is usually some shade in speedboats and long-tail boats, but you can still get roasted while swimming or walking on the beach at Ko Ta Po, so you’ll need to bring a hat and sunscreen for boat tours.
- Snacks and drinks. You may want to bring some snacks and drinks on the boat when touring the islands. You can bring it from Phuket or Krabi. There are also snacks and drinks available for purchase in the national park, but prices are higher.
Can you fly a drone in Phang Nga Bay?
Yes and no. Thailand is very relaxed about drones, and you can fly them on most islands, but you are not allowed to fly them in national parks.
This includes James Bond Island, which is patrolled by park rangers who will fine you if you are caught flying a drone. They are particularly strict there, and guards constantly monitor all areas of the island.
However, if you are conservative, you can still fly from other locations in or near the bay. The best place to do this is the Samet Nangshe viewpoint, which has a great view of Phang Nga Bay. You’ll still want to be considerate of others and only fly where people won’t bother you, of course.
Other tips for Phang Nga Bay
- Bathrooms: There are bathrooms on James Bond Island, although you may have to pay a small fee in Thai Baht (bring some cash for this). If you book the tour on a large wooden boat, these boats will also have toilets, although Thai longboats and speedboats usually do not.
- Cell service: We had good phone reception on the boat while touring around Phang Nga Bay, but you may lose signal when you go ashore on James Bond Island due to the steep mountains surrounding Kota Pu.
- Mosquitoes: We didn’t really see any mosquitoes in Phang Nga Bay or James Bond Island, but you can buy insect repellent in Phuket, Krabi, or other places in Thailand if you wish. Malaria does not exist in this area.
Phi Phi or James Bond Island: which is better?
How does the James Bond Island fee compare to the fee? This is an important question.
Both are great, but I have to say Phi Phi Island better. No offense to James Bond Island, but Phi Phi Island has some of the best scenery above and below the ocean, with clear blue waters and plenty of fish.
There’s also more to see and do in Phi Phi in general. Even if you don’t care for diving, it’s hard to beat Maya baiLake Pele and other epic sights of the Phi Phi Islands. They are truly world class.
Don’t get me wrong, Phang Nga Bay is still gorgeous and you should definitely see James Bond Island if you’re able to. Try to see both Phi Phi and James Bond if you have the time! Unfortunately, you can’t see them in one day since they are located in opposite directions from Phuket (north versus south), but it is possible to see both places in two days!
Is James Bond Island worth it?
Yes, James Bond Island is totally worth it in my book! There is so much amazing scenery in Phang Nga Bay, and everything is very reasonably priced.
Despite the crowds, this is still one of the best day trips in Thailand, and is easily accessible due to its location between Phuket and Krabi.
More travel guides to Thailand
Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoy this travel guide to Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island in Thailand.
Don’t forget to check out my full review Travel Guide to Thailand For more tips about Phuket, Krabi, Koh Tao, and other Thai islands.