Phuket Phang Nga Bay Kao Ping Gun (James Bond) Island14 February, 2010
Continuing from our Phuket shore excursion, our next stop in the tour was a visit to Phang Nga Bay National Park. According to the shore excursion brochure, “The unparalleled scenery of Phang Nga Bay defies description. the boat cruise through this picture perfect waterway is a wonderful experience not to be missed during your visit to Southern Thailand.”
Upon arrival at Phang Nga Bay National Park, we got on a small motorboat and took a cruise through the surrealist landscape of limestone stacks. The scenery is indeed quite pretty with beautiful limestone cliffs dotting the entire waterway – however after a while, it does get a bit boring especially since the boat journey took more than 1 hour.
The boat is rather low in the water level so be prepared for the occasional splashes of water into the boat. The visit to the cliffs is also subjected to the tides as low tides could mean that there isn’t enough water to bring your boat within one of the cliffs for a peek of its interior (which was the case for us).
Part of this cruise includes a visit to Kao Ping Gun Island which is also popularly known as James Bond Island as it was here where the filming of the last scenes of The Man with the Golden Gun took place. The boat will only approach the island for a photo opportunity i.e. you don’t actually get the chance to disembark and walk on the island. There is also nothing much to see on the island itself other than a plaque that says this is James Bond Island. This place reminds me of our other vacation at Phuket beaches and Phuket hotels.
Another stop along this cruise is at Koh Panyi, a water village where more than 200 houses were built on stilts with attached wooden walkways. The village’s facilities seemed to have been built to cater to tourists with lots of souvenir shops and fancy restaurants. Once inside, you will feel like you are on land as most of the paths are built with concrete and there isn’t the fishy smell commonly associated with water villages like Kukup.
We were brought into the heart of the village where a school lies – quite a surreal feeling to be studying in such an environment; high nets around the multi-purpose court and pretty limestone structures around the school.
This shore excursion ends with buffet Thai cuisine dinner at Phang Nga Bay resort and a pit stop at a local product and handmade souvenir government-endorsed souvenir shop; be prepared for pushy salesperson especially at the jewelery section.