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James Bond Island: Is it worth it?

Is James Bond Island Worth The trip?

As absolutely beautiful as Phuket, Thailand was, if you are going because of the amazing pictures of James Bond Island (otherwise known as Khao Phing Kan) like this one,

James Bond Island Thailand

You may want to know a few things. 

It’s Very Short

For starters. This island is considerably smaller than the photos make it look, much smaller. It is tiny and not what we were expecting at all. It’s only 66 feet tall. There are Christmas trees in Madison Square Garden that are taller than that. 

No Information

A second thing, something no one informed us about. We asked many times and I’d looked at dozens of tour options, nothing. It cost extra money to be able to see it from this point of view. They will take you two hours off the coast to see the island and not tell you until you arrive, that there’s an additional entrance fee. 

It was a over a year in planning before our trip to Phuket . I put the deposit down on the house we were staying in a full 16 months before we arrived. Pamphlets were ordered, several phone calls, hours of researched information, tours, distances. The photos of Phang Nga were beautiful so I made sure it was high on our priorities list. It looks like something out of a Jurassic Park movie. We all hummed the theme at one point or another throughout the day expecting a pterodactyl to come flying off one of the islands. Phang Nga Phuket Thailand

I ended up booking us a private charter because there were twelve of us in our group. We wanted to be able to control the day instead of being trapped on one of those tour boats unable to stop wherever we wanted and stay as long as we liked. Luckily for us, this ended up saving the day. 

We loved being on the boat. It was comfortable, smooth, no one got sea sick and they served us one of the best meals we had the entire week. The crew was fantastic and we got some amazing pictures. 

Extra Travel Expenses

Phang Nga Bay Thailand

When we arrived at James Bond Island our captain took us to the outer side of the moon shaped island. From there no one could see the tower rock or go any further. We knew our boat was too large to get close because the channel is shallow and had decided in advance that we didn’t care to go to the beach. It wasn’t planned to leave our boat, we only wanted to enjoy the view. What we didn’t know was we couldn’t see the bay unless we took a long boat to the island. It’s a national park and they don’t allow boats to go between the islands. James bond, that’s the tall tower island you see in all the pictures is in the middle of a half moon bay. 

See the image below, the top of the picture is where they make all the larger tours, like ours, and private charters stay. They aren’t allowed to go around to the other side, the bottom of the photo, where you can see James Bond Island. We also couldn’t use any of our drones without a permit for professional photographers. Which, FYI, take six months to get a drone permit. 

James bond Island Thailand

Additional Costs

When we asked one of the long boat drivers how much it would cost to take us over to the beach, after all he gave us a price. James Bond is the main attraction for Phang Nga. It was a two hour ride to get there, we weren’t about to miss it. Turns out is was only 50 Thai baht per person. Which was roughly $1.50 American. Great. Or so we thought. 

We load up in the long boat, most of us leaving behind our bags and supplies. After all we were just going to jump on over to the secluded beach and take a few pictures of James Bond. We did have a fun time on the long boat for the short journey over that only took a few minutes. 

Phang Nga Bay Thailand

Rude People

Our twelve man group gets shuffled over to this window once we arrived. It was another 300 baht to get in. That’s only $9 for us but no one had brought extra cash, we’d left everything on our boat. We had asked how much and were told 50 so that’s what we grabbed.

To top it off, there were high booths lining the beach blocking the view of the bay and the island. We’d gone all the way out there, and agreed to take a long boat to this tiny little beach, that we didn’t want to go to in the first place and we couldn’t even see over the souvenir booths. 

There were security stopping people from walking towards the opening at the end which was the only way to see the cove and the famous island that is the main feature in every Phuket, Thailand website and travel blog.

Turn You Away

As soon as it was clear the twelve of us didn’t have any cash to pay the extra 300 baht they become very rude, herding us towards the dock and trying to wave down the long boat that dropped us off. Yelling at us and pushing us away trying to get rid of us as fast as possible. One of the security guys even hovered over my friend shoulder as she shopped. They wouldn’t let her look at most of the booths, getting between her and the sales people trying to get her as far away from the shops as possible. 

Once the long boat was able to get back to the dock the only place he could get to was near the end close to the opening. One security guy even grabbed my shoulder and pushed me when I turned to get a glimpse of the island, shoving me away from the opening. It was ridiculous. 

Our long boat driver understood English and got the full story and felt bad for us so he took us completely around the bay and through the straight our charter boat was too deep to go through. We did get to see if from the ocean side and at a distance. This is one of the only pictures I was able to get from the water. 

James Bond Island Thailand

And bear in mind, this is much much smaller than it looks. So small we thought we were at the wrong island. 

Say Yes to Phang Nga

Thankfully, there are lots of beaches in Phang Nga and the views were amazing as we boated around. We are boat people, so it didn’t waist a day and ruin the experience but having all the information would have changed a lot of things.

We did end up at a beautiful spot on the way back with jet-ski’s and a bar. We jumped off the second story of the boat, swam around, playing in the ocean. We got these huge pinacolatos in coconuts. The waiter was fantastic and kept asking us if they were strong enough. Of course we said no, so he just kept adding Thai Whiskey, which is rum until we were happy. Needless to say we were a bit tipsy on the way home and he got a huge tip.

Phang Nga Phuket Thailand

If you are going to Phuket, Thailand and decide to take a day trip to Phang Nga, just know that this famous island, comes with an extra fee and you have to take a long boat to the beach to be able to see it. You will need an extra $350 baht per person if you want to see James Bond Island. And get your Instagram shot.

Phi Phi National Park

No to James Bond

It’s worth the trip to Phang Nga but I honestly wouldn’t waist my time trying to see this iconic image. This is not one of those ‘the picture doesn’t do it justice’ moments, if anything the picture is the definition of false advertising. Beautiful yes, but more disappointing than anything. Go to Phang Nga because it is awe inspiring but James Bond is not really worth the addition surprise charge of $10.50. 

Phang Nga Phuket Thailand

Feel free to ask any questions you may have about James Bond island and if you want to see more pictures from my trip to Phuket check out my Instagram

If you’re planning a trip to Thailand and would like to learn Thai. This is a great way to start learning the language of Thailand. It’s quick and easy way to start rudimentary Thai to use on your trip and talk with the locals.

As per usual, I took way more pictures than I could possibly post on here so if you’d like to see more I have several accounts that I’ve posted more images on.
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  • Paolo

    Hi Norma,

    I would like to go to Bond’s Island. And thanks for warning us that it’s much much smaller than it looks. I know it can be quite a shock when expecting something different.

    I appreciate your insights about these different locations. But what I like most about your blog are the pictures. I’ll also follow you on Instagram for these photographic gems.

    • NJKuhr

      Thank you for the follow. James Bond is a bucket list spot for me but bring cash for the boat taxi and for the park entrance if you want to spend time on the beach. 

  • Aluko kolawole


    In review of James Bond Island is it worth it, without a one-day boat trip tour that includes a tour of James Bond Island. Featured in the 1974 movie, “The Man with the Golden Gun,” with Roger Moore as James Bond, the island remains an affectionate scene-stealer fondly remembered as the villain’s secret tropical headquarters, the island offers a diverse range of beautiful scenery and distinctive popular photo sights, in particular the jagged oblong rock shown in most promotional and tourist photos.

    Thank you.


  • Lana

    I never heard about the James Bond Island before. But one thing I should advise you whenever you want to travel to South East Asia, always carry an extra cash on your pocket, just in case. It is not their intention to get an attention from tourist specialy western by giving bad advertisment. Not their intention either to make fake information or hide it. The thing is, South East Asia has tons of beautiful destinations on each counrties but very bad advertsiment and very less information of the places.

    • NJKuhr

      Exactly, we simply didn’t know and no one told us until it was too late. That’s why I wrote the article, hopefully it helps people avoid the mistakes we made. 

  • Collinsss

    As a lover of sight seeing I really found this sticker really nice and it was also very timely for me as well due to the fact that I have been looking for a place to go for vacation wit my fiancee and this really seems to be like the perfect place.. I would definitely visit here sometime in the future with my fiancee, thank you for sharing this here

    • NJKuhr

      It’s very much a great place to visit for couples. Just so you know if you Maya beach is something that makes you want to go, it isn’t open to the public anymore. Its not as well known but they have closed that island off to clean up and repair the coral reef. James bond island and Phi Phi are still open. 

  • Charity

    Hello there, thank you so much for sharing this. this is a very awesome piece and a very detailed one. I’m really happy I came across this.  Reading about this article James Bond Island: is it worth it? Sounds really interesting. Going through this article made me realize James Bond island is totally worth it. It’s a place to be for a cool and peaceful vacation 

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