James Bond island rock Thailand

Thailand: James Bond island, Koh Panyee village and Wat Suwan Kuha

Date: 20th November 2012

We were picked up from our hotel by our tour van in the morning. Then the van went around picking up other guests and made our way uphill.

Phuket sea morning Thailand
We drove past many of Phuket’s smaller beaches
Way to Phuket beaches Thailand
These are Phuket’s other popular beaches

Hill curve road Phuket

Driving to Phang Nga
We got stuck in traffic on the road leading to the airport; but the journey still took near two hours!
Phang Nga bay tour Phuket
Once we finally got to the docks in Phang Nga, we were given life jackets
Phang Nga bay boat tour
Our tour group was in a fairly big boat

It was already past noon by the time our tour began.

Tour boat Phang Nga bay Thailand
We were going out in to Phang Nga bay
Mangroves Phang Nga bay Thailand
There are large stretches of mangroves in Phang Nga bay
Motor boat Phang Nga Thailand
Other tour boats left alongside ours

Karst hills Phang Nga Thailand

Tourists Phang Nga bay Thailand
We were going to check out a few lagoons first
Floating boat restaurant Thailand
We stopped by this floating restaurant
Ramesh Phang Nga bay canoe ride
We were then split in to pairs and put in a canoe with a ‘paddler/guide’
Canoe rider Phang Nga bay
This was ours. I sat in between him and Ramesh.
Going inside cave canoe Thailand
Time to duck
Going inside cave Phang Nga Thailand
We would go inside these hills to find lagoons
Inside lagoon cave Phang Nga Thailand
I don’t remember if this was Panak Island, but this was the lagoon inside.

Inside lagoon cave Thailand

Inside cave Phang Nga Thailand
We just took a round and went back out again. Our guide/paddler spoke mostly in Thai and broken English. And when I say spoke, I mean mumbled.
Exiting lagoon cave Phang Nga bay Thailand
Time to duck, again
Big tunnel cave Phang Nga Thailand
We went under this massive tunnel to get to the next two caves

Canoeing Phang Nga bay ThailandTunnel cave Phang Nga bay Thailand

Ice cream boat Phang Nga bay Thailand
In case you felt like having an ice cream while canoeing, that service is available in Phang Nga bay as well
Ramesh Iyer lying in canoe
The canoe ride was smooth and quite relaxing
Limestone formation Phang Nga bay Thailand
Then came the part of the tour when the guide would point to formations on the karst limestone rocks and say that it resembles some animal or figure. I didn’t get most of it.
Inside lagoon cave Phang Nga Thailand
This was another lagoon we entered
Phang Nga bay canoeing tour Thailand
This was the entry to a mangrove

Phang Nga bay mangrove island Thailand

Inside lagoon island Thailand
Inside *another* sea cave
Mangrove Phang Nga Thailand
I don’t think you are allowed to go deep inside the mangroves. Phang Nga bay is protected reserve.
Limestone rocks Phang Nga Thailand
Going back out again

Phang Nga bay canoe Thailand

Phang Nga bay sea Thailand
The open sea
Phang Nga bay island tunnel
Going back under
Mithun Divakaran photography Thailand
Taken by Ramesh

Phang Nga tunnel limestone rocks

Phang Nga bay hill Thailand
On the way back, Ramesh and I took turns to paddle the canoe
Mithun Divakaran paddling Thailand
I had paddled before in Philippines and felt it was so easy. But today was different. Maybe it was the weight of all three of us in the canoe, but we barely moved no matter how hard I paddled! 😛

Once back on the floating restaurant, we were served cold drinks before getting back on our respective tour boats. Here’s a video I took while on the canoe:

Phang Nga bay island tour boats
We left for our next destination
Phang Nga bay rain clouds Thailand
There were rain storms far away
Khao Phing Kan island Phang Nga bay Thailand
Next up, James Bond island! Real name: Khao Phing Kan. This was where the final showdown in The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed. James Bond put this island on the tourist map.
Khao Phing Kan island Thailand
Our boats dropped off tourists here
Khao Phing Kan island shore Thailand
The image most commonly associated with James Bond island is not even on the island
Steps James Bond island tour
To see the iconic rock of James Bond island, you have to climb these steps
James Bond island rock Thailand
And there it is, Ko Tapu
Ramesh Mithun James Bond island
We asked a fellow tourist to take our photo. He should have asked me to move a bit to the right.
Steps to beach Khao Phing Kan island Thailand
And that’s it. We went down to the beach.
James Bond island shops Thailand
You have a few shops here selling souvenirs and drinks
James Bond island Phang Nga Thailand
You can swim around it, but you are not allowed near the rock — let along try to climb it (I blurred the background for effect)
James Bond island cliff rock Thailand
The island also had this rock which looks as though the hill tumbled sideways and is leaning on a similar rock
James Bond island cave Thailand
A cave
Black cat sleeping Thailand
Cats doing what they do best, no matter where they are
James Bond island Phang Nga bay Thailand
We had 45 minutes on the island
James Bond island bay Thailand
We regrouped and got on our boat
Long tail boat Phang Nga bay Thailand
It was time now for lunch
Going Koh Panyee village Thailand
I was finally going to visit Koh Panyee ‘floating’ village
Koh Panyee village Thailand
I had seen the village from high up in the air when I flew from Phuket to Bangkok in 2009
Docking at Koh Panyi village
I made sure that a visit this ‘floating village was part of the tour
Koh Panyee island Thailand
It’s amazing such a village exists in the middle of the bay and only surrounded by limestone rocks and water
Panyee restaurant lunch Thailand
Usually the lunches on these tours suck, but I quite liked this menu. Tempura prawns, chicken, hot soup and fruits.
Panyee village stores Thailand
After lunch, I decided to explore the village
Panyee floating village market Thailand
Most of the shops catered to tourists, selling souvenirs and items you can find on the mainland as well
Koh Panyee floating village Phang Nga bay
Besides that, not much in terms of commercial activity (as you would expect)
Koh Panyee village stilt houses
Houses are on stilts
Ko Panyi floating village people
It’s funny to think, “where do these people go… for anything?”
Panyee village shop Thailand
Surely they make a visit to Phang Nga town to stock or get supplies shipped to the village
Panyi fishing village Thailand
As per Wikipedia, more than 1500 people live on Koh Panyi, most of whom are of Malay-Indonesian descent
Boat Koh Panyee village Thailand
Many of whom are still fishermen
Houses Ko Panyi floating village Thailand
Pretty much everyone is a Muslim
Houses Koh Panyi village Thailand
This was still a nice place to walk around
Koh Panyi kitten sleeping
Was that the mother cat I saw above at James Bond island? 🙂
Electric meters Koh Panyi village Thailand
Wait, how is electricity generated on this island?
Muslim man Koh Panyi village Thailand
It must get awfully boring here for some
Panyee village bridge Thailand
But the main reason I wanted to explore the village was because of an ad
Koh Panyi floating football pitch Thailand
I wanted to see this floating football pitch made famous by one of my favourite ad campaigns

A couple of years ago, one of Thailand’s biggest banks – TMB, released a short film based on the inspirational story of Koh Panyi’s football club. It was beautiful, funny and out-right inspirational. Just watch it, you’ll see what I mean.

Home Ko Panyee village
Cable tv?
Furry cat Panyi floating village
So many cats. I guess enough fish around to feed them, ha ha!

I rushed back to the boat as Ramesh called to tell me it was about to leave.

Boat going back to Phang Nga docks
We were supposed to go to another island for some beach bumming and swimming, but our guide told us the weather was bad there
Wat Suwan Kuha entrance Thailand
Once back on land, our tour van took us to Wat Suwan Kuha
Inside Wat Suwan Kuha Phang Nga temple
It’s a cave temple
Wat Suwan Kuha lying Buddha statue
It’s got a lying Buddha as well

Wat Suwan Kuha statues Phang Nga temple

Wat Suwan Kuha rock Phang Nga temple
There are multiple caves under this limestone hill
Wat Suwan Kuha rock statue Phang Nga temple
That’s not a real monk
Cave entrance Wat Suwan Kuha phang nga
I went cave exploring
Vandalized rock Thailand
Clearly people follow instructions -_-
Wat Suwan kuha Phang Nga cave Thailand
This was a section of the cave that went up high

Wat Suwan Kuha cave Phang Nga

Wat Suwan Kuha Phang Nga cave stalactites
Wat Suwan Kuha Phang nga cave tour
I love this photo. You can’t make out if I’m looking up or looking down 🙂
Cave Wat Suwan Kuha Phang Nga Thailand
I climbed slowly but eventually made it to the top of the cave
Inside cave temple Phang Nga Thailand
This is a panorama of the large stretch of stalactites inside the cave
Cave Wat Suwan Kuha Phang Nga Thailand
I carefully climbed back down
Cave temple Thailand
It was time to leave
Muslim banners Phuket
It was an hour-long ride back to our hotel
Phuket Hill traffic Thailand
It was a long, slow-moving trail of traffic on the hill before Patong. Alss, I learned there’s an Indian restaurant called Poppadam in Patong 🙂

It was a good tour in the end, even though many hours were wasted in traffic and we didn’t get to go to one spot. I still felt I got my āļŋ850 (Rs. 1650/$27/₮20 ) worth of sight-seeing.

Guinness onion rings irish pub Phuket
In the evening, Ramesh and I had some Guinness along with some of the fattest onion rings we had ever seen! This was at an Irish pub on Walking Street; they had a decent live band playing.

Next posts in this series:

Thailand 2012: Phuket beach hopping and bike ride to Promthep Cape

Thailand 2012: Flying to Chiang Mai; views from Doi Suthep

Thailand 2012: Golden Triangle tour – White Temple, Mekong River, Mae Sai, and entering Laos

Loy Krathong 2012: Yeepeng Lanna in Chiang Mai – A second chance to do it right

Previous posts in this series:

Thailand 2012: Terminal 21 mall; Bangkok to Phuket by bus

Thailand 2012: Far end of Jomtien Beach; back to Bangkok

Thailand 2012: The Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya

Thailand 2012: Landing in Pattaya

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  • Ana


    So you took this trip from Patong, where you were located and included james bond island and the a tour of caves in phang nga bay in a canoe, koh panyie (the fishermen willage) and the cave temple with the reclining budha.
    I will go in February 2015 in Phuket and stay in patong area and this is exactly what I would like to see in the north! just that I did not find a travel agency that combines all the above in the same tour. can you tell me the name of agency? where you bought your tickets from?
    Congrats for the article, it was very detailed and helpful 🙂

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    I don’t remember the name of the agency. Honestly, you can approach any one as they all offer the same tour package. No need to even book in advance. Just land in Patong and ask around.

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