Phang Nga: James Bond, Monkeys and More

After five days in a lazy relaxed haze, only the promise of spectacular limestone islands set in emerald-green waters could lure us from the poolside.     

My mother and father-in-law had traveled 36 hours from Indianapolis to Asia and it seemed only right that they see more of Thailand than the resort so we signed up for a day trip destined for beautiful Phang Nga Bay.  After an hour bus ride, we boarded a long tail boat and the views were majestic.

We eventually came to an area of mangrove trees where the water was very shallow.  We boarded inflatable kayaks to get a closer look.

We travelled through passages and into caves that were so narrow at times we had to lie flat to fit.  The children loved the excitement.

The waters in the bay were once even more shallow and passing ancient men left paintings on the cave walls.

There are 40 islands in the Phang Nga Bay, but the most famous is Koh Tapu or as it is known in the tour guides – James Bond Island.

The location was chosen in 1974 as the tropical hideout for the assassin Scaremonger in the ninth Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun.  Roger Moore is Bond and his antagonist portrayed by Christopher Lee installs a laser on the top of the island.  There is a duel scene on the beach.

The movie is definitely cheesy and not P.C. by today’s standards but the setting is beautiful enough to attract throngs of visitors today including many who have never seen the film. It is definitely a well visited place we went early which helped avoid some crowds.

This interesting leaning rock formation was the entrance to the Scaremonger’s lair in the movie.

Next we went to the floating fishing muslim village of Ko Panyi for lunch.

At last it was time to return to dry land, on the way back to our hotel we visited Wat Tham which is unique because of its setting in a cave. Inside the cool chamber are many Buddha images, including a massive one in the reclining pose.

Aidan engaged in his favorite temple ritual lighting incense.

Outside the temple is a monkey circus.  There were few around until a tour bus showed up.  The simians then knew it was “lunch time”.  Suddenly there were dozens all earnestly looking for a handout.  Their antics were amusing.

This guy is particularly well fed.

It was a wonderful day exploring Phang Nga Bay.  Who knows what adventures lie ahead for my own future “James Bond” and “Bond Girl”

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