Head to Phuket? We share these tips for taking a James bond Island tour so that you can visit the famous island on your next trip.
Why visit James Bond Island, Phuket?
Made famous for its appearance in the James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’, this unique karst prod trues from the sea and makes for a great day trip. Many tour companies offer visits to this spot along with other islands around Phuket, including the Phi Phi islands. In 2021, this cluster of islands reopened to the public after being closed for tourists due to overtourism ruining the environment.
Best time to visit James Bond Island
You won’t be able to control when your tour company arrives at the island but if possible, try to book a tour that visits the island in the afternoon. Most tours will head here first thing in the morning, meaning the island can be busy and overcrowded. Visiting in the afternoon, especially after 3 pm, will give you amazing lighting and a quieter experience.
If you are looking for the best time to visit Phuket, we recommend November, February or March; these are the shoulder months of the peak season but outside of the rainy season. It is hard to tour James Bond Island or visit other Phuket Islands during the monsoon season as many tours and trips get cancelled if the rain is too heavy. Monsoon season in Phuket runs from Mid-May through to October, with the wettest month being September.
How to tour James Bond Island
There are plenty of tours available from Phuket that will take you to see this famous landmark in Thailand. You can choose from:
- Long tail boat – a more traditional option but not as comfortable as other options. These can often work out cheaper and you may be able to negotiate with drivers once in Phuket. If you want a private group or a smaller group tour, this is a great option to go for. There are also great because often lunch is served on a beach rather than on a boat itself.
- Cruise boats – these are much more comfortable options. This is a bigger boat that does mean more people but more room for you to move around too. You can enjoy different views from the various spots around the boat and these cruise boats tend to include bathrooms too.
- Speedboat – These are fast and exciting options for a tour and great options for those that either want to take a half-day trip or see more sights. These speedboats tend to take you to many different spots and are popular with younger people. It is possible to book a private or small group speedboat tour but these will cost you more than the long-tail boat tours.
- Junk Boat – Similar to the junk boats of Vietnam, you can enjoy a cruise along the Andaman Sea on a traditional Siamese junk boat. These are beautifully decorated boats that offer you plenty of viewing spots and are a much more luxurious option for travellers. Plus, because of the higher price, these tend to be a lot quieter than other James Bond Island tours.
How to take a James Bond Island Day trip
You will need to book a tour in order to see James Bond Island but there are a few different ways you can book.
Firstly, you could decide to pre-book a trip using websites like Klook or Viator. Using these websites, you can compare prices, itineraries, offers and length of tours as well as reviews of each of the tours too. Make sure to book a tour that offers a free cancellation.
Another way you can book a tour is direct with tour companies. Phuket is a tourist hub, so there are plenty of tour companies to choose from. Walking along the seafront will lead you to many tour operators, as will walking through the towns or need the resort areas. We recommend this option but check prices across different companies and make sure to negotiate; if you let a tour operator know that their competition has a better offer, they will often give you a better price. Also, if the weather has been wet recently, you can negotiate a better price with tour operators by mentioning the weather forecast.
Lastly, you could book a tour via your hotel or hostel. Some places will be reselling tickets from a tour company, meaning these will often be more expensive, but check prices before heading to tour operators directly – sometimes you can save money this way. Hostels tend to get discounted rates for tours but these tend to be for the cruise boats only.
Our experience visiting James Bond Island
Firstly, we were collected from our hotel at around 7.30am and made our way to Ao Por Pier in a comfortable people carrier with another family from a nearby hotel. We had chosen a cruise boat because the weather meant a smaller boat would have caused a lot of sea sickness; the wind was a bit choppy.
Once we arrived at the pier, we did have to wait around for 20-30 minutes for the others on our boat to join us but the pier was busy with market stalls and Thai locals selling souvenirs and snacks. Remember to bring a bottle of water with you because you will need it whilst waiting around in the hot weather.
Around 9 am, we boarded our boat and headed off whilst sipping on juice drinks and being offered a variety of fruit for breakfast. The boat was simple with a long table in the centre and rows of benches along the sides but we didn’t spend much time on the boat itself so it made little difference. I did like that we could move around the boat, however, taking photographs from different angles. We also visited in March, meaning the cruise boat was only half full.
We arrived at Panak Island after a short and speedy journey on the boat (approx 30 minutes). Here, we went canoeing into the Bat Cave and around Hong Island; known for its limestone rock. We had an experienced paddler who guided us around the lagoon.
Once back on the boat, we were served a buffet lunch of Thai dishes that weren’t bad considering lunch was included in the price.
After spending another 30 minutes or so having lunch, we were then whisked away on a smaller longtail boat to visit James Bond Island. We spent around an hour here, taking photographs and exploring the area. The tour group provide you with waterproof bags for you to carry your valuables in which was helpful.
After visiting the island, we were then taken back to the boat and headed to Naka Island. Around 2 pm we were dropped off at Naka Island to relax and swim for an hour before heading back to the pier. The water here was crystal clear and you could see starfish along the bottom of the sea.
We left Naka Island around 3pm, were taken back to the pier and then arrive at our hotel at around 5.30pm.
Day trips range in price, ours cost us 900B each and was booked with our hotel company. Check different prices and the weather forecast before booking a trip, we booked ours around 5 pm the day before to get the lowest price.
Tips for visiting the James Bond Island
- Most tour prices range from $30 – $40 so do not overpay for these trips.
- Tours tend to include lunch but bring cash for any snacks or beverages you may want to purchase during the day.
- Pack sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat; it can be very hot and sunny on the waters during a long day trip.
- Bring small change; there are plenty of souvenir shops near James Bond Island so if you want any items, bring small change with you for purchases.
- Tours tend to be around 8 hours long and include a pickup and drop-off at your hotel.
- Bring an extra pair of clothes, a towel and your swimming suit; you will want to take a dip in the crystal clear waters if there is an option to do so and some extra clothes come in hand if your outfit gets gamp during canoeing or kayaking.
- Bring a waterproof bag – If your cruise includes any type of canoeing or kayaking experience, we recommend bringing a waterproof backpack for you to keep personal belongings in.
James Bond Island hotels
The James Bond Island is located between Krabi and Phuket, with many tours running from Phuket. Phang Nga is the nearest destination to the island but taking a tour from most areas of Phuket is reasonably priced and easy. We share our favourite Phuket hotels in this Phuket Travel Guide.