Bond­ing in Thai­land

Good days and Good­night on is­land made fa­mous by movie

South Burnett Times - - ESCAPE - DAR­REN HALLESY

BACK in the 1970s, pro­duc­ers of the James Bond movies were in a pickle when work started on Roger Moore’s sec­ond role as the iconic spy.

In a bid to cap­i­talise on the mas­sive suc­cess of Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury and En­ter The

Dragon, the film­mak­ers wanted to set the movie The Man With The Golden Gun in the ex­otic East.

Scouts were sent out to Hong Kong, Thai­land and Ma­cau, where they dis­cov­ered the wreck of the Queen Mary in Hong Kong and the hun­dreds of un­usual is­lands in Phang Nga Bay in Thai­land. When the pro­duc­tion moved to Phuket, there was only one ho­tel and the en­tire pro­duc­tion took over the small town.

After the film was re­leased, Phuket be­came in­sanely pop­u­lar and the is­land of Khao Ping Kan re­mains the most pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion in the tourist re­gion, which is af­fec­tion­ately now re­ferred to as James Bond Is­land.

After trav­el­ling to a nearby har­bour, you’ll sit in a long­boat, which pow­ers past many de­serted is­lands on the way to your des­ti­na­tion. Most tours tend to stop along the way to do some ca­noe­ing through a nat­u­ral arch­way with a guide.

James Bond Is­land isn’t the de­serted spot you saw in the movie. There are stalls and food avail­able, with lots of spots to ad­mire the iconic lime­stone rock known as Ko Ta Pu. For me, as a Bond fan this was a bucket list item to stand where Roger Moore and Christo­pher pher Lee did back in 1973.

After an hour on the is­land, the tour headed to a float­ing vil­lage for lunch h be­fore head­ing ing home.

The other spot Phu- PhuPhuket is most fa­mous for is Phi Phi Is­land, where you’ll find one of the most iconic beaches in movie his­tory, Maya Bay.

The Beach, re­leased in 2000, starred Leonardo Di Caprio.

Due to the mas­sive pop­u­lar­ity of this beach, the Thai govern­ment ear­lier this year de­cided to close the bay due to con­cerns about the en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects of the thou­sands of tourists who visit ev­ery day. If this is on your list, check if it will be open when you visit.

You can also take to the wa­ter on a speed­boat to ad­mire the hun­dreds of is­lands through­out the bay, some you can swim, snorkel and re­lax.

Dine at Phi Phi Is­land re­sort for lunch, a lux­u­ri­ous spot with a beach to die for.

A visit to Mon­key Beach, a de­serted spot pop­u­lated by mon­keys who climb the rocks with ease, is not with­out some en­ter­tain­ment.

Both des­ti­na­tions are best seen on a tour. It’s a good idea to book and pay in ad­vance for the best deals. For more in­for­ma­tion, see Phuket.com or the Phuket 101 Face­book group.

Pho­tos: Con­trib­uted

STAR­RING ROLE: The lime­stone rock known as Ko Ta Pu, or James Bond Is­land, is on the bucket lists of many Bond fans after its ap­pear­ance in The Man With The Golden Gun. IN­SET: Get up close with the lo­cals on Mon­key Beach.

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