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Happy 50th anniversary to James Bond Island

50th anniversary of James Bond Island

Koh Tapu, popularly known as James Bond Island, gained fame from its appearance in the 1974 James Bond film “The Man With the Golden Gun”. This iconic location, along with the towering limestone islands of Ko Khao Phing Kan, was prominently featured in the movie, cementing its status as a must-visit tourist destination in Thailand.

50 years after Roger Moore (Bond) and Christopher Lee (Scaramanga) plodded around the shores of the Thai island, the legend and popularity of Koh Tau remains strong. Every day, throughout the year, hundreds of tourists descend on the group of islands and pose for their Instagram account.

Some enterprising tour boat company seized on the popularity of the Bond films and renamed the island. It stuck. Now EVERYONE calls the ‘exclamation mark’ James Bond Island. Almost nobody remembers ‘Koh Tapu’.

Despite boats being restricted from approaching the actual island too closely, visitors can still enjoy the stunning scenery and recreate scenes from the movie with Koh Tapu in the background. The island’s distinctive shape – wider at the top and narrower at the bottom – makes it a striking natural landmark.

Koh Tapu is part of Ao Phang Nga National Park, which has enforced a boat restriction since 1998 to protect the limestone formations from erosion that could lead to their collapse. The best views of Scaramanga’s lair, a key location in the film, are from Koh Khao Phing Kan, where most boats land.

This small island features a few caves, souvenir stalls and tracks which will give you access to some great views of ‘the rock’.

You can visit James Bond Island any time you want with 5 Star Marine Phuket.

During the filming in Thailand, Roger Moore discovered a cave full of bats and humorously told his co-star Christopher Lee (famous for playing Dracula in the past), “Master, they are yours to command!” Lee, who played the Bond villain Francisco Scaramanga, appreciated the joke.

Interestingly, the role of Scaramanga was initially offered to Jack Palance before Christopher Lee, Ian Fleming’s cousin, was cast. Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had a real-life acquaintance named Pandia Scaramanga, whose surname he borrowed for the villain in “The Man With the Golden Gun.”

The real Scaramanga humorously requested, “I certainly do not mind you using my name, but please do not kill me.”

Christopher Lee, dedicated to his role, even wore full body make-up to appear tanned. On his way to promote the film on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”, Lee had his golden gun confiscated by US Customs.

Lee’s connections to the Bond universe extended beyond his on-screen role. He had served with the British volunteers in Finland in 1939 under Sir Ormonde Winter, an inspiration for the Bond character ‘M.’

James Bond Island remains a fascinating blend of cinematic history and natural beauty, continuing to draw tourists eager to experience a piece of Bond lore.

Happy 50th anniversary to James Bond Island.

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