by Melinda Gallo

James Bond tour

With the numerous tours available, we had to browse many brochures to see what was available and to see what interested us the most. There is something for everyone, like kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling, visiting islands, elephant riding, and cooking. For today, we chose the James Bond tour, which offered a variety of different visits in the itinerary including a visit to Kao Tapoo, which is called James Bond Island because "The Man with the Golden Gun" was filmed there.

Living in Florence :: James Bond tour

We were picked up at our hotel and driven to Wat Suwankuha, which is called the Monkey Cave Temple. The temple where a long golden Buddha is laying down inside has monkeys in the trees outside. Small stands sell bananas and other food to feed the monkeys with. I took a few pictures of them eating mangoes and bananas. I would've liked to have fed a few, but one woman dropped her backpack when a monkey tried to open it when she set it down to get some food out for it.

We then all went on a longtail boat to visit the Kao Tapoo where I took the picture. We jumped off the longtail boat and onto shore at the back of the island. We had to walk through a rocky pathway up and around to get to the famous beach where the James Bond movie was filmed.

On the beach, were many vendors who ended up being quite aggressive. One woman grabbed my arm as I walked by so that I would look at her jewelry. I gently wiggled out of her grasp and walked on.

We were there for only a half hour during which we watched many other tourists visiting the tiny island. We ended up standing in the shade because the sun was quite strong.

Afterwards, we got back on the longtail boat and were taken to Koh Panyee, which is called the floating village because all the houses are built on rather tall stilts. We were let off the longtail boat to walk around. At first we didn't know what we were going to do, but once we got on the island, we were surrounded by shops on both sides of the walkways. Women would call out to us, "Just looking, Madame."

The walkway was covered and seems like it'd be easy to navigate, but we did get lost. We wanted to see the Mosque, but didn't have enough time to find it. We knew it was on the other side of the village, but couldn't see it once we were on the walkways. We went down one alley that led us to an elementary school, so by the time we found our way back to the port, we decided to get on the longtail boat to go back.

Right when we got back on the air-conditioned bus, it began to rain. We were happy that the storm didn't start until we got off the longtail boat because we would've gotten soaked.

We were given bananas and water on the bus and we each ate two because we didn't have lunch during the afternoon tour. We had looked for food on Koh Panyee, but nothing was appealing to us.

I was happy to have seen the monkeys, visited James Bond Island, and seen the floating village. I expected the tour to be a bit more exciting, but our tour guide didn't explain much to us and when he did, not many of us understood his English. I didn't want to ask any questions as I know I could go back home and look everything up on the Internet if I wanted.

I now want to see the James Bond movie so I can see the scene that was filmed on Kao Tapoo. I don't know how they ever picked that island as it's quite remote.

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