I had an early start on Friday morning for my trip to James Bond Island (Kao Phing-kan). We were driven to a petrol station for the transfer to the main bus and I was delighted to see that all the smokers were made to put out their fags before entering the shop. Wandering round the fuel pumps, though, wasn’t an issue.
An hour or so’s drive took us to a Safari centre – an encampment made up of thatched bamboo huts where they offered elephant rides, ox cart rides, monkey shows and the like. I skipped out on the cart ride (it was only 2 minutes anyway) and enjoyed/endured the elephant show. Much as I was impressed with what these huge creatures could do (walk on their hands, slam dunk a basketball, bow) you just can’t escape the fact that they’re wild animals that have been trained somehow.
We were then driven to our longtail boat and scooted off to a village built entirely on stilts over water. Lunch was superb and very generous. I spent a good half-hour trying to ignore a lovely little girl who was selling postcards. Persistent, but I just didn’t want any!
Our next stop was sea-canoing round some of the smaller islands. A paddler in the back and one to three passengers (one in my case), drifting round some of the most beautiful natural rock formations you could even imagine. Several could only be entered through low overhanging tunnels, meaning all passengers had to lie flat on their backs to get in. I’ve got a ton of pictures, but not one of them could even hope to do these sights justice.
This was a hugely enjoyable hour and I was sad when it ended. Definitely one to go back to again.
Finally, we approached “Bond Island”. This is the one used as Scaramanga’s lair in the Man With the Golden Gun, including the smaller spur which housed the huge radar dish at the end. In honesty, there’s not a lot actually at the island – certainly no enormous underground bunkers or million-dollar-a-shot hitmen. However, it is a geological marvel and there’s a cave full of bats with a ceiling low enough that I managed to get a good few pictures of the little critters.
Overall another very informative and eye-opening day in Thailand. Dinner was at KFC (OK, OK, I’m weak) with Swensons for desert with Sarah and Siobhan (another redhead – I seem to be attracting them this week). It’s currently 9pm or thereabouts on Friday evening and I’m sat with a cold beer and about 10 other people watching Super Troopers on DVD. I’d like to go through to Phatong for some more beerage, but in all honesty I’m somewhat tired!