IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that while most countries would give the proverbial quids to have a block-buster movie shot on one of their biggest beaches or islands, fellow travel writer Roderick Eime points out that Thailand's had one of its smallest islands and beaches used not once, but twice, in such block-busters.
Little Khao Phing Kan in Phang Nga Bay was chosen by producer Cubby Broccoli to represent North Vietnam's Ha Long Bay in the 1974 James Bond movie "The Man With The Golden Gun." And ever since it's been known to locals and the tens of thousands of fans who go there every year, simply as James Bond Island – scene of the famous shoot-out between Francisco Scaramanga (played by Sir Christopher Lee) and James Bond (Roger Moore.)
And 23 years later in 1997, James Bond (this time played by Pierce Brosnan) returned to Phang Nga Bay for "Tomorrow Never Dies," while the Saigon scenes in the movie were actually shot in Bangkok.
As Roderick says its priceless publicity for Thailand, which was also chosen for scenes in such other silver-screen hits as "The Beach" (2000,) "Star Wars Episode III" and "Rescue Dawn" (both 2005,) "Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason" (2004,) and "The Phantom" (1996) to name just a few.
Cruise lines that visit Phuket and other parts of Thailand where you can visit these sites include Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Star Cruises, Regent Seven Seas and Princess. Talk to travel agents, while for more information on Phuket and Thailand go to www.thailand.net.au