CONSERVATION EFFORTS AIM TO SAVE ‘JAMES BOND ISLAND’

CONSERVATION EFFORTS AIM TO SAVE 'JAMES BOND ISLAND'

Officials from the Department of Natural Resources and Environment have been undertaking surveys to consider the stability with concerns about the stability and danger of collapse of Khao Tapu, a famous landmark feature in the Phang Nga Bay National Park.

Steps to safeguard the conservation of Khao Tapu are necessary to both ensure the safety of tourists vising the area and in recognition of the significance of the formation to the national park.

CONSERVATION EFFORTS AIM TO SAVE 'JAMES BOND ISLAND'

The survey will include an assessment of the sea water erosion of the base scans to measure any cracking using a 3 D scanner geological seismic echo sounders and meteorological exploration to measure the flow of currents and wave heights.  After the assessment is complete consideration will be given to strengthening the base using engineering techniques to reduce the impact of waves to affect the foundations.

CONSERVATION EFFORTS AIM TO SAVE 'JAMES BOND ISLAND'

Concerns have been voiced about many similar geological structures in Thailand, with the impacts of climate changes now accelerating the need for conservation measures.  The study of Khao Tapu will provide guidelines for the conservation of other marine geological features in danger of collapse to prevent the loss of these important features.

Khao Tapu is a distinctive feature of Thailand and a major landmark of the province.  The name may be translated as ‘Crab-eye Island’; however many people know this as James Bond Island, attracting many Thai and foreign tourists each year.

CONSERVATION EFFORTS AIM TO SAVE 'JAMES BOND ISLAND'

Before 1974, the island was rarely visited, however, it was chosen as one of the locations for the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun as the hideout for Bond’s antagonist, Francisco Scaramanga.  In the film Scaramanga describes Khao Ta Pu as a “mushroom-shaped rock”.  Khao Ta Pu is also featured in another James Bond film (Tomorrow Never Dies, identified as in Vietnam) and in the Italian film Quo Vado (identified as in the Philippines).

In 1981, the island became the most famous part of the newly established Ao Phang Nga Marine National Park.  Since 1998, it is forbidden for tourist boats to come too close, to reduce erosion of the limestone rocks on and near the islet that might eventually result in the island’s collapse. Tide-related erosion is visible at the bottom of the rock.

Khao Tapu is a limestone rock about 20 metres (66 ft) tall with the diameter increasing from about 4 metres (13 ft) near the water level to about 8 metres (26 ft) at the top. It lies about 40 metres (130 ft) to the west from the northern part of Khao Phing Kan.

Science’s explanation for the Khao Tapu formation is that in the Permian period (almost 300 million years ago), the area was a barrier reef. With tectonic movements, it ruptured, and its parts were dispersed over the area and flooded by the rising ocean. Wind, waves, water currents, and tides gradually eroded the islands to form peculiar shapes, such as Khao Ta Pu.