If you’re looking to book a tour of James Bond Island and cave kayaking tour from Phuket, you’ll notice there are dozens of companies to choose from. A quick search for “Cave canoeing Phuket” or “James Bond Island tours” will give you a ton of options.
No matter which tour you pick, you’re virtually guaranteed to do the following things on your tour route (click here for Two Sea Tour’s itinerary):
Paddle the Sea cave at Panak Island
Canoe around Hong Island
Explore James Bond Island
Swim in the Andaman Sea
Choosing the Best Phuket sea Kayaking tour:
During the course of your James Bond Island/Phang Nga Bay tour, you’ll see beautiful rock formations, incredible wildlife, and will paddle through some of the most amazing sea caves and lagoons in the world.
But we’ve come to realize that with these types of organised tours, it’s not what you see (because they all go to the same places), but rather how and when you see them. That’s what makes the difference between a ‘meh’ trip, and a ‘today was INCREDIBLE” trip, and that’s why we think Two Sea Tour is without doubt the best tour in Phuket, if not the best tour we’ve ever done, and why it deserves an entire review of its own.
Here are our top 12 reasons why Two Sea Tour is the best James Bond Island Tour:
1. Early starts for a reason:
Finally, a tour that starts early because it’s actually leaving early, not because it has to stop 50 times before finally setting off at 9am. In fact, each pickup bus makes a maximum of two stops before it heads straight to the pier. End result = huge head start on the other tours and an awesome sunrise from the boat!
Food on this tour is so so good. Choose from a local’s breakfast (sticky rice and custard – incredible by the way), or pastries and coffee if you’re feeling less adventurous.
Lunch is an amazing spread of Thai food cooked up by the onboard chef. If you like Thai food, you’ll be in heaven, and there are even a few special dishes that you’ll struggle to find anywhere else. There’re also all the drinks and coffee you can chug, on tap, all day.
3. Forward planning
Access to the incredible caves on Panak island is dictated by the tides. Too low and you’d have to walk in; too high and the caves fill with water. Two Sea’s careful planning means that the tours only go when the tides are just perfect for canoe paddling (see below!). Tides obviously vary, and if the perfect tide is late enough for other tour groups to be there, the tour doesn’t run that day. Philippe (the ship’s captain) refuses to sacrifice the serenity and peacefulness that is experienced by being there alone.
4. Beating the crowds
Because most tours go to the same spots in the same order, getting that early start means you have every single stop to yourself. It honestly felt like we were the only group in the sea for most of the morning. By 10am, believe us, you’ll appreciate having woken up so early! After around 10 minutes to ourselves at James Bond Island, the entire island was crawling with hundreds of tourists.
5. Great Staff
Philippe has a rule for the staff; if you’re not in a good mood when you turn up, you’re not coming on the boat.
It’s really clear that all the staff love their jobs and they really add an extra level to the tour
Each pair of guests is assigned a guide for the day and they do everything they can to make your day incredible; paddling your canoe through the sea caves, taking photos for you at James Bond Island, joking around with you, teaching you awesome new skills (We won’t spoil the surprise). The staff, and Philippe are a huge reason why this tour is so awesome.
6. More staff than passengers
Most sea kayak companies in Phuket try to run as lean and as profitably as possible, but Two Sea has as many staff as it takes to make the guests’ trip unforgettable. Our tour had as many staff as passengers and it meant that we were constantly doted upon and constantly entertained!
7. Learning about Phang Nga Bay
If you want to learn a little about the local wildlife and nature that lives around the islands, this sea kayaking tour will suit you down to the ground. Getting to Hong Island and Panak Island before anyone else means there’s time to sit quietly and listen to nature, learn about mangroves, point out rock formations, spot mudskippers, and even learn how the island caves came about. Sitting silently and listening to the monkeys and the birds is something you’d never find once the crowds roll in, so the early start is really worth it.
8. Care for the environment
Two Sea Tours are incredibly conscientious about the environment, and we were really impressed by how many times we saw the members of staff picking litter out of the sea. Philippe sees the overcrowding as a huge problem and limits the size of his tours. A bigger boat just isn’t an option because he sees it as bad for the environment and bad for the tourists themselves. The magic of this tour is the small group and the time away from the crowds, and it was nice to see that that will never change.
9. No Travel Agencies
Two Sea refuses to work with travel agencies and works only by word of mouth. A huge part of the inflated cost of most of these tours goes towards paying huge travel agency referral fees and boat rental. Because Two Sea owns its own boat and refuses to work with agents, they pay no referral fees and can plow all the money into creating a fantastic guest experience, paying for extra staff and reducing the number of passengers they have to carry. Other tours may come close in cost to Two Sea, but the value you get for every dollar spent is completely unparalleled.
10. Customer Service
It’s the little things on tours like this that make you feel like you’re valued as a customer. Here are a few examples:
• every customer is given a quality souvenir waterproof bag to take home with them/store their valuables in throughout the day.
•Every pair has their own member of staff for the day/personal paddler!
• Staff take photos all day with their camera and give them to you free after the trip. That’s a first for us!
• Teaching the guests new skills on the way back to the pier
• Two Sea proactively invested in a large jellyfish net for the guests to swim in (they’ve never had an issue but it pays to be prepared!)
11. Having the rest of the day to yourself
Starting the tour so early means that you’re back at your hotel by early afternoon. That means there’s still time to do other things/sun tan in the afternoon. The trip doesn’t eat up the whole day like the other tours, which is great if you’re only visiting Phuket for a couple of days!
12. Value for money
Now this might seem like a contradiction, as Two Sea is one of the most expensive tours available (฿4800 THB), but Two Sea really does offer so much value for money. Just because of the way the business is run, what you get for your money just can’t be matched by the other tours, even if the price is.
It was a pleasure to know that this was one of the busiest places in Thailand, yet we saw almost nobody the entire day. Honestly, if you just want to say you’ve been to see James Bond Island, then this tour isn’t for you, but if you want to have the experience of a lifetime, we would really recommend paying a little extra and taking this tour. We guarantee you won’t regret it.
And if you still don’t believe us, why not check out Two Sea’s Tripadvisor page.
Over 1,000 excellent reviews and the number 1 rated tour in Phang Nga bay speaks for itself!