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According to Hollywood, spies travel the world like no other. Not only do they get to go to all kinds of exotic destinations, from tropical beaches to non-existent moon bases, but they tend to do so dressed sharply, without needing to pay for much, while sipping cocktails and rendezvousing with gorgeous members of the opposite sex. Not a bad lifestyle, but then that’s why it’s fantasy (I think – if any of you are globetrotting spies and find the cinematic experiences to be accurate, drop a line in the comments).
At any rate, no fictional character enjoys spy-style travel quite like James Bond. The MI-6 agent otherwise known as 007 has been all over the world and has looked impossibly suave doing it, all resulting in the fact that plenty of Bond fans would love to follow the spy’s footsteps. Lo and behold, I’ve put together a guide for how to do so, or at least a list of some of the best Bond-related destinations to consider visiting.
Enjoy, and don’t forget to pack your best jet pack and laser watch!
1. Khao Phing Kan, Thailand
Would you buy it if I told you there were a place called James Bond Island? Well, it’s not official, so perhaps you’d be right not to. But Khao Phing Kan (and its sister island Ko Khao Phing Kan) in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand are actually loosely known by that name. That’s because they appeared in The Man With The Golden Gun, and hosted an iconic beach duel between Bond and his nemesis Francisco Scaramanga. Evidently, the islands’ original names are rarely used by the locals, which in a way makes this the Bond tourism destination. As you might imagine it’s become a bit of a hot spot, but it’s not as if it’s teeming with commercial development. You’re still in for a remote, beautiful Thailand beach escape.
2. Istanbul, Turkey
As far as major cities are concerned, Istanbul may be the quintessential Bond location, so long as we aren’t counting London. In a way this makes perfect sense. The city famously sits between two continents and has historically been an important crossroads – which suits a series that famously treks all over the world and involves all kinds of different cultures. Bond showed up in the city in Skyfall (Daniel Craig), The World Is Not Enough (Pierce Brosnan), and From Russia With Love (Sean Connery), and left a veritable guidebook of landmarks for fans to follow. There’s the Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, and the Basilica Cistern for instance. However, don’t miss out on more general Istanbul attractions while you’re there. This is a fascinating city full of awesome things to see and do. Additionally, make sure to try the local tea (sometimes offered as a friendly gesture) and the lamb preparation known as kofte.
The Bahamas are most closely associated with recent Bond films, given that Daniel Craig spent time there in Casino Royale However, speaking more broadly, Bond has frequented the Caribbean, and you can soak up lots of that classic atmosphere at this island nation. Another perk here is that it’s one Bond destination where you can enjoy one of his favorite activities (and one that’s all over Casino Royale) in casino gaming. This is becoming less of a tourist draw around the globe, with online and mobile gaming taking over. Says one Canadian guide to the topic, gambling on mobile devices have been steadily rising with each passing year, which can make it less necessary in person. But would Bond play poker on a mobile phone? I don’t really think so, but stacking chips at a beachside casino in the Bahamas is different, and can make you feel quite a bit like 007.
4. Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como has a whole lot going for it. Yes, it’s beautiful enough to have been invented as a utopia in a fantasy novel. Yes, George Clooney summers there. But most importantly for any self-respecting Bond nerd (I’m certainly in that club), this is where Craig’s Bond wound up at the end of Casino Royale. Remember when he wakes up with Vesper watching over him on a balcony straight out of your imagination of what Heaven must look like? That’s a villa (Villa La Gaeta) right on the edge of Lake Como. It’s not exactly memorable for any Bond-like action, but if you get the chance to relax anywhere close to this you might be able to replicate a rare moment of peace and serenity from our favorite double-o.
5. Hong Kong
Roger Moore actually shot in Hong Kong, though the character of Bond has appeared there multiple times (in You Only Live Twice, The Man With The Golden Gun, and Die Another Day). And truth be told, the city hasn’t produced many of the most memorable scenes of 007 lore. Nevertheless, this same lore gives you a good excuse to check the city out, and it happens to be a popular favorite tourist destination in the world for a lot of regular travelers. I will say this: Pierce Brosnan’s escape from boat captivity straight into Victoria Harbor does give you some excellent glimpses of the city at night, which is enough to make you want to visit. Just don’t jump into the water like he did!
Are you interested in travelling like James Bond? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. firstname.lastname@example.org