The Independent Traveller: 007 Steps to Heaven
Saturday 20 November 1999
IAN FLEMING AND DR NO (1962): NORTH COAST OF JAMAICA
Get into jet-set mode by spending a week or two at Goldeneye, Ian Fleming's (Bond's creator) former home near Ocho Rios on the north Jamaican coast. This cliff-top villa is apparently now the holiday haunt of film luminaries such as Dennis Hopper and Francis Ford Coppola, but anyone can book in here or at the nearby Goldeneye Village (00 1 876 975 3354).
Unsurprisingly, Jamaica features in one of the first Bond films. Just down the coast from Goldeneye (and easily climbed up to from the beach below) is Dunn's River Falls, the cascades from which Bond infiltrated Dr. No's "residence".
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971): LAS VEGAS
Bond's penchant for gambling had to be fully indulged at some point, and Las Vegas made the perfect location. Diamonds Are Forever was produced before hotels such as the Luxor were built, but the plot takes place in suitably plush establishments, nonetheless.
Bond met his heroine-to-be at one of the original thematic gambling hotels, the Circus Circus (00 1 800 634 3450), whose tent-like interior still hosts the kind of circus acts Bond watched. Another location is Fremont Street, down which the entire city police force was outwitted in a spectacular car chase. Still a central route through downtown Las Vegas, the street is now a covered pedestrian mall lined with smaller casinos and hotels.
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974): KO PHI, THAILAND
Just off the northern neck of the Malaysian peninsula, about 40km from the town of Krabi, are the Ko Phi Phi islands. These spectacular limestone formations once formed the backdrop to a boat chase in Bond's crusade against The Man With the Golden Gun. However, these days, tourists usually take more sedate boat trips among the islands, wending a route between Ko Phi-Phi Don and Ko Phi-Phi Leh. Many of these include fishing stops and there is also some excellent snorkelling in the area. To tie in with the new film, Club Med is offering Bond-themed packages at seven of its resorts, including Phuket in Thailand. For a Club Med brochure, call 0700 007 007 007.
OCTOPUSSY (1983): UDAIPUR, INDIA
This city in Rajhastan, northwestern India, was the setting for Bond's encounters with yet another evil tyrant, the film's namesake. In the middle of the city's lake, Pichola, is the magnificent Lake Palace Hotel (00 91 294 52 79 61, doubles from US $210). Once a Maharaja's palace, it proved an apt representation of Octopussy's floating residence. Bond had to settle for the Shiv Niwas Hotel (00 91 294 52 80 16) which has less grandeur but plenty of atmosphere, being part of the town centre's City Palace complex. If you're in town, stop off at Udaipur's market too. In the film, this was the scene of a frantic chase involving Bond and his ally Vijay.
MOONRAKER (1979): RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Bond's duel with Jaws comes to a head in the streets and surrounds of Rio. The duo seek each other out during the famous annual carnival, before grappling on the memorable cable car ride up Sugar Loaf Mountain (pictured).
Should you wish to recreate the experience, next year's carnival is set to take place on 5 March, with samba-dancing "Sambodromo" parades starting at around seven in the evening. Public buses run from the city centre and Copacabana to Sugar Loaf Mountain's cable car station, at Praia Vermelha. Cars leave here every half hour from eight in the morning and the ride to the summit, which stands at 396 metres, offers great views of the city.
GOLDENEYE (1995): MOSCOW
Goldeneye produced arguably the most memorable chase Bond has ever been involved in - his hastily procured Russian army tank causing mayhem in the streets of Moscow. The rampage took in a number of Muscovian landmarks, including the Kremlin, Red Square and Lenin's statue.
Tanks may not be on the tourist itinerary but the 130 stations of Moscow's Metro provide an alternative means of transport around the city - or, when the river Moskva thaws out (between May and October), try riverboats. The starting point for the sightseeing boats is the Kiev terminal, by Kievskaya metro station.
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999): CHAMONIX, FRENCH ALPS
The latest installment of the 007 saga promises another spectacular set of worldwide sequences, from a hot air balloon escapade over London's Millennium Dome to the ski slopes of the French Alps. If you really want to impress, spend some time this winter trying to match Bond's moves on the pistes of Chamonix. Many companies run ski packages to the town and, if you need a ski guide, ask at one of the local companies. Alternatively, contact Chamonix Tourist Office (00 33 450 53 00 24) for more information.
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