Hai Fat’s residence – part 2

After a short visit to Hong Kong in The Man With the Golden Gun, Lt Hip brings Bond over to “Thailand” and the estate of the industrialist and multimillionaire Hai Fat, who lives on a mountainside just outside of Bangkok. The Bangkok scenes start immediately after the briefing with M in Hong Kong and no establishing shots of Thailand or of a plane leaving Hong Kong are provided by director Hamilton (as usual). You almost get the feeling that Bond and Hip haven’t traveled very far… This feeling would prove to be correct because they are still in Hong Kong for the filming of the scenes at Hai Fat’s. The estate is called The Dragon Garden, and the exterior and a brief background was covered in an earlier post. Bond, disguised as Scaramanga (equipped with a fake third nipple), breakes in to the estate hoping that Hai Fat and Scaramanga have never met.

Bond stumbles in and finds a naked girl swimming in the pool, before Hai Fat interrupts with his guards. Once, it was the biggest outdoor swimmingpool in Hong Kong, and it can still be found on the estate. This is the pool where Chew Mee was swimming. Despite the rather poor condition of the pool today, the length markings, in feet, can still be found on the edge of the pool. It appears to be 60 or 65 ft long. The markings can be recognized from the film, as can the statues in the corner.

Unfortunately, the estate has been under renovation for several years and is not anywhere near its former glory. But fear not, at our last visit, the renovation was well underway with several workers active, so one can only hope that they will get the garden in shape fast and open it up for interested visitors. The place is still rather well guarded with a gatekeeper and at least one watch dog and the place appears to be run by an incorruptible foreman, so it’s probably not worth your while to try and get in without consent from the owner.

“-Good morning, how’s the water?
                        -Why don’t you come in and find out?
-Sounds very tempting miss..?
                        -Chew Mee!”

          -Bond to Miss Chew Mee-

Another well recogniced feature in the garden is the big dragon. It is filmed with Hai Fat’s guards walking around and in the background you can see the white bridge that Hai Fat is crossing later. The dragon, which probably was put in to justify the name, or a ground for it, can still be found on location, although its present working condition is a little unclear.

The dragon can be found just above the path that Bond is walking down in his white dinner jacket later in the evening.

We were lucky enough to see as much of the garden as we did. Apparently the rest of the grounds are in very poor state and not safe to walk around. Probably an excuse, but we weren’t allowed anyway. Apparently the Dragon Garden charitable trust is working hard to raise funds for the restoration, but I have no idea when it will re-open. Some of the other garden locations, such as the bridge and the rest of Grizzlyland will be covered later.

The Dragon Garden is definitely the most interesting location in Hong Kong, after the Peninsula of course. It is truly beautiful, despite the poor condition, and one can imagine how the place must have looked in 1974 with the pool filled. The most striking thing is that, much like Danila village in Corfu, this place has been untouched for decades. For us location fans it is always better to find a place untouched than renovated beyond recognition.

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