If you’re limited during your Thai holiday, chances are you need to make the most of your time and selecting Islands near Phuket worth seeing might be the best use of this time.
So to help you make the most of your trip, we’ll outline the 5 best islands to visit so that you make it all worthwhile.
Located between the Krabi and Phuket provinces, Phi Phi is a popular choice for many visitors to the region. This is because it is the home to one of the most famous beaches within the whole of Asia – Maya Bay.
Maya Bay came to the public’s notice after the worldwide release of the popular movie, The Beach in 2000. Headlined by Leonardo DiCaprio, the premise of the movie revolves around three young tourists discovering, what they think at the time, is a secluded, uninhabited island.
The beauty of the Maya Bay setting used in the movie immediately drove tens of thousands of locals to the region. In fact, Such was the volume of visitors many visited, that the Maya Bay beach was closed recently for reparation work.
While sad news, there is still very much for tourists to see at Koh Phi Phi on one of the many boat tours that ferry tourists to the location. Locations include:
These glorious locations are no less spectacular and well worth visiting. A Simba Phi Phi Island Tour travels to the above locations and in much more comfort than rival companies.
Within 90 minutes of Phuket lies Phang Nga Bay. A glorious location with plenty to see and do and its easily one of our favourite locations near Phuket. The star attraction of Phang Nga Bay is undoubtedly James Bond Island.
Much like Phi Phi’s Maya Bay, James Bond Island’s popularity has also been aided by the release of a major motion picture. This time, the 1974 Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun. The location is a great destination for Instagrammers with the very distinguishable limestone karst rising out of the middle of the sea, one of the favourite photo opportunities.
The other major talking point within the Phang Nga region is Ko Hong Lagoon. The crystal clear water in the lagoon draws many people in look for quality snorkeling conditions while the limited access (it can only be accessed by boat) means that the crowds are limited somewhat.
Ao Phang Nga National Park is another popular destination within the Phang Nga Bay region and provides the perfect backdrop for a kayaking adventure.
All three outlined Phang Nga Bay destinations (Ao Phang Nga, Ho Kong Lagoon and James Bond Island) are included in a Simba Sea Tours Phang Nga Bay boat tour. The tours operate all year around but sell out fast during the high season so get in quick!
Located approximately 80 kilometres to the northwest Phuket Town sits one of the most spectacular islands near Phuket – The Similan Islands. It is a set of 9 island groups and is a major tourist attraction thanks to the bevy of crystal clear waters that surround it.
It is widely considered to be one of the most interesting diving sites in the world for avid explorers while also being a top destination for yachts and tour boats.
The island groups are as follows:
The region is not open at all times of the year, with the area usually open from the 7 months between the 15th of October and the 15th of May. However, the seasonal open dates can differ from year to year.
As you may be hard-pressed for time, you’ll likely want to take your pick of the most popular activities available on the island. Below are just a few of the exciting things you can do when visiting this sensational Thai region.
Diving a wide variety of locations – The region is considered one of the finest diving regions worldwide with ample locations to explore. Head underwater and you are likely to come across some spectacular fish species and be afforded the opportunity to follow them through many underwater caves and tunnels that are ripe for exploring.
Snorkeling the islands – If diving is not your thing then we’d highly recommend heading into the water with some snorkeling gear. Considered slightly more relaxing and requiring nowhere near the same level of expertise, snorkeling is relaxing, and suitable for the whole family.
Laze around on the beach – Obviously with 9 islands to choose from, the choice of beaches is plentiful and the Similan islands have some wonderful options available. Some of the more popular picks include Khao Lak and PhraNang Cave Beach in Ao.
National Park Trekking – Another must see when you visit the region is getting off the beach and undertaking some hiking and bird-watching in the lush greenery that sits upon several of the islands. It is a wonderful way to burn some calories and to get away from the beach for a few hours in order to mix things up.
The Similan Islands is definitely an area worthy of your time if you have visited Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay and are looking for even more adventure off the coast of Phuket.
Perhaps the closest of the islands situated off the coast of Phuket is Coral Island. It is an ideal option for those looking to avoid a longer boat trip and for those looking for something a little less crowded.
Coral Island is just a 15 minute journey by speedboat and features just two beaches – Long and Banana Beach. Despite its smaller size compared to the aforementioned locations, there are plenty of opportunities to take part in diving or snorkeling activities. There are also a number of bars and restaurants located on the island for those looking to grab a mid afternoon beer or meal to escape the sun.
For the adventurous traveller, Long Beach possesses a speedboat that can take you parasailing for an ultra-affordable 600 baht. This once-in-a-lifetime experience provides an adrenaline rush coupled with a glorious view of the surrounding area which is hard to beat.
Please Note: There is not much in the way of accommodation on Coral Island, so consider it a one-day adventure and make sure to look for someplace elsewhere to stay.
For absolute tranquility in the face of crystal clear waters, consider Racha Islands on your Phuket Tour. Situated a mere 12 kilometres to the South of Phuket Island, it is a favourite destination or both divers and snorkelers.
Long-tail and speedboats transfer visitors to the area frequently and this will take no longer than 45 minutes. There also a number of independent tour operators who offer all-inclusive snorkeling and diving tours.
The main tourist destination within this Phuket region tends to be Racha Tai. Those who arrive tend to be greeted with a glorious sun-drenched white, sandy beach surrounded by the clearest blue water imaginable. This affords visitors with the perfect snorkeling conditions in the main Ao Bungalow bay.
For those seeking a more intimate, less populated setting Ao Siam bay is equally as pretty but more likely to be less crowded. This means that those seeking a romantic hideaway complete with lonely beach strolls and privacy are more likely to find Ao Siam to their liking.
For the diving enthusiast, Racha Noi is the place to be. While there is no accommodation in the area, it is the perfect location for a diving experience and many boats will incorporate it into their travel itinerary.
There are some other great islands that are within close distance to Phuket. Some of the most popular include:
All the above listed islands will afford you a unique experience and all differ from each other significantly. But, whatever islands you cram into your itinerary, you’ll be guaranteed an island adventure to savior. Another great recommendation to spice up your adventure is ourKrabi Island tour.
While there are many islands in close proximity to Phuket, the closest islands and those that will save time to reach during transit include – the Similan Islands, Coral Island, Kh Racha Yai and Koh Bon.
The Similan Islands are located about 85km from Phuket and is a scenic trip that can be covered in 3 hours by speedboat.
A traveler planning a trip to Phuket is likely to want to visit the whitest, sandiest beach in the region. Therefore Freedom Beach is a great choice and the fact that it is surrounded by crystal clear waters is an added bonus that makes it impossible to look past.
One of the most appealing factors for visitors looking to travel from Phuket to Coral Island is its short travel time. It is a short 10 kilometre boat trip that can be covered in well under an hour.
There at least 15 wonderful islands located in the surrounding waters of Phuket and all are reachable by longboat, speedboat or ferry.
There you have it, some of the best island near Phuket that can be visited when on a very tight schedule. Check out the Phuket boat tours to see if your target location is reachable with us!