Located near the Andaman Sea on the west coast of Thailand, Phuket is known for its islands. Phuket is the largest island with 32 smaller ones in and around it. It being the major spot in southern Thailand, just meant for tourists to hop on to other big and small islands by either having an overnight stay. The infrastructure is good that you can even try and plan in such a way that you would avoid shuffling hotels as well. That being said, most islands here are worth a day stay. I would surely recommend that you do your research and then make a decision if you would want to stay overnight or take day tours that are operated by a lot of locals there. Hey, did you know that there are 15 islands you could hop on to from Phuket? For more, continue reading!
Here are a couple of insider tips and details on each island you could use to plan out your island hopping in this paradise:
- KOH PHI PHI ISLANDS- the name refers to a cluster of 6 islands, out of which Phi phi don is the only island that is inhabited by people and has various restaurants, accommodations, and shops. It can be very crowded with tourists as well. Whereas Koh phi Leh is completely secluded and untouched by tourists, known for its picturesque Maya bay. Also, to make the tours a little less monotonous, all the tours from Phuket to islands have various stops along the way for a couple of snorkelling locations. One of the few such stops is the Viking cave, Pileh Lagoon, monkey beach, and bamboo island.
How to get to the Phi islands? – you can either take a ferry on your own which would take 2 hours or a speedboat that would take an hour. If you want to take a visit to the Phi Leh islands then you can hire a long tail boat that is available on the phi don harbour, you can easily negotiate with the locals there. Your alternative option would be to take the tours, as there are multiple day tours to the phi islands from Phuket depending upon the inclusions you could choose what’s best for you. But both of the above will not make much difference in the itinerary.
- JAMES BOND ISLAND- also called Phang Nga bay marine national park, have about 100 islands but the James bond island tops the list known for its appearance in the movie- the man with the golden gun released in the year 1974. The stretch of Khao Phing Kan with a 20-meter tall islet has gained all the tourists due to the movie appearance. Most of the tours offer both half-day and full-day tours to this island as its only 40kms away from Phuket, it includes transfers and also the national park entrances fees of 200 THB. You could also indulge in kayaking or canoeing on this beautiful coastline. Other attractions around this island include the Buddha cave temple, Wat Tham Suwan Khua, and Hong island.
How to get to the James bond island? -if not for guided half-day or full-day tours, You can rent a self-drive vehicle or take a long tail boat depending on what you want to explore along the way. Your first option would be to drive till the Klong Khien pier and then hire a long tail boat from there to the island, alternatively, you can drive to the floating that serves yummy seafood at a very cheap price called the sam Chong seafood restaurant and take a long tail boat from here to the island.
- KO HONG ISLAND- located on the clusters close to the James bond island- this island has the most pristine white sandy beaches and emerald waters, The limestone cliffs here are just to die for. If you take the tour to this island, they tend to take you inside a lagoon located in the middle of this island. On arrival on this island, you would also have to pay an additional park entry fee for both adults and children.
How to get to Koh hong island? – your best bet is to take day tours from Phuket or to hire a long tail boat. However, tours from Phuket to hong island are limited as compared to tours from Krabi.
- CORAL ISLAND- With two of the major beaches are here known for its massive coral reefs, a wide variety of water activities and sports are known to be the top attractions on this island. Travellers should surely pay a visit to both the white beaches- Banana Beach and Long Beach which would be a perfect escape from all the crowd in Phuket.
How to get to Coral island? – you could take a boat Ao Chalong Pier, take day tours from Phuket and you could take a speed boat from Phuket as its only 15 minutes away.
- THE SIMILAN ISLAND- located 84 kilometres northwest from Phuket, this island which is home to 11 islands is famous for its majestic rock formations covered by magnificent forests and the massive rock boulders in the waters that let divers explore.
How to get to Similan islands?- The Similan islands are accessible from Phuket in 75 minutes by speedboats and in 2- 4 hours by ferry depending on the traffic on the way. Apart from this, you could take a tour which would take you to 2-3 islands on the island from Phuket.
ADDITIONAL ISLANDS THAT YOU CAN VISIT:
To begin with, a lot of islands are untouched, if you would like to explore the quieter, serene sides of the islands you could head down north to Similan islands and visit the Surin islands, accessible from both Phuket and Krabi you can explore Koh Jhum- Ko Pu for a luxurious stay experience, Koh Lanta takes a lot of time to travel back and forth from Phuket hence I would recommend a stay there so that you don’t miss out on the beautiful corals here. Koh Samui is also an island that deserves more than a day if you ask me because the island has a lot to offer in terms of exploring so you can either stay overnight or even take a day trip as it’s very close from Phuket and the pearl island is not meant to be missed if you are here on your honeymoon vacation also infamously known for its pearl farm a visit to Naka Yai Island is a must if you would like to have a luxurious stay as well. Ko Mai Thon and coconut islands are very much untouched and away from the crowded areas, if you want an off-beat spot to chill in these two islands would be your best bet.
- Take long-tail boats or ferries for off-beat experiences, short distances and take speed boats for long distances.
- Make sure you keep tabs on the ferry schedule as Thailand has very strict rules, from morning 8 to 2 in the noon the ferries are very frequent. Anytime post that, you would have to make sure you’re sure of the schedule.
- Boat transfers will not allow you to see or do anything on the way, which would affect the sort of experience you would look for if you are an explorer.
- The best time to visit these islands would be between November and May.
- However groups can be annoying at times, you would be covering most of the places and the added benefit is that it would also be at an economical cost as well.
- If you are taking agencies help to book trips, make sure you have the flexibility to explore as opposed to booking things on your own as these islands are all about nature!