The nearest islands of Phuket: choose an island to your liking
The islands of Phuket are rightly considered the symbol of Thailand and the main attraction of this country. They are divided into uninhabited and inhabited, near (up to 15 km) and distant (over 15 km).
In Thai, the word «island» — «Ko» (Koh). Therefore, the names of all the islands begin with Ko. In order not to overload the article with unnecessary signs, we will omit these two letters and we will designate the islands directly by their name. Another feature of the Thai topology is the addition of the words “Yai” and “Noah” to the same main name. This happens when the two islands are close by, with one of them larger (“Yay”) and the other smaller (“Noah”). Knowledge of this feature will make it easier to navigate the complex names of the islands of Phuket.
Racha (Yai and Noah)
Racha is sometimes called «Raya». On the big island there are two sandy beaches: Batok and Siam. By noon on the first it becomes crowded: tourists come by private boats or as part of excursions organized by travel agencies. The second beach is quiet: it has the opportunity to wander alone. On the water of Racha Noah you can go around in 30 minutes. There are no waves in the bays, therefore diving is successful in any weather and in any season. On the waterfront there are a couple of cozy cafes, and on the beach there are several bungalows, which makes it possible to stay overnight.
The small island of Racha is uninhabited: there is no shelter for visitors and not a single cafe. The shores are rocky, at the bottom — large boulders. But for many divers such relief is even more interesting. Racha Yai is separated from Racha Noi 10 km of the sea.
Located 12 km south of Phuket Island. You need to get from the piers of Rawai or Chalong. On the boat the road takes 45 minutes.
Naka (Yai and Noah)
And on the big, and on the small island — beautiful landscapes, sandy beaches and coconut palms. In the western part of Naka Yai is a small fishing village in which they live 200 people. Here they enjoy nature, relax on the beach, swim with scuba diving. The longest beach is located on the east side: chaise lounges, umbrellas, places to have a snack are organized. In the middle of the day is crowded. On the same beach is the hotel Tenta Nakara Resort, which has a full-fledged restaurant. It offers any of the 16 tables.
The small island — Naka Noi — is called the “pearl island”. It organized a farm for growing pearls. Anyone can visit her as part of the tour.
Naka Yai and Noah are a 15-minute drive from the east coast of Phuket Island. Usually to get there, hire a boat on the pier Ao Po Pier. Excursion buy rarely.
Yao (Yai and Noah)
Yao Islands are located in the south of Phang Nga Bay between Krabi and Phuket and are developed resorts suitable for long stays. Yao Noi is more popular. Its territory — 50 km sq. — alternates with mountains, beaches and jungles. Hornbills live here. On the asphalt road plying the Songteo. You can rent a scooter. Cycling tours around the island, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, trips to Phang Nga Bay, and an excursion program on the Andaman Sea islands are offered. On the waterfront there are several fish restaurants and shops.
The tourist infrastructure of Yao Noi was recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly — “eco-friendly”. Yao Yai is interesting pristine nature.
Boats depart from the east coast of Phuket Island (Bang Rong Pier) at 9.30, 12.00 and 17.00 daily. The journey takes about 1 hour. First, a small stop is made on Yao Yai and then another 8 minutes to Yao Noi. The fare is 50 baht ($ 1.5). In addition, from one island to another can be reached by local boats for 20 baht ($ 0.5). They depart from the berths.
The island is small, but inhabited by permanent residents who came here a long time from neighboring Indonesia. They are ethnic Muslims, so there is an amazing building for these parts — a small mosque, whose kupala, by all the rules, rises above the rest of the buildings. Vertical limestone cliffs occupy most of the land, and hundreds of houses stand on stilts over the bay. The island has all the necessary tourist infrastructure: there are places for overnight 300 baht ($ 8), cafes, souvenir shops. Visit Pania is a part of many excursion programs.
The road from Surakul Pier to Pania takes 20 minutes. Rent a boat with a capacity of 10 people will cost 1,700 baht ($ 48) for three hours.
He is a system of islands east of Phuket. He Nok has a tourist value. It is quite small — it does not exceed the size of a football field. The main large beaches — Long Beach and Banana Beach — are interconnected by a road that passes through the rainforest. Sun loungers, umbrellas are always at the service of guests. The restaurants menu has excellent barbecue dishes. At a distance of 100 meters from the coast, coral reefs have grown, the underwater world is very diverse. Water sports are popular on Ho Nok: parasailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, canoeing, catamaran and banana rides.
The road from the moorings of Rawai and Chalong takes 30 minutes. For the night it is better to stay at the campsite or at the Coral Island Resort.
Phi Phi Islands — the most famous in Southeast Asia. Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley are the largest in this island system. Phi Phi Don is inhabited by people. It consists of two limestone monoliths connected by a strip of sand. On the spit are the village and the pier. And between the rocks covered with dense vegetation, there is a narrow strip with hotels, houses for tourists, nightclubs and beach restaurants. On Phi Phi Don traffic is prohibited, except for police and ambulance. It is customary to walk on foot or by bike. During the day, there are several hundred holidaymakers on the island, including visitors as part of a short excursion program.
Phi Phi Ley — uninhabited, so there are organized day trips. Known for its limestone cliffs. In the caves, the Thais, with the help of bamboo sticks, collect swallow nests from which they cook gourmet soups.
The road from Phuket on the boat takes 45 minutes. The cost of a one-day tour is about 700 baht ($ 20). The road with an independent trip will cost 550 baht ($ 15) in two directions. A detailed description of the route in our article on how to get from Phuket to Phi Phi on your own.
Koh Lanta, an island system comprising 52 islands, is located at a considerable distance south of Phuket. They are not as beautiful as other islands. But if you need to go away from civilization and people, then Lanta is a good option. It is quiet and peaceful here. There are hotels to stay overnight or for several days; restaurants, pizzerias, bistros. The islands are home to 20 thousand people. The ethnic composition is unique: the Gypsy diaspora, along with the Chinese and Muslim, is the basis of the population.
The road from Phuket Island to Lanta Yai takes 4 hours. The ferry departs twice a day — at 8.30 and 13.00. A round trip ticket costs 1000 baht ($ 28).
James Bond Islands
The James Bond Islands are located in Phang Nga Bay, 6 km from Phuket. These are two islands — Ping Kan and Tapu. Ping Kan resembles the outline of a butterfly: two parts, connected by a strip of sand. There are two beaches on the island. Tapu is a 20-meter high cliff overgrown with bushes. The limestone monolith narrows down, the diameter of the top is 8 m, and the base is 4 m. It became the symbol of the 9th James Bond film, played by Roger Moore. Tapu is under the protection of the state: you can not approach it by boat and disembark it. You can watch from the sea or the beach of the neighboring Ping Kan.
Phuket travel agencies offer all-inclusive tours that include visits to James Bond Island. Price from 1000 to 3600 baht ($ 30-100) (depending on the program and season).
West Bank Rang Yai is a kilometer long sandy beach, which is visited on the way back to Phang Nga Bay. On the island there is a pearl farm. The local store sells beautiful large pearls. Vacationers have the opportunity to stay for a long time: one hotel and several guest houses are functioning. On Rang Yai, sporting activities are popular: cycling, kayaking, volleyball, sports and recreational shooting from pneumatics, golf, snorkeling, diving, hiking in the jungle.
Rang Yai is located 5 km off the east coast of Phuket. You can reach the boat in 15 minutes.
Similan archipelago includes 11 islands located 84 km north-west of Phuket Patong Beach. They are unique in their appearance and nature among all the islands of Phuket.
Have the status of the National Marine Reserve and are under the patronage of the Thai King. A large area occupied by the jungle. The beaches consist of fine white sand. Coral reefs and stone caves form labyrinths and sea gardens in the coastal waters. Here live several hundred species of marine life. The flora and fauna are interesting: eucalyptus, rattan and bamboo grow; there are monkeys, squirrels, bats and a variety of birds.
Due to the protected status, there are no hotels and other tourist infrastructure in Similan. Vacationers come for the day. Divers and fishermen practice multi-day trips and live 3-4 days on rented boats.
A visit to Similan is limited to the period from May to October. The rest of the time, the Similan Islands are open to the public. Collective excursion (diving, fishing) tours cost 1000-5000 baht ($ 28-140). Sea road takes 1.5-2 hours. Visiting the reserved territory of the archipelago is paid — 200 baht ($ 6) per person.