In the Andaman sea lies a large rainforested, mountainous island called Phuket which acts as a travellers base for some of Thailand’s most popular destinations, including a variety of smaller nearby islands. These include world-famous places like Phang Nga Bay and the Phi Phi Island.
Sailing is the perfect way to travel around the area without the array of tourists and explore all these beautiful islands in peace and comfort. Going via boat can save time and money on food and accommodation, as well as saving on travelling costs while travelling to and from each island. By renting a boat with SkipperMyBoat that matches your vacation activity plans, we can ensure more convenience and a better, more luxurious experience when travelling.
The following list of islands are destinations you should not miss while nearby Phuket. No sailing trip around Thailand can be called complete without ticking Phuket and its neighbouring islands off your bucket list.
Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay is an excellent place for sailing, due to the bay’s protection from the Northeast and the Southwest monsoon seasons, the waters in the bay remain calm year-round. Therefore, there are many safe places to anchor.
It’s possible to see many of the bay’s attractions in a single day, especially with a personal vessel. Setting off from any point along the east coast of Phuket will take you immediately into Phang Nga Bay. There are also several launching sites on the Phang Nga province mainland, including the Ka Sohm Pier in Takua Thung district just south of Phang Nga Town.
Limestone Cliffs of Phang Nga Bay provide the exotic scenery for which this shallow bay resides. The sun rises between the limestone around 6 am, but this is dependent on the time of year. These awe-inspiring sunrises are something we recommend viewing, that’s if you can wake up in time!
The “James Bond Island”, or Koh Ta-pu (‘Nail Island’), is a very popular sight-seeing spot. This attraction first found its way onto the international map through its starring role in the James Bond movie ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’.
Most of the islands are uninhabited. Many of them have spectacular caves which you can only reach by an inflatable kayak. Koh Hong is one of the most popular of these islands. Kayaking around the hidden world of “Hongs” or ‘rooms’ of Phang Nga Bay is a one in a lifetime experience you really shouldn’t miss. By using a kayak, you can explore hidden realms rich in unspoiled natural beauty, while weaving your way through a network of brilliant crystalline limestone caves.
Khao Khien near Koh Panyee is worth sailing past to see the ancient paintings of boats and animals on the rock walls. One of the islands, Koh Maak, which sits near the top of the bay, is home to a small community of fisherfolk who maintain a traditional way of life. The remarkable village of Koh Panyee situates over the water, made from hundreds of connecting huts, shacks, restaurants and houses where the villagers live. No one seems quite sure how many wooden and concrete piles hold up this extraordinary community, but it is undoubtedly a fascinating and unique feat of informal engineering.
Phi Phi Island
Phi Phi Island is Thailand’s most famous island. It’s been in the movies. Even with all the hype, it doesn’t disappoint. Phi Phi’s beauty is a large chunk of the allure. The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to beach fronted jungle. Few places on the planet are this laid-back. This feeling is mainly due to the lack of human traffic. Out to the two islands located nearby, in which one is entirely free of human inhabitants (Phi Phi Leh), and the other, without roads (Phi Phi Don).
Patong Beach is vast and full of activity, on land and in the water. Here, lies an impressive array of water sports to enjoy. Smaller beach to the south, Kata, is also busy. Karon and Rawai beaches, near the island’s southern tip, and those along the island’s northwestern and eastern coasts, are more tranquil and less developed.
Located slightly northwest of the bustling crowds of Phuket, the Similan Islands are awaiting discovery. Koh Similan is one of the best-known island groups in the Andaman Sea, primarily because of the wonders that wait beneath the clear blue waters that surround it. Due to this spot considered one of the ten most interesting dive areas in the world because of the most spectacular coral reefs. If you are on a yacht that doesn’t have the necessary gear, you can hire what you need from the dive boats that come out from Phuket regularly.
While best known as a diving and snorkelling destination, the Similans’ are also becoming increasingly popular for sailing. Most likely due to its white coral-sand beaches, exotic wildlife, as well as its scenic moorings. The best time to visit is during the northeast monsoon (November-May, with December-February the peak of the high season).
Thap Lamu Pier, in the Thai Muang district of Phang Nga province, is the nearest launching point to the Similans, with boat trips taking about 3 hours.
The Racha islands
The Racha islands (or Raya Islands), south of Phuket, are also known as excellent diving and snorkelling destinations. Racha Yai splendidly reveals itself, with most arrivals landing onto a strip of fine white sand tucked deep into the long, U-shaped central bay, called Ao Tawan Tok or Ao Bungalow. The water here is clear and perfect for snorkelling, though the bay can get quite busy, due to its popularity, so we recommend snorkelling earlier in the morning. The other large bay, Ao Siam, is a pretty place and is better for those seeking solitude.
Racha Noi, on the other hand, is entirely uninhabited from humanity, because of this, there are no services or accommodation available. Therefore, making this a perfect spot for some peace and quiet. This spot is also excellent for diving and snorkelling.
Trips from Chalong Pier or Rawai to these islands can take around 45 minutes to an hour depending on the boat.
Coral Island (or Koh Hae), is a beautiful getaway destination located southeast of Phuket. The island is named after the impressive coral reefs found just off the islands two main beaches, Long Beach and Banana Beach. Both beaches have a variety of water sports activities – banana boats, canoes, parasailing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai
Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai are a pair of large islands in the middle of Phang Nga Bay, equal distances from Phuket and the Krabi mainland. The islands are a quiet refuge that feels far removed from the crowds of Phuket. Although one can find a few restaurants and a couple of bars along the coastline with a small village near the pier, based on the east coast of the island. The beaches are also mainly located on the eastern shores, while the west coasts are blanketed in rice fields and lined with mangroves. There are many natural charms of this simple island. The laid-back feeling of these islands is contagious.
Koh Khai Nok
Koh Khai Nok or (Egg Island), is a small island tucked away in Phang Nga Bay. It’s only 30 minutes or so away from the east coast of Phuket and is still a hidden gem. Just to the north lies beautiful Rang Yai Island. One unique characteristic of Koh Khai Nok is that it has at least twelve types of exotic tropical fish. On the northern shore – only 200 metres away – the water is indigo-blue with plenty of shade and is an excellent spot to anchor.
Koh Khai Nui – Koh Khai Nok’s smaller neighbour, is also worth exploring around.
Koh Bon (Bon Island) is a small island, two kilometres from Rawai beach on the southeastern coast of Phuket. This island is covered with lush vegetation and dotted with tiny sand coves. Although Koh Bon is a rather small piece of land, it still hosts a great variety of wildlife. The marine life is also in abundance – specifically off its southwestern coast, which hosts a fantastic snorkelling spot. Things to do around the waters of this island include sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling. If one chooses to venture on land, chasing varieties of crabs, which are numerous on the island, is rather fun.
If one does decide to venture on land, Bon Island Restaurant comes highly recommended as a stunning exotic getaway from Phuket’s west coast hustle and bustle. The restaurant features an open dining area between variations of tropical trees and is usually open every day, all year round, from 10:00 – 17:00 and serves all the classics of Thai cuisine.
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