Climb aboard, me hearties!
Let’s do some Island hopping…
Located off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea is Thailand’s largest island – Phuket. Surrounded by 32 smaller islands, Phuket offers a base for anyone wanting to adventure and discover natural unspoilt local island environments.
Easily available sea transport in the form of power, cruise, fishing or catamaran boats and yachts, provides safe access to these “Robinson Crusoe” style islands. All around Phuket you will find Marina’s and local places offering these craft, some of the main ones being;
- Yacht Haven Phuket Marina
- Ao Chalong
- Boat Lagoon
- Royal Phuket Marina
- Ao Po Grand Marina
- Rawai Beach
Phuket Marina Location Map
Here is a list that I’ve put together to help you find some of the best island locations Thailand has to offer.
Bon Island (Koh Bon), located in the South East of Phuket, approx.1.5 km from Rawai Beach.
The 1 km long island is rocky and has only one beach which is occupied by the Evason Resort. On the northern tip there is a small restaurant catering to day tourists who visit the island.
Located on the south coast, well known for its coral reef, often referred to simply as Coral Island. In addition to the splendid reefs it has two fine beaches on the north and west. Coral Island is part of a marine preserve, but accommodations, restaurants, various water sports and diving are all available. Boats leave from Rawai and Chalong. Package tours are also available.
Offers a fine beach, natural surroundings and coral. Situated only about 4 km from Rawai, South of Phrom Thep Cape. The island has a Buddha statue facing towards Phuket, said to be watching over the island. It can reached in around 15 minutes by chartered boat from Rawai.
This large, mountainous island is only about 20 minutes by regular passenger boat from Chalong Bay, in the south of Phuket. Occupied by mainly Muslim inhabitants who engage in fishing, rubber and coconut planting. There is a long stretch of beach on the North East coast. Boats to Ko Lon leave daily in the early morning from Chalong Pier. There is also accommodation on the island if you feel like stopping over.
Rang Yai Island
Lying off Phuket’s East coast, this small island has been developed for out-of-doors minded tourists. Offered among the many activities on the island are snorkeling (on the coral reefs), sea kayaking, mountain-biking and miniature golf. You can take a visit to the island’s pearl farm! Getting to Rang Yai Island – boats can be chartered from Laem Hin Pier.
Mai Thon Island
This tiny island off Phuket’s South East coast is highly prized for its still perfect natural environment, including fine white beaches and crystal clear waters. It is ideal for swimming, diving, or fishing. The only business of any kind is the plush Maiton Island Resort. Those not wishing to stay overnight may take a daytime excursion leaving from Ao Makham Deep Sea Port.
Raya (or Racha) Islands
Two islands running roughly North East to South West off Phuket’s southern coastline.
Raya Yai Island
On the West coast there is a fine beach closed in by a hill that stretches away from it like the two arms of a horseshoe called Ao Tawan Tok or Ao Bungalow. The clean sandy beach and crystal clear waters of Raya Yai attract day trippers from Phuket. From the top of the hill to the South of the bay is the viewpoint from which the whole island can be seen. In the East at Ao Kon Kae Bay, is an excellent location for diving. There is also accommodation on the island for stop overs.
Raya Noi Island
This island, 10 km from Raya Yai, is the result of coral reef build up, there are more rocks than beaches. In a small bay on the West is a boat anchorage. The waters of Raya Noi are emerald green, famous for fishing, but swimming is not recommended.
To get to either of these islands you can charter a boat at Ao Chalong or Rawai. By long-tailed boat the travel time is about two hours. Larger boats operated by tour companies will make the trip in about one hour. Travel to Raya Islands is restricted to the dry season and periods of good weather when the monsoon is not blowing.
Taphao Yai Island
Only around 10 minutes from Phuket by ferry from Ao Makam on Phuket’s South East coast. The island is home to the Bucerotes Hornbill.
To get there from Phuket Town take Chao Fa Rd. to the Sakdidet Rd. intersection, turn left on Sakdidet and follow it for about 8 km to Ao Makham. The road splits in the vicinity of an oil storage facility – take the left fork about 200 meters to the Ko Taphao ferry pier. Dining and accommodation is available on the island.
This small quiet island with fine sandy beaches lies just off Phuket’s North East coast. The waters are suitable for swimming. One item of interest at Ko Nakha Noi not found in many other places is its pearl farm.
Boats can be chartered from Ao Po Pier, off Pa Khlok Rd. for travel to Ko Nakha Noi. Package trips are available at tour agencies, generally including lunch and a visit to the pearl farm.
Si Rey Island
Separated from the mainland of Phuket by the Khlong Tha Chin, a shallow mangrove swamp, this twenty square kilometer island is connected by a causeway to the city. Wat Ko Sire, on the hill, has a large Reclining Buddha and provides fine views of the surroundings. Phuket’s largest settlement of Sea Gypsies, or Chao Ley, are on Ko Sire at Leam Tuk-kae. Swimming is not recommended because of the muddy bottom. There are some popular seafood restaurants on the eastern shore.
Other Islands Surrounding Phuket
Yao islands are located in the South of Phang Nga Bay, 42 km away from the mainland of Phang Nga province. It is a district of Phang Nga province with a total area of 141.067 km2, consisting of 44 islands. Of these islands, the two most important ones are Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai (which is twice the size of Koh Yao Noi). Koh Yao Noi is the center of government with all government offices located there. Koh Yao has many tourist attractions that still maintain their natural beauty along with many beautiful beaches. The people of this island lead a simple life making a living from the sea. Apart from this, not far from the coast of Koh Yao are many exotic islands, which increase the beauty of Koh Yao.
Yao Noi Island
Similan Islands Koh Yao Noi, is one of the largest islands surrounding Phuket and can be reached in one hour by boat from Phuket. The island is situated within a very short distance to the well-known destinations of Koh Bileh islands, Krabi and Phang Nga (James Bond islands). Tourism has not effected the island on a large scale, Thai life style remains unchanged, peace and privacy abound. South of Koh Yao Noi is its twin island, Koh Yao Yai, which is even bigger and wilder. Interesting tourist attractions on Koh Yao Noi are Tha Khao Beach, Pa Sai Beach, Klong Jaak Beach and Ao Kian.
Yao Yai Island
Koh Yao Yai, the largest island in Koh Yao District has many interesting beaches, such as Ao Thi Kud, Ao Klong Son, Ao Sai, Lo Pa Raed, Ao Laan, Ao Hin Kong, and Laem Nok Og. Lo Jaak pier is an important pier from Koh Yao to Phuket. The water there is clear and schools of fish can be seen swimming near the bridge at the pier. Visitors can see the production of dried anchovies (pla ching chang) here. There are inexpensive bungalows on the island along with home-stay accommodation with the local people. Beautiful beaches on Koh Yao Yai are Loh Jaak Beach, Loh Pa Raed Beach, Klong Son Beach, Ao Thi Kud and Ao Lan.
Phi Phi Island
Phi Phi Islands are located about 48 Km South East from Phuket, 42 km south from Krabi Town and 40 km from Ao Nang Beach and can be reached by boat In between 1.30 – 3 hours depending on the type of boat you take. Boats leave from Phuket, Ao Nang and the Chao Far Pier in Krabi Town everyday. The characteristics of the islands are steep, lightly vegetated cliffs rising vertically from the seabed and hidden bays concealing petite, pristine beaches and calm clear waters.
The Similan Islands (Koh Similan) is a group of islands located approximately 100 km North West of Phuket. There are a total of nine granite islands covered with tropical jungle and surrounded by chalk white beaches and crystal clear blue water. It offers some of the best diving in Thailand and the world. There is a big variation in the underwater environment to be found here that is not offered in any other place around the world.
Hope you find the information useful – Happy Hopping!