Thailand is famed for its gorgeous beaches, and Phuket offers an ideal starting point for checking many island beauties off your bucket list. Once you’ve explored hotspots like the beaches at Kata, Karon, Nai Harn, Kamala and Surin, it may be time to cast your net farther afield and check out other nearby islands.
A Phuket island hopping trip often includes several enchanting locations, while other islands are big and developed enough to entice you to stay for a few nights … or longer! Whether you explore nearby islands on day trips or multi-night getaways, you’re all but certain to have a fantastic time. Read on for our list of the best islands to visit from Phuket.
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Island Hopping In Phuket – The Best Islands to Visit from Phuket
Koh Phi Phi Don
Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest and most developed island of the Phi Phi archipelago. It’s one of the most popular islands in the country, and it’s easy to reach Phuket by regular ferries, express boats, and speed boats. Speed boats usually take under an hour, depending on which port you depart from, while ferry transfers typically take a few hours.
You can travel over for a day trip or, thanks to the island’s wealth of accommodations, restaurants and amenities, spend a few days and nights exploring the gorgeous island.
Island highlights include admiring the stunning views from Phi Phi Viewpoint and basking on beautiful beaches like Laem Tong, Loh Moo Dee and Loh Dalum. You can also explore Tonsai’s market and nightlife, visit Monkey Bay and watch a Muay Thai fight.
Take to the waters to spot marine life with a snorkelling, diving adventure, or kayak through spectacular surroundings.
Recommendation- Phi Phi Island Free Diver course
Koh Phi Phi Leh
Made famous in the hit movie “The Beach”, Koh Phi Phi Leh is home to the iconic Maya Bay, a sublime stretch of white sand and dazzling waters surrounded by greenery-clad limestone cliffs.
There’s no accommodation on the island, so you’ll need to enjoy Phi Phi Leh on a day trip, either from the nearby Phi Phi Don or from Phuket. Organised tours to Koh Phi Phi invariably include a stop at Phi Phi Leh.
It’s worth noting that Maya Bay is generally closed for a couple of months each year (typically August and September) to allow the island to recover from the hordes of year-round visitors.
However, you can still admire the bay from a distance and enjoy other top spots, such as the Viking Cave and Malong Bay. Plus, many trips include snorkelling stops.
Recommendation: Phi Phi Island Maya Bay sunset plankton tour by speedboat
Located off the coast of neighbouring Krabi province, Koh Lanta is a chilled-out gem where you can spend several days and nights falling under the island’s spell. There’s a wide choice of places to stay, eat and drink, as well as plentiful activities to enjoy.
If time is limited, it’s possible to visit for a day, hopping on a speedboat in Phuket, which connects with Koh Lanta in around 1.5 hours.
Wander along the stretching casuarina-lined Phra Ae beach and relax on beauties like Ao Mai Pai (Bamboo Beach), Klong Nin and Kantiang Bay. Spot wildlife and admire the views in Koh Lanta National Park, explore the peaceful Old Town, learn more about the local Sea Gypsy population and lend a hand at Lanta Animal Welfare.
Even more fun awaits in the form of snorkelling, diving, kayaking through the mangroves, cooking classes, bar hopping, traditional massages and sunset watching.
Recommendation: Koh Lanta lunch course at Lanta Thai cookery school
Just a few kilometres from Phuket, Koh Hae is a great place to spend a day snorkelling and sunbathing. It’s often also referred to as Coral Island because of the plentiful coral in the surrounding waters.
The underwater sights and calm waters make this an ideal place to learn how to dive.
Day trips are popular, although if you stay overnight at Coral Island Resort, you’ll experience blissful tranquillity once the day-trippers have left. Whether visiting for a day or longer, you’ll find a decent choice of eateries on the island.
Accommodation packages often include transfers, or you can book day tours or arrange your own boat crossings. Longtail boats reach the island in around 45 minutes, while speedboats will have you there quicker in about half the time.
Recommendation: Kahung beach full day trip by speedboat with Nikorn Marine
Koh Yao Yai
Koh Yao Yai is the largest of the two Yao Islands in the middle of the sublime Phang Nga Bay. Boasting quaint fishing villages, rubber plantations, mangrove forests and lovely beaches, it also offers excellent diving and snorkelling.
Several accommodations on the island and regular ferries run between Phuket’s Bang Rong Pier and Koh Yao Yai. Alternatively, you can charter a private speedboat transfer.
Recommendation: Private boat tour with lunch
Koh Yao Noi
A popular destination for honeymooners, Kao Yao Noi, offers a sense of seclusion and a peaceful ambience. Within an hour of Phuket by boat, it’s well worth spending a few days immersing yourself in the soothing island lifestyle and checking into one of the luxury resorts.
However, for a sneak peek, day trips are also possible.
Recommendation: Koh Yao Noi the local way of life eco half day tour
Koh Khai Islands
The Kho Khai Islands are a small group known as the Chicken Islands. Ferries take about 20 to 30 minutes from Phuket. You’ll need to enjoy the islands during the day, as overnight guests have no facilities.
The main draws are attractive beaches and terrific snorkelling surrounded by vibrant marine life.
Recommendation: Koh Khai islands private boat tour
Often known as James Bond Island, Koh Tapu is another jewel in Phang Nga Bay. It’s just 1.5 hours away from Phuket by ferry, although you can also travel there by traditional longtail boat or speedboat.
Many visitors hit up the island as part of organized day tours, stopping at other nearby islands for a full day of discoveries. Highlights include snapping pictures of the iconic Khao Phing Kan and sea kayaking in azure waters to explore caves.
Recommendation: Explore mangroves, James Bond Island and monkey temple
Koh Panyi is home to a small floating village community. Although most people visit the mainly Muslim island as part of a day trip, there are a few low-key bungalows where you can stay longer. Packages usually include boat transfers, and ferries from Phuket typically take about half an hour.
Recommendation: Khao Lak, James Bond Island, Koh Panyi islands by speedboat
The Similan Islands are renowned for being among the best diving locations in Thailand, with abundant sea life and beautiful underwater views. You can enjoy gorgeous sandy shores, boulder landscapes, and caves on dry land.
Several operators run day tours to the islands, but you could also book a liveaboard adventure for longer, watery fun.
Recommendation: Similan Islands snorkelling trip by speedboat
Koh Racha Yai and Noi
Often collectively referred to as the Racha Islands, Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi lie about 20 kilometres from southern Phuket. Ferry connections take around an hour.
The larger of the two islands, Racha Yai, has several accommodations at varying price points. Overnight stays aren’t possible on Racha Noi. However, many visitors combine the two islands on an island-hopping day trip from Phuket.
Recommendation: Speedboat tour to Racha Islands with snorkel
Other Islands Near Phuket
Koh Maiton is accessible for day tours or overnight stays and lies approximately 15 minutes from Phuket by speedboat.
Koh Hong, part of the marine park, is commonly featured on multi-island trips from Phuket.
Koh Bon is a hidden gem near Phuket, just a few kilometres from Rawai. Boat crossings take just 15 minutes, and you’ll see many crabs scuttling across the sands.
Recommendation: Private catamaran charter to Maiton coral islands
Around 5 minutes from Phuket, Koh Maprao is a charming island with simple accommodations and a slow pace of life.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
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