Guest Post by Ankit Mahindru
Phuket has tonnes of jaw dropping gorgeous islands around it. With so many to pick from, choosing the right ones for you can be a challenge. Don’t worry, we have your back.
Our guide covers the ideal itinerary for your island hopping jaunt. So if you have set aside 5 days for island exploration around Phuket, use this guide to plan your dream island journey.
Recommended Reads: Where To Stay In Phuket – The Complete Guide
Day 1: James Bond Island Trip
It’s impossible to go to Phuket and not go for the James Bond island trip. Most cruises to Phang Nga Bay include it as a part of the itinerary. It is incredibly popular, and for a reason.
Its passport to fame is the bond movie – The man with the golden gun. The island features a funnel shaped rock magically popping out from the waters, which was also the shooting location of the film. Of course, there is more to do than just clicking a selfie with the rock.
The cruise includes a kayaking tour along the turquoise waters, taking you up close and personal with the famed limestone cliffs. You can also discover underwater caves and hidden lagoons. The trip ends with a traditional lunch at the floating village of Koh Panyee.
There are tonnes of operators offering all of this as a day trip. And as popular as it may be, it’s certainly worth ticking off your bucket list.
Day 2: Maya Bay tour in Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi, the darling child of backpackers around the world, was discovered by Di Caprio in the movie The Beach. Ever since then, it has almost become a celebrity in the island world.
Its biggest draw is Maya Bay, a body of unbelievably green sparkling water, hidden from view by towering limestone cliffs. It’s a natural phenomenon that shouldn’t be missed.
There are plenty of operators who can arrange this trip for you. Just ensure you catch the first ferry from Phuket so that you can reach Phi Phi early in the day for the Maya Bay tour. They usually start in the afternoon and continue till sunset.
Night is when Phi Phi comes alive, with the entire island dancing to the tunes of a hundred beach bars scattered around the island. Party hard, but sleep early, for you will be scuba diving the next day.
Day 3: Scuba Diving in Koh Phi Phi
Situated between two picturesque bays and wrapped by colorful reefs, Phi Phi is one of the best places in Thailand to scuba dive.
The corals are vibrant and the underwater landscape is home to a diverse marine life. And guess what, Phi Phi is one of the cheapest places to dive in Thailand. Need we say more?
Most scuba tours start early in the morning and end in the afternoon. So once you’re back from the dive, you still have time to catch a ferry back to Phuket.
It’s been a hectic day, so unwind with a traditional Thai massage or just chill at one of the beach bars in Kata area while watching the sky change shades.
Day 4 & Day 5
Now that you have ticked off the islands from the well –trodden trail, you can take the offbeat track and explore some of these lesser known islands.
Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi
The Koh Yao islands will feel like a typical Thai island, away from the world of commercialization. It’s ideal for those who want to soak up the island vibe and just disconnect from the world.
The island has a diverse landscape made of dense mangroves, golden sand beaches and views of dramatic limestone karsts. The best way to explore these islands is by two-wheelers.And when you are done crisscrossing across the island, you can dive or paddle about in its turquoise waters.
How to reach: Both the islands can be reached by a slow boat in an hour
Rated as having some of the best beaches in the world, Koh Lanta will leave you awestruck with its natural beauty. Its unique rugged train, secluded beaches and mellow ambience gives it the feeling of an island paradise.
With incredible underwater visibility, bright corals and a diverse marine life, diving here takes you to another world. No wonder its dive sites are touted to be among the planet’s best.
And when you are not diving, you can sit back at one of its beach bars and catch some spectacular sunsets.
How to reach: Koh Lanta can be reached in 2 hours from Phuket by ferry.
Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi
Called the Racha islands, both Racha Yai and Racha Noi are small islands with milky white beaches and sparkling blue waters.
While Racha Noi is known for its mind-blowing dive locations, Racha Yai has great luxury resorts, making for an ideal couples retreat.
How to reach: The Racha Islands can be reached by ferry in an hour from Phuket.
A group of 9 untouched islands, Similan is the best place to dive in Thailand. Its underwater landscapes seem from another planet, the corals are a riot of colors and the crystal clear water is teeming with marine life.
The terrain over the water is equally impressive, with massive truck sized boulders strewn about the landscape. Its beaches are completely deserted, making it feel almost like a private island.
While it is possible to cover Similan in a day trip, most travelers, especially divers, opt for liveaboard cruises which include multiple excursions around the island.
How to reach: It can be reached from Phuket by a speedboat in an hour.