Apart from the incredible and exciting nightlife, shopping scene, and tropical sights, Thailand's largest island has much more to offer. With multiple islands located in close vicinity, Phuket provides a wonderful Island Hopping experience. They provide a wonderful escape from the fast city life, providing a serene and peaceful experience. These beautiful islands can be accessed within an hour from boats and ferries and offer beautiful experiences like scuba diving, snorkelling etc.
Best Islands to Visit in Phuket
1. Koh Phi Phi
Home to the famous Tonsai Beach, this island is a collection of 4 smaller islands that make the Koh Phi Phi. With beautiful beaches, vibrant and stunning wildlife, and an array of shops, bars and restaurants, this island is a must-visit tropical paradise. The waters around the island are home to exotic marine life and provide an excellent diving and snorkelling experience.
2. Koh Lanta
A perfect peaceful getaway, this island has slowly developed to become the home of one of the finest beach resorts in Thailand. Koh Lanta boasts long sandy beaches with diverse terrain, including mangroves and waterfalls. The clear water proves to be an aid to fantastic marine watching sessions. The island is also home to exciting places to explore, such as Aow Nui, Tanod Cape Viewpoint, Tanod Cape, Baan Sriraya, Sea Gypsy House (Baan Sangka U).
3. Koh Tapu (James Bond Island)
Koh Tapu was the location in a famous James Bond movie and hence its name. Offering an excellent marine environment to experience, the island is a top choice for beach lovers. A variety of water sporting activities can be enjoyed. The food and nightlife present here is also of great interest and provides a memorable experience.
4. Similan Islands
A striking blend of tropical beauty and ecstatic marine life, Similan Island is a must-visit. It is considered one of the best diving spots globally due to its clear water and remarkable and beautiful marine life. Home to a variety of endangered species, these islands provide great insights into the beautiful aquatic life.
5. Surin Islands
The Surin islands have got a national park status due to their varied marine and tropical diversity. Considered one of the best diving spots in Thailand, this island is a tropical paradise. Its remote location has resulted in crystal clear water, which enables a wonderful diving and fish spotting experience. The magnificent coral reef adds to the beauty and provides a memorable experience.
6. Racha Islands
These islands are constituted by two islands - Racha Yai and Racha Noi. They lie at a distance of 20kms from Phuket and are thus easily accessible. Racha Noi has a rocky terrain and is uninhabited. Fishing and diving are the main attractions on this island. Racha Yai has secluded bays, wonderful long beaches and enthralling nightlife.
7. Koh He
Koh He is also known as the Coral Island, and for a good reason. Being nearest to Phuket, it is a popular choice among tourists. Long sandy beaches provide for good sunbathing sessions. A variety of watersports activities like snorkelling are available. The reef offers the ideal scenery for diving sessions, with the clear water easing the process.
Why is Island Hopping in Phuket so Popular?
Phuket is a beautiful tropical paradise in itself. With long sandy beaches and various attractions present in the city, it offers a lovely experience to all the tourists. However, one of the most sought after activities after coming to the town is Island Hopping. With 32 islands scattered in its close vicinity, the tourists are genuinely spoilt for choice.
All islands are located within a 2hr reach. Tourists have several options to choose from while visiting these islands. Tourists can hop on ferries that leave from the Rassada pier or Chalong Bay. These ferries carry a large group of people together. For privacy, tourists can also rent private speed boats while touring the islands. Another option available to the tourists is the island hopping tours. These tour around the most popular islands quickly and are less desirable as they do not provide flexibility.
Prices for Ferries, Boats and Tours
Ferries - Rides costs approximately THB 600 for a one-way journey
Private and Longtail Boats - These are on the expensive side as they provide privacy and utmost flexibility. A longtail boat costs about THB 5500, with fuel included for an entire day's trip. Speed Boat fares typically begin at around THB 22,000 for a full day. Prices vary depending on the route and travelling time.
Island hopping tours: Prices vary according to the package chosen. They include food, transportation and touring.
How to Reach Phuket
Being the largest island in the country, Phuket is easily accessible by air and water. The city has one serving airport, the Phuket International Airport, with international and domestic flights operating. Thai Lion Air and Thai Airways provide daily flights from Bangkok. Water routes can also access Phuket. Cruises taking sail from Singapore dock at Phuket en route to Kuala Lumpur. Tourists can arrange for cabs or rented vehicles to move around from the city.