Phuket may be associated with its major town – Patong – but there is plenty more to explore on this idyllic Thai island. In particular, Phuket makes a great base for exploring the surrounding islands and the gorgeous white sand beaches of Phuket and beyond. Take a trip with us over the water to check out Phuket’s islands and hidden beaches away from Patong.
Phuket’s Popular Islands
Phuket is a large island, but it is just one of around 40 different main islands in this part of the Andaman Sea, and hundreds more smaller islands. As such, you can easily reach islands featuring unspoilt natural beauty, amazing white sand beaches, and calm blue waters. Take a look at these ideas for inspiration and start planning your boat trip:
The large island of Koh Lanta is located off the coast of Krabi on the mainland and it has a 27mk-long coastline to explore. This island is ideal for a longer stay as there is plenty to look at including the Mu Ko Lanta National Park. Here you can snorkel and spot lots of wildlife. If you want to get away from it all, take a boat from Koh Lanta to the tiny islands of Koh Rok Nok and Rok Nai. These islands are uninhabited apart from the sharks, turtles and other wildlife – it is an excellent place to snorkel and simply relax.
Koh Racha is certainly not the most popular of the islands off Phuket’s coast but it deserves to be near the top of your list. The beautiful island is surrounded by aquamarine water and it has two white-sand beaches for lounging and relaxing.
Koh Mook, Koh Ngai and Koh Radang
A beautiful chain of little islands that begins to the south east of Koh Phi Phi. The landscape of these islands is similar to the islands in Phang Nga Bay with their limestone crags and towering rocky cliffs. Koh Mook is a popular trip as it has a special cave, the Morakot Cave, which contains a clear-blue pool of water encircled by towering cliffs that you can only access through swimming a 70-meter tunnel.
Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi is probably the most famous of all Phuket’s islands as it was the location for the movie The Beach. This island attracts the crowds but it is worth visiting as the location is just so stunning. If you get tired of sharing the view, there are other islands and coves just a short boat-hop away including the Pileh Lagoon – a gorgeous natural swimming pool. Monkey Island is also worth a visit.
Koh Hae (Coral Island)
The beauty of this island is the coral reef just off the beach. As the name suggests, Coral Island is a stunning place to snorkel or explore the underwater life. However, as this little island is very easy to reach from the southern tip of Phuket, it is not the quietest. If you want to be the only one on the beach, don’t come here.
If you come to Phuket you have to go to Phang Nga Bay – a gorgeous collection of imposing, rocky limestone cliffs and islands that house beautiful caves. Of course this area is crowded with tourists but the scenery is beautiful and you really can’t miss it.
Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi
Located off the east coast of the island of Phuket, the small islands of Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi have some luxury resorts but otherwise they are undeveloped and relatively unscathed by the impact of tourism. Visit here to see what Phuket was like before the arrival of mass tourism.
Krabi is not an island – it is actually on the mainland – but it is a fine place to visit for the beauty of its white sand beaches. Go to Railay Beach with its mixture of high-end resorts and backpacker lodgings, and you can enjoy easy access to the Phi Phi islands and also a place called Chicken Island (famous for its chicken-shaped outcrop).
Take some time to explore the tiny islands and the more developed islands surrounding Phuket and you won’t be disappointed. While Patong is famed for its nightlife and its restaurants and hotels, it can get hectic and crowded. If you want a change of pace, a short boat ride takes you into the lesser-known parts of Phuket and here you can relax and chill out in stunning surroundings. Many of the islands around Phuket have their own resort accommodation – some islands are largely private due to the existence of one large or boutique resort.
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