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5 Islands not to be missed from Phuket

It's time for some island hopping!

· 5 min read

Phuket, Thailand's largest island, is renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage. But while Phuket is Thailand's largest island, visitors to Phuket rarely stop at just the main island. A visit to Phuket is rarely complete without also island-hopping to the many islands nearby. Planning your island-hopping trip? Let's take a look at some of the islands to visit!

1. Phi Phi Islands

Source: Clubmed

Arguably the most famous island destination near Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands is crowded, and very, very touristy. But, its popularity isn't without reason.

The Phi Phi Islands is a group of six islands, with Phi Phi Don being the largest and only inhabited island. Its popularity with tourists also necessarily means that you can expect a lively atmosphere filled with shops, accommodation options, restaurants, and bars. The smaller islands are also known to be good snorkelling spots with clear waters and vibrant corals.

The most popular attraction at Phi Phi Islands is undoubtedly the Maya Bay, a beautiful beach featuring rocky cliffs and a dazzling lagoon. With the influx of tourists, Maya Bay had suffered problems with overcrowding, and it was previously closed for restoration and conservation.

It has since reopened for tourists to visit, but there are planned closures for two months from August 2024 to allow restoration and conservation of the beach.

Visit the Phi Phi Islands on these tours:

Phi Phi Island Day Trip from Phuket (Klook): from USD 46.20

Phi Phi Islands Day Tour from Phuket (Viator): from USD 51.31

Maya, Phi Phi, and Bamboo Island with Buffet Lunch (Get Your Guide): from USD 49.87

2. Similan Islands

Source: Viator

For nature enthusiasts and diving aficionados, the Similan Islands are a must-visit destination. Located approximately 70 kilometers northwest of Phuket, this archipelago is renowned for its pristine beaches, clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs.

Compared to Phuket, the Similan Island are much less undeveloped and offer visitors with a truly natural experience. Designated as a national park, the Similan Islands offer unparalleled diving opportunities with visibility reaching up to 40 meters. The untouched nature of the islands, clear waters, and diverse marine wildlife of the islands make them one of the best places for scuba diving in Thailand.

Visit the Similan Islands on these tours:

Similan Islands Full Day-Tour (Klook): from USD 69.30

Similan Islands Tour From Phuket (Viator): from USD 91.22

Similan Islands Early Bird Day Trip (Get Your Guide): from USD 108.06

3. Koh Racha Islands

Source: Phuket.net

Situated just a short boat ride from Phuket, the Koh Racha Islands, also known as Racha Yai and Racha Noi, offer a tranquil escape from the crowds.

Racha Yai is the larger and more developed of the two islands, boasting powdery white sands, turquoise waters, and excellent snorkeling and diving sites. In contrast, Racha Noi remains largely uninhabited, providing pristine beaches and untouched natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for a secluded retreat.

If you are looking for a relatively quiet place from Phuket for snorkelling or scuba diving, Racha Islands are a great option away from the crowds, but still offering amenities and opportunities for land activities.

Visit the Koh Racha Islands on these tours:

Racha & Coral Islands Day Tour by Speedboat (Klook): from USD 32.55

Full-Day Racha Noi & Racha Yai Snorkeling from Phuket (Viator): from USD 91.22

Coral and Racha Islands Day Trip by Speedboat (Get Your Guide): from USD 54.03

4. Koh Yao Islands

Source: Hotels.com

For those seeking an authentic Thai island experience away from the tourist crowds, the Koh Yao Islands offer a serene and laid-back atmosphere. Comprising Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai, these islands are located in the Phang Nga Bay, accessible by a scenic boat ride from Phuket.

Compared to Phuket Island, the Koh Yao islands are much less commercialised, retaining characteristics of a traditional Thai island. Find picturesque fishing villages, lush mangrove forests, rice paddy fields, and traditional wooden houses on these islands.

Take advantage of the natural beauty of these islands by renting a two-wheeler. If you’re not exploring, you can kayak, snorkel, or dive in their aquamarine waters.

To visit the Koh Yao Islands:

The best way to get to the Koh Yao Islands is to take a longtail boat or ferry from the Bang Rong pier on the East Coast of Phuket. Ferries run multiple times each day, and you can check ferry timings and prices on 12Go.

5. Koh Bon

Source: Trazy

Koh Bon is a small, picturesque island that is just a 15-minute boat ride away from Phuket. It is one of the closest and most accessible destinations, making it perfect for a half-day trip.

Despite its proximity to Phuket, this island, covered in lush greenery and small sandy coves, remains mostly untouched with its abundant flora and fauna. It’s also an excellent spot for snorkeling as its waters are full of bustling marine life.

There are many longtail taxis that depart from Rawai Beach that you can take to access the island.

How to visit the islands from Phuket

If you are planning to visit an island that is just off the shores of Phuket, longtail taxis are often a good option. You can easily get one from the beaches around Phuket to help you get to the small, neighbouring islands.

If you are planning to visit an island that is farther out, longtail taxis might not be able to get you there. Instead, you will need to look for ferry or speedboat options. You can also consider joining an island-hopping tour or a day tour to the islands.