Phi Phi Island is approximately 50 minutes away from Phuket by speedboat. It is open to visitors all year round. There are two islands, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. The larger and inhabited, Phi Phi Don attracts hundreds of visitors to stay on its lovely shores. Loh Sama and Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh are the location for the Hollywood film ‘The Beach’.
Phang Nga is a province located north of Phuket, approximately 45-minute by car. The Phang Nga Bay National park is a popular excursion from Phuket, with scenic views of literally hundreds of limestone cliffs rising over the sea. You can also explore the sea caves and their interior lagoons (knows as hong) by sea canoe and tour James Bond Island (Khao Phingkan) famous for providing the backdrop to the movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. While exploring this stuning national park you will also experience the sea gypsies’ way of life and enjoy lunch on Ko Pannyi.
The Similan Islanda are located approximately 100 km northwest of Phuket in the Andaman Sea. Consisting of nine small islands that form the group, these are, running from north to south: Koh Ba Ngu (No. 9), Similan (No. 8), Payu (No. 7), Miang (No. 4, No. 5 and, in some opinion, No. 6), Payan (No. 3), Payang (No. 2), and Hu Yong (No. 1). Hin Pousar, or “Elephant Head Rock”, is alternatively designated No. 6 by some. Koh Bon, lying 17 nautical miles north of Ba Ngu, is part of the Similan National Park and may be granted honorary status as No. 10. Diving is the main attraction of these islands. Huge granite boulders, caverns and swim-throughs produce a fascinating underwater landscape which attracts a huge variety of marine life, from tiny creatures to great Manta Rays. Water clarity is excellent and the scenery varies with each island. It ranked as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.
Khao Lak & Khao Sok
Located in the mainland province of Phang Nga, just north of Phuket Island, Khao Lak is a relative newcomer to tourism. Khao Lak and Khao Sok, offers beaches, jungle covered mountains, forested valleys, mangroves and estuaries. The area covers 3 national parks, which include long stretches of sandy beach fringed by the surrounding mountains, mangroves, estuaries and tropical forest.
Krabi offers idyllic beaches, islands, amazing limestone scenery, tropical forest, National Parks and amazing, crystal clear waters. In the interior, the two predominantly mainland national parks, Khao Phanom Bencha and Than Bokk-horani, offer eco tours and elephant trekking, waterfalls, the chance to explore unusual caves, or go trekking off the beaten track.
Coral island, which is also known as Koh Hae, is located nine kilometres southeast of Phuket. The island features two main beaches, Long Beach and Banana Beach. The snorkelling off Banana Beach is exciting and if you go out far enough from Long Beach you will also discover lots of impressive coral reef.
Racha or Raya Island is about 12 km south of Phuket. It is a well-known and popular destination for diving and snorkelling daytrips. Racha Yai reveals itself in splendid fashion, with most arrivals landing onto a strip of fine white sand tucked deep into the long, U-shaped main bay, called Ao Tawan Tok or Ao Bungalow. Ao Siam which is another large bay is a pretty place where lonely strolls in solitude are possible. Racha Noi is uninhabited and has no services or accommodation, but there’s some great diving in the area.
The Surin Islands are located about 60 km off the west coast of Phang-Nga Province and are very popular for diving, snorkelling and hiking in a stunning setting that is designated a national park area. It consists of five islands that make up the group, Koh Surin Neua (north island) and Koh Surin Tai (south island) are the principal islands – lying just across a small bay from each other, offering some basic bungalow style accommodation and camping grounds for those who are looking to stay overnight. Surin Islands are best visited during the months of December to March when the seas are at their most calm, and for divers and snorkelers, water visibility is good. To get to Surin Islands, you could charter a boat from any of the major piers in any of Phang-Nga, Phuket or Ranong provinces.