Besides all those beautiful beaches in Phuket, this famous tourist province also boasts many attractive and worth-visiting islands. So it is no exaggeration to say that if any visitor would like to cover all sightseeing places in Phuket and nearby islands, he needs to stay at least two weeks here.
Phuket has a total of 39 satellite islands, most of which are off the eastern coast. Those of special interest include:
Coral Island (Ko He)
Located about 5 km. from Rawai Beach, this is one of the most popular destinations for a one-day tour from Phuket. Boats to the island can be hired at either Rawai Beach or Chalong Bay. The island is surrounded by colourful coral reefs perfect for all kinds of aquatic sports. You can engage in these activities all year round because not only is the weather always warm, but the island is not much affected by the monsoon, being located off the east coast. If you plan to stay overnight, there are air-conditioned bungalows available.
Thai Name : เกาะเฮ
Cut off from the main island by the small canal Tha Chin and located 4 km. southeast of Phuket town, Sire Islet is interesting as the biggest "sea-gypsy" village in Phuket. Also, there is a big reclining Buddha on a hilltop from where a good view of Phuket town can be obtained.
Thai Name : เกาะสิเหร่
Ko Racha Yai
About 2 hours by boat south of Phuket, this island is a favourite place for divers and snorkellers for its beautiful coral reefs. The inhabitants of the island are Muslim people who mainly do fishing and coconut farming for a living.
Accommodations are available at several resorts. Passenger boats run from Phuket port to Ko Racha Yai daily at 8.30 hours. You can also charter a long-tail boat from Chalong Bay or Rawai Beach.
Thai Name : เกาะราชาใหญ่
Located at Po Bay, 25 km. northeast of town, it offers unspoilt natural beauty with a large famous cultured pearl farm on it. Boats leave for the island from Bang Rong pier in Phuket frequently.
Thai Name : เกาะนาคา
Other small islets around Phuket such as Ko Mai Thon, Ko Dok Mai, Ko Lone, Ko Kaeo, etc. are enchanting for their fantastic underwater world, good for snorkeling, diving and fishing. To really enjoy these small islands, you should rent a long-tail boat or a speedboat for the day. Chalong Bay and Rawai Beach are two places where such boats can be found in abundance.
Besides, there are many other islets which are under the administration of Phang-nga or Krabi provinces. However, off-shore trips and diving excursions are offered in a wide variety and quantity by numerous tour operators in Phuket, making it the tourism centre of the Andaman Sea. Here are some well-known destinations, which can also be covered in a one-day trip.
Phi Phi Islands
One of the world's most beautiful tourist destinations, it is part of Krabi province, 1.20 hours by modern ferry or 2.30 hours by conventional boat from Phuket ports. It is composed of two rocky, tree-covered islets -- Phi Phi Don & Phi Phi Le -- lying in the Andaman Sea about 45 km. to the southeast of Phuket.
Of the two islands, Phi Phi Don is the bigger with an area of 28 sq.km. It boasts a few beautiful beaches with clear turquoise seawater and colourful underwater scenes. Hotel accommodations of different grades are available. About two kilometres to the south is Phi Phi Le, which is a huge rock with sheer cliffs and no beaches. It is visited on account of its Viking Cave, where visitors can view two special scenes -- the ancient drawings on the walls and the gathering of bird's nests from the shelves under its high ceiling.
Thai Name : หมู่เกาะพีพี
See more information in Phi Phi Islands in Krabi Section.
Because of its fascinating seascape and its short distance (75 km. by road or 3 hours by boat) from Phuket, Phang-nga Bay is usually visited by tourists of Phuket. The bay is attractive for its numerous weird limestone outcrops and cliffed islets rising from the sea.
These small islands, which feature many caves and collapsed cave systems, are best explored aboard inflatable sea canoes. Phang-nga Bay became more famous after the James Bond adventure, The Man with the Golden Gun, was partly filmed here.
Thai Name : อ่าวพังงา
Some interesting islands in the bay include:
Ko Tapu or James Bond Island
Standing strikingly about 200 metres from Khao Phingkan, this is the most photographed object in Phang-nga Bay.
Thai Name : เกาะตะปู
This unique islet is cut in two from top to bottom by natural forces with the breakaway part leaning against the main one. There are stalls of souvenirs lining on the small beach of this islet where most tour groups drop by for photographing.
Thai Name : เขาพิงกัน
Here is a Muslim village which boasts several good seafood restaurants and thus has become a popular stopover for lunch break for Phang-nga Bay excursion.
Thai Name : เกาะปันหยี
About one hour by boat from Phuket, it consists of two islands -- Ko Yao Yai and Ko Yao Noi. Despite its smaller size, the latter is more populated and has more beautiful secluded beaches. From this island, you can have breathtaking views of the surrounding limestone formations in Phang-nga Bay. Bungalows are available, but not many. Ferry boats leave Bang Rong pier for Ko Yao Noi at 08.00 and 11.00 hours daily. Or you can charter a long-tail boat at the cost of about 500 baht.
Thai Name : เกาะยาว
See more information in Phang-nga attractions section.
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