Phuket: Top 10 Best Island Hopping Tours – 2024


Phuket is the most important island in Thailand and one of many nations’s hottest vacation locations, boredom is one thing you’ll by no means have expertise in Phuket.

Whereas there are limitless sights and things to do in Phuket and you’ll simply have tons of enjoyment on lovely seashores like Patong, Rawai, or Bang Tao, lots of Phuket’s hidden gems are farther afield.

Phuket has 32 smaller islands within the Andaman Sea surrounding it so island hopping from Phuket is tremendously simple and one thing you actually shouldn’t miss.

Tons of inexpensive tour packages make wonderful half-day or day journeys from Phuket. Plus, the encompassing provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi supply much more fantastic and distinctive Phuket day journeys.

Oceanstone by Holy Cow, Bang Tao beach, Phuket

Probably the most handy technique to ebook the preferred Phuket day excursions and journeys is on Viator or Get Your Guide. These trusted platforms supply the possibility to learn actual opinions and ebook your day journeys earlier than you get to Thailand. Most excursions additionally embody resort pick-up for stress-free expertise.

When you haven’t booked your resort try my insider’s guide on where to stay in Phuket and, for those who’d want to go to the islands independently, you possibly can ebook your ferry tickets online at 12Go Asia.

As I’ve lived in Phuket for over 3 years, I’ve been fortunate sufficient to check out most of those island hopping excursions and day journeys from Phuket. So right here is my decide of the ten greatest together with well-known sights, fashionable islands, and lesser-known native treasures that you simply shouldn’t miss if you go to Phuket.

So whether or not you’re after cultural gems or the perfect diving and snorkeling spots, a nature lover in search of some tranquility, or a seaside bum in search of the final word Phuket island hopping expertise, learn on to find the perfect Phuket day journeys.

And for recommendations on methods to match all of the highlights right into a week’s vacation try my 7-day ultimate Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, and Krabi itinerary!

Top 10 Best Island Hopping Tours from Phuket

1. Outdated Phuket City & Large Buddha

Phuket town houses

Earlier than you begin exploring the close by islands and taking day journeys from Phuket, I like to recommend exploring the island’s tradition and historical past with a Phuket metropolis tour.

Phuket City is the island’s cultural hub. If doable, go on a Sunday to expertise the bustling Sunday strolling market within the Outdated City. Nonetheless, no matter the day you go to, you’ll discover a vibrant ambiance.

The easiest way to discover Phuket City is on foot – strolling around admiring the Nineteenth-century colorful homes and testing the distinctive boutique outlets and cafes.

Then, head to Wat Chalong, probably the most lovely Buddhist temple in Phuket after which head to the well-known Large Buddha temple.

This iconic sculpture is constructed excessively up on a mountain and is a powerful 148 ft tall and 83.5 ft extensive. Together with its peaceable mountain ambiance, you’ll discover epic views over Phuket Island!

Big Buddha - Things to do in Phuket, Thailand

Phuket City and Chalong are within the southeast of Phuket Island. When you’re staying within the seaside cities on the west coast, like Patong Seaside, it will likely be a 30-40 minute drive to the Outdated City. One of the best times to go to the Large Buddha is at sundown.

Whereas it’s simple to discover this space by yourself by way of taxis, there may be additionally an excellent half-day group Phuket City Tour that may decide you up out of your resort. It is a nice tour for anybody occupied with the historical past, tradition, and spirituality because it visits all three of Phuket’s cultural highlights – Phuket Outdated City, Wat Chalong, and the Large Buddha. 

Personal, customizable excursions and enjoyable ATV journeys as much as the Large Buddhas are additionally doable. Try all of the choices on Get Your Guide.

2. Phi Phi Islands

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

The Phi Phi Islands are undoubtedly the preferred day-journey vacation spot from Phuket. Six islands make up the Phi Phi Islands, making it a perfect island-hopping Phuket day journey!

The biggest and busiest island is Phi Phi Don – the archipelago’s solely inhabited island. It is filled with resorts and exquisite seashores, akin to Monkey Seaside.

Koh Phi Phi Leh is, without a doubt, one of the uninhabited islands and residential to Maya Bay, made well-known after getting used because of the filming vacation spot for the 2000 movie “The Beach.” Bamboo Island is one other fashionable spot on Phi Phi island hopping excursions.

The Phi Phi Islands are situated off the east coast of Phuket, within the province of Krabi. Being a well-liked day journey from Phuket, you’ll haven’t any hassle discovering group excursions to the Phi Phi islands.

For instance, this Phi Phi tour contains stops at Maya Bay, Pileh Lagoon, Ko Phi Phi Don, Viking Cave, and Bamboo Island. It’s one of many best possible day journeys from Phuket and they’re going to additionally decide you up and drop you again from any resort in Phuket.

Nonetheless, for those who’ve bought extra time you even have the choice to remain for a single day at one of many hotels on Phi Phi Don and go to Krabi the following day, the place you possibly can take a protracted tail boat to the unimaginable limestone cliffs of Railay Seaside.

3. James Bond Island

Thailand limestone rocks. James Bond island

James Bond Island is one of the preferred excursions from Phuket attributable to being the filming location of the 1974 James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

James Bond is simply one of many 100 lovely islands in Phang Nga Bay, northeast of Phuket. This space is filled with fascinating limestone formations and sea caves, in addition to many implausible swimming and snorkeling spots.

Boat excursions are great for exploring Phang Nga Bay, and there are lots of choices. I took this Luxury Sunset Cruise, which included an honest lunch and dinner onboard while cruising around Phang Nga Bay. Together with James Bond Island, this distinctive tour included sea canoeing by the limestone caves of Hong Island.

4. Racha Islands

Ko Racha Yai photo by Dmitriy Soloduhin on Unsplash

The Racha Islands encompass Racha Noi and Racha Yai, situated within the southern part of Phuket, just under Coral Island. Racha Island is among the greatest scuba diving and snorkeling spots within the Andaman Sea, so you will discover many diving trips going right here.

The islands are a real paradise – white sand, crystal-clear waters, and no vehicles. Plus, it takes simply 45 minutes to get there, making it probably the greatest day journey from Phuket for all water and seaside lovers.

To discover the Racha Islands, you possibly can be part of a bunch of scuba diving or snorkeling tours, or you can simply organize a protracted tailboat or speedboat switch from Rawai or Chalong pier.

One other fashionable alternative is the beach-club-type Hype Luxury Catamaran. On this journey, you may have loads of time to sunbathe on numerous Racha Island seashores and go to Banana Seaside on the close by Coral Island. On the best way again, you’ll take pleasure in a “floating get-together” with tapas, drinks, and an onboard dwell DJ.

5. Naka Island

The Naka Island resort

Naka is one other of the shortest day journeys in Phuket. Naka Island is one of Phuket’s hidden gems and is right for anybody who seeks a soothing day of sunbathing and swimming rather than a journey.

Naka can also be dwelling to the luxurious resort “Naka Island Resort.” Whereas it’s costly to remain right here, day trippers can get a day cross to make use of the resort’s amenities, together with the pool, use of snorkeling gear, and water sports activities tools like kayaks.

Naka Island is only a 10-minute boat trip from Ao Por Grand Marina in the North East of Phuket. As it’s such a brief distance and there may be not a lot to do on the island, take into account together with Naka in a self-guided island-hopping journey with Koh Yao Yai & Koh Yao Noi (see under).

6. Koh Yao Yai & Koh Yao Noi

Koh Yao Yai photo by Marc Mintel on unsplash

Koh Yao Yai & Koh Yao Noi are two islands barely east of Naka. Koh Yao Yai is the most important, dwelling to gorgeous resorts, lovely seashores, and mesmerizing nature.

One resort I like to recommend testing is Santhiya, an unlimited hillside resort constructed from pure teakwood. Santhiya presents a day cross to make use of the resort’s two swimming pools (together with an infinity hilltop one).

Koh Yao Noi is a lot smaller island, which is simply as lovely, however, the seashores supply completely different views from Koh Yao Yai. It’s because the north of Koh Yao Noi faces the gorgeous limestone cliffs and caves of Phang Nga Bay. In the meantime, the island’s south is filled with lush nature, together with rice fields and coconut groves.

You may enter these two islands by way of a 20 to 30-minute ferry from the Royal Phuket marina in northeast Phuket. You may ebook your ferry simply online at 12Go Asia. There’s additionally a ferry between each island that takes simply 10 minutes, making for easy island hopping in Phuket.

7. Similan Islands

Similan Islands National Park

The Similan Islands are probably the most well-known diving spots on the planet. Thus, these pristine islands make for probably the most fashionable Phuket day journeys. Right here, you possibly can spot turtles, leopard sharks, Shovelnose rays, and plenty of extra uncommon species.

Nonetheless, whereas the turquoise waters and marine life are the highest sights right here, the surroundings are spectacular, too, with many distinctive rock formations. For instance, the Sail Rock hike is without doubt one of the hottest on-land actions right here.

The Similan archipelago consists of 11 islands, 70 km off the coast of Phang Nga. Nonetheless, it is without doubt one of the longer day excursions from Phuket, so put together for a 10-12 hour day! There are additionally multi-day journey choices, the place you sleep at a campsite or in a cabin on one of many islands.

Try the completely different choices for Similan island trips on Get Your Guide to seek out the perfect one for you. Be aware that the Similan Islands are closed through the monsoon season (June to September).

8. Surin Islands

Paradise beach, Surin Islands, Thailand

Whereas staying in Khao Lak I wished to go to the Similan islands. Nevertheless, it was a busy interval, and the journeys have been all absolutely booked – so be sure to ebook upfront for those who’re visiting Phuket within the peak season! Anyway, as a substitute, I made a decision to go to the lesser-known Surin Islands.

What’s distinctive about these islands is that they’re dwelling in an indigenous tribe generally known as The Moken. The Moken have been beforehand sea nomads/gypsies however settled within the Surin Islands within the Nineties.

Residing in such a remote area (a 4-hour boat trip to the mainland), the Moken dwells a semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle. They sleep in very primary, humble wood huts on the seaside, and you’ll go to their village to see how they dwell.

Apart from the Moken, you’ll discover some pretty seashores and snorkeling spots within the Surin Islands, together with Mai Ngam Seaside.

The Surin Islands are situated far off the west coast of Phang Nga. The one technique to go to the Surin Islands from Phuket is by way of a tour. I did a snorkeling journey much like this one, which included snorkeling, seaside time, and a go-to to the village.

Whereas the Surin Islands are completely price visiting, it’s a VERY lengthy boat trip (from Phuket or Khao Lak). Due to this fact, you spend a lot of the day on a small velocity boat, which will not be excellent for some.

9. Khao Sok Nationwide Park

Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok is an unimaginable nationwide park within the northern a part of Phang Nga, the province instantly above Phuket. Khao Sok National Park is dwelling to the oldest evergreen rainforest on the planet – 160 million years old. Due to this fact, you possibly can anticipate finding limitless lush jungles and various wildlife, together with 48 mammal species and 311 species of birds!

One other iconic part of Khao Sok is Cheow Lan Lake. Majestic limestone mountains and cliffs encompass this serene lake, and there are lots of floating raft homes and bungalows – a part of the resorts you possibly can keep at.

You may go to Khao Sok on a day journey from Phuket. Nonetheless, it’s a lengthy drive from Phuket Island (about 3.5 hours a technique), so notice that you’ll have to depart in the early morning and spend a lot of the day in a minivan.

Contemplating this, I extremely suggest taking a 2-day 1 1-night Khao Sok tour of the place you’ll spend the evening in one of many floating raft homes in Khao Sok Nationwide Park – which is a complete expertise in itself. In that manner, you’ll get to expertise the tranquility of the lake after darkish and witness a panoramic dawn (for those who’re up early sufficiently).

You too can journey independently by bus and organize your lodging, they’ll even have the possibility to discover the close by Khao Lak, which, as you’re about to find, is one of my favorite elements of Thailand!

10. Khao Lak

Bang Sak Beach in Khao Lak, Thailand

If you wish to escape the crowds of Phuket and Patong seaside throughout the excessive season, Khao Lak is undoubtedly the place to go. Khao Lak is situated on the west coast of Phang Nga and is extremely quiet and largely untouched in comparison with Phuket.

The lengthy stretch of coast presents quite a few serene seashores, together with Pakarang and Pak Weep Seaside. Each of those seashores has quiet elements in addition to mini “seaside villages” with just a few native eating places and “on-the-beach” therapeutic massage outlets. There are additionally several waterfalls close by and a spot the place you possibly can go bamboo rafting alongside the river!

Relying on the place you’re staying in Phuket, Khao Lak is a 1.5 to 2.5 drive, making it probably the most accessible day excursion from Phuket. You may hire an automobile and drive yourself, take the general public bus (from Phuket bus terminal 2, simply north of Phuket city), or ebook a personal switch.

Remaining Ideas

The huge quantity of islands surrounding Phuket is one motive why I am keen on this a part of Thailand a lot so be sure to get out and discover!

Whether or not you’re right here for one week or one month, you’ll want to try all of the attractions and things to do on Phuket island itself in addition to leaving sufficient time to do just a few of those Phuket day journeys and island hopping excursions to discover this Thai paradise.

And for those who’re in search of extra concepts to your journey to Phuket, try my different Phuket blogs and this 7 Day Phuket itinerary which incorporates all of the highlights and likewise Koh Phi Phi and Krabi for the final word Thailand seaside expertise.

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