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phuket
information and
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islands
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phuket
Phuket has more than thirty smaller paradise islands in its vicinity. They are truly exotic with many fine white sandy beaches, coral reefs and interesting formations, and the turquoise sea is crsytal clear. Many of the islands offer excellent snorkelling and diving venues. Some of the islands are uninhabited. Accomodation varies from none, to basic to exclusive. Most islands are accessible within an hour or so, from Phuket, typically by longtail boat or island-hopping charter tours. A few islands have hosted scenes from films such as "the beach", "tomorrow never dies" and "man with the golden gun".

Please view our island location map to get your bearings on some of the islands.
 
Coral Island

Coral island, known locally as Ko Hae, is partially encircled by splendid reefs and lies 8km south east of Phuket. There are two fine white sandy beaches on the north west, and a few small bays on the east coast.

Although the island is part of a marine conservation, there is one resort with bungalows close to the beach. In addition there are a few restaurants, various watersports and offshore diving. Fishing and a sunset sailing cruise can also be arranged.

The main beach can sometimes become quite popular as the island is a good daytrip destination. Despite this, it is still a lovely spot and maintains a feeling of seclusion with excellent snorkelling and lazy sunbathing.

Boats leave from Chalong and Rawai and the journey time is of the order of twenty minutes.

Coral Island



Bon Island

This is a small islet just 15 minutes by longtail boat from Rawai. There are a few white sands and good snorkelling along the buoys marking shallow and deep water. A private beach lies on the eastern side and this is used by the Evason Resort in Rawai, who advertise Koh Bon as its own private island. However visitors may frequent the beach - but the facilities are private.

The only accommodation is a luxurious honeymoon suite (run by Evason) atop the only hillock on the island. There is also a small beach at the northern and southern ends of the isle.

This isle should not be confused with the (diving) island of the same name in the Surin chain.

Bon Island



Lon   (Lohn)   Island

This is a relatively large and mountainous island in Chalong Bay. The inhabitants are mainly Muslim and engage in rubber and cocunut planting, and fishing. It is a quiet and attractive island with a long stretch of beach on the northeast coast.

There is one small but comfortable resort, amongst the coconut palms on the north of the island (Cruiser island resort - they have a small office next to Chalong Pier).

Ko Lon is a 20 minute trip by longtail boat from Chalong.

Lon Island



Kaew Yai island

This is a very small quiet islet just south of PromThep and 3kms from Rawai. There is a small beach and a large statue of the Budda, but little else. The isle is 15 minutes by longtail boat from Rawai.

Kaew Yai Island



Raya (Racha) Yai & Noi Islands

Both these islands offer some of the best snorkelling and diving close to Phuket.

Ko Raya Yai is a beautiful unspoilt island and lies 12 km south of Phuket. There are fine clean white sands on the west coast at Ao Tawan Tok (Ao Bungalow), whilst on the east coast is a coral reef with excellent diving (Ao Kon Kae Bay). The waters are crystal clear. There is a small resort with accomodation on the island.

To reach the island, contact a tour company at Chalong or Rawai. The journey time for larger boats is one hour, whilst the ever faithful longtail boats cover the distance in nearly two hours. Travel to the island is usually quite limited in the wet season, due to the unpredictable monsoon.

Raya Yai Island

Ko Raya Noi lies a further 9 kms south of Raya Yai. This is an uninhabited island with only one tiny bay with boat anchorage, and swimming is not recommended. In fact it is quite rocky due to coral reef build up. However diving between Raya Yai and Raya Noi is quite good for advanced divers but note there is a strong current.


Mai Ton Island

MaiTon island lies 9 km south east of the Ao Makam deep sea port (Cape Panwa). This is indeed a lovely island - providing you are a guest of the sole resort (the plush Maiton Island Resort) which boasts the whole island to itself.

However there is a daytime excursion from Ao Makam for visitors not wishing to stay the night.

The island has fine white beaches and crystal clear water, and is perfect for swimming and diving.

Mai Ton Island



Tapao Yai island

This is a small island for relaxing and enjoying nature, and lies just 6 km off the east coast of Cape Panwa. It can be reached via a 10 minute ferry ride from the Ko Tapao ferry pier at Ao Makam.

The island is well known for being the home to a large population of Bucerotes hornbills. Theses birds are very easily observable, especially in the early mornings and early evenings.

There is a small resort with accomodation and restaurant. The owners and staff take a great deal of pride in the welfare and habitat of the hornbills.

Tapao Yai Island
Bucerotes Hornbill

 
Khai Nok Island

Ko Khai is a very small idyllic island midway between the east coast of Phuket and the southern tip of Yao Yai island. It is basically a tiny emerald green jungle karst surrounded by white sand and a good live coral, which is suitable for snorkelling. The island is uninhabited, and is a good day trip destination. The journey time by longtail boat is 25 minutes.

Khai Nok island



Rang Yai Island

Rang Yai Island is located just a few minutes from Boat Lagoon Marina, off the east of Phuket. Boats may be hired from Laem Hin Pier (near Sapam) as well as from Boat Lagoon.

It has been developed with the aim of providing activities for the outdoor-minded tourist but with a regard for conservation. Activities include mountain-biking, miniature golf, sea kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, and camping.

The island is also famous for producing top quality pearls for export around the world, and is the location of the Phuket Pearl Farm. There is a live demonstration of how pearls are cultured, harvested and turned into beautiful pieces of jewelry. A visit to the Pearl showroom is recommended.

Rang Yai Island
Rang Island pearl farm



Maphrao (Coconut) Island

Maphrao Island (Ko Ma Phrao) lies just off the east coast of Phuket and can be reached in ten minutes by longtail boat from Laem Hin pier.

The island has been used for coconut plantations, but there are also rich mangrove forests which can partially be explored by boat. It is peaceful and quiet and there are many fishing villagers. Ko Ma Phrao is very slowly being developed for small resorts and private housing.

Twixt Phuket and Maphrao there are some fine but rustic floating restaurants with live seafood in pens. Accomodation consists of some basic bungalows for rent from some of the local residents, and also a few, even more basic, floating bungalows (near the restaurants) for those seeking complete isolated solitude.

Maphrao Island



Naka Yai and Naka Noi islands

The Naka islands (big and small) are located off the north east coast of Phuket. They are less than a twenty minutes ride by longtail boat from the rather rickety Ao Po Pier. From the Heroines' Monument proceed east on route 4027, then turn right at the sign for Ao Po.

Naka Yai has fine white broad sandy beaches lined with coconut trees with lovely views over Phang Nga bay and until recently was sparsely inhabited by fishermen. It is now transforming into an exclusive getaway resort, although currently, the only accommodation is one luxurious private villa that is rented out by the week. The island is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, strolling along the beach and snorkelling. The long eastern beach is popular with day-trippers. There is one small village on the west coast

Ko Naka Noi also has fine sandy beaches. It is famous for its pearl farm, and is sometimes referred to as pearl island where rare South Sea pearls are cultivated. There is an interesting tour of the pearl farm to see how the pearls are developed and extracted.

Naka Yai island



Yao Yai and Yao Noi islands

The Ko Yao island group are made up of the two quite large islands, Ko Yao Noi and Ko Yao Yai, as well as a number of smaller islets, and are situated at the southern end of Phang Nga bay.

The islands retain their traditional Muslim culture and fishing remains the predominant economic activity and way of life here. They are slowly opening up to tourism whilst remaining quite eco-conscious. However they remain a very quiet refuge that feels far removed from the crowds of Phuket.

There are endless miles of glittering white sand. It is a place to enjoy nature and the local culture.

Aside from the picture-postcard beaches, activities for the visitor include kayaking, bird watching (eg the white-bellied sea eagle), butterfly watching, nature study in general, biking, snorkelling, camping, trekking, sight seeing the many mangrove forests.

Souvenirs include fish scale flowers (eg. roses, geraniums, and bougainvillea made from fish scales).

In terms of accomodation there are some small-scale, mostly family-run bungalows and resorts (such as the Ko Yao Yai island resort).

To reach the islands take a one hour long-tail boat ferry from Bang Rong Pier on the east coast of Phuket. To get to the pier, go east on route 4027 and follow the signs for Bangrong. Long-tail boats can also be hired at Ao Po pier for charter to Ko Yao.

Yao Yai island
Ko Yao sunset
Views from Yao Yai island



Phi Phi islands

These are two amazingly beautiful islands studded with dominating emerald green limestone mountains, and are 30km south east of Phuket. Both islands form part of a national park. In addition to the superb beaches, the islands also offer excellent snorkelling and good diving in the calm clear seas overlooked by the towering limestone karsts, kayaking and local boat trips,and also game fishing.

Phi Phi Don is the larger of the two islands. It has nine sandy coves, adjoining coral reefs and clear turquoise blue water. There is a good range of accomodation and several restaurants. The small local population live in a scattering of fishing villages. To get around you will need to walk - just take a short stroll to the next idyllic beach, or hire a longtail boat for the sea route - paradise is like that.

Phi Phi Ley has several good beaches but is far more rugged and is uninhabited. It has a very interesting sea lake in the form of a bowl-shaped canyon.
In addition to its beauty, it has other claims to fame:-
The many caves are a favourite nesting area for the migratory Fork Tail swift, whose nests are held together by saliva.
And of course, the movie 'The Beach' was filmed here.

The Phi Phi islands represent pure sublime beauty in absolute tranquility. This is indeed amazing Thailand.

Phi Phi Maya island
Phi Phi islands areal view

Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga bay is a scenic unspoilt exotic wonder with numerous verdant limestone islands, towering above the calm turquoise waters. Most of the islands are uninhabited and many are honeycombed with caves. The bay, which lies 40km north east of Phuket, has misty early mornings and spectacular sunsets.

The sea remains very tranquil throughout the whole year as the bay is protected from both the north-east and south-west monsoon seasons. Accordingly Phang Nga bay is an excellent place to sail, with many spots for safe anchorage. Sea-canoeing is quite a popular activity here, where one paddles sturdy inflatable boats (kayaks) through caves into the interiors of the islands. Many such cave systems are actually open to the sky and surrounded by imposing limestone walls. There is an abundance of flora and fauna.

Visits to the area would typically take the form of either booking a long-tail boat or speedboat for a day trip, joining a cruise, chartering a yacht, a lazy slow Chinese Junk experience, or a canoeing tour.

One of the most popular islands is Ko Ping Kan (aka James Bond island, which was featured in the Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun"). Just off the beach is Ko Tapu, the strikingly narrow geological karst rising vertically out of the sea.

Ko Pannyi (Sea Gypsy island) is also popular. This is a remarkable village built on stilts over the sea and adjacent to a giant towering rock. There are a few rustic stilted bungalows for rent here.

Take an independent means of travel to the above two islands to avoid the peak tourist influx tours.

Other islands include Ko Hong (which has many caves for kayaking), Khao Khien (which is famous for its rocky wall ancient paintings), and Ko Maak (which is home to a small traditional community of fishermen).

the magical world of Phang Nga bay
James Bond island (reference Bond movie -  The Man with the Golden Gun)
Phang Nga Bay - Ko Pannyi - sea gypsy island


Floating football pitch at Ko Panyi      

Floating football pitch at Ko Panyi Phang Nga bay
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