Aerial view of islands

On the Water Near Phuket

  1. Scuba Diving – Racha Islands/ Similian Islands
  2. Phi Phi Islands
  3. Monkey Beach, Viking Cave, Bamboo Island
  4. Hong Island
  5. Cycling – Koh Yao Noi
  6. Phang Nga Bay Sea Cave Canoeing
  7. Koh Panyee Floating Village
  8. James Bond Island
  9. Coconut Island – Floating Restaurants
  10. Sailing/Catamaran Sunset & Dinner Cruise

1 of 10 – Scuba Diving – Racha Islands/ Similian Islands


With over a 1,000 km of coastline and numerous islands on all sides Phuket can offer up some of the best dive sites in the world. You can dive all year round here with water temperatures between 27-31 degrees celsius with excellent visibility. The types of diving environments are extensive encompassing everything from fringing reefs, deep drop-offs, wrecks, caves and more with fantastic marine life.  Racha Noi and Racha Yai are two exceptional local dive sites where Manta rays and turtles are spotted often.  The magnificent archipelagos of the Similans offer world class diving and are just some of the stunning islands of the Andaman Sea that can be reached in a day trip from Phuket.

2 of 10 – Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

These picture postcard islands are just a 45 min speedboat trip from Phuket to the landing pier on Tonsai Bay.  Phi Phi Islands are made up of 6 islands with the 2 main ones being Phi Phi Don – home to all the accommodations and amenities and Phi Phi Leh where you will find the iconic Maya Bay made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach. Maya Bay is now open again to a limited number of tourists after being closed for the last few years to rehabilitate the reef.  From Phi Phi Don you can hire a longtail boat for the day to explore the surrounding islands.  If you stay on land you can hike to Phi Phi Viewpoint to take the famous panoramic photo of the “2 bays” separated by a tiny stretch of sand.  It is somewhat challenging to get to the very top past Viewpoint 1,2 and 3 but the views are spectacular along the way and if you’re lucky a beverage awaits you at the restaurant at the end of the trail.

3 of 10 – Monkey Beach, Viking Cave and Bamboo Island

Monkey Beach, Viking Cave and Bamboo Island

Monkey Beach on Phi Phi Don is accessible only by boat or a 40 min kayak from the pier.  As its title would imply this beach is named for the many wild monkeys that reside here in the jungle that fringes the bay. The monkeys have learned where there are people there is likely to be food for the taking so make sure to keep a respectable distance and your belongings close.  If you are on a longtail boat tour another point of interest would be to cruise along the shear limestone cliffs and check out the impressive natural rock formations that have created Viking Cave on Phi Phi Leh.  The cave can only be viewed from the water.  This restriction is an effort to protect wall paintings inside the cave and to limit access by poachers harvesting bird nests found here used in traditional Chinese soup. Another must see is the stunningly beautiful Bamboo Island with its pristine white sand beach against vivid turquoise waters.  Bring your snorkeling gear as the island is surrounded by coral reef and is teeming with fish. You will have the sensation that you are swimming in an aquarium.

4 of 10 – Hong Island

Hong Island

Koh Hong is part of the National Marine Park and the entrance fee is 400 baht per person.  This island is famous for its breathtaking natural lagoon or “chamber” (meaning of “Hong” in Thai) that you can enter through a narrow opening only at high tide in a boat larger than a kayak.  Once in the lagoon majestic limestone formations and jungle surround you on all sides.  The water is only about 3 feet deep with a soft sand bottom to walk around on. The eastern side of the island is where you will find another bit of paradise with a beautiful beach divided in 2 sections by a mighty rock.  There is a shady picnic area and if you sit quietly for lunch you may be visited by the island’s distinct bird known as the edible-nest swiflet (yes, the one that makes the nest for the infamous bird’s nest soup) or a large monitor lizard may walk on by.  Afterwards you can hike up the steep metal staircases built into the jungle up to the most spectacular 360 degree view out over the many islands of the National Park.

5 of 10 – Cycling – Koh Yao Noi

Cycling – Koh Yao Noi

The boat trip from Phuket to Koh Yao Noi takes either 30 or 60 min depending on the type of boat you are on. A 22km guided cycling tour with Feel Phuket Tours allows you to take in the peaceful countryside of Yao Noi Island. With them you will pedal through rice paddies, rubber and palm oil plantations, mangrove forest and a fishing village on stilts.  On the way you will pass the shops of the main market town, may spot water buffaloes out in the fields, spy a fishermen’s catch drying in the sun and delight in the views of Phang Nga Bay along the beautiful coastline. Meet the locals and learn about their sustainable farm with coconut and passion fruit trees, a fish pond and surrounding rice paddies. At midday have a picnic lunch at a quiet beach all to yourselves for swimming and relaxing. Experience a different type of island life and what Phuket used to be like 20 years ago.

6 of 10 – Phang Nga Bay Sea Cave Canoeing


Sea cave canoeing or kayaking is best done with a tour to get the most out of this experience.  John Gray’s Hong by Starlight Tour offers the opportunity to discover the hidden hong lagoons and sea caves of Phang Nga Bay.  The tour provides boat transport from Phuket with meals served on board.  Specifically designed kayaks are provided for the tour that allow you to enter the lagoons through the small passages of the  limestone caves.  The hidden cliff-lined lagoons are populated with macaques, monitors, egrets, sea eagles and kites.  You will finish after dark with a Loi Krathong ceremony with a natural light show provided by fireflies and bio-luminescent plankton.

7 of 10 – Koh Panyee Floating Village

Panyee island

Koh Panyee is a fascinating Muslim village built about 200 years ago that is part of the Ao Phang Nga National Park.  It is a floating island extending out from a high limestone rock formation and is made up of hundreds of huts, shacks and 18th-century houses built on stilts over the shallow sea.  The village has a school, mosque, health centre, souvenir shops, restaurants, market and the famous floating football pitch. There are about 1,600 people from 360 families permanently living on the island. Life in Koh Panyee is still primarily based around the fishing industry as tourism is limited to the dry season.  To get to Koh Panyee village you could rent a car and drive from Phuket to Surakul pier in Phang Nga and rent a longtail boat which will take you there in about 20 min or you can take a high-speed boat from Phuket as part of a tour.

8 of 10 – James Bond Island

Khao Phing Kan Island - James Bond Island

James Bond Island is one of many islands that make up the fascinating landscape of beautiful limestone karst towers and cliffs jutting out of the emerald-green waters of Phang Nga Bay. Made famous by the 1974 Bond movie, James Bond Island is one of the most visited tourist locations and almost all island-hopping packages in the area have this island on their itinerary. The island is 20 metres tall with a four-meter diameter at the bottom and eight meters at the top giving it, its distinctive precarious shape and standard “how doesn’t it fall over” description.  James Bond Island is in the protected marine area of Ao Phang Marine National Park and to maintain the well being of this beautiful part of the world boats are restricted from going too close to the limestone rock to prevent the ill effects of erosion.

9 of 10 – Coconut Island

Kruvit Raft

There are 3 floating restaurants on the east coast of Phuket between Laem Hin Cape and Coconut Island.  The restaurants are huge floating rafts with huts and sheltered dining areas built on top.  Surrounded by water the views are exquisite and make for a delightful sunset dining experience.  The food is local and super fresh – the fish are kept in nets in the water between the rafts.  Make your way to Laem Hin and follow signs to the parking lot by the pier where a long tail boat will take you to the restaurant of your choice.  The boat ride is a short 5 min and free although giving a small tip to the captain would be a nice gesture.  If you go directly to Coconut Island other activity options include renting bikes, kayaks or snorkeling equipment from The Village Coconut Island Beach Resort or you could book a tour of a pearl farm just in the waters surrounding Coconut Island.

10 of 10 – Sailing/Catamaran Sunset & Dinner Cruise

Catamaran in sunset

Cruise along the coastline of Phuket and watch the sunset over Promthep Cape and Leam Krating while enjoying dinner aboard a catamaran yacht.  Being out on the water allows you to get up close and personal with the stunning scenery of the Andaman Sea.  Some tours offer on-board cocktails and canapes prior to dinner and have a DJ on board others offer full day tours and include aquatic activities such as fishing, snorkeling, swimming and island hopping to laze on the beach before dinner.  The fabulous changing colours of the sunset across the water will make for a beautiful back drop to your evening and endless photo opportunities.