Beyond Phuket: Day Trips & Excursions to Nearby Islands

Here in southern Thailand, we are blessed with some of the world’s most beautiful scenery and natural wonders. And while you can find plenty of stunning landscapes around our tropical paradise home, Phuket is also a gateway to jaw-dropping islands in the brilliant blue waters of the Andaman Sea and Phang Nga Bay. 

Much like our ethical elephant activities in Phuket, day trips to islands are a quintessential experience for visitors to our part of Thailand. And as local experts with a passion for Phuket and ethical tourism, we’re perfectly placed to recommend the best day trips and excursions to nearby islands.

Let’s get started! And if you have any questions for Phuket Elephant Nature Reserve at any point, please feel free to contact us.

Phuket Boat Trip to the Phi Phi Islands

There’s a reason why the Phi Phi Islands are the most popular day trip destination from Phuket. With their sheer limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and vibrant marine life, a day of awe-inspiring beauty awaits. You can dive into the crystal-clear sea for a snorkelling adventure, soak up spellbinding views, or simply bask in the sun on powdery white sands. 

The Phi Phi Islands is an archipelago of six islands, with Phi Phi Don being the largest. It’s also the only inhabited island of the six, so it’s home to a range of resorts and beautiful beaches, including Monkey Beach. However, the most famous beach here is on one of the uninhabited islands, Koh Phi Phi Leh — here, you can find Maya Bay, made famous in the 2000 film The Beach starring Leonardo Di Caprio.

The main departure point in Phuket for the Phi Phi Islands is Rassada Pier in Phuket Town. From there, it’s around a two-hour ride across the Andaman Sea.

Consider some of our picks for the best things to do in Phuket Old Town before and after your trip.

Boat Trip from Phuket to Phang Nga Bay

Located east of Phuket, Phang Nga Bay covers an area of 400 km² and is home to over 40 islands. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to exciting day trips into the bay, but two of the more famous destinations are James Bond Island and Koh Panyi, a floating fishing village.

In addition to the islands themselves, Phang Nga Bay is also renowned for its dramatic limestone karsts jutting out of the emerald-green waters. Once you’re out on the water, you’ll quickly understand why this stunning place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Boat trips departing from Phuket covering the otherworldly highlights of Phang Nga Bay last around eight to nine hours. Hop on a traditional longtail boat and feel the thrill of weaving through the labyrinth of limestone formations, stopping to admire iconic landmarks.

Phuket Boat Trip to the Similan Islands

The Similan Islands are among the world’s best diving and snorkelling destinations. Visibility in these waters can reach a staggering 30 metres! An archipelago of isolated islands, the Similans boast vibrant coral reefs teeming with colourful fish, graceful manta rays, and even the occasional whale shark. 

A speedboat reduces the travelling time from Phuket to the Similan Islands to around 90 minutes. And the effort is absolutely worth it! With its perfect blend of adventure and isolation, you can have an unforgettable time discovering the captivating underwater world and relaxing on the pristine beaches.

The Similan Islands are part of Mu Koh Similan National Park, one of our picks for the best national parks in and near Phuket. Because of their protected status, the islands only open to visitors during the official tourist season of November to April. Closure dates vary from year to year, so we recommend checking in advance before making any plans.

Boat Trip from Phuket to the Surin Islands

Located far off the west coast of Phang Nga, the only way you can visit the Surin Islands is on a speedboat tour. When you arrive, the sight of turquoise waters, lush rainforests, and powdery white beaches will take your breath away.

Like its neighbour to the south, the Similans, the Surin Islands have outstanding diving and snorkelling opportunities. The vibrant coral reefs in this protected marine park are a joy to explore! Keep an eye out for sea turtles, reef sharks, and an array of tropical fish as you glide through the crystal-clear waters.

Given their remoteness, the Surin Islands are also home to the Moken, an indigenous tribe who settled here in the 1990s.

Looking for more beach recommendations for when you’re back in Phuket? We’ve got you covered! Read our picks for the most beautiful beaches of Phuket.

Phuket Boat Trip to Koh Yao Noi

Escape the hustle and bustle of Phuket and discover the tranquil charm of Koh Yao Noi. Tucked away in Phang Nga Bay, this idyllic island is perfect for a day of relaxation and exploration. Rent a bicycle or motorbike and meander through lush rice paddies and coconut groves, stopping to admire stunning viewpoints and secluded beaches along the way. 

Immerse yourself in the laid-back island vibe and indulge in fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants overlooking the sea. Koh Yao Noi is only 13km (eight miles) long, so it’s easy to see and do everything it has to offer!

You can also find tours that combine Koh Yao Noi with its larger neighbour, Koh Yao Yai. However, we chose to highlight the smaller of the two because its northern shores look out over the spectacular limestone karsts in Phang Nga Bay.

Don’t forget, it’s easy to get around our home island too! Check out our guide How Do You Get Around in Phuket? to find out more.

Boat Trip from Phuket to Racha Yai

Just a short boat ride south from Phuket lies the picturesque island of Racha Yai which, along with Racha Noi, makes up the Racha Islands. With pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and coral gardens, this is another popular place for diving and snorkelling tours. But you can also kayak along the coast or simply lounge on the soft sand and soak up the tropical sunshine.

Boats typically depart from Rawai or Chalong pier with an average journey time of around 45 minutes. With its serene atmosphere and natural beauty, Koh Racha Yai offers the perfect escape from the crowds of Phuket.

If you’re still in the early stages of planning your getaway, be sure to read our guide What Should I Know When Planning a Trip to Phuket? It’s filled with even more local insights and advice.

Phuket Boat Trip to Naka Island

Last but not least, embark on a blissful retreat to Naka Island, a secluded paradise just off the coast of Phuket. Accessible only by boat, this idyllic island boasts lush coconut groves, swaying palm trees, and powdery white sands lapped by the gentle waves of the Andaman Sea. 

Unwind in luxury at one of the island’s exclusive resorts, indulge in a traditional Thai massage, or embark on a leisurely kayak expedition around the island’s pristine coastline. Naka Island is the epitome of tropical luxury, offering a tranquil oasis away from the hustle and bustle of mainland Phuket.

A tour to Naka Island has the double benefit of being one of the shortest day trips from Phuket as well as one of the most rejuvenating.

2 elephant in greenry jungle

Add Our Phuket Elephant Activities to Your Itinerary!

Now you know the best day trips and excursions from Phuket to nearby islands, fill out your Thailand itinerary with more exciting adventures! Browse our range of ethical elephant activities in Phuket and play your part in supporting conservation through ethical tourism.

Do you have any questions about our Phuket elephant experiences? Please just get in touch for the answers you need.

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