Phuket is a holiday destination that needs to be experienced at least once. Away from the historic temples and old town and the bustling bars and restaurants on Patong, there are a host of spectacular coastlines, mountains and islands to explore.
Made famous from its appearance in the film 'The Beach', Phi Phi is now a popular island getaway from Phuket. (Image: Getty)
Phi Phi Islands
Hopping from island to island, snorkelling in crystal clear seas and taking in the breathtaking island life, the Phi Phi Islands are a must when holidaying in Phuket. Kayak around Koh Yao, meet cheeky monkeys at Monkey Beach, sunbath on pristine empty beaches, there is so much to explore here. You’re spoilt for choice with tour operators too, with everything from large groups to private speed boat trips.
Kayaking tours around the islands in Phang Nga Bay are one of the best ways to appreciate the unique island formations and caves. (Image: Getty)
Phang Nga Bay
One of the most popular adventure activity daytrips from Phuket is kayaking to the caves and ‘hongs’ of Phang Nga Bay. There are multiple companies offering kayak trips, visiting some of the best cave systems, however because the tides dictate access, you’ll often be at caves with other groups at the same time. Most tours depart from Ao Po, in the northeast corner of Phuket. You can also visit Phang Nga Bay on boat tours, exploring the ethereal island formations, including the famous James Bond Island.
Koh Yao Noi
This remote island at the very top of Phang Nga Bay is perfect for a day trip to see the local way of life and take in the stunning island scenery. Get yourself to Bang Rong pier by 8:00am and you can take the one-hour ferry boat ride across. There are a few resorts on the island, as well as a lively village for doing as much or as little as you like.
The Racha Islands are perfect for a dose of sunbathing post snorkel. (Image: Getty)
Also known as the Raya Islands, these two islands are an ideal day trip from Phuket, though you will need to rent a private boat to get there. The larger of the islands has a few resorts, but no villages, and the smaller is uninhabited, with rocky outcrops and dense forest. Both have beautiful beaches to pull up to for swimming, snorkelling and diving.
Krabi offers a quieter beach escape from the busy beaches of Phuket. (Image: Getty)
Thailand’s second most famous beach resort after Phuket, this region is well worth a day trip. You can easily drive from Phuket, with time to take in the scenic countryside, oil palm plantations, limestone mountains and beautiful beaches. You can even take a boat trip out to the islands at Koh Poda, not far offshore.
Neighbouring Phuket to the north, if you want a meandering daytrip through scenic mountains, this is the place to go. There are many pretty routes through the countryside, or you can visit Phang Nga town with a boat tour of the bay, famous for its vertical rock mountains.
An hour’s drive north from Phuket, this smaller resort destination offers a quieter alternative to Phuket’s buzzing beaches. The coastline is quite different to that in Phuket, and there are a host of waterfalls you can visit and swim at too. The drive is worth it just for the scenery.
Kayak through the lakes of Khao Sok to truly appreciate the full scale of the surrounding limestone cliffs. (Image: Getty)
Further north from Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park is a serene landscape of deep blue lakes, waterfalls, forests and towering limestone peaks. Home to one of the planet’s oldest rainforests, and more than 300 species of birds, there are plenty of walks, opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and exploring bat-filled caves.
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