Are you looking for boat tours in Phuket? Then you’ve headed to the right place! Just like a treasure, the highly popular Thai island sits on the Andaman Sea, surrounded by several lesser-known gems waiting to be discovered.
Phuket is an incredible destination. Its white-sand beaches, beautiful palm trees, delicious food and welcoming locals make up a lot of people’s dream. Many beautiful islands can be visited around Phuket.
So, what are you waiting for? Discover these amazing islands that can be reached from Phuket by boat tours!
Which islands can be visited from Phuket on a boat tour?
1. Phi Phi Islands – Koh Phi Phi Don
Phi Phi Islands are an archipelago comprising of small six islands. They’re most famous for their beautiful limestone cliffs, fine sandy beaches, crystal clear water and overall stunning scenery. Additionally, Koh Phi Phi Don is also known for its lack of urbanization: there are practically no roads. It’s the perfect getaway for people looking just to relax. Most of the boat tours stop at both Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh.
2. Phi Phi Islands – Koh Phi Phi Leh
Maya Bay is the most famous sight of Koh Phi Phi Leh. Maya Bay has been the cinematographic set of the movie The Beach, with Leonardo Di Caprio. The island is recognized worldwide, and it is visited by many tourists each day.
Due to the clean water, Koh Phi Phi Leh is famous for snorkeling in deep waters. All boat tours stop
Monkey Beach is another famous beach of Koh Phi Phi Leh. As its name indicate, is known for its famous furry inhabitants! Just like Maya Bay, it’s a popular spot to snorkel. If looking for diving lessons, then head to Laem Tong Beach. Finally, if all about that sunbathing, then don’t hesitate and ask for the stunning Loh Samah Beach!
The small six islands of Phi Phi Islands are located just 35 kilometers east of Phuket. A 2-hour boat ride is needed to reach the archipelago from Phuket. Generally, boat tours include stops in multiple islands and the tours last between 7 to up to 10 hours.
The price for a boat tour to Phi Phi Islands ranges between $40 and $100. There are also ferries connecting Phuket and Phi Phi: a one-way ticket costs roughly $10.
3. James Bond Island
James Bond Island, whose real name is Khao Phing Kan, is the most famous island in the Phang Nga Bay area. It has been nicknamed James Bond Island because that’s where The Man with the Golden Gun movie was filmed. Ever since, the island has been highly popular among tourists and popular activities there include sailing and sea cave kayaking.
James Bond Island is within Phang Nga Bay which is located 35 kilometers northeast of Phuket. That’s roughly a 2-hour boat ride from Phuket.
Speedboats and cruises connect Phuket to James Bond Island. Some tours also include kayak or canoe rentals to discover the hidden caves of James Bond Island.
4. Koh Panyee
Koh Panyee is another popular spot in Phang Nga Bay. It is a Muslim fishing village known for its excellent seafood restaurants and welcoming locals! It has become one of Phang Nga Bay’s main attraction with tourists praising it for being the best lunch stop. Another interesting fact about the island is its football team. Indeed, in 1986, children inspired by the ongoing World Cup decided to build a football pitch from various old pieces of wood. They competed in the Southern Thai School Championship and famously finished second! Nowadays, the Panyee FC is a highly successful youth soccer club in Southern Thailand and the pitch is now a popular touristic spot!
Koh Panyee is also Phang Nga Bay and it takes roughly a 2-hour boat ride to be reached from Phuket.
Koh Panyee is usually featured on most Phang Nga Bay tours. Those include stops in several spots, which explains why prices might be high; but you’ll discover so much more than Koh Panyee!
Boat tours to Phang Nga Bay (including Koh Panyee) cost between $45 and $150. You can decide whether going by speedboat, longtail boat or catamaran.
5. Racha Islands
Racha Islands is an archipelago which consists of two twin islands: Koh Racha Yai (meaning “big”) and Koh Racha Noi (meaning “small”).
Koh Racha Noi is entirely inhabited and has nonexistent tourist infrastructures (a blessing for some and a curse for others!). If experienced in diving, then opt for Koh Noi as it has great depths and strong currents.
Koh Racha Yai, however, is more touristic. It has magnificent white sand beaches with emerald water. The whole area is ideal to discover snorkeling and swim in warm, clear water. It also has several resorts to stop by and relax in, among which the famous villa-style resort The Racha.
Racha Islands are located 20 kilometers south of Phuket, roughly a 45-minute boat ride from Phuket. You can reach Racha Islands by speedboat, catamaran or yacht, with price ranging between $35 and $90.
Boat tours to Phang Nga Bay (including Koh Panyee) cost between $45 and $150. You can decide whether going by speedboat, longtail boat or catamaran.
6. Coral Island
Coral Island is locally known as Koh Hae. It’s the perfect getaway destination for people looking to snorkel. Snorkeling in the highly popular Banana Beach (which is located right after a jungle) and Long Beach is a must, as the fauna underwater is absolutely astounding: parrot-fishes, trumpet fishes, butterflyfishes and many more await to be seen!
Kayaking and banana boat rides are also possible there and a must if you’ve never tried the latter before.
Coral Island is located just 10 kilometers south of Phuket. By boat, it takes about 30 minutes from Phuket.
7. Maiton Island
Maiton is a stunning tropical island with golden sand, crystal clear water and magnificent palm trees. It is, of course, possible to snorkel and dive in its waters, but the area is most known for cruises. Indeed, the area is of rare beauty and because it is private-owned, nature has been preserved the best it could.
Just like most Thai islands, Maiton is ideal for snorkeling and sailing. However, it’s also the place to be for dolphin watching! A true beacon of relaxation, spas are available for to be massaged and overall pampered.
Maiton is located 10 kilometers south of Phuket. It can take between 30 to 45 minutes to reach the islands.
8. Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is the perfect compromise for people who don’t like destinations that are too touristic nor too wild. Indeed, the island is so big that even in high seasons, it’s easy to find empty beaches. A godsend!
The area comprises of a long coastline, with an extended stretch of beaches and a massive jungle right behind. Popular activities here include scuba diving and snorkeling. Also, book an island tour to discover all the secrets of incredible sceneries!
Koh Lanta is located quite far from Phuket, about 78 kilometers southeast of Phuket. Therefore, it is not the best destination for a day trip, but we recommend to spend a night at least. The express ferry takes about 4 hours from Phuket.
9. Railay Beach
Railay Beach is located on a peninsula in the Krabi province. It’s not an island since it’s attached to mainland Thailand. However, the tall limestone cliffs that surround it make it impossible for it to be connected with any roads and it is only accessible by boat. Thus, you will enjoy an island vibe.
The area is most famous for rock climbing, kayaking and of course, scuba diving.
Nearby, you can visit Phra Nang Beach, located just southern than Railay Beach, which can also be accessed only by boat. Phra Nang Cave is known as Diamond Cave because of its shiny formations. On the West of the peninsula, you stop by Railay West Beach, which has fine sand and shallow water.
Railay Beach is located about 50 kilometers east of Phuket in the Krabi region and it can be reached by speedboat.
10. Koh Hong
Koh Hong Island is a small island with a beautiful beach: white sand and turquoise water. A paradisiac scenery! The area is comparable to Maya Bay, except it is way less crowded.
The island’s most famous spot is probably Hong Lagoon. Surrounded by mangroves, the Lagoon is a wonderful place to kayak around.
If you are all about snorkeling, then head to Koh Phak Bia.
Koh Hong is located 35 kilometers east of Phuket, about 1-hour boat ride from Phuket.
11. Similan Islands
Similan Islands are a group of 9 islands in the Adaman Sea. The archipelago is known for its magnificent scenery: long white coral, sand beaches and crystal blue waters will make your eyes sprinkle with joy.
Because the islands are home to a vast ecosystem of endangered marine life, the first three islands, Koh Huyong, Koh Payang and Koh Payan are closed to the public. Also, keep in mind that the rest of the islands are only accessible from October 15th to May 15th.
Similan Islands have been rated as one of the best diving spots in the whole world! Because of its intriguing marine line, snorkeling is also a must when visiting the archipelago. Hiking and trekking are also common activities in the islands.
Similan Islands are located approximately 90 kilometers northwest of Phuket and it takes about 1 and half hour to be reached from Phuket by speedboat. The boat tours mostly leave from the northern part of Phuket. By leaving early in the morning, you will have enough time to enjoy the Similan Islands, even if located quite far from Phuket.
12. Surin Islands
Surin Island is most famous for being a great spot for diving, snorkeling, hiking and fishing! The archipelago is not very urbanized: it is a nice getaway from your usual touristic destination.
Start by heading to Pansea Beach with its beautiful white sand. It is a remote beach in the northern part of Surin Islands which could make the perfect getaway for couples. Then, if visiting in November, watch an elephant parade during the Elephant Round-up festival. Do not miss the Ban Buthom Basketry Village where beautiful handmade baskets whose fabrication technique is ancestral will be available to shop.
Surin Islands are located approximately 150 kilometers northwest of Phuket, but they can still be reached with a day trip from Phuket, leaving early in the morning. Being farther away from Phuket, Surin Islands are less packed with tourists.
13. Koh Jum/Koh Pu
Koh Jum (also known as Koh Puh in the northern part) is an island located in Thailand’s west coast. The area isn’t very touristy, which makes it a destination of choice for connoisseurs! Sunbathing, diving, snorkeling, hiking and even motorbiking, the possibilities there are endless!
Koh Jum has a total of 9 beaches to explore: Banyan Bay, Coconut Beach, North Beach, Tin Rai Beach, Magic Beach, Ao Si Beach, Golden Pearl Beach, Freedom Beach and finally, Freedom Beach. A great tip, if the adventurous kind, would be to rent a scooter to explore them all!
Koh Jum/Koh Puh is located approximately 70 kilometers east of Phuket. It’s roughly a one hour and 30 minutes boat ride from Phuket.
14. Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai
Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai are two islands located right in the middle of Phang Nga Bay. It is way less crowded than Phuket and should be a nice getaway! While Koh Yao Noi is starting to develop, Koh Yao Yai remains a haven of peace. The islands are ideal for kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, swimming and most interestingly, agricultural demonstrations.
Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai are located approximately 20km northeast of Phuket. It is roughly a one-hour ride from Phuket depending on the boat taken and from where it is taken.
15. Coconut Island
Coconut Island, also known as Koh Maphrao, is a small isle of only 500 residents. It is not a very touristy destination and, except for private generators, there isn’t even electricity. The island is mostly beach and jungle with long-tailed macaques.
The place is thus not touristic at all and will appeal if it’s wished to get a glimpse of authentic local life. Indeed, it’s a real blast from the past as it seems the modern world has spared this. The contrast between Coconut Island and Phuket is just flagrant!
Coconut Island is probably the shortest boat tour from Phuket. Located just 500 meters east of Phuket, it’s roughly a 5-minute boat ride.
Where do Phuket boat tours start?
The starting point will depend on the boat tour booked and the company itself. In general, the boat tours start from the side of Phuket in the direction of the island of destination.
All the information on the departure of your specific Phuket boat tour is reported on the voucher.
It is s worth noting that most Phuket boat tours depart from Ao Chalong Pier. Boat tours going to Phi Phi Islands, Koh Lanta, Coral Island, Koh Racha and Maiton depart from this southern portion of Phuket.
Others usually depart from Bang Rong Pier, which is located in the North. For example, the boat tours going to Koh Yao Islands start from there.
Is it safe to join a bout tour from Phuket?
In Phuket, there is a huge number of companies offering boat tours. But, there is not much control over the quality of the offering. Competition pushes prices down and there are a lot of companies offering cheap boat tours without providing the right quality and maintenance of the boats. Sometimes, they also employ not skilled boat drivers. The result is that accidents have happened and boats have been in an emergency in the see several times.
As you have read in the list above, some islands are located quite far away from Phuket. Therefore, booking a boat tour with a trusted company is very recommended. Booking boat tours online is the best way to be sure about the quality of what you buy. You will be able to read reviews of previous travelers.
Moreover, booking on the street can be annoying, and you will not have the time to compare the prices or judge the quality of the tours. Instead, online, you have the time and the information to do it.
How to book Phuket boat tours online?
There are several great travel websites selling boat tours from Phuket, such as Viator or Getyourguide. These companies work only with trusted local tour operators and offer customer service in English. TourScanner is a search engine aggregating all the website like Viator and Getyourguide, thus providing the most extensive catalogue. You will find only boat tours led by trusted operators.
When is the best time for Phuket boat tours?
Thailand has three seasons: cool, hot and wet (the Monsoon season). The Monsoon season, which you want to avoid as it rains a lot, occurs at a different date every year but it’s usually from June through October. The cool and hot seasons respectively last from November through February and March through June. That’s when the weather is ideal for enjoying any water activities or, of course, sunbathing! Make sure to book your Phuket boat trip during that time.
Phuket boat tours travel tips
- Don’t forget your sunscreen! Buy it in your home country since Thai sunscreen gets increasingly expensive in tourist areas and it contains bleach (locals don’t enjoy getting tan).
- Don’t forget mosquitoes’ repellent! Again, Thailand has a tropical climate, which means the heat is very humid. You are eventually going to encounter some mosquitoes. If mosquitoes are a nuisance in your home country, those in Thailand can carry various diseases. Make sure to drench yourself in repellent.
- Book online! To avoid getting scammed with inflated prices on-site, always book online. Not only will you be able to compare prices and benefit from discounts, but you’ll also be able to travel completely safe!
- Always have local currency on you! The Thai baht (THB) is the local currency and exchange booths and ATMs can be found in any tourist area. But keep in mind that while the use of credit card is getting increasingly common, some shops or restaurants still only accept cash!
- Avoid dodgy street food stalls! Thai food is tasty and part of your trip will inevitably include spicy shrimp soup, red curry and fried noodles. However, if a place doesn’t seem hygienic, then do as you would in your own country and avoid it!
- Carry a rain jacket – just in case! Keep in mind that even during cool and hot seasons (respectively from November through February and March through June), rain can unexpectedly occur! Thailand has a tropical climate with a monsoon season characterized by heavy rains. While locals are used to it, you might not!
- Try island hopping! If you’re short on time and want to make most of your Thai experience, then we advise you to opt for that travel format. Phuket and its surroundings have a lot to offer and yes, it’s within your reach!