Tucked away in the Andaman Sea, the islands near Phuket is your gateway to a perfect escapade. The beautiful islands with stunning beaches close to Phuket beckon with azure waters, vibrant marine life and tranquil shorelines.
Tropical beach vacation may be for the romantics, but visiting exotic islands in the Andaman sea is totally amazing. It pretty much offers a complete experience, from breathtaking natural settings and crystal-blue oceans to fine powdery beaches with swaying coconut trees.
The Surin group of islands are some of the most beautiful in the Archipelago. These group of islands are awesome beach vacation spots, and it takes a bit of patience to be in paradise.
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best islands to visit near phuket
Experiencing the breathtaking natural beauty of the turquoise waters and green-clad limestone islands near Phuket are pretty popular with beach-goers.
Visiting islands around Phuket is where you can explore Phi Phi, Koh Yao and Racha Yai, among others. Each visit is totally different, from snorkeling in the crystal clear waters to kayaking into secluded lagoons and caves.
I’m sure you know where I’m headed with all this. If you adore secluded getaways, keep reading to learn about our 5 best islands near Phuket to bounce around the incredible Andaman sea.
1. Phi Phi Island
A trip to the southern eastern hidden islands in Phuket with stunning off-beat beaches to explore is a great day to kick-start your Phuket island hopping tours.
Koh Khai Nook, Ko Lon, Ko Mai, Ko Racha, Ko Yao, James Bond Island have some of the best offshore beaches with spectacular coral forest, limestone caves and super clear waters for island hopping day trips from Phuket.
One of the most popular coves in Phi Phi is Maya Bay, which was made famous in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie “The Beach” in 1999. I recommend going early in the morning to beat the crowd.
The next stop I would suggest is Loh Samah Bay, a “knockout” lagoon which is super scenic and a bit more low-key.
Compare to Maya Bay, which allows for more privacy with its secluded beach, Loh Samah Bay’s pristine waters in the lagoon is perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
Start your Phuket island trip from Rasada pier to Ton Sai pier at Phi Phi Island. The journey takes about 2 hours. To skip the crowd, you can book on 12go.ASIA best option planner below.
Hire the iconic long tail boat (Rua Hang Yao) at Ton Sai pier and cruise around the stunning limestone cliffs and clear blue waters of Phi Phi island, and stop by the famous Maya Bay.
Next stop, head to a secret island (Bamboo Island) It’s tiny island but blessed with incredible white sand beach and crystal-clear waters. There are no beach umbrellas to rent, so just relax on the beach or go snorkeling.
Finish your Phuket island hopping tours with a sumptuous meal at Rang Yai island near Phuket. Dinner are normally served by the beach, so you have the perfect sunset view to enjoy your meal before ending your day.
2. Koh Khai Islands
On my last Phuket island hopping trip, we made a brief stop and took some stunning photos back home. It was a totally mesmerizing island tour for all of us in the group.
Khai Nui, Khai Nai and Khai Nok are now well-known for their beautiful sandy beaches and crystal-clear water, where you can swim among swarm of colorful and friendly fishes. There are little bars on the islands to purchase beverages, coconut drinks, and even beers.
Khai Nai is a little island with fine, dazzling white sand along the beach and crystal blue water. It’s a fantastic snorkeling spot, dotted with beach umbrellas on the shoreline for a relaxing laid-back island getaway.
Khai Nok is the smallest island of the three with rocky outcrops. At Koh Khai Nok, there are also restaurants and beverages available at affordable prices.
The waters here are shallow and pretty clear with small fishes swimming around you. Good spot for snorkeling and for kids to splash around.
This trip from Phuket island by boat takes approximately 20 minutes to arrive at Khai Nui. Visitors are only allowed to snorkel in the clear waters with beautiful corals and fishes swimming around you. Going ashore on one of these islands is prohibited.
This Phuket island hopping allows only 45 minutes for snorkeling activities before moving on to Khai Nai, arriving approximately a short 10 minutes boat ride.
Though, lunch will be provided with beverages and fruits, the usage of a beach umbrella and 2 beach-chairs will cost you 150 Baht. You are given 2 hours before moving on to Khai Nok.
3. Koh Yao Islands
Koh Yao Noi is similar to Koh Samui which has a ring road looping the island. It’s an offbeat quaint island with handful of motorbike shops, resorts and provision shops.
You can find few restaurants, bars, small shops, a school, post office, police station and hospital along your route.
Phang Nga Bay is home to a pair of stunning hidden islands in Phuket. Koh Yao Yai is not the prettiest of the lot but it has long white sandy shoreline. one of the best islands near Phuket for swimming and snorkeling.
The islands are sandwich between Phuket and Krabi and you can scoot off to Krabi as well from Koh Yao Nai. If all these boats transfers sounds complicated to you, it is much easier to book your tickets online with 12go.asia.
Head to Thiensin or Bang Rong pier on Phuket’s east coast, speedboats and ferries depart daily to the Koh Yao Yai island. There are also daily departures from Phuket and takes about 15 – 30 minutes. You can book online via 12go.ASIA best option planner below.
You can also hire longtail boats at Klong Hia pier for day tour private charter. Once you arrive at Koh Yao Yai, renting a bike is a great option to explore the island.
After that, head to another popular island (Koh Hong), a small outcrop with a long crescent shape beach with incredibly beautiful limestone cliff as the backdrop.
Rent a kayak and tour along the crystal clear tranquil waters or snorkel to see the marine life and colorful fishes swimming around you.
4. Racha Yai Island
Boat trip from Phuket to idyllic Koh Racha Yai is pretty great for snorkeling, diving, and sunbathing on its pristine beaches and turquoise waters.
The tropical island of Koh Racha Yai is accessible all year. There are also numerous hotels and resorts that provide anything under the sun. TripAdvisor has a great review on The Racha a stunning crescent bay 5 star beach resort.
It’s blessed with beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Divers flock here because they offer beautiful dive locations for advanced divers as well as lots of options for beginners.
The stunning beach at Bungalow Raya Resort is totally fine and seems to have a talcum powder feel.
You can also book Phuket to Racha island tours from travel agents on the mainland. A long-tail boat trip takes roughly 2 hours, whereas speedboats can reach the island in an hour.
Start early with snorkeling at the super clear waters of Kon Kae Bay with tons of fishes and a spectacular underwater garden of coral reefs.
If you are a diehard Scuba Diving fanatic, check out Aussie Divers diving spots at Siam Bay with sunken ship wrecks and stunning coral reefs with sightings of Stingrays, Moray Ells and Octopus.
Cruise to Patok Bay, another beach paradise with fine sand and clear waters for lunch at its beachfront restaurants and cafés.
After a great lunch, head over to another secret beach at Banana Bay. This is a brilliant beach vacation spot with no crowds, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
5. Koh Tachai Island
Koh Tachai is an idyllic beach located on the tip of the Similan Islands National Park. It has a solid reputation as one of Thailand’s best dive locations due to its remote status.
There is only one beach on this stunning island yet it’s totally incredible. You can find Manta Rays, leopard sharks and other species surrounded by lush tropical forest on the shore.
You can also hike along the shaded nature trail, check out the wildlife and beautiful flora and fauna as well. The island is 12 square kilometers in size and was named the top 10 diving destinations in the world by Nat Geo.
Just lazing on a hammock will refresh your way of life to the next level. The only setback is that Koh Tachai only opens for visitors from November to April.
First off, head to Koh Boon island near to Tachai. Great spot for snorkeling in its super clear waters and abundant of coral formations. There are some great diving and snorkeling experience for you to check out.
After your snorkeling warm-up, head for some serious diving at Richelieu Rock, an isolated outcrop. Below its waters are small caves and underwater overhanging cliffs. (Max depth 35m)
This diving spot at Richelieu Rock is famous for big game ocean predators like Manta Rays, Whale Sharks and Barracudas.
Start by traveling from Phuket to Khao Lak, which is the closest mainland point to Koh Tachai. You can take a taxi, private car, or a shared minivan from Phuket to Khao Lak.
Once you reach Khao Lak, head to Tab Lamu Pier. At Tab Lamu Pier, you’ll need to find a boat or speedboat service that offers trips to Koh Tachai.
There are several tour operators and diving shops in the area that provide day trips or multi-day packages to Koh Tachai.
Phuket is a provincial island and can be categorized into 2 seasons which are Dry and Rainy/Wet. The Andaman Islands has 3 particular season, and November to March is the prime time to go island hopping in Phuket.
The islands are influenced by the rain-drenched southwest monsoon from May to October, and the sunny days of northeast monsoon in November triggering the high holiday season in southern Thailand.
At an average temperature of 30°C with breezy days and cool nights, humidity levels are kept in check for all beach activities. December to early April are the best seasons in Phuket, where the waters are clear and the winds are pretty calm.
The rainy monsoon season comes early on this western side of Thailand, arriving at the end of May until October. But don’t get dishearten as this period has less crowd, and great for visiting these captivating islands near Phuket.