Home » 12 Must-Visit Islands Near Phuket (2024 Travel Guide)

12 Must-Visit Islands Near Phuket (2024 Travel Guide)

When it comes to tropical getaways, few destinations can rival the allure of Phuket, Thailand.

But for those seeking to venture beyond the bustling beaches and vibrant nightlife of the main island, a treasure trove of paradise awaits in the form of nearby islands. These hidden gems offer a quieter, more secluded escape while maintaining the breathtaking beauty that has made this region a favorite among travelers.

Here are 12 of the must-visit islands near Phuket that promise to take your tropical experience to new heights.

1. Koh Phi Phi

Made famous by the movie "The Beach," Koh Phi Phi has become an icon of tropical perfection.

The archipelago consists of six islands, with Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh being the most visited. The turquoise waters, limestone cliffs, and vibrant marine life make it a haven for snorkelers, divers, and beach lovers alike.

Feeling young and energetic? You must love the lively atmosphere of Tonsai Bay in Phi Phi Don. The small village’s exciting beach scene features beach bars, restaurants, and vibrant nightlife. Visitors can relish delicious Thai cuisine while savoring sunset views that paint the sky in hues of orange and pink.

Don't miss the stunning Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh too, where the crystal-clear waters and towering cliffs create a scene straight out of a postcard.

Transportation: Ferry boat (1 hour - 450 to 1,300 Baht).

2. Similan Islands

For those with a love for underwater exploration, the Similan Islands are a dream come true.

A bit farther from Phuket, this group of nine islands is renowned for its world-class diving and snorkeling sites. The vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life, including majestic manta rays and whale sharks, make it a Mecca for underwater enthusiasts.

The Similans are typically open to visitors from the 15th of October to the 15th of May, providing a window of opportunity to witness the underwater wonders.


Transportation:
Local Bus (1.5 hours - 65 to 95 Baht); Ferry boat (1.5 hours - 2,000 Baht).

Similan Islands, Thailand

3. Koh Racha

Racha Island, also known as Raya Island, is a tropical paradise off the coast of Phuket, Thailand. Renowned for its pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs, Racha Island is a haven for luxury seekers. The Racha Island Resort stands as an epitome of indulgence, offering exclusive accommodations and world-class amenities.

There are three beaches in Koh Racha - the Patok Beach, Siam Bay, and the Ter Bay. Patok Beach captivates visitors with its powdery sands and azure waters, while Siam Bay and Ter Bay beckon snorkelers and divers to explore the underwater wonders.

With its breathtaking scenery and upscale retreats, Racha Island promises an idyllic escape for those seeking tranquility and opulence.

Transportation from Phuket: Bus ride to Nai Harn (40 minutes - 23 to 40 Baht); Speedboat (30 minutes - 1,200 Baht).

Racha Islands, Thailand

4. Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai

For a taste of traditional Thai island life, venture to Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai. These islands, nestled in Phang Nga Bay, offer a slower pace and a more genuine experience.

Surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, these islands are perfect for kayaking through mangrove forests, exploring local fishing villages, and enjoying stunning sunset views over the Andaman Sea.

The Koh Yao Islands promise an authentic retreat for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path paradise in the heart of Southeast Asia.

Transportation: Bus ride to Ao Po Pier (30 minutes - 450 Baht); Ferry transfer to Koh Yao Yai Island (15 minutes - 440 to 800 Baht).

Stunning Sunset View Over A Traditional Fishing Village On Koh Yao Island

5. Coral Island (Koh Hae)

Just a short boat ride from Phuket, Coral Island, or Koh Hae, is a haven for watersports enthusiasts. Snorkeling, parasailing, and banana boat rides are popular, providing a day of fun in the sun.

The vibrant coral reefs also make it a fantastic spot for underwater adventures. After an adrenaline-filled day, relax on the pristine beaches and soak in the tropical ambiance.

Whether indulging in water adventures or basking in the sun, Koh Hae guarantees an unforgettable escape, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking the quintessential Thai island experience.

Transportation: Speedboat or Longtail boat from Rawai Beach (15 minutes - 849 to 1,500 Baht).

Coral Island, Thailand

6. Koh Bon Island

Nestled in the Andaman Sea, this tropical paradise is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and thriving coral reefs, making it a haven for snorkelers and divers. The island is part of the Similan Islands archipelago, a protected marine national park, ensuring a flourishing underwater ecosystem.

For adventurous souls, Koh Bon offers a unique opportunity to encounter majestic manta rays. Dive into the deep blue and witness these gentle giants gliding through the ocean currents.

Beyond the azure waters, the island offers secluded beaches and lush greenery, creating a serene escape for nature enthusiasts seeking a slice of Thai paradise.

Transportation: Bus ride to Rawai Beach (1.5 hours, 23 to 40 Baht); Long tail boat (Less than 5 minutes, 1,300 Baht).

Koh Bon Island, Thailand

7. Maiton Island

If solitude is your goal, head to Koh Maiton. With its uncrowded beaches and calm ambiance, this island provides the perfect backdrop for a peaceful day in the sun. Formerly a luxury resort, this small private island continues to enchant guests with its exclusive charm.

Home to a pod of friendly dolphins, Maiton Island offers a unique opportunity for dolphin watching. The crystal-clear waters and secluded coves add to the beauty of this lesser-known island.

Transportation: Speedboat (15 minutes, 2,800 Baht).

Maiton Island, Thailand

8. James Bond Island (Koh Tapu)

Koh Tapu, famously known as James Bond Island, emerges dramatically from the turquoise waters of Phang Nga Bay in Thailand. This iconic limestone karst, standing tall at 20 meters, gained international fame after featuring in the James Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun" in 1974.

Its distinctive rocky pinnacle draws visitors seeking a glimpse of cinematic history and breathtaking natural beauty. Surrounded by emerald-green waters and lush vegetation, Koh Tapu offers a surreal setting for exploration and photography.

Tourists can embark on boat trips to witness the island's majesty, creating unforgettable memories amid the stunning landscapes of southern Thailand.

Transportation: Speedboat (15 minutes, 1,600 to 2,200 Baht).

James Bond Island, Thailand

9. Rang Yai Island

Rang Yai Island, nestled off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, is a tropical paradise renowned for its pristine beaches and vibrant marine life. Beyond its natural beauty, the island is a haven for pearl enthusiasts.

Visitors can explore a dazzling array of cultured pearls each reflecting the island's unique character. The tour offers an immersive experience, allowing patrons to witness the meticulous process of pearl cultivation and indulge in the timeless allure of these lustrous gems amidst the island's idyllic surroundings.

Transportation: Longtail boat from Laem Hin Pier (15 to 20 minutes, 2,500 Baht).

Rang Yai Island, Thailand

10. Koh Khai

The three islets of Koh Khai — Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai, and Koh Khai Nui, offer a tranquil escape for beach enthusiasts and snorkelers alike.

While the turquoise allure of the Andaman Sea captivates visitors, it's essential to note that fish feeding is strictly prohibited to preserve the delicate ecosystem. Authorities emphasize the importance of environmental conservation, urging tourists to enjoy the islets responsibly.

By respecting these guidelines, visitors can savor the natural beauty of Koh Khai and contribute to the sustainability of this tropical paradise.

Transportation: Speedboat (15 to 20 minutes, 1,000 Baht).

Koh Khai Island, Thailand

11. Koh Panyi

Koh Panyi, nestled in Phang Nga Bay near James Bond Island, is a captivating Muslim village floating on stilts above the emerald waters of southern Thailand.

Renowned for its unique architecture, this picturesque hamlet is a testament to human resilience and adaptability. Koh Panyi is a cultural treasure, showcasing the harmonious coexistence of tradition and modernity. Its labyrinthine walkways lead visitors to vibrant markets and quaint mosques.

Notably, the village is celebrated for its seafood restaurants that offer a delectable array of freshly caught marine delicacies. A visit to Koh Panyi promises an immersive experience of Thai-Muslim culture and culinary delights.

Transportation: Longtail boat from Surakul Pier (20 minutes, 1,500 Baht).

Koh Panyi, Thailand

12. Koh Hong

Located close to both Koh Yao Noi and Krabi, this idyllic island is a tranquil escape surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of Phang Nga Bay.

As part of the National Marine Park, Koh Hong imposes strict guidelines, prohibiting the drinking of alcoholic beverages and flying drones to preserve its natural splendor.

The Koh Hong Viewpoint offers a mesmerizing panorama of the limestone cliffs and emerald waters, rewarding adventurers with an unforgettable vista. Embrace the serenity and explore the marine wonders, but do so with the utmost respect for this ecological sanctuary.


Transportation:
Speedboat or Longtail boat (Less than an hour).

Limestone Cliffs At Koh Hong Island

Final Thoughts:

In the embrace of Phuket's neighboring islands, a symphony of tropical wonders awaits. From the cinematic allure of Koh Phi Phi to the underwater spectacle of the Similan Islands, each destination paints a unique stroke on the canvas of paradise.

Koh Racha's tranquil retreat and the authenticity of Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai provide a welcome escape. Coral Island adds an adrenaline rush to the mix.

Together, these islands form a mosaic of experiences, inviting travelers to go beyond Phuket's shores and immerse themselves in the diverse tapestry of sun-kissed beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and the enchanting allure of Thailand's island treasures.

Cindy Butler
Editor - Thailand Nomads

Cindy quit her 9 to 5 job to pursue her passion for exploring mesmerizing locations in Thailand. She has been living here for the past 5 years now and through Thailand Nomads, she shares her experiences and insights about the must-visit places in Thailand.