A trip to Phuket would not be complete without exploring the secluded islands and magnificent waters of the Andaman Sea that surround the island. Day tours have become very popular with visitors that want to take in the spectacular scenery on offer, particularly in the stunning blue waters of Phang Nga Bay.
Phang Nga Bay
Situated between Phuket and Krabi to the south, Phang Nga Bay is known for its stunning limestone formations that jut out vertically from the tranquil waters. Some operators offer tours of the bay on a traditional Thai long-tail boat, a craft that has been used by local people for centuries. Typically, day trips take visitors on a tour of some of the 42 islands that can be found in the bay, including the legendary James Bond island that was featured in the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”. Boat trippers can also visit to the Pannyi Sea-Gyspy Village, which is built on stilts over the water. The island is inhabited by the original native Malay-speakers, known locally as “moken”. Most tours will stop for a spot of lunch at the sea village, after which visitors are free to browse the local handicrafts available at the small shops.
Phi Phi Islands
Another popular day cruise from Phuket is to the breathtaking Phi Phi Islands, which lie one and a half hour's sail away. Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley have become a favourite with travellers seeking that classic desert island getaway, and the islands are famous for their tranquil pearly beaches and lush greenery. Phi Phi Don is the larger of the two islands, and is an excellent destination for visitors who also want a encounter some of the rich marine life of the island’s waters by snorkelling. Visitors that stop off on the quieter island of Phi Phi Ley are free to explore its caves and rocky bays, as well as the Viking Cave with is famously etched with a number of prehistoric paintings.
Fishing the waters of Racha Yai
For visitors who harbour a passion for fishing, a trip to the rich fishing waters surrounding the island of Racha Yai is a must. Situated approximately 24km to the southeast of Phuket, the abundant waters are home to sail fish, dorado, mackerel, barracuda, marlin and tuna in season. Keen fishermen aboard can take part in light tackle game fishing for sailfish, or experience the slow trolling technique which uses live bait.
Most day tours leaving from Phuket will include transfer to and from your place of accommodation, lunch and an English speaking guide. Tours can be arranged easily through many of the travel agents that are dotted across Phuket.
Travellers who want to experience a more personalised sea adventure can charter a private speedboat from Phuket to explore the surrounding seas. Chartering a speed boat is also a great option for visitors who want to explore beyond the islands that are generally featured on organised day trips from Phuket. Some boats can also take passengers straight to an ideal location for water skiing, kneel boarding or wake boarding, with all the equipment on board the vessel. For a more relaxing trip, a day cruise to Coral Island might be just the thing. After snorkelling in the pristine waters surrounding the secluded island, the boat can cruise back to Phuket to enjoy the sunset. The timing of such a cruise is perfect for visitors who want to enjoy the beauty of the Andaman Sea without being exposed to the heat of the sun for a whole day. Chartered speedboats are also the perfect romantic trip for couples. Some companies offer a full day tours to a secluded beach on the islands of Kai Nok or Racha Yai, followed by a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach upon arrival back to Phuket.
If you would like to get up close to the wonderful natural eco-systems that can be found in the waters and bays surrounding Phuket, a kayaking trip is the ideal choice. Kayaking is also a great way to explore without having a damaging impact on the fragile marine environment. The kayaking tours available from Phuket vary in difficulty, but a tour of the magnificent Phang Nga Bay is suitable for all skill levels, including beginners. Kayak tours around Phang Nga Bay will usually take you to explore more remote areas that are not visited as often by tourists. Kayakers can paddle every nook and cranny of the bay, discovering the area's caves and undisturbed islands. Kayaking is also a great way to catch an up-close glimpse of the bay’s wildlife, including majestic White-belly Sea Eagles, Brahminy Kites, Pacific Reef Egrets and even Oriental Pied Hornbills.
Hong Lagoon is a favourite destination for kayak tours. In English, the Thai word “Hong” translates to “room”. The open-air tidal lagoon is surrounded by high cliffs and only accessible through tidal windows on certain days, often for as little as 15-20 minutes. Exploring the hongs is an exciting experience for kayak adventurers, who often feel like they are paddling into a long forgotten ancient world as they paddle into the idyllic lagoons. Numbers are generally limited for kayak tours, so it is wise for visitors to book a few days in advance. A day of kayaking can also take a lot of energy, so it is wise for intrepid kayak explorers to get a good night’s rest before their excursion.
Posted by Max Vee