How to chose Best Island Hopping Tour in Phuket, Thailand

 While in Phuket, one must take a boat ride around some of the beautiful islands of Thailand apart from exploring beautiful beaches of Phuket Island, it's old town and night markets. Phuket itself is an island but much bigger and you don't feel like you are on an island. Some of the other islands around Phuket are very beautiful and colorful. This place brings those movie scene live in front of you. This post shares some of the interesting options to explore some of the islands around Phuket.     Phuket is one of the most popular beach destinations in Asia and there are right reasons for the same. Islands around Phuket bring amazing diversity of this beach experience.

While in Phuket, one must take a boat ride around some of the beautiful islands of Thailand apart from exploring beautiful beaches of Phuket Island, it's old town and night markets. Phuket itself is an island but much bigger and you don't feel like you are on an island. Some of the other islands around Phuket are very beautiful and colorful. This place brings those movie scene live in front of you. This post shares some of the interesting options to explore some of the islands around Phuket. 

Phuket is one of the most popular beach destinations in Asia and there are right reasons for the same. Islands around Phuket bring amazing diversity of this beach experience. 


When it comes to choosing right Island Hopping tours around Phuket, there are two primary factors :    1. What exactly you want to achieve through this tour & how big/small you would want to chose?  Serious Snorkling experience around Phuket Serious diving experience around Phuket Diverse beach and island experiences around Phuket Covering all Islands vs some of the best ones in limited time   2. How to optimise cost of identified Island Hopping Tour?     Now that there are 30+ islands around Phuket it's certainly very hard to chose which ones you want to visit and why. What would be the use of this post if we are unable to help you with must visit Islands around Phuket and then also share options which can be visited if you have time.     Majority of the people visiting Thailand spend 3 days around Phuket and typically it's one day tour which exposes you to these islands and that's the reason why Island hopping terms has became so popular here. Some of the folks also plan to visit Phi-phi islands for one night and I have heard it's worth.

When it comes to choosing right Island Hopping tours around Phuket, there are two primary factors :

1. What exactly you want to achieve through this tour & how big/small you would want to chose?
  • Serious Snorkling experience around Phuket
  • Serious diving experience around Phuket
  • Diverse beach and island experiences around Phuket
  • Covering all Islands vs some of the best ones in limited time
  • A Romantic venture around Islands

2. How to optimise cost of identified Island Hopping Tour? 
Now that there are 30+ islands around Phuket it's certainly very hard to chose which ones you want to visit and why. What would be the use of this post if we are unable to help you with must visit Islands around Phuket and then also share options which can be visited if you have time. 

Majority of the people visiting Thailand spend 3 days around Phuket and typically it's one day tour which exposes you to these islands and that's the reason why Island hopping terms has became so popular here. Some of the folks also plan to visit Phi-phi islands for one night and I have heard it's worth. 

So let's talk about main Island clusters around Phuket to choose from, but there are Island hopping tours touching multiple of them unless they are in very different directions. It also depends what kind of boat you chose and we will talk about that later. 

Without going into the details of each Island Cluster and boating options, let me share about what we chose - 

1. Speedboat (with fixed itinerary)
2. Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Leh, Monkey Beach, Khai Nai Island & few more stops on our way. 
3. Price - 1000 Baht per person (includes lunch and drinks/water of the boat) - Good negotiation skills help in Thailand & more tips on that in this post below. 

Kind of Boats or Tours available from Phuket to explore Islands : 

1. Ferries :    Backpackers can reach islands like Phang Ng Bay and Koh Phi Phi via ferries, but the route would be different as per boat schedules. There are morning and afternoon services, so you need to know when & from where to pick the ferry.

1. Ferries :

Backpackers can reach islands like Phang Ng Bay and Koh Phi Phi via ferries, but the route would be different as per boat schedules. There are morning and afternoon services, so you need to know when & from where to pick the ferry.

Two preferred piers to travel out of Phuket main island are - Rassada pier is near Phuket Town and Chalong Bay is in the southeast.     Ride costs approximately 600 Bahts for a one-way journey to Phi Phi Island and takes about two hours to get there. For less hassle, you can book in advance online but head down to the pier and book directly for the best price.

Two preferred piers to travel out of Phuket main island are - Rassada pier is near Phuket Town and Chalong Bay is in the southeast.

Ride costs approximately 600 Bahts for a one-way journey to Phi Phi Island and takes about two hours to get there. For less hassle, you can book in advance online but head down to the pier and book directly for the best price.

2. Speedboats and Longtail Boats for private hire :

Islands like Similan Island and Racha Island have fewer transportation options. So for these Islands, one needs to go for private charter option. Longtails and speedboats are readily available for hire from most beaches.

It is critical to agree on an exact route and corresponding price when you are bargaining. 


3. Island Hopping Tours :    Island hopping tours is popular option. It's relatively stress-free because you have pre-defined tour itineraries to chose from and price is also pretty low. This is most reasonable option especially when you not a huge group. With bigger group size, one ca rent a speedboat for a day and decide upon own itinerary.

3. Island Hopping Tours :

Island hopping tours is popular option. It's relatively stress-free because you have pre-defined tour itineraries to chose from and price is also pretty low. This is most reasonable option especially when you not a huge group. With bigger group size, one ca rent a speedboat for a day and decide upon own itinerary. 


Tips when you plan for Island Hopping around Phuket and Phi Phi -    1. Talk to multiple tour offering shops around your hotel and negotiate at around 50% of what is offered at the best.     2. This exercise will lead you to a nominal number where you would get a reasonable deal.

Related post - Chiang Mai Weekend Market and Various Wats || 10-Day Vacation in Thailand 

Tips when you plan for Island Hopping around Phuket and Phi Phi -

1. Talk to multiple tour offering shops around your hotel and negotiate at around 50% of what is offered at the best. 

2. This exercise will lead you to a nominal number where you would get a reasonable deal. 

3. When you have similar deals from different vendors, make sure you compare the tour companies coffered and location of the shop w.r.t. your hotel. 

4. Opt the close-by shop and tour company as per online reviews. 

5. There are pretty good Island Hopping day tours for 1000 Bahts.     6. Don't carry lot of stuff with you when you are doing this tour.

5. There are pretty good Island Hopping day tours for 1000 Bahts. 

6. Don't carry lot of stuff with you when you are doing this tour.

7. If you are interested in Snorkeling and Diving, make sure you buy appropriate gears from night markets. If you forget, this stuff will be very expensive at the port from where you boat would start.     8. Must carry a waterproof phone cover to click good photographs confidently.

7. If you are interested in Snorkeling and Diving, make sure you buy appropriate gears from night markets. If you forget, this stuff will be very expensive at the port from where you boat would start. 

8. Must carry a waterproof phone cover to click good photographs confidently. 

Related post - Food, Flowers, and the endless Night Market at Chiang Mai || 10-day Vacation in Thailand 

9. If you plan to do Snorkeling, make sure snorketing equipment is part of your tour. (Usually that's the case, but confirming is must as they may make good amount of money if you think about it later when you are about to board the boat.)    10. Be aware that many equipments related to Snorking and diving are offered by boat companies on rent, but if you plan to follow it later some of the basic ones can be bought at cheap price in night markets of Phuket.

9. If you plan to do Snorkeling, make sure snorketing equipment is part of your tour. (Usually that's the case, but confirming is must as they may make good amount of money if you think about it later when you are about to board the boat.)

10. Be aware that many equipments related to Snorking and diving are offered by boat companies on rent, but if you plan to follow it later some of the basic ones can be bought at cheap price in night markets of Phuket. 

11. Rawai beach at Phuket’s far south has the cheapest options of renting a speedboat or longtail boat.     12. When commuting on the speedboat, sit inside and avoid the front for a less bumpy ride.

11. Rawai beach at Phuket’s far south has the cheapest options of renting a speedboat or longtail boat. 

12. When commuting on the speedboat, sit inside and avoid the front for a less bumpy ride. 

Related post - Doi Suthep - Best place in Chiang Mai to explore Thai Temple, Aerial views of the City and some Hiking


Main Island Clusters around Phuket :     1. Koh Phi Phi Islands :    It will not be an exaggeration if I say that Phi Phi is most popular island around Phuket and actually there are 2 islands which share Phi Phi :      Phi Phi Don  Phi Phi Leh     Above is not hard for Indians to remember - Don is very popular bollywood movie and Leh is a hot tourist destination in North India where many bollywood movies are shot.     Phi Phi Don is popular for it's all-night parties and beautiful beaches.    Phi Phi Lee has 100m-tall limestone cliffs on three sides hosts several tiny beaches which disappear during high tides.      Close by there is Pileh Lagoon which offers an unbeatable swimming experience in crystal clear waters with colourful fish below the water’s surface.

Main Island Clusters around Phuket : 

1. Koh Phi Phi Islands :

It will not be an exaggeration if I say that Phi Phi is most popular island around Phuket and actually there are 2 islands which share Phi Phi :  

Phi Phi Don
Phi Phi Leh 

Above is not hard for Indians to remember - Don is very popular bollywood movie and Leh is a hot tourist destination in North India where many bollywood movies are shot. 

Phi Phi Don is popular for it's all-night parties and beautiful beaches.

Phi Phi Lee has 100m-tall limestone cliffs on three sides hosts several tiny beaches which disappear during high tides. 

Close by there is Pileh Lagoon which offers an unbeatable swimming experience in crystal clear waters with colourful fish below the water’s surface. 

2. Similan Island :    The island for Diving enthusiasts. Similan Island is one of the hidden gems of the Andaman Sea and interestingly different from many other islands around Phuket.     Similan island has warm and unbelievably clear water. This island has great variety of rare and endangered marine life that hide beneath huge boulders that have fallen into the sea. Diving enthusiasts usually chose this place because it’s recognised as one of the world’s more exhilarating dive spots.

2. Similan Island :

The island for Diving enthusiasts. Similan Island is one of the hidden gems of the Andaman Sea and interestingly different from many other islands around Phuket. 

Similan island has warm and unbelievably clear water. This island has great variety of rare and endangered marine life that hide beneath huge boulders that have fallen into the sea. Diving enthusiasts usually chose this place because it’s recognised as one of the world’s more exhilarating dive spots. 

3. King Cruiser Shipwreck, Shark Point & Koh Dok Mai    King Cruiser Shipwreck, Shark Point & Koh Dok Mai are also popular spots for diving around Phuket, although each of these is different from other on different factors.     The King Cruiser Shipwreck is one of the most easily accessible and much talked destination in Thailand. Shark Point is one of the prettiest dive sites featuring three underwater pinnacles that are completely covered in soft corals, anemones, barrel sponges and sea fans.    Koh Dok Mai is a big limestone rock that stands vertically out of the sea with diversified flora and fauna & great variety of marine life.

3. King Cruiser Shipwreck, Shark Point & Koh Dok Mai

King Cruiser Shipwreck, Shark Point & Koh Dok Mai are also popular spots for diving around Phuket, although each of these is different from other on different factors. 

The King Cruiser Shipwreck is one of the most easily accessible and much talked destination in Thailand. Shark Point is one of the prettiest dive sites featuring three underwater pinnacles that are completely covered in soft corals, anemones, barrel sponges and sea fans.

Koh Dok Mai is a big limestone rock that stands vertically out of the sea with diversified flora and fauna & great variety of marine life. 

4. Coral Island     Coral Island is popular for its multi-coloured coral reefs that are home to exotic tropical fish. Every passionate marine explorer has good reasons to plan  a trip to experience the huge playground of wildlife and coral. There are water activities available if you are interested - banana boat rides, parasailing and sea-walking.    Long Beach and Banana Beach on Coral Island has white sand, which are good options for an afternoon of suntanning and relaxation.

4. Coral Island 

Coral Island is popular for its multi-coloured coral reefs that are home to exotic tropical fish. Every passionate marine explorer has good reasons to plan  a trip to experience the huge playground of wildlife and coral. There are water activities available if you are interested - banana boat rides, parasailing and sea-walking.

Long Beach and Banana Beach on Coral Island has white sand, which are good options for an afternoon of suntanning and relaxation.

5. Phang Nga Bay (James Bond Island, Hong Island)    Phang Nga is popularly known for James Bond Island, or Koh Ta-Pu (Nail Island). As you can guess the name comes from its feature as a backdrop for the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun.    It's rocky structure is nearly 20 metres high but only has a diameter between four and eight meters. It is currently under national park protection which prevents boats from coming too close.

5. Phang Nga Bay (James Bond Island, Hong Island)

Phang Nga is popularly known for James Bond Island, or Koh Ta-Pu (Nail Island). As you can guess the name comes from its feature as a backdrop for the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun.

It's rocky structure is nearly 20 metres high but only has a diameter between four and eight meters. It is currently under national park protection which prevents boats from coming too close.

Hong island is another nice island to visit. Relatively less visited, this island features an enclosed lagoon that lies within a dramatic cliff-lined meander of the island’s waters, rewarding visitors with a stunning view.

Now that you know main Island clusters of Phuket, let's see what kind of Island Hopping tours are available and how to chose the most relevant for you -    1. Most preferred Adventure around Phi Phi & Khai island      Phi Phi islands should come on top of your list when you think of taking one day Island hopping tour during your visit to Thailand.

Now that you know main Island clusters of Phuket, let's see what kind of Island Hopping tours are available and how to chose the most relevant for you -

1. Most preferred Adventure around Phi Phi & Khai island 


Phi Phi islands should come on top of your list when you think of taking one day Island hopping tour during your visit to Thailand. 

First halt of the tour is usually for swimming in  shiny waters of Pileh cove or Maya Bay. A decent place to try Snorkeling. A waterproof camera along is must when you are on this tour. More that colourful waters, white sand beaches, steep cliffs and beach-front jungles brings in all the right excitement for the day.

Then the boat hovers around Viking Cave. There will be a quick stopover at Monkey Bay to take pictures and then a  short stopover at Phi Phi Don for lunch. The tour ends with snorkelling at Khai Nok island.    2. Sightseeing around Phang Nga Bay    The James Bond Speedboat Tour lets you sit back and explore James Bond Island and its surrounding islands.    Start off with Panak Island, an island known for its iconic caves and hidden enclaves. Look out for the Mangrove Cave.

Then the boat hovers around Viking Cave. There will be a quick stopover at Monkey Bay to take pictures and then a  short stopover at Phi Phi Don for lunch. The tour ends with snorkelling at Khai Nok island.

2. Sightseeing around Phang Nga Bay

The James Bond Speedboat Tour lets you sit back and explore James Bond Island and its surrounding islands.

Start off with Panak Island, an island known for its iconic caves and hidden enclaves. Look out for the Mangrove Cave.

Hong Island is up next. One can go for kayak for a closer look at James Bond Island and the incredible rock formations.  Lunch in this tour is provided at Koh Panyi, the little coastal village. The tour ends with some free and easy time at Naka Island.     3. King Cruiser, Shark Point & Koh Dok Mai for Diving Tour    For an effortless dive experience, it takes care of everything from hotel transfers to food onboard to insurance. Diving equipment is available for loan at an additional cost.    To participate, a diving qualification of at least Open Water Diver or equivalent is required. There is also a minimum requirement of 10 past dive experiences.

Hong Island is up next. One can go for kayak for a closer look at James Bond Island and the incredible rock formations.  Lunch in this tour is provided at Koh Panyi, the little coastal village. The tour ends with some free and easy time at Naka Island. 

3. King Cruiser, Shark Point & Koh Dok Mai for Diving Tour

For an effortless dive experience, it takes care of everything from hotel transfers to food onboard to insurance. Diving equipment is available for loan at an additional cost.

To participate, a diving qualification of at least Open Water Diver or equivalent is required. There is also a minimum requirement of 10 past dive experiences.

Folks who don't meet this criterion can still join with experienced trained at extra cost. 

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