Immersed in the exotic Andaman Sea, among the many bays of the strip of land that connects Thailand to Malaysia we find Pukhet, the largest and most populated island in the Thai state. Overlooking the enchanting Phang Nga Bay, a maze of islands of all sizes of which many still uninhabited, Pukhet perfectly embodies the characteristics of a tropical tourist destination: wide sandy bays hollowed in the jagged coastline, palm trees, rocky peninsulas and breathtaking views of the islands far from the coast. All immersed in the lush setting of the rainforest.
Mix of Chinese, European and Chaolei cultures, ancient sea nomads, Phuket is a warm, vibrant and cosmopolitan island used to tourists and able to offer both nightlife and relaxation: from the frenetic movida of the neighborhoods of Patong Beach, Kata and Karon – and their commercial streets plenty of nightclubs, souvenir shops and typical restaurants where you can taste typical fish and seafood cuisine – to the thousand beaches along the coast: Patong and its crowded center, Mai Khao, the longest beach of the island and favorite nest of sea turtles, Nai Yang and Nui Beach, with the small waterfalls behind it, not far from Kata Beach, another of the main beaches hidden in the long coves of the east coast of the island.
Phuket is an authentic paradise for hikers, divers, sailors and nature lovers in general, where is possible to switch among Thai-boxing shows and elephant rides in the forest before setting sail to explore the beautiful bay that hosts it.
The basin in the north of Phuket hosts a myriad of islets, many of which uninhabited, others instead crowded and made even more famous by the filming of the last James Bond. The paradise of hidden lagoons, marine stacks, caves, white beaches and palm trees of Phang Nga is part of the national park under the same name and is one of the most beautiful and visited places in Thailand – both in the dry season, from October to April, and during the remaining months of short rains – offering ample shelters from monsoons and bad weather. Among breathtaking beaches and unmissable seabeds, this area is home to over 150 different species of fish, corals and birds, offering endless opportunities for recreation for snorkeling, diving and trekking lovers, or for those wishing to explore the ancient caves and the most secret lagoons aboard a kayak or a SUP.
South of Phang Nga Bay, the archipelago of Koh-Hong consists of six main limestone islands united by white beaches, great coral reefs at every sea depth and variety of underwater fauna. The name of the largest island, which gives its name to the entire archipelago, can be translated as “island of the room”. From a distance it could look like any rocky island with rock masses that allow only short and narrow beaches, between one mountain wall and the other. Along the perimeter there is however an opening, walkable or with the tender during the other tide, which reveals the beating heart of the island, in a secret bay inside the rock walls: emerald green waters, not a wind and a few meters depth where countless colorful fishes swim among tourists feet. An authentic secret natural pool not to be missed during our vacation in the Thai seas.
On the westernmost side of the basin, south of the Krabi region, the coastal spectacle probably reaches the highest level in Thailand with the long Railay Bay. A corner of tropical paradise that can only be reached by boat, as the peninsula is set among rocks, green jungle and emerald waters and offers every possible choice, from the most adventurous to the most relaxing. Snorkeling, rafting, trekking with elephants, climbing, or simple walks in the green, unforgettable baths and good cuisine in the surrounding villages. Railey west is the area of shops and restaurants, Ton Sai is the meeting place of the climbers who reach the island from all over the world, Phra Nang, to the south, is the destination for lovers of beaches and people that reach in mass the place to climb on the karst rocks.
The beaches of small uninhabited islands south of Krabi have nothing to envy to the most renowned along the mainland: this is the case of the Poda archipelago, four small islands only 8 km away from the shores of Phra Nang bay. Here the waters are more crystalline and turquoise, and the white and pristine beaches are accompanied by the usual coral reef, not very far from the shore, which makes it another ideal destination for diving and snorkelling. If the area of Railay boasts the most memorable views, the waters of the Poda archipelago are the clearest and most transparent in the entire area. The islands of Koh Kai and Koh Tup are connected by a thin beach that emerges only at low tide, being there at the right time is a real stroke of luck for visitors; Poda is distinguished by its fine and soft sand and is perhaps the most spectacular of the four, with high cliffs covered with vegetation and a long beach that runs along the eastern coast. Koh Tai, also known as Chicken Island, is almost entirely covered in rock and unexplored from the mainland, but offers one of the best sites for diving and snorkeling in the coral reef.
The archipelago of the Phi Phi Islands, one of the most famous of these seas, is positioned exactly between Phuket and Krabi, 40 km from the respective coasts. It includes six islands, among which Phi Don is the most populated and developed from a tourism point of view. In addition to bars, restaurants and shops, the island has several interesting spots from the seaside point of view: to the south there is Monkey Beach, which has become a massive attraction: accustomed to tourists’ cameras, monkeys happily populate the enchanting white beach at the foot of a steep wall covered with vegetation, one of the most important points of the archipelago for lovers of snorkeling, such as Cape Tong and Cape Hua Raket, further north.
The second main island, Phi Phi Le, is an uninhabited island of just 6 square kilometers that hides several treasures: between mountains overlooking the sea and lush hills there are Maya Bay and Viking Cave with the mysterious Serpent Cave, a charming ravine that hosts ancient colored paintings depicting the boats used by the merchants of the past.
Ko Yung and Ko Phai, north of Phi Phi Don, are joined by long reefs of coral reefs and pebble and white sand beaches.
On the way back, not far from the coast of Phuket, there is the island of Koh Mai Ton, once a luxurious private island, now finally accessible to tourists. Paradisiac and unspoiled, Maiton Island, as it is called by international tourists, is a pure relaxation marine resort, with golden beaches, crystal clear waters and the colors of the coral reef that make the corners of this small island ideal for picnics outdoors, snorkeling and swimming with dolphins and turtles, among the most famous inhabitants of these waters.