Excursions & Tours
Phuket is the ideal place from where to visit popular attractions in neighbouring provinces, either on day tours or as overnight excursions. Principal destina-tions include:
Phang Nga Bay
Located northeast of Phuket, and containing scores of limestone islands, some riddled with aquatic grottoes, (see Phangnga information for further details) this picturesque bay is an enduringly popular excursion. Tours are offered by hotels and tour companies throughout Phuket.
Phi Phi Islands
These picturesque islands in Krabi province (see Krabi information for more details) are probably Phuket's most popular excursion.
Phuket dive shops operate daily excursions to the Similan islands (see Phangnga information for further details) during the high season of November-May when underwater visibility is at its best..
This province is directly north of Phuket and covers an area of 4,170 square kilometres. The provincial capital is 788 kilometres south of Bangkok. The province's major attractions are the marine national parks of Ao Phangnga (Phang Nga Bay), Mu Ko Similan (Similan Islands) and Mu Ko Surin (Surin islands). Phangnga Bay has been featured in several international movies, including the 007 adventure The Man with the Golden Gun, and contains some 100 largely uninhabited limestone islands scattered around almost perpetually calm waters. Many islands are riddled with aquatic grottoes, and are best explored aboard sea canoes which are able to enter inner chambers, essentially collapsed cave systems, sometimes only at low tide.
The timeless 'Jurassic Park' atmosphere of such islands contrasts vividly with more popular venues such as James Bond island, Nail island and Waterfowl which supports a Muslim village built on stilts embedded in the sea. The farless commercialised Similan islands, nine in all, are renowned among diving enthusiasts for the variety of dives, superb underwater visibility between November and May, and teeming marine life. The Similans offer more than 30 dive sites, with coral walls, huge sea fans and barrel sponges, big rocks, swim-throughs, coral gardens and plenty of shallows for snorkelling.
The five Surin islands, equally secluded, offer similarly good diving opportunities and, because of seasonal weather changes, are best visited between December and March. Phangna is conveniently accessible by road or boat from Phuket and offers accommodation ranging from bungalows to deluxe hotels. Full transport and accommodation details are available at the TAT Phuket office.
This coastal province covers an area of 4,709 square kilometres. The provincial capital is 814 kilometres south of Bangkok, and is conveniently accessible by road from the capital (Tel: (02) 435-1200 and 435-1195-6 for bus service information) and Phuket. Krabi's major attractions are located largely along its extensive coastline, which contains several well-known beaches and bays, and numerous offshore tropical islands. Most such attractions fall within the aegis of national parks.
Major islands include the Phi Phi cluster which is popular with yachtsmen, scuba-divers, snorkellers and day trippers from Phuket. The islands are characterised by rocky cliffs, tranquil seas, dazzling underwater life, birds' nest caves and fine white sandy beaches. Accommodation is available on Phi Phi Don island. The Ko Lanta National Park, conveniently accessible by regular boat services from Phi Phi Don island, offers several coral-fringed islands, and prime diving sites, and comparative solitude.
The largest island, Ko Lanta Yai, is the site of park headquarters, and is also home to Chao Le, or sea gypsies who sustain themselves largely through fishing. The islands are best visited during the non-monsoon months of October through April. Yet more islands, some 80 in all, and most relatively small, are located off Ao Nang beach on the mainland. Ao Nang is some 6 kilometres from Hat Noppharat Thara, probably Krabi's finest mainland beach which is fronted by pine trees, coconut groves and resort hotels.
One of Krabi's most unusual attractions is a 'shell graveyard', known locally as Su San Hoi, where fossilised shells, believed to be 40,000,000 years old form coastal slabs resembling ancient concrete.Two predominantly mainland national parks, Khao Phanom Bencha and Than Bokk-horani, offer scenic attractions including waterfalls and caves, and opportunities for trekking, birdwatching and savouring the lush southern tropical landscape in natural surroundings. Krabi offers
a wide range of accommodation at major attractions, including award-winning resort hotels. Accommodation details may be obtained from the TAT office in Phuket.
This coastal province covers an area of 4,917 square kilometres. The provincial capital is 828 kilometres south of Bangkok and is conveniently accessible by air, road and rail. Contact Thai Airways (Bangkok 628-2000), the Transport Company Ltd. (Bangkok 937-0261-70) and State Railways of Thailand (Bangkok 223-0941) for relevant details.
Trang's major attractions are scenic, largely within the confines of terrestrial and marine national parks such as Mu Ko Petra and Hat Chao Mai featuring Andaman Sea beaches and islands, and wildlife sanctuaries such as Khao Chong and Khlong Lamcham Waterfowl Park featuring waterfalls, nature trails and caves. Accommodation ranges from resort bungalows to urban hotels.