The Best Day Trips from Phuket

Scuba diving sites, pristine beaches and world-famous filming locations are all just hours away from the biggest island in Thailand
Scuba diving sites, pristine beaches and world-famous filming locations are all just hours away from the biggest island in Thailand | © Crystite RF / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Kelly Iverson
2 September 2021

Phuket may be beautiful and full of diverse attractions but, sometimes, an escape from the Pearl of the Andaman is in order. Whether you want to explore spectacular dive sites or simply lounge on a secluded island nearby, here are the best day trips from the largest island in Thailand.

Want to sit back and let someone else do all the planning for you? Join our 10-day island-hopping trip in Southern Thailand, curated by travel experts and led by a Local Insider.

Koh Phi Phi

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Sunny skies and sublime sunsets are just a few things you can expect to find on Koh Phi Phi. Loads of ferries take eager visitors to one of the six islands. Long, white and dreamy beaches initially attract, but the epic nightlife will lure you to stay for more than just a day trip. Another reason to check out Koh Phi Phi is to see the infamous Maya Bay; that’s where The Beach (2001), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed.

Khao Lak

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A two-hour drive from the island of Phuket is Khao Lak. People often overlook it, but it has plenty to offer those who make the journey there. Quaint waterfalls pepper the area in addition to a number of parks, all of which are worth visiting. You can easily explore via a scooter, picking which natural wonders you wish to see. The area also sports some beautiful sandy stretches, including Hat Bang Niang and Hat Nang Thong.

Similan Islands

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Though a bit of a trek from Phuket, the Similan Islands are worth the journey. They’re made up of 11 isolated islands, all of which are within the Mu Koh Similan National Park, established in 1982. That national park status has kept the islands in pristine shape, perfect for those who want to dive. Some would even argue that the best dive sites in the entire world are found here, with marine life and crystal clear water galore.

Phang Nga Bay

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Limestone cliffs do not get more beautiful than those found in Phang Nga Bay. You can take a boat from Phuket to visit this bay and spend an afternoon kayaking, sunning yourself on an otherwise secluded beach, or snorkelling through crystal clear water. Visit James Bond Island; it got the name by being a filming location for The Man With the Golden Gun (1974). Koh Panyee is another famous spot found at Phang Nga Bay.

Surin Islands

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The Surin Islands have some of the top destinations for divers in the entire world. These five islands have abundant marine and incredible coral reefs, along with welcoming water for you to jump right into upon arrival. The dive and snorkelling sites are so pristine because they find themselves in the Mo Ko Surin National Park, which covers more than 140sqkm (54sqmi).

Koh Yao Noi

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This secluded island is a perfect spot for those of you trying to escape the millions of tourists who flock to Phuket each year. Koh Yao Noi for taking on jungle terrain on foot, as there are a number of trails to meander. The island is only 13km (8mi) in length, and only about 3,000 people reside here.

Dive at the King Cruiser Wreck

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Phuket is almost as gorgeous below the sea as it is above, which is why – if you have some time on you hands should – you should take a day to explore underwater. Located 32km (20mi) from Phuket is the King Cruiser Wreck, arguably the best dive site on the island. Dive shops will have all the equipment you need to take to the water at a fairly affordable price.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm – and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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