Phuket and the Andaman Coast Travel Guide
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  • Plan Your Phuket and the Andaman Coast Vacation

    Photo: Iakov Kalinin / Shutterstock

Plan Your Phuket and the Andaman Coast Vacation

For its amazing setting, variety, and charm, Phuket has consistently been voted as one of the world's favorite tourist destinations, both for budget travelers and those seeking sumptuous luxury. Though it has its share of overdevelopment issues, the island has many beautiful beaches and a dazzling variety in restaurants, hotels, activities, and nightlife. Once you leave Phuket and head for the Andaman Coast, though, the attractions become even more spectacular. The coastline delivers spectacular limestones karsts, secluded islands with crystal waters, and miles of unspoiled beaches.

Phuket is the busy hub of the western coast, with daily flights from Bangkok landing in its airport and ferries to scenic but often packed Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, and the dreamy Similan and Surin islands departing daily from its docks. Beyond Phuket, the secrets of this magical coastline begin to reveal itself. Krabi has powdery white sand and magnificent limestone cliffs shooting straight up out of emerald waters that have become popular with all levels of rock-climbing enthusiasts. Railay Beach is especially popular among adventurers who enjoy acrobatics, climbing, and alternative ideologies. Nearby the Phang Nga National Marine Park attracts nature lovers because of its world-renowned postcard-perfect locations, such as Koh Phing Kan, known as James Bond Island. Post-tsunami Ko Phi Phi is a prime destination for snorkeling and diving (you may actually see more divers than fish in some waters as it gets incredibly busy in high season), along with being a mainstay of the easygoing backpacker tourist circuit. Koh Lanta has developed its own scene and attracts visitors who like fewer crowds and more offbeat individuality—as reflected in some of its quirky shops and restaurants; it combines lovely beaches with colorful villages where you will meet interesting locals and expats who differ from those in other parts of the Andaman coast. Ao Nang has become very popular over the years, and numerous resorts have sprung up near its popular beaches and shops to cater to all tastes and budgets.

A note of caution: don't take the chance of getting on rickety or overcrowded boats. Speedboats can often be hired to travel the ferry routes. Ensure that life jackets are available and that the crew takes safety seriously.


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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Sunsets at Railay Beach The sunsets here are unbeatable, however you choose to view them–-floating in a kayak, strolling along the sand, or lounging in a beachfront bungalow.
  2. Kayaking Phang Nga Bay Phang Nga Bay's maze of islands is ideal for gliding alongside towering cliffs.
  3. Discovering Koh Lanta Second in size after Phuket, but far less chaotic, this has become an artsy, laid-back destination for travelers in the know, with long sandy beaches studded with tiny bars, and glorious sunsets.
  4. Camping at Koh Similan This gorgeous national park has a handful of tents for rent. Hire a longtail boat to do some snorkeling while you're here.
  5. Exploring Koh Phi Phi The jewel of Phang Nga Bay cannot be truly appreciated from one beach. Make day trips aboard a longtail boat Maya Bay is a must-see and quieter Loh Samah Bay is magical.

When To Go

When to Go

The peak season on the Andaman Coast is November through April. The monsoon season is May through October, during which high seas can make beaches...

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