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Top 10 Phuket Day Trips for Adventurous Families Visiting Thailand

Top 10 Phuket Day Trips for Adventurous Families Visiting Thailand

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Are you visiting Phuket but might want to add some day trips to your Thailand itinerary? Check out these amazing Phuket day trips that are totally worth the effort!
This list of Phuket day trips in Thailand was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Phuket Island is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand, and not just because there’s a lot to see and do within the city itself. There are also so many amazing day trips from Phuket.

The best Phuket day trips are to nearby islands with beautiful beaches, calm waters, and lively marine life. Some of the highlights include Phang Nga Bay, Bamboo Islands, and Phi Phi Islands.

While the island hopping and beaches genuinely steal the show in Phuket, there are a few other Phuket day tours further inland, like Khao Sok National Park and the Elephant Sanctuary.

This guide reviews all the best island day trips from Phuket, including boat tours in Phuket, islands with the most beautiful water, and other bonus activities for adventurous families.

10 Amazing Day Trips from Phuket Thailand

Krabi Day Trip from Phuket

Krabi is a resort town on the Andaman Sea, similar to Phuket Island. However, it’s different enough that a day trip from Phuket is worth it.

Krabi has a population of 30,000 and is one of the biggest cities in the Krabi Province. For this reason, it’s not as laid-back and mellow as some popular islands. The streets are lined with shops, restaurants, and bars, and the downtown beaches can also get busy.

That being said, it’s still worth visiting for the striking landscape and change of pace compared to Phuket. It’s still much smaller than Phuket Island, and the beaches are just as lovely. Great coral reefs are right offshore, so it’s a good place for snorkeling.

Image of Railay Beach in Krabi Thailand
Railay Beach in Krabi, Thailand.

How To Get To Krabi From Phuket

Distance: 100 miles (2 hours by boat)

There are two main ways to do a day trip to Krabi from Phuket: by ferry or bus.

The ferry leaves from Rassada Pier in Phuket Town and takes about two hours. This is one of the most fun day tours from Phuket to Krabi because you will have a great day exploring Krabi and be treated to an incredible ferry ride.

The views from the ferry are great from start to finish, and it’s an excellent way to get out in the sun and admire those rock formations and mini-islands jutting out from the ocean.

However, you can also take a bus from Phuket to Krabi. The bus leaves from Phuket Bus Terminal 2 in Phuket Town and takes about three or four hours.

The bus isn’t as scenic as the ferry ride, but it’s still comfortable. This is a good option if the kids aren’t up for the ferry or want a short break from the ocean.

Day Trips from Phuket to Phi Phi Island

Phi Phi Islands are the most famous islands in Krabi Province. They are quintessential Thailand-scenic islands covered in lush palm trees, warm, white sand, and unique island vibes.

There are six main islands in the Phi Phi archipelago. Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest of the islands and the only inhabited island. Koh Phi Phi Leh, Bida Nok, Bida Nai, Mosquito Island (Koh Young), and Bamboo Island (Koh Mai Phai) are the other main islands that makeup Phi Phi.

If you do a Phi Phi day trip from Phuket, you should try to fit in as many of the six islands as possible. Each island is so different from the others and just as beautiful as the rest.

You’ll find pristine beaches surrounded by lush jungles, a Viking cave, stunning views, incredible snorkeling, and perfect swimming conditions. All of this makes Phi Phi the perfect day trip from Phuket.

Maya Bay is another popular location in Thailand, and most people visit on a day trip to Phi Phi. The easiest way to get to Maya Bay is by long tail boat from Phi Phi Don, which only takes about 20 minutes.

Maya Bay is the classic image of tropical Thailand, with breathtaking limestone cliffs and pristine beaches. It is also famous because of the movie The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

So, not only can you bathe in crystal clear water and enjoy excellent snorkeling, but you can also visit a famous beach!

Image of a wooden boat near Phi Phi Island in Thailand.

How To Get To Phi Phi Island From Phuket

Distance: 28 miles (1-2 hours by boat)

You have to take a boat from Phuket to Phi Phi, but there are three ways to go about it. You can take a speedboat (which takes around an hour), a ferry (which takes around 2 hours), or join one of the many island hopping tours.

Between the speedboat and ferry boat, the ferry is the best option for families. The ferries are large (usually 3+ stories with bathrooms and seating areas). The speedboat can be a little rough, and not recommended if any kids have seasickness problems.

Rassada Pier in Phuket is the main ferry pier on Phuket Island, and Tonsai Pier is the main ferry pier on Phi Phi Islands.

You can also join one of the boat trips from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands and Maya Bay in Phuket to save time. The Phi Phi Islands Adventure Day Trip with Seaview Lunch is one of the most popular day tours in Phuket.

You’ll go snorkeling at Pileh Lagoon, have lunch at Phi Phi Leh, go snorkeling again at Bamboo Island, and visit Monkey Beach and Maya Bay. Everything includes transportation from your hotel, lunch, drinks, and snorkeling equipment.

James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay

Believe it or not, The Beach is not the only movie that reigns from this region. The James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun has an infamous scene shot right on Thailand’s James Bond Island. I wonder which came first, the movie or the name?

Anyway, James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay is not only a must-see when you visit Phuket, but it’s also a lot of fun.

The island is located inside Phang Nga Bay, which is picturesque. Beautiful, remote beaches, islands towering over the ocean covered in lush jungle, many islands with pristine beaches, and some incredible snorkeling.

Unlike Phi Phi and other popular islands, you must visit James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay on a boat tour. No public ferries are coming to this area.

It’s still the best Phuket day tour and worth visiting with the family via one of the many famous Phuket tours.

Image of James Bond Island, Phang Nga, Thailand
James Bond Island in Thailand.

How To Get To James Bond Island From Phuket

Distance: 28 miles (~2 hours)

As mentioned, you have to join one of the boat tours in Phuket to James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay. The boat ride varies from 1 to 5 hours, depending on how many stops there are on the way and where those other stops are.

Most boat tours stop at several other islands, snorkeling locations, and viewpoints in addition to the infamous James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay.

This From Phuket: Phang Nga Bay and Canoeing Tour by Big Boat is the best island trips from Phuket for families and children because it’s on a big boat rather than a speedboat, which can be more uncomfortable for younger kids.

The tour begins with a boat ride to Panak Island, where you’ll go on a group kayaking excursion in the beautiful Andaman Sea. Afterward, you’ll head to Ko Hong, Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island, and Khao Phing Kan. The activity includes lunch onboard the Phang Nga Bay boat, drinks, snorkeling, and kayaking equipment.

Even though Phang Nga Bay isn’t the easiest area to get to, it’s worth every second of your time. There’s no question this is Thailand’s most popular day trip for a reason—nothing like the unique beauty, rock formations, and marine life around Phang Nga Bay.

Similan Islands

If you’re looking for the most beautiful day trip from Phuket, the Similan Islands should be at the top of your list. Thailand has so many islands, but the Similan Islands are arguably the best place for marine life, snorkeling, and diving. This set of islands is a little further out, but the beauty is worth the longer journey.

The islands are defined by an incredible coral reef, making them one of the best spots around Thailand for scuba diving and snorkeling. They’re a popular destination for liveaboards, scuba diving, and fun family outings.

Image of snorkeling on Similan islands in Andaman sea, Thailand
Similan Islands in Thailand.

How To Get To Similan Islands From Phuket

Distance: 74 miles (~2 hours)

There are no public ferries from Phuket Town to the Similan Islands, so you have to take a speedboat. The easiest way to get there is by hiring a speedboat or joining one of the boat tours in Phuket, Khao Lak, or another beach town on this side of Thailand.

The Similan Islands Early Bird Day Trip from Phuket or Khao Lak is one of the best tours to the islands. It goes to Donald Duck Bay, Similan Islands, and Ko Miang. You’ll go sightseeing, snorkeling, and have a lovely picnic on the water.

One of the best things about this early bird trip is it’s one of the first Phuket tours to depart, which means you’ll likely be the first group at the Similan Islands.

Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi

Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi are real hidden gems in Phuket and are very easy to visit on your own.

Koh Yao Yai is the larger of the two islands, and Koh Yao Noi is much smaller (actually, noi in Thai is a nickname meaning “little”). However, Koh Yao Noi is more popular because it has more swimmable beaches. Both are still worth visiting.

There are viewpoints, beach bars, beach clubs with nobody around, and much more. Ko Yao Yai is majority Muslim, so it doesn’t have the same party culture as Patong Beach or other tourist areas in Phuket.

The islands are unique, with very few tourists, and are home to some of the most beautiful, empty beaches in the west of Thailand. On Koh Yao Yai, most people rent a motorbike (you can rent a motorbike with a little sidecar; there’s virtually no traffic around the island) and go beach hopping.

Image of Aerial view of Laem Had Beach in Koh Yao Yai, island in the andaman sea between Phuket and Krabi Thailand. High quality 4k footage
Koh Yao Yai in Thailand.

How To Get To Koh Yao From Phuket

Distance: 14 miles (30 minutes)

One of the best things about a day trip from Phuket to Koh Yao Islands is that they are easy to get to on your own. You can grab a speedboat ferry from Rasada Pier to both islands (they are so close to one another, you can even walk from Koh Yao Yai to Koh Yao Noi at very specific times during low tide when a sand bank is created that connects the two).

The speedboat ride to each island only takes about 30 minutes. Once there, you can hire a taxi, rent motorbikes, or even walk to some beaches. Just remember that these islands aren’t as built up for tourism as other islands, so there are slightly fewer amenities.

Koh Racha Islands

Koh Racha Island (Raya Island) is another must-see for an island hopping adventure in Phuket, and it’s a lovely day trip. The islands are another popular snorkeling and scuba diving destination, so you can expect to find a lot of good soft and hard coral, active marine life, and tropical fish.

There are two main islands here: Racha Yai and Racha Noi (again, Racha Noi is the smaller of the two). Racha Yai is an uninhabited island, and Racha Noi has just a handful of beach bungalows and tourist spots.

Most people don’t spend too much time on either island; instead, they join a boat tour that takes them right off the island’s shore for the best snorkeling locations.

Image of Racha (Raya) resort island near Phuket island, Thailand in a summer day
Racha Island in Thailand.

How To Get To Racha Island From Phuket

Distance: 18 miles (30 minutes)

Racha Islands are another easy day trip for your island-hopping itinerary in Phuket. There are speedboats from Chalong Pier to the islands that leave throughout the day, and the journey only takes about 30 minutes by speedboat.

Snorkeling tours in Phuket also head to the Racha Islands, which are usually a few other popular spots.

Coral & Racha Islands Day Trip By Speedboat is one of the most popular Phuket tours that go to several different places.

The tour includes three hours at Racha Island, with plenty of time for swimming and exploring the island. Afterward, the speedboat heads to Coral Island with more time for snorkeling, swimming, and exploring the gorgeous island.

Surin Islands

There’s no shortage of island hopping day trips from Phuket, and Surin Islands is another great option. If you aren’t tired of visiting the country’s most beautiful islands, add this to your Thailand itinerary, too.

Like many remote places, the Surin Islands are known for their great snorkeling, beautiful beaches, and short hikes to viewpoints. They are the definition of tropical, picturesque, white-sand destinations in Phuket Province.

The islands are within Mo Ko Surin National Park and are an archipelago of five islands: Koh Surin Nuea, Koh Surin Tai, Koh Ri, Koh Khai, and Koh Klang.

Image of white sand beach and blue sea at Surin Islands
Surin Island in Thailand.

How To Get To Surin Islands From Phuket

Distance: 113 miles (3-4 hours)

Surin Islands are a very popular day trip from Khao Lak, so visiting them from Khao Lak is much easier. The main pier to the islands is Tablamu Pier, about 44 miles from Phuket airport (the main pier to the Similan Islands).

Because of its distance and location, it’s easiest to take a speedboat tour to the islands to make the most of the day. Tours from Phuket will include a van transfer from Patong Beach to Tablamu Pier. And from there, you’ll take a speedboat to the islands.

Surin Islands Snorkeling Day Trip is an excellent speed boat tour from Phuket or Khao Lak.

Not only do you have time for snorkeling and other fun water sports, but you’ll also meet the people of the Sea Gypsy Maken village, which is a unique cultural experience. It also includes a lunch buffet in Surin National Park, drinks, and all transportation from your hotel.

Ethical Elephant Sanctuary

The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is one of the best things to do in Phuket with the family and one of the most educational and exciting activities in the southern part of Thailand. While the crystal clear water and island hopping tours in Phuket are wildly popular, it might also be nice to take a break from the ocean and sun.

There are many elephant sanctuaries in Thailand, but very few are ethical. Riding, bathing, and interacting closely with the elephants can put them under stress and raise questions about how those elephants were trained to be calm around people.

The Elephant Sanctuary has a large canopy walk, where you’ll walk through, look down on the rescued elephants in their natural habitat, and learn a lot about ethical elephant tourism and more. It’s a fantastic day trip from Phuket and the perfect family activity when visiting Phuket Province.

How To Get To Elephant Sanctuary From Phuket

Distance: 15 miles

Unlike all the other best day trips from Phuket, you don’t need a speedboat or ferry to get to the elephant sanctuary.

The sanctuary is located in a nature reserve about 40 minutes from Paton Beach, depending on traffic. There are no direct buses from Phuket to the refuge, so it’s best to take a taxi or rideshare car to the sanctuary.

Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is a long journey from Phuket or Patong Beach (it takes approximately 3.5 hours each way), so it’s not the best day trip from Phuket.

However, it would be best to consider spending one or two nights near the national park. And if you don’t have time for that, you can still cram in a day trip.

The national park is one of Thailand’s most beautiful areas, with impressive limestone cliffs, hidden beaches, long-tail boat rides to secret spots, and many more exciting activities. There’s no question this is one of the best day trips from Phuket for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Image of Khao Sok National Park in Thailand
Khao Sok National Park in Thailand.

How To Get To Khao Sok National Park From Phuket

Distance: 105 miles (3 hours)

The easiest way to get to Khao Sok National Park is to rent a car. The drive takes about 3 hours each way, and while you can get there via public transportation, it will add much more to your travel time.

If you have your car, it’s easy to leave early in the morning and spend one day in the national park. If you don’t have a rental car, the best thing to do is join one of the most popular tours from Phuket.

Private Day Trip to Khao Sok with Longtail Boat Tour is one of the top tours in Phuket. A private tour is highly recommended for such a long day of travel, especially if you’re traveling with children. You have more freedom and don’t have to worry about overcrowded boats or tight time schedules.

The tour includes plenty of time at Chiew Larn Lake, one of Khao Sok’s highlights. It also consists of a long-tail boat ride around the lake, time to explore the national park, a visit to the Diamond Caves, a delicious Thai lunch, and roundtrip transportation from your hotel.

Khao Phra Thaeo National Park

If you want to visit another of Thailand’s national parks but don’t want to commit to hours of traveling or a tour in Phuket, then Khao Phra Thaeo National Park is a must-see.

The national park is much closer to Phuket, making it a more leisurely day trip. The key attractions in the park are the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, two small waterfalls, and a few good hiking trails. It’s a great break from the sea down on the coast in Phuket.

Bang Pae Waterfall is the most famous waterfall close to the Gibbon Rehab Center. There’s a short hiking trail through the lush jungle to get to the waterfall. Once there, you can swim, take amazing photos, and enjoy the jungle.

How To Get To Khao Phra Thaeo National Park From Phuket

Distance: 16 miles

Khao Phra Thaeo is only about 16 miles from Phuket Town and 9 miles from Phuket Airport. Some buses go from Phuket to the national park, but it isn’t straightforward and takes much longer. Therefore, driving or taking a taxi is the easiest way to get there.

The national park is just north of Phuket, and it’s an easy trip. Taxis and rideshares are relatively affordable, and it’s also pretty easy to get one for the return trip.

Phuket Island Hopping FAQs

Can you do day trips to other islands from Phuket?

Yes, island hopping is one of the best things to do in Phuket, and there are so many popular tours and different islands to visit. The most popular tours from Phuket include Coral Island, Bamboo Island, Maya James Bond Island, Naka Island, Phang Nga Bay, Koh Panyee, and so many more.

The country has tons of water activities, making it the perfect spot for families who want to enjoy the pristine beaches and exciting tropical attractions.

Is it easy to island hop from Phuket?

Yes, island hopping from Phuket is easy. Most tourists here would agree it’s one of the best spots in the world for island hopping. The easiest way to take advantage of all the best day trips in Phuket is to book tours in advance. You can choose from speed boat tours, long tail boat tours, yacht cruises, and more. Some places, like Koh Yao Yai, have ferries and public speedboats that’ll also take you there.

Is Phi Phi island a day trip from Phuket?

Yes, Phi Phi Island is one of the best places to visit. Many tours in Phuket visit Phi Phi Island and other popular places for tourists, like Bamboo Island and Maya Bay. But Phi Phi Island itself is a fantastic place to visit, whether it is one of the boat tours in Phuket or even independently by ferry.

How can I visit James Bond Island?

James Bond Island is one of Phuket’s absolute best day trips; many tourists visit this region just to visit the infamous island. The easiest way to see James Bond Island is by taking a tour. These usually involve a long tail boat, speedboat tours in Phuket, or cruise boat tours (much larger and usually more comfortable).

Are there any day trips from Phuket to Koh Samui?

No, Koh Samui is too far from Phuket for a day trip. It takes approximately seven hours to get to Koh Samui from Phuket. Instead, I recommend a day trip to Phi Phi Islands and/or James Bond Island.

Best Phuket Day Trips Wrap-Up

Phuket is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand, popular amongst tourists for the endless variety of boat tours in Phuket and island hopping adventures. There are so many great attractions spread out amongst dozens of islands.

As long as you aren’t visiting during monsoon season, you can easily spend every single day of your family vacation warming up in the sun on some of the most beautiful islands and bays you’ve ever seen.

Most islands are best visited with a tour from Phuket or Patong Beach area; however, you can even visit some on your own. Or, you can take a break from the ocean tours to spend a day in a national park or at the elephant sanctuary.

You will have a blast no matter how you structure the holiday in Phuket or which tours you choose. You really can’t go wrong with any of these tours in Phuket.

Looking for more Thailand travel resources? Check out 14 Best Hotels in Phuket for Families Visiting Thailand, Exploring Thailand with a Baby, 23 Things to Do in Phuket with Family, and Where to Stay in Phuket with Kids: Luxury Villas or Family Resorts?

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