Le Destinazioni

Guide pratiche e dettagliatissime su Paesi, città e destinazioni. Cosa vedere, quanto stare, in quale quartiere prenotare l'albergo, come spostarsi, che tempo fa. I miei suggerimenti su come organizzarti e tanti links utili dove cercare info aggiornate. Da stampare e portare in viaggio.


Guida ai Migliori Alberghi del Mondo

Le mie recensioni ragionate sugli alberghi più belli da prenotare in viaggio, non necessariamente gli hotels più lussuosi ma quelli meglio situati e con il miglior rapporto qualità/prezzo. Con la descrizione dettagliata e tutti i pro ed i contro di ogni albergo, per stare bene cercando di contenere il più possibile i costi.


Posti da Urlo: i Posti Più Belli del Mondo

Quali sono i posti più eccezionali del pianeta? Quei posti da urlo assolutamente da non perdere? Una serie di articoli, sintetici e veloci da leggere, con la descrizione delle attrazioni più belle, quei posti speciali che non devi mancare durante il tuo viaggio. Con le cose da sapere ed i miei consigli su perché andare a visitarle, dove si trovano, come arrivare e quanto tempo dedicare a ciascuna attrazione.


I Grandi Viaggi

Veri e propri programmi di viaggio spiegati in dettaglio, giorno per giorno, con tutte le informazioni ed i links che occorrono per poter prenotare, da solo e sul web, alberghi, trasferimenti e voli interni.


Quando Andare

Il tempo che potresti trovare, Paese per Paese, regione per regione, quasi mese per mese. Quando è meglio andare e quando è più saggio starsene a casa. I links dove controllare forecasts ed averages di temperatura e piovosità.


La salute e le malattie in viaggio.

Sei in partenza per un viaggio? Sei preoccupato per malaria, febbre gialla e dengue e cerchi informazioni su vaccinazioni e profilassi? L’attenzione sulla malattie e sulla salute in viaggio e di conseguenza l’informazione aggiornata sulla situazione sanitaria nel Paese che si intende visitare è un vero e proprio must per qualsiasi viaggiatore.


Passaporti e visti

Le informazioni su passaporti e visti, formalità valutarie e doganali, ambasciate e consolati, l'ESTA, il Timatic Web e gli ultimi avvisi per il viaggiatore

The 8 Best Guided Tours and Day-Trips from Phuket

The 8 Best Guided Tours and Day-Trips from Phuket

Phi Phi Island and the 8 best guided tours in Phuket. What are the best tours and day-trips from Phuket? And above all, what are the most interesting and beautiful places in Thailand that can be reached from Phuket with day-trips leaving Phuket in the morning and coming back the same afternoon? Where to go and which excursion to choose from the numerous day-tours offered by the tourist agencies in Phuket? The comparison and detailed description of the 8 best tours and day-trips you can book in Phuket to visit some of the most beautiful, spectacular and interesting attractions in all of southern Thailand. Phi Phi Island Low Cost Tour: boat tour to Maya Bay, Pileh Secret Lagoon and Phi Phi Don Island from Phuket. Phi Phi Premium Tour: boat tour from Phuket to Phi Phi Island including Maya Bay and the magnificent white beach of Bamboo Island. HYPE Boat Club: Coral Island & Racha Island luxury catamaran tour from Phuket. James Bond Island, Koh Panyee Stilt Village & Koh Panak Caves: speedboat & canoe excursion to stunning Phang Nga Bay from Phuket. Phang Nga Premium Tour: excursion by luxury catamaran & kayak including lunch & dinner from Phuket. Phuket Elephant Sanctuary: the best and most valid tour to see elephants in Phuket. Best of Phuket: half day excursion to visit the most beautiful attractions of Phuket. Phuket As You Want: car or minivan rental with driver to visit the less known beaches and everything you want to see in Phuket without limitations. With full descriptions, my considerations, some suggestions, all the pros and all the cons of each tour and direct links to check prices and easily book online by credit card.

Pileh Secret Lagoon and Phi Phi Island Day-Trip from Phuket

Pileh Secret Lagoon and Phi Phi Island Day-Trip from Phuket

Photo Credit: Amazing Canoeing

What Are the Best Excursions and Guided Day-Trips from Phuket?

The 8 Best Tours and Guided Day-Trips from Phuket

What are the best guided tours from Phuket? Is it better to go to Phi Phi Island, Racha Island or Phang Nga Bay? Which of these islands is best for snorkeling? Are you wondering which is the most beautiful and best organized day-trip to see the famous Maya Bay and Bamboo Island, leaving from Phuket in the morning and returning in the late afternoon?

  • I have selected tens of tours and day-trips from Phuket organized by locally based travel suppliers and sold online, and have chosen 8 different tours.
  • These are not the only ones you can book but in my opinion they are among the best and most complete guided day-tours in Phuket available on the market.
  • All guided tours are described below, in a very detailed way, with my considerations, some suggestions and all the pros and cons of each tour. Have a look and see if there is a tour you like.
  • You can book all these tours easily by credit card through GetYourGuide and Viator. For the great majority of tours you get instant confirmation, while for some, tour confirmation is subject to availability and will be given within 48 hours of your booking.
Phi Phi Island Low Cost Tour: Budget Boat Day-Trip to Maya Bay and Phi Phi Islands from Phuket

Phi Phi Island Low Cost Tour: Budget Boat Day-Trip to Maya Bay and Phi Phi Islands from Phuket

Photo Credit: The Bangkok Post

Phi Phi Island Low Cost Tour: Budget Boat Day-Trip to Maya Bay and Phi Phi Islands from Phuket

Are you in Phuket and want to go to the famous Phi Phi Island for as little money as possible? Are you willing to endure some small discomfort? Is it not a problem for you if the excursion lasts many hours, if there are many people on the boat, if the lunch is not that great, and if the snorkeling equipment is a bit old? If the answer to all these questions is yes, the tour proposed here is absolutely one of the cheapest to visit Maya Bay and the Phi Phi Islands from Phuket. The program includes transfers from and to your hotel in Phuket, the boat tour to Phi Phi Island with stops in both Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh islands, the visit (perhaps a little quick) to the famous Maya Bay, at least one stop for snorkeling and a stop at Monkey Beach or one of the other beaches of Phi Phi Don. Sometimes the tour includes a stop at the Khai Islands, but the magnificent Bamboo Island is only rarely visited.

Please keep in mind that this budget-friendly Phi Phi Island boat tour from Phuket, as well as ALL the cheaper excursions to Phi Phi Island, are proposed by intermediary agencies in Phuket or Krabi, which then pass the booking to one of the companies that actually operate the speedboats. Sometimes you book for very little money and that’s fine with you because you happen to be with the right supplier. Other times, you might be less lucky and the boat tour, while still beautiful and interesting, will not be free from some flaws.

Two last notes. Firstly, the best time to enjoy the excursion to Phi Phi Island from Phuket is from the end of October to mid-April when the chances of rain are low and, above all, the sea is calmer. I have often been to Phi Phi Island even in August during the peak of the monsoon season, but I remember very well the long waves, sometimes 4 or 5 meters high, that form in the afternoon outside the sheltered Tonsai Bay in Phi Phi Don. Secondly, Maya Bay has finally reopened to visitors after being closed for several years. However, during the low monsoon season, there is still a 2-month ban on disembarkation and access. In 2022, the affected months were August and September. If Maya Bay is not accessible on foot, it is generally still possible to admire it from the sea and obviously from a little further away.

Snorkeling Tour, Phi Phi Island, Thailand

Snorkeling Tour, Phi Phi Island, Thailand

Photo Credit: GetYourGuide

  • Pick-up and drop-off: included by all hotels in Phuket.
  • Duration of the tour: boats generally depart between 9 and 9:30 am and return between 4:30 pm and 5:00 pm, but pickups can also start as early as 2 hours before, and sometimes you don’t return to the hotel before 7 pm – this is a long day.
  • Guide: guides and crew speak English.
  • Tour features: both the transfers and the boat excursion to Phi Phi Island take place in a group with other participants, generally (but not always) the boats used are larger (capacity of 40-50 people) compared to those used by more expensive tour companies.
  • Price: includes transfers from and to the hotel, boat tour to Phi Phi Islands, lunch with water/soft drinks, snorkeling equipment; usually not included the National Park Fee for access to Maya Bay which will be paid on site.
  • Pros: the cost is much lower compared to other Phi Phi Island tours organized directly by more reputable and appreciated boat tour companies.
  • Cons: sometimes more than 2 hours pass between when they pick you up at the hotel and when you embark, and the same on the way back, this not only due to the distance of the marina from the beaches where the hotels are located, but also because the coach makes numerous stops to pick up participants from various hotels, don’t worry and stay calm. At Maya Bay the stop is often very brief, and due to the likely crowds at the floating pontoon where you disembark/re-embark, you will have very little time to enjoy the beach properly. If the boat used for the excursion is one the larger ones it will not be able to enter the magnificent hidden lagoon of Pileh in Phi Phi Leh island, in this case to access the lagoon you will have to pay extra for a longtail (a smaller boat). In this kind of tours, often and willingly at the end of the excursion, tipping is often demanded with great insistence and not particularly polite manners.
  • Good to know: at the time of boarding in Phuket, they will probably offer you to buy expensive sandals to avoid getting hurt on corals/sea urchins, but they are not always necessary. If you don’t want to make a mistake, buy them the day before in one of the many shops in Patong, Kata or Karon, where they cost less than half the price. If your excursion stops at one of the Khai Islands, be aware that it is strongly influenced by the tide. With high tide, the beach is not bad, but if the tide is low, snorkeling is often impossible, and you may be stuck for more than an hour on a small beach where the only bar sells everything at very high prices. Lunch in one of the restaurants of Phi Phi Don island takes more than an hour, precious time that you could use to sunbathe or swim. Even if lunch is included, it’s not a drama if you lose it, especially if you consider that you are only staying in Phi Phi Islands for a few hours. Instead, bring some snacks so that if you like the beach where you stop for lunch, you can eat your snack directly on the beach. You will eat more for dinner once you return to Phuket.
  • Recommended: if you want to visit Maya Bay and Phi Phi Island while spending as little as possible.
  • An alternative tour: a budget-friendly excursion, very similar if not identical to the previous one, from Phuket to Phi Phi Island is also offered by Viator | Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Lay, Khai Nok, Khai Nui Islands Snorkeling Tour from Phuket; except for any sudden changes, the national park entrance fee is not included, transfers are included from hotels in Patong, Kata, Karon, and Phuket Town, with a supplement expected for hotels on all other beaches; compare prices and book with whoever inspires you the most.
Phi Phi Premium Tour: Maya Bay e Bamboo Island Boat Tour from Phuket

Phi Phi Premium Tour: Maya Bay e Bamboo Island Boat Tour from Phuket

Photo Credit: Amazing Canoeing

Phi Phi Premium Tour: Maya Bay e Bamboo Island Boat Tour from Phuket

This is probably the best and most well-organized of all the excursions from Phuket to Phi Island. It includes everything – the bay of Loh Samah, the magnificent Maya Bay, and the hidden lagoon of Pileh, Monkey Beach, and sailing along the coast of Phi Phi Don. Additionally, it takes you to the magnificent Maldivian beach of Bamboo Island, which has blue and transparent water, but is not always included in the itineraries of other companies. On the way back, a stop is often made at Rang Island for a last swim and snorkel before returning to Phuket. The tour is carried out in small groups, using some of the most beautiful motorboats available in Phuket, and the level of service offered is generally excellent. The lunch and snorkeling equipment are also of good quality. The local supplier is Amazing Canoeing, who actually manages the tour.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: included by all hotels in Phuket.
  • Duration of the tour: pick-ups start between 7 and 8 depending on the location of the hotel, and after a small refreshment, the boat departs from the Phuket Boat Lagoon Marina at 9:30 and returns at 17:00. Usually, you are back at the hotel around 18:30.
  • Guide: guides and crew speak English.
  • Tour features: this is a premium tour, the type of boat used and the level of services are higher compared to less expensive tours.
  • Price: includes transfers in Phuket, the speedboat tour, visits to Bamboo Island and the islands of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh including the entrance ticket to both Maya Bay and Bamboo Island, buffet lunch with water and soft drinks and a refreshment, as well as snorkeling equipment.
  • Pros: the reduced number of participants, generally no more than 25 people, allows for faster management of land transfers and a better enjoyment of the cruise from Phuket to Phi Phi Island.
  • Cons: the quality of services on these more expensive tours is certainly high, but the fact remains that once you arrive to Phi Phi Island, you find yourself with hundreds and hundreds of other tourists sharing the same beaches and spaces at the same time. If you really want to fully appreciate the many magnificent coves of Phi Phi Don Island, and visit Maya Bay and the secret lagoon of Pileh at their best, then the only solution is to stay in Phi Phi Island for 2 or 3 nights, and then rent a private longtail boat to tour the islands, deciding where and how long to stop at each beach.
  • Good to know: on most speedboats, there is a small space at the bow with a capacity of no more than 4 or 5 people. It is the best place to stay as you can sunbathe and admire the scenery much better than those who sit inside the boat. This is especially true during the dry season from late October to April. The excursion operates year-round, and the beaches where you stop are decided by the captain based on the sea and wind conditions.
  • Recommended: if you are looking for the best among all the boat tours that go from Phuket to Phi Phi Island.


Phi Phi Island Amazing Canoeing Tour Map

Phi Phi Island Amazing Canoeing Tour Map

Photo Credit: Amazing Canoeing

  • An excellent alternative tour at a generally lower price: another highly rated company that organizes small group speedboat excursions to Phi Phi Island from Phuket is V. Marine Tour, which can be booked with GetYourGuide | Phi Phi & Bamboo Islands: Premium Day Trip w/ Seaview Lunch. The tour includes return transfers from all Phuket hotels, transportation by speedboat, visits to Bamboo Island, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh including the famous Maya Bay, the hidden lagoon of Pileh and Monkey Beach, snorkeling equipment, national park entrance ticket, and lunch, which, if things haven’t changed, is served at a great hotel on Laem Thong Beach along the eastern coast of Phi Phi Don island. Reviews are excellent. The same trip can also be booked at a lower price but without the inclusion of the national park entrance ticket at Viator | Phi Phi Islands Adventure Day Trip with Seaview Lunch by V. Marine Tour
HYPE Boat Club: Coral Island & Racha Island Luxury Catamaran Tour from Phuket

HYPE Boat Club: Coral Island & Racha Island Luxury Catamaran Tour from Phuket

Photo Credit: HYPE Boat Club

HYPE Boat Club: Coral Island & Racha Island Luxury Catamaran Tour from Phuket

An excursion unlike any other. Probably the most beautiful and exclusive of all tours from Phuket, at least if you are looking for crystal-clear sea and and want to go snorkeling. And the uniqueness here is not only the destination of the day-trip, the two magnificent islands of Coral Island and Racha Island, with their white sandy beaches and stunning waters.

The novelty here is the concept, which is that of a cool and sophisticated beach club, except that instead of being on a beach, you find yourself aboard a sailing boat. And what a vessel it is. A magnificent 22-meter catamaran, beautifully furnished, with ample space, a covered area with tents if you want to stay in the shade, and large sunbathing poufs if you prefer to tan. There’s a bar and a DJ with music, and the atmosphere on board is extremely different from what you can experience on other boats.

But what’s the itinerary for the tour? Right after boarding, a welcome cocktail is offered, at 11:30 you set sail towards Coral Island, the navigation lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes during which a buffet is served, with Thai dishes, sushi, and tapas. From 12:45 to 14:00, relax, sunbathe and swim on the beach of Coral Island, followed by 1 hour and 15 minutes of navigation to reach Racha Island. From 15:15 to 16:30, you have time to enjoy the beautiful sand of Racha and go snorkeling, the sea here is fabulous. Then 2 hours of navigation to return to Phuket, disco music on board, strobe lights, and everyone dancing. During the navigation, you can choose to stay on one of the shaded sofas or on the poufs at the bow of the catamaran. The vessel sails both with the wind and motor.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: you can decide to book only the cruise and reach the boarding point on your own, or for just a few extra money, include transportation from and to your hotel. In this case, the exact hotel pick-up time will be communicated to you the night before after 7:00 pm, once the company has the complete booking situation.
  • Duration of the tour: if things haven’t changed, you board at 11 am, and the boat departs at 11:30 am, returning to Chalong pier at 6:30 pm, for a total of 7 and a half hours tour plus transfers.
  • Guide: on board, the crew speaks English.
  • Tour features: luxury catamaran sailing/motor cruise.
  • Price: it includes a welcome cocktail upon boarding, a buffet lunch with bottled water and soft drinks, seating on shared daybeds on the catamaran deck, towels, and a fruit snack during the return navigation to Phuket, as well as snorkeling equipment. Alcoholic beverages, champagne, spirits & cocktails are available for an additional fee.
  • Pros: the tour departs from Chalong, which compared to other marinas is not only easily accessible from Patong, Karon, and Kata, but also allows for a shorter sailing time to the islands, maximizing the time spent on the beaches of Coral Island and Racha Island. The spaces on board the catamaran are ample and the level of service and quality of the buffet are of a very high standard. In a single tour, you will see what are considered the two most spectacular islands and beaches located closest to Phuket.
  • Cons: I would say no one, this is one of the most beautiful and well-organized tours in Phuket, and even the price, although not cheap, is not excessive. The only thing to highlight is that when the boat is fully booked, the maximum number of expected passengers is 75, the spaces on board, although ample, may be less comfortable.
  • Good to know: the captain decides the itinerary based on the wind and sea conditions. While Coral Island is usually included as it is closer to Phuket and more sheltered, sometimes Racha is replaced by (the beautiful) Maiton Island or some other islet in a more protected location, especially during the monsoon season between May and October.
  • Recommended: the atmosphere on board is young and lively, this tour is perfect if you like loud music, having a cocktail, maybe even two or three, and above all, partying.
Speedboat Tour & Canoe Excursion to Stunning Phang Nga Bay from Phuket

Speedboat Tour & Canoe Excursion to Stunning Phang Nga Bay from Phuket

Photo Credit: Amazing Canoeing

James Bond Island, Koh Panyee Village & Koh Panak Caves: Speedboat Tour & Canoe Excursion to Stunning Phang Nga Bay from Phuket

Located 25 km north-east of the north-eastern tip of Phuket, over 50 km from Patong and the most popular tourist beaches, Phang Nga Bay offers an unusual and extraordinary spectacle of large limestone islands covered of jungle, rock pinnacles rising from the sea, rivers bordered by mangrove forests and fishing villages built on stilts. One of the most beautiful and unexpected scenery in Thailand and in the whole of Southeast Asia.

Phang Nga Bay is one of the most classic tours you can do in Phuket, there are dozens of agencies offering tours, and almost all of them include the three great attractions of the bay. The most famous is James Bond Island, known locally as Koh Tapu, it is here that some of the key scenes of the film Agent 007 – The man with the golden gun were filmed. The most surprising is Koh Panyi or Koh Panyee, an incredible village inhabited by Muslim fishermen and built largely on stilts, with many small restaurants serving fish, in fact it is here that the vast majority of agencies provide lunch. Then there is Koh Panak or Phanak Island with its sheer cliffs, a small sandy cove and a cave that gives access to a surreal and hidden lagoon among the mangroves. On the way back, a stop is usually made on the beach of Lawa Island or Naka Island, for swimming before returning to Phuket.

This is not the cheapest, and at the same time not the most expensive of the tours from Phuket to Phang Nga Bay. It is certainly one of the best organized, the actual supplier is the appreciated V. Marine Tours based at Royal Phuket Marina, they directly operates the cruise, reviews on TripAdvisor are excellent.

Koh Panyee Village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Koh Panyee Village, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Photo Credit: Hotels.com

  • Pick-up and drop-off: already included by all hotels in Phuket.
  • Duration of the tour: the boat departs around 9 am and returns around 4:30 pm, and if you add one to one and a half hours (depending on the location of your hotel) of transfer time to reach the pier, and the same amount of time on the way back, it’s about 10 and a half hours for the excursion.
  • Guide: the driver for transfers and the guide on board the boat speak English.
  • Tour features: group tour.
  • Price: includes transfers from/to the hotels, the boat tour in Phang Nga Bay including the national park entrance fee, lunch with water and soft drinks, a snack and the guided canoe trip to the caves.
  • Pros: the overall organization of the excursion is excellent, with well-prepared guides and crew, and the boats are among the best available in Phuket. The quality-to-price ratio is very good. 
  • Cons: the limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay are very popular, and the most crowded one, also because it is the smallest, is James Bond Island. You can expect a multitude of boats, tourists, and souvenir stalls, so it’s better to know this beforehand to avoid being disappointed.
  • Good to know: the Phang Nga Bay is not the ideal place to go snorkeling or even swimming, at least for all the islands located within the inner part of the bay. Although the marine scenery is superb, the water is not clear enough. If you want to swim and see fish and coral, this is not the best excursion to book.
  • Recommended: if you want to get up close and personal with one of the most sensational and awe-inspiring landscapes in Thailand and the entire Malacca Peninsula, then this tour is perfect for you.
  • An alternative tour with transportation to Phang Nga Bay by land: while the majority of tours to Phang Nga Bay include a land transfer and subsequent boat ride directly from the eastern coast of Phuket, this tour offers a different program. You don’t embark in Phuket, but you arrive at the bay by minibus, with the opportunity to visit the picturesque Monkey Cave at Wat Suwan Kuha along the way, featuring one of the biggest reclining Buddha statues of all Thailand. Then, once you reach Phang Nga by land, you board a longtail boat and explore the bay. Here’s the link to investigate GetYourGuide | From Phuket: James Bond Island Excursion by Longtail Boat. Keep in mind that the price is attractive, but you will spend 2 hours each way on the minibus, certainly less pleasant compared to the tours where you embark in Phuket and have more time available to spend on board the boat. Lunch is scheduled late, around 2 pm, so bring some snacks with you.
Phang Nga Premium Tour: Luxury Catamaran & Kayak Including Lunch & Dinner Day-Trip from Phuket

Phang Nga Premium Tour: Luxury Catamaran & Kayak Including Lunch & Dinner Day-Trip from Phuket

Photo Credit: Seanery/Andaman Passion

Phang Nga Premium Tour: Luxury Catamaran & Kayak Including Lunch & Dinner Day-Trip from Phuket

Do you want to visit the magnificent Phang Nga Bay in the most comfortable way? Enjoying every moment of your day? Traveling aboard a very luxurious and spacious motor powered catamaran? With the bar, deck chairs and sofas on the upper deck and very comfortable daybeds on the lower deck where to lie down and sunbathe?

The luxury cruise proposed by The Seanery/Andaman Passion is by far the best tour, there is no other boat and no other tour that from Phuket takes you to visit Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island with more style and comfort. What awaits you are magnificent sceneries, some of the most beautiful in all of Thailand.

The cruise leaves in the late morning, as soon as you get on board a welcome drink is served, in a few minutes of navigation you will reach Naka Island with time available for swimming, if you want you can use the paddle boards for free. At around 1.15 pm there is a buffet lunch, at 2.30 pm you reach Hong Island, exploring the caves by canoe and skirting the large limestone cliffs covered with jungle. At 4.30 pm after most of the tourists have already gone, you visit the famous James Bond Island, where some scenes of Agent 007 – The man with the golden gun were filmed. At 5:30 pm the return begins, while you admire the suggestive landscape of the bay at sunset dinner is served, at 6:30 pm the DJ puts on music and lights, of course you can dance if you want. Once disembarked, a minivan will take you back to the hotel.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: hotel pickup is always included for all hotels in Phuket. It takes place 1-2 hours before the catamaran departure time, depending on where your hotel is located. You will be informed of the exact time the day before. Please wait at the lobby entrance and show the confirmation email/voucher to the driver.
  • Duration of the tour: cruise lasts about 7 and a half hours plus the time dedicated to transfers, so you should calculate a total of at least 10 hours, just to be safe.
  • Guide: guides and crew speak English.
  • Tour features: luxury motor catamaran cruise.
  • Price: includes transfers in Phuket, catamaran cruise, buffet lunch with Thai, Chinese, and Japanese dishes, dinner (often with chicken steak & spaghetti), fruit, water, and fruit juice, coffee and tea, use of kayaks and paddle boards, guided canoe tour in collaboration with Sea Cave Canoe, WiFi on board, and entry to the national park.
  • Pros: departure time is more relaxed compared to other tours, so you don’t have to wake up at dawn; the good level of onboard catering and the usually excellent organization of both the entire tour and the guided canoe excursion; both lunch and dinner are already included in the price; the super comfortable boat with ample spaces to admire the panoramic view of the bay without being cramped; the timings are never too tight for the trip.
  • Cons: the only downside is the high price, which may not be affordable for everyone. However, it is justified by the many things already included in the package.
  • Good to know: the island of Hong mentioned in the tour description is located in the westernmost area of Phang Nga Bay, about halfway between Panak Island and James Bond Island. It should not be confused with the Hong Islands located not far from Krabi on the opposite side of the bay.
  • Recommended: if you don’t mind missing out on the charming fishing village of Koh Panyi, which is always included in other Phang Nga excursions, then this tour is perfect for you. It prioritizes comfort, onboard life, and the ability to eat well while staying comfortable and relaxed.
Phang Nga Bay Amazing Canoeing Tour Map

Phang Nga Bay Amazing Canoeing Tour Map

Photo Credit: Amazing Canoeing

  • Another option: a different company that organizes tours from Phuket to Phang Nga Bay while guaranteeing a high level of service is Amazing Canoeing, which offers two tours. The first one is with the classic large 2-deck Thai-style boat, see Viator | Phang Nga Bay Sea Cave Canoeing & James Bond Island w/ Buffet Lunch by Big Boat; and the second is by speedboat, please see Viator | James Bond Island w/Canoeing and Lunch by Speedboat. The latter is obviously more expensive, but it allows you to have more time on the islands inside the bay. Both tours include hotel transportation, a cruise in Phang Nga Bay, one or sometimes two canoeing sessions at Panak and Hong Islands, a visit to James Bond Island, some relaxation on Nakae Island’s beach, park entrance fees, and lunch. If you choose the speedboat tour, the beach where the stop is made is the beautiful Naka Island instead of Nakae, and there is also the interesting Panyee Island with the village on stilts, where lunch is served in a restaurant. If things haven’t changed, the boarding is expected at Ao Por Pier, 45 km from Patong and 50 km from Kata Beach. The part of the tour that is carried out in a canoe is always managed in collaboration with the very talented guys from Sea Cave Canoe.
  • And if from Phuket you also want to visit the Hong Islands archipelago of Krabi: Amazing Canoeing also offers a speedboat tour which, in addition to the classic stops in Phang Nga Bay, includes the fabulous beaches and bays of the Hong archipelago near Krabi, here is the link to investigate Viator | James Bond & Hong Island (Krabi) Snorkeling & Canoeing Trip w/Lunch by Speedboat. Just be aware that the excursion is not only very expensive, but involving several extra miles of sailing, it may be a bit tiring.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary: the Best Tour to See Elephants in Phuket

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary: the Best Tour to See Elephants in Phuket

Photo Credit: Phuket Elephant Sanctuary:

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary: the Best Tour to See Elephants in Phuket

Located in a hilly area covered with jungle in the north-east of the island, Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is considered the most respectful of all the ethical elephant sanctuaries in Phuket, National Geographic mentioned it. It was founded by Montri Todtane in 2016 in close collaboration with Sangduen Lek Chailert, the director of the acclaimed Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, the first and most celebrated of all elephant conservation projects in the whole of Thailand.

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary rescues and houses sick, injured and aged elephants who have spent their entire lives working in the logging and tourism industries. It is the final resting place where rescued elephants have the freedom to move, bath and socialize freely. If you want to observe elephants up close but are attentive to ethical tourism, there is no better place to go in Phuket.

At Phuket Elephant Sanctuary the elephants roam free, nobody forces them to do anything that doesn’t come naturally to them, and apart from a brief initial interaction when you offer the elephants some food, in a dedicated and safe area, the rest of the tour proceeds with the pure observation of the elephants, remaining at a respectful distance. You will see them wandering, bathing, feeding and fraternizing with each other, without human interaction. The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary measures over 30 acres and can be visited by taking the longest canopy walk in Thailand, 600 meters long, suspended 6 meters above the ground, built during the Covid, perfect to see the elephants up close without causing them the slightest nuisance.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: you can choose to meet at the park office, or for a small additional fee include hotel transfers. I recommend the latter option.
  • Duration of the tour: if things haven’t suddenly changed, the program starts at 9:30 with a meeting at the Paklok Park Head Office. From there, you are transported to the Tree Top Reception inside the sanctuary, where a short documentary is shown. Then there is a close encounter with the elephants at the time of feeding, followed by a guided walk along the suspended walkway with ample time available to see the elephants roaming free in the reserve. At the end a typical Thai vegetarian/vegan lunch is served, and within 1 pm return to the Paklok Office, making for a total of 3 and a half hours inside the park plus time devoted to any necessary transfers.
  • Guide: guides speak English.
  • Tour features: this is a group tour, both the transfer and the visit take place together with other participants.
  • Price: includes a guided tour of the sanctuary, a welcome snack with coffee, fruit and juice, lunch, mosquito spray; if you have selected the transfer, the cost also includes transport in air-conditioned vehicles from and to your hotel.
  • Pros: it seems that here the elephants are really well taken care of, and apparently, no one forces them to do anything they don’t want to do. This sanctuary offers a more peaceful and contemplative experience compared to other elephant parks, making the excursion to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary perfect if you are traveling with young children.
  • Cons: none, the only thing to consider is that if you are looking for close interaction with elephants, if you want to touch them and bathe with them, then this is not the best tour.
  • Good to know: bring your passport, or at least a picture of it on your smartphone, as it is usually requested for insurance purposes. If you decide not to use the transfer, you will need to take a taxi or your rental car to the Elephant Sanctuary Head Office located in Paklok, from where you will be transported inside the park. For safety and insurance reasons, there is no public access to the sanctuary. Here, the elephants roam completely free. Guests in wheelchairs are welcome, and like any other visitor, they can enjoy the feeding time, which takes place in an area near the reception. Electric golf carts allow access to almost every corner of the park.
  • Recommended: to everyone, but especially to families with very young children, accepted at any age.
  • Tours that involve a much more engaging interaction with elephants: I have thought a lot about whether to include these tours, because apart from the name, they are not really ethical at all. Unlike the program proposed at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, both of these tours include a very close experience with the elephants. You walk beside them, pet them, wash them, and even bathe with them. In practice, the elephants are not free to behave as they wish, but are constantly guided by humans in their activities. The first tour is GetYourGuide | Phuket: Elephant Save & Care Program Tour, which includes a visit to either the Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary or the Elephant Retirement Park Phuket. The latter is owned and operated by the Chiang Mai park of the same name, and the total duration of the tour is about 4 and a half hours, with 2 hours of elephant interaction. The cost always includes transfers from and to your hotel, entrance, activities inside the park, and lunch at the end of the tour. The reviews are truly enthusiastic. The second one is GetYourGuide | Phuket: Ethical Elephant Sanctuary Interactive Tour, which includes a visit to the Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary. The total duration of the tour is about 5 and a half hours, with almost 4 hours of elephant interaction. In addition to bathing with them, you also take a walk in the forest. The cost always includes transfers from/to the hotel, access and activities inside the park. Another tour with excellent reviews.
The Best of Phuket: Half-Day Guided Tour to Visit the Best Attractions of Phuket Island

The Best of Phuket: Half-Day Guided Tour to Visit the Best Attractions of Phuket Island

Photo Credit: YourTour Desk

The Best of Phuket Tour: Half-Day Guided Tour to Visit the Best Attractions of Phuket Island

Yeah, Phuket is famous for its beaches. But there’s more to Phuket than just the beaches. And, anyway, there are also other beaches in addition to the one of the hotel where you stay. And if you want to get an overview of Phuket this is the right tour, for the reason that it takes you to see some of the most beautiful viewpoints of the island and its most interesting attractions along the coastal road. In this way you can get an idea of the different areas of Phuket, including the most famous beaches, from Patong, to Karon to Kata Beach. And all at an extraordinarily attractive price.

Highlights of the tour are the Karon Outlook, the most famous of Phuket’s viewpoints with a stunning view of Karon and the two beaches of Kata; the great Buddha 45 meters high on the hill above Chalong Bay; the Thai-style temple of Chaithararam also known as Wat Chalong and which constitutes the most photogenic and interesting of the temples in Phuket; ending with the real great attraction of the day, the wonderful Old Phuket Town, full of colorful colonial-style buildings and charming streets, small shops and intriguing cafés, Thalang Road is a must-see.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: included for all Phuket hotels and resorts located in the central area of the island, including the beaches of Patong, Karon and Kata and surrounding areas.
  • Duration of the tour: approx. 5 hours.
  • Guide: English speaking driver and guide for the shared group tour; the private tour is also available in German, Spanish and French.
  • Tour features: you can choose between the very cheap group excursion together with other participants, with an excellent quality/price ratio; or the much more expensive private tour, which in my opinion is not worth the cost.
  • Price: includes transport from/to your hotel and a guided tour of Phuket Island, including entrances to the Big Buddha and Wat Chalong temples.
  • Pros: the extremely affordable price of the group option; visit the most classic attractions of Phuket without having to think about how to get there and without having to interact with greedy local taxi drivers.
  • Cons: expect the usual waste of time on departure and return in picking up/dropping off the other participants at different hotels, which is typical of all shared tours; the time allowed for each attraction is obviously limited but this is most noticeable in the Old Town of Phuket, if the place intrigues you, you can eventually go back alone in the late afternoon and then dine on the spot, there are numerous small restaurants; the visit to the cashew farm is a bit of a waste of time instead, and could have been avoided.
  • Recommended: if you want to get an idea of what there is to see in Phuket other than the beaches.
  • The private basis tour option: a tour of Phuket and its attractions by private car with a driver/guide totally reserved only for you, this is the link to investigate Viator | Premium Private Phuket Key Viewpoints & Attractions with Local Guide; the tour includes visiting the Big Buddha, Wat Chalong, the usual cashew farm and two of the most famous viewpoints of the island, Karon Viewpoint and Windmill Viewpoint, the latter with a glorious view of the underlying Ya Nui Beach, one of the most beautiful secret coves in all of Phuket.
Phuket As You Want: Car or Minivan Rental with Driver to Visit the Lesser Known Beaches of Phuket

Phuket As You Want: Car or Minivan Rental with Driver to Visit the Lesser Known Beaches of Phuket

Photo Credit: GetYourGuide

Phuket As You Want Tour: Car or Minivan Rental with Driver to Visit the Lesser Known Beaches of Phuket

This is a really cool tour. Or rather, it’s not quite the classic tour. No organized excursion with a guide and a pre-established itinerary but the pure and simple rental of a private car or a minivan with a driver to take you wherever you want. The driver picks you up at the hotel and you tell him where you want to go. If you’re going to Phuket and don’t wish to drive a car or motorbike yourself, this is the best opportunity to discover some of the most beautiful beaches and coves on the island, from Banana Beach to the intimate Laem Singh Beach north of Patong, to the magnificent Freedom Beach and Ya Nui Beach south of Patong, real gorgeus beaches if you don’t have a private vehicle it becomes difficult to reach. By renting a car or minivan for 8 hours, you have time to visit at least two beaches, enjoy the sand and the swim, and perhaps pop into Phuket Town before returning to the hotel.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: departure and return directly to your hotel.
  • Duration of the tour: Phuket is big, and to see something, renting a car makes sense if you do it for a minimum of 6 hours, even better for 8 hours if you want to see at least two different beaches and enjoy them properly for a few hours.
  • Guide: no guide, only the driver.
  • Tour features: private service with car or minivan reserved only for you in total exclusivity, you decide the departure time.
  • Price: includes transport by car or minivan with a driver, depending on the number of participants, for the number of hours booked; fuel is included.
  • Pros: the price is fully acceptable for a family of 4 people and becomes extraordinarily convenient if you travel with a group of friends and there are at least 6 or 7 people; the cost per person is almost negligible.
  • Cons: you do NOT have a guide, as some reviewers of this tour expected, and don’t even expect the driver to speak English well. Maybe you’re lucky and find a driver you can communicate with, but usually in Phuket, drivers only speak a minimal amount of English, a few basic words, still enough to understand each other and be taken where you want.
  • Recommended: if you don’t intend to drive yourself, neither a car nor a motorbike, but still want to tour the island and discover its most beautiful beaches and coves.
Kata Noi, Kata Beach and Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Kata Noi, Kata Beach and Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Photo Credit: Viator


  • Before booking please read the full description of the tour you like in the official page of Viator and GetYourGuide carefully, please check what is included and what is not, meeting points, times of departure and cancellation policies.
  • After booking, if you have any queries or doubts, immediately contact Viator or GetYourGuide customer service in order to receive assistance.
  • Shortly before the excursion you will usually be contacted with an email or a message on your phone by the organizer. But if not, you, at least the day before the tour, reconfirm the tour with the local supplier, it is always very wise do so, with the exact place and time of departure/pick-up. Maybe your hotel can help.
  • Read the reviews. If the majority of the reviews are positive that’s a good thing. And always check all the info you read here in the official page of each tour, things change and the official site provides the latest updates.

Published: February 19th 2023

Front cover photo credit: Loh Samah Bay and Maya Bay, Phi Phi Leh, Phi Phi Island, Thailand by GetYourGuide, a big thanks for this great shot! Photos taken from official Tour Company and Hotel Websites are Copyright © All Rights Reserved.