Written by Administrator
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:17
Bungalows on Islands Surrounding Phuket
Looking for a romantic escape?
Here they are, and there are many to choose from.
Want to get away from all the tourists and discover paradise on a remote and quiet little island? Yes, there are many beautiful little islands out there… with a room for the more adventurous traveller willing to take the trouble of finding them and discovering how to get there.
It’s not so difficult, but of course you just have to know where and how. Here are some hints from someone who has spent years running around the region shooting photos for PHUKET Magazine, and has been to virtually all of them (John E.).
First we suggest you take a look at our map of the greater Phuket area in the Andaman Region, and take particular notice of the bay of Phang Nga, with its many islands, and the islands further south, including Phi Phi, Racha, Lanta and, Mai Thon. We will divide the area into two general sectors: islands in the Bay, and islands further to the south in open waters. The islands in the Bay offer spectacular geography and fabulous scenery in all directions, but the water in the bay is generally not clear and not ideal for swimming or snorkelling. The islands out in the open sea are washed by deep, clear waters, and most offer fabulous swimming, snorkelling and diving, though the scenery is not always as stunning.
The one pair of islands that have it all are the Phi Phi islands, for here the Phang Nga-style, vertical rocky mountains rise directly from crystal seas. So while Phi Phi qualify as the most breath-taking islands in the region, they are also on tourism’s main highway, and it is difficult to find a quiet beach here.
Islands in the Bay with accommodation
Koh Yao Noi
Of the two large islands right in the middle of Phang Nga Bay, Noi (little) is the top one. It is also closer to the famous vertical mountains, and has the best choice of accommodation, with four establishments down the East coast. This island is rustic, with a small town in the middle and only scattered huts on other parts of the island. There is a network of tracks around the island that serve as roads.
Furthest north is Ban Tha Khao, owned by the family of Mut, one of the local managers of Sea Canoe, the original canoeing company that discovered the now-famous ‘hongs’. They have a half dozen simple but adequate bungalows strung along a near-deserted beach, each with a little balcony, attached bathroom but no air-con. They have a basic restaurant. It is reached by taking the rough road up the centre of the island. Motorcycle taxis that wait at Koh Yao Noi’s main jetty can take one there. Phone the Sea Canoe company in Phuket for a reservation.
Further south is Koyao Island Resort, a more up-market set of rooms operated by a Frenchman. Just below this is the oldest establishment here, Long Beach Village, which has about 40 rooms in various states of repair, including a few air-con rooms, and a restaurant. Long-time manager Suthep is friendly, speaks basic English and is delighted to see every guest. Long Beach does not do much promotion, and is generally quiet or empty. This is PHUKET
MAGAZINE’s overnight stop when on shooting trips in the Bay.
On the little headland at the bottom of this same beach is Sabai Corner run by an Italian woman and her Thai husband. They seem to have enough word-of-mouth customers that they manage to do good business without any promotion, and are difficult to contact.
Koh Yao Yai
There is a new cluster of basic bungalows on the west coast of Koh Yao Yai. We will give more information about these after we visit them this season. They are quite new.
There is also a new bungalow resort on the west coast of Naka Yai, close to the top end of Phuket. Again, we will visit this and provide details in the future.
Out-of-the-way bungalows on the shore of Phang Nga Bay
One does not need to stay on an island to find a quiet and out-of-the-way little resort. There are a few on remote shores of the Bay.
Andaman Holiday Resort – an up-market exception This is no set of basic bungalows. Here is perhaps the only truly quiet and remote, up-market resort in Phang Nga Bay. On the eastern shore of the Bay, it offers easy access by boat to the delights of Phang Nga, while the visitor gets to return to a really comfortable room each night, and a quality, full-service restaurant.
Coconut Home Here we are back to the basic bungalow, set in a coconut and cashew plantation by a remote stretch of beach. There’s a great view of the Koh Pak Bia group of islands just off-shore. They run a pick-up service from Krabi town. It is very quiet. Prices run around 500 Baht per night, and less in the low season.
Laem Sak bungalows About a dozen very simple bamboo bungalows opened at the very southern-most tip of Laem Sak in the Northwest corner of the Bay in late 1999. At the time of opening they didn’t have a name and couldn’t give me a telephone number. Next
time I get back there I will check to see if they are alive and operating and
can be contacted. I have marked the location on our map. The price was 200 Baht per night when
Islands in the open sea with accommodation Mai Thon – beautiful and up-market
This is a full-service resort occupying its own island, a rare advantage in this area. The accommodations here are first class, and the beach and surrounding waters are idyllic. If you want something very comfortable, on its own island, with few people around, it’s hard to beat this. The island is small, and there are not many places to go, so this is for those who want a truly relaxing, do-little holiday.
Koh Racha, south of Phuket
On a clear day this island appears as a hazy hump on the horizon south from Phuket. It takes barely an hour for a speed boat to get there, or two for a long-tailed boat, which one has to rent privately to get there. It is quite hilly, with the boulder-strewn shores dropping into beautiful clear water. There are only two beaches, both at the northern end closest to Phuket. The one of these with water deep enough for boats to anchor is popular, with many visitors heading this way during the winter season. But most return by night, leaving the island for those few who stay in about three dozen bungalows here. All are rather basic, and prices are higher than elsewhere, usually about 500 Baht for the same simple bungalow that would cost 200 elsewhere. But the beach here is special….
The best quality bungalow resort on the island is found on the east coast, and can be reached with a half hour walk from the main beach, following a network of tracks through the coconut plantations. It enjoys a fabulous location on a hillside overlooking the sea, but has no beach. They specialise in diving, and have a full-facility centre run by a European divemaster.
Koh Lanta - a complete new destination
This large island in the south of Krabi province now has about 40 sets of bungalows, a few mid-range resorts and one beautiful 5-star resort on the mountainous, southern end. Turn to our page on Koh Lanta in this Accommodation section