PHANG NGA BAY, KRABI ISLANDS, KOH LANTA
To the northeast of Phuket, Phang Nga Bay is a cruising wonderland, filled with spectacular vertical rock formations containing hidden lagoons, while the Krabi Islands and Koh Lanta to the south offer similarly beautiful scenery and water but with fewer visitors.
Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay lies between the mainland and Phuket. Also known as Ao Phang Nga National Park, the bay is characterised by vertical limestone karsts, majestic rock formations, mangrove forests, small islands and coral reefs. Among the islands are Koh Tapu, known as James Bond Island following its appearance in The Man with the Golden Gun, while Koh Phanak is known for its caves and lagoons. Northeast of Phuket, Phang Nga Bay is ideal for a luxury charter cruise, with itineraries tailored for visits to the best destinations without the crowds, with the added luxuries of fine cuisine, cocktails on the deck and local insights as you explore one of the world’s iconic travel destinations.
The coastline of Krabi, east of Phuket, features hundreds of islands, mostly uninhabited, and a lure for visitors with their white-sand beaches, coral reefs and intricate cave systems. The Krabi Islands are south of Phang Nga Bay and north of the Phi Phi Islands, yet quieter than both while still offering picturesque landscapes and clear waters, ideal for snorkelling. Northwest of Ao Nang are the small but beautiful ‘Hong Islands’, which have spectacular beaches and hidden lagoons with shoals of colourful fish that literally eat out of your hand. Chicken Island (Koh Gai), named after the island’s distinctive rock formation, has steep cliffs at one end, while the other end features beautiful beaches along a peninsula that becomes a small island at high tide. Just 8km from Ao Nang, Koh Poda is a small island about 1km across, covered in palm trees and almost entirely circled by a soft white-sand beach, with a coral reef home to a variety of sea life.
Situated on Thailand’s west coast, south of Krabi, Koh Lanta Yai is located in the Andaman Sea, close to the mainland. Koh Lanta is delightfully exotic, due to its pristine beaches and balmy weather, and its more remote location away from the high-traffic hot spots. Lanta is an appealing alternative to Phuket and Phi Phi, and its friendly locals and unspoiled natural attractions are still its main attractions. Misty mountains abound, especially down south, while the island’s lush jungle, clean sandy beaches, pretty coral reefs and crystal-clear water make for a relaxing retreat.