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Find the perfect island for your next superyacht charter in Thailand

By Richard Watkins   7 November 2019

From Phuket to the Phi Phi islands, discover our pick of the best islands for your next Thailand yacht charter.

Thailand's long coastline along the Andaman Sea is dotted with numerous islands, each with their own character which means there's plenty to explore as part of a private yacht charter.

The clear, turquoise waters of Phang Nga Bay, sprinkled with towering green islands, are immediately inviting, with so much to see in such a relatively small area. The popular holiday island of Phuket makes an ideal starting point, while nearby are a variety of enticing islands, some well-known, other less visited.

From uninhabited islets covered in dense rainforest to idyllic tropical islands skirted by powdery white sands, and luxurious resorts providing every comfort, each day offers a new adventure.

Here we have selected seven of these remarkable destinations to save you asking yourself; 'Where should I go on my next yacht charter in Thailand?'

Phuket

Best for: Entertainment and nightlife

Temples in garden in Phuket, Thailand, with lily pond in foreground
Historic pink shop-house facade in Phuket Town, showing three blue shuttered windows
View of Kata Beach on Phuket, woth loungers and umbrellas looking towards the sea

The largest of Thailand's many islands, Phuket hosts a busy international airport, and is the departure point for most yacht charters along the country's Andaman Sea coastline.

Phuket is one of Thailand's most popular tourist destinations, with more than 30 stunning white sandy beaches, mainly on the west and south coasts, and lush rainforest covering much of the interior.

Whether you're looking for serene retreats, relaxing beaches, cultural attractions or party life, Phuket has something for everyone.

Phuket has a rich and diverse heritage, and Phuket Town, often overlooked by visitors, offers a fascinating glimpse into local history. Here you'll find grand 19th century architecture, Chinese temples, museums, lively street markets and the unique Sino-Portuguese shop-houses. It's also a great place to try the local Peranakan cuisine.

While you're in Phuket, don't miss the Big Budddha, also known as the Great Buddha of Phuket. The 45m-high marble statue is revered by local Buddhists and sits on a hill inland, offering 360 degree views taking in stunning Kata Bay on the west coast and Chalong Bay on the east coast.

Phuket's west coast offers plenty of water sports, too, such as kite surfing, wakeboarding, kayaking and snorkelling, while surfing is becoming increasingly popular.

Just off the east coast of Phuket, the little island of Ko Maphrao - also known as Coconut Island - offers a stark contrast to the busy mainland. It is home to The Village Coconut Island, a five-star resort worth visiting for its excellent restaurants and spa facilities, while it is also an ideal place to rest up either before or at the end of your yacht charter.

Koh Yao Yai

Best for: Tranquility and relaxation

Lying in the middle of Phang Nga Bay immediately to the east of Phuket, Koh Yao Yai, or 'Big Long Island', remains one of the least developed of the islands along this stretch of coastline.

Rubber plantations, coconut groves and fishing, rather than tourism, provide the main income sources on Koh Yao Yai but the island is also blessed with miles of soft sandy beaches, secluded coves and verdant forests.

The island hosts a small number of luxury resorts, including the Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa, which offers a convenient and tranquil introduction to the island for those visiting on a yacht charter.

Bring your tender into Santhiya's private jetty and sit down to lunch at the elegant Saaitara restaurant, which offers a menu of traditional Thai cuisine with stunning views across the Andaman Sea.

Try the beachfront Titan Grill for a more casual meal, relax beside the pool at the beach club or enjoy a rejuvenating massage at the spa.

At the northern tip of the island, Laem Had beach is a pristine curve of white sand framed by coconut trees, which is especially attractive at sunrise, while at the southern end, secluded Ao Muang beach is also worth seeking out.

Koh Yao Yai is also a great destination for scuba divers, with a number of excellent dive sites along the coast including a variety of reefs and the wreck of the King Cruiser passenger ferry off the southern coast.

Ko Yao Noi

Best for: Five star luxury

Ko Yao Noi is the smaller, but more developed, northern neighbour of Ko Yao Yai, famed for its photogenic golden sandy beaches, mangrove forests and exclusive luxury resorts.

Located on the island's east coast, Six Senses Yao Noi provides a memorable venue for lunch or dinner ashore. Sample authentic Thai cuisine at the beachfront Living Room or enjoy a very special private dining experience in the Hilltop Reserve villa with its breathtaking views across the bay.

The resort's spa village is the place to go if you're looking for complete relaxation. Unwind with a Thai herbal massage or a green tea body wrap, or perhaps join a class in the yoga pavillion.

The scattering of tiny uninhabited islands off the east coast of Ko Yao Noi form part of a national marine park, and are ideal for snorkelling. The main island, Ko Hong, is home to a variety of birds, monkeys and other wildlife, and is surrounded by shallow clear water filled with fascinating sea creatures.

Koh Phanak

Best for: Wild adventure

Densely forested and uninhabited, the small island of Koh Phanak is known for its intriguing sea caves and hongs - sinkholes within the cliffs, covered in plant life - that can be explored by kayak.

These 'secret gardens' are home to a variety of birds, lizards and other indigenous creatures and are a peculiar feature of the geology of this region of Thailand.

At the northern end of the island, Ice Cream Cave, so called because of its curious stalactite and stalagmite formations, can be entered by kayak or canoe at low tide and offers some great photo opportunities.

James Bond Island

Best for: Movie fans

Heading northwards from Koh Phanak, you will reach tiny Ko Khao Phing Kan and the distinctive 20m-high karst tower offshore, officially known as Ko Tapu. The 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed here, since when it has been popularly known as James Bond Island.

The one-time lair of Bond villain Scaramanga - which also featured in the 1997 Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies - is now a popular tourist attraction although boats are not allowed to approach Ko Tapu, to prevent damage.

Even from afar, though, it is still a remarkable sight and the clear waters around the island are perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

Ko Phi Phi

Best for: Snorkelling and swimming

Beach at Laem Tong beach, Ko Phi Phi, showing wooden rowing boat in shallow water, blue sky above
Conical green islet in shallow water of Loh Sama Bay, Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
View of the beach and shallow sea on Bamboo Island, Ko Phi Phi, with a female figure in the distance

Located southeast of Phuket, Ko Phi Phi is an archipelago comprised of two main islands, Phi Phi Don and the smaller and less developed Phi Phi Le, along with a handful of tiny islets.

The islands were brought to world attention by the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Beach, which was filmed on Maya Bay on Phi Phi Le. It's a spectacular location, although the beach is currently closed to visitors, to allow the fragile ecosystem to recover.

Phi Phi Don is famous for its idyllic sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, with several excellent sites for  snorkelling. Just off Laem Tong beach on the northern tip of the island, the 90m-long Hin Klang reef is one of the best, with a variety of colourful corals and fish species to discover.

On Phi Phi Le, Loh Sama Bay is a stunning site for snorkelling in the clear shallow water, while divers will enjoy exploring the deeper waters around the unusual conical island in the middle of the bay.

The main island, Phi Phi Don, is home to numerous hotels, resorts and restaurants and is known for its busy nightlife. If you're looking for somewhere quieter to step ashore, tiny Bamboo Island, off the north coast, is surrounded by idyllic sandy beaches backed by casuarina trees and bamboo. Snorkellers will enjoy exploring the extensive reefs which lie in shallow water just offshore.

Ko Racha Yai

Best for: Exploring underwater

A shallow turquoise sea with blue sky above at Racha Yai island in Thailand
Beach scene, Siam Bay, Ko Racha Yai, showing basic beach huts and palm trees facing the sea
Underwater view of three cuttlefish facing each other, off Ko Racha Yai

The small island of Ko Racha Yai lies in the Andaman Sea to the south of Phuket and is known as a prime diving and snorkelling destination, with a diverse choice of sites around the coast to suit all levels of ability.

There are four shipwreck sites along the east coast of Racha Yai, lying between 14m and 35m below the surface, which are now home to a wide variety of reef fish and other marine life.

Siam Bay, in the north of the island, is another interesting diving spot where divers can explore statues of elephants and a traditional temple gate that were deliberately placed on the seabed, at around 20m deep. Stingrays, cuttlefish and turtles can also be found here.

There are several soft sandy beaches where you can come ashore to relax, and shallow water where snorkellers can discover coral reefs and swim alongside colourful tropical fish.

Ko Racha Yai is also home to a stylish resort, The Racha, set on a picturesque stretch of white sand on the west coast. There are three restaurants to choose from and in the evenings you can enjoy a seafood barbecue on the beach.

The resort's Anumba Spa has been named one of the best in southeast Asia and offers an extensive menu of massages and body treatments designed to revive and refresh body and mind.

If you'd like to learn more, please get in touch with your preferred yacht charter broker

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