More remote destinations from Phuket include Koh Lipe, one of 51 islands in Tarutao National Park in the very south of Thailand, close to Malaysia. To the northwest of Phuket, there are the Similan Islands and, further north, the Surin Islands, both offering spectacular diving including shipwrecks.
Koh Lipe is a small island in the far south of Thailand, just 35km northwest of Langkawi in Malaysia. About 60km from Thailand’s west coast, Koh Lipe is one of 51 islands in Tarutao National Park, so there are lots of amazing coral reefs to explore. Dive sites include the 8 Mile Rock pinnacle and the Yong Hua Shipwreck.
Lipe has several nice sand beaches and offers a more chilled-out vibe than other popular west-coast islands. On the north coast is Bulow Beach, from where you can walk past Mountain Resort for a few hundred metres to find a tiny, secluded beach that offers great views of Koh Adang, a much larger island to the north. As the tide goes out, the beach triples in size, yet there’s still rarely anyone else around.
There’s another small, quiet beach on the far west of Koh Lipe, beyond the end of the road to Sanom Beach Resort, but you’ll need a kayak or longtail boat to reach it.
Koh Yang, west of Koh Adang, is about 30 minutes from Koh Lipe and another nice destination. The coral is quite shallow, 3-4m underwater, and the bay is well protected, so it’s a great spot for snorkelling and if you’re not a strong swimmer.
Finally, Koh Hin-Ngam, south of Koh Yang, is also worth a visit as it’s covered in black stones, unlike any of the beaches on Koh Lipe, and almost unique in the Andaman Sea.
The Similans are about 65nm northwest of Phuket in the Andaman Sea and an ideal destination for diving and exploring remote, desolated landscapes full of wildlife. Generally counted among the 10 most interesting dive areas in the world, this little archipelago has also become a favorite destination for yachts and tour boats.
Koh Similan, the largest island, is a good starting point, but all the islands are surrounded by shallow, crystal-clear waters with exciting rock formations and spectacular coral reefs. Many believe the marine life around the islands is unmatched in Thailand. But the most striking feature of these islands, at first glance, are the huge boulders that litter the western and southern shores on several of the islands. Another highlight, as the visitor soon discovers, are the white coral-sand beaches, splendidly picturesque and often deserted.
Yacht Sourcing crew will bring you to the best reefs and beaches around the islands for relaxing, snorkeling or diving. Depending on your preferences, Yacht Sourcing can create a tailor-made itinerary, while enriching your voyage with information about the area’s history, geography, climate, native inhabitants and animal life.
A further 100km north of the Similans is Mu Koh Surin National Park, an archipelago of five islands: Surin Nuea, Surin Tai, Ri, Khai and Klang. Like the Similans, it’s also about 60 km off the west coast of the mainland and offers excellent diving, snorkelling and fishing, as well as hiking.
The main island of Surin Nuea has several bays, the largest being Ao Mae Yai on the southwest, which features calm waters and safe anchorage. On the southeast side is Ao Luek, which has shallow corals and an abundance of marine life, while Ao Chak in the north has pristine coral reefs. Ao Mai Ngam is home to the National Park office and a walking path, and there’s good snorkelling and swimming off the beach. The island is also home to a community of Moken or ‘sea gypsies’.
Surin Tai is the archipelago’s second most visited island and draws snorkellers to its main bay, Ao Tao, in the east. Koh Ri, Koh Klang and Koh Khai (also called Koh Torilla) each feature beautiful reefs, with healthy live coral being particularly abundant off Koh Khai. The famed Richelieu Rock, a coral-covered pinnacle, attracts whale sharks and is a major drawcard for divers.
Discover Koh Lipe, Similan, Surin
Koh Lipe is in Tarutao National Park, about 185km south of Phuket, while the Similan Islands and Surin Islands are northwest of Phuket, both about 60-65km from the mainland.