What makes Phuket even more attractive beyond its own beauty and charm, is the plethora of incredible places for weekend jaunts. Phang Nga Bay is no secret with its primordial limestone cliffs. The bay is also home to stunning islands such as Koh Phi Phi, Koh Yao Yai/Noi, and many smaller islands for snorkelers and scuba divers to explore.
Across Phang Nga Bay is the Krabi coast punctuated by towering limestone cliffs where rock climbers from around the globe test their mettle. Twenty-five kilometers east from Sarasin Bridge is the Samet Nangshe viewpoint with a commanding view over Phang Nga Bay. The west coast north from the bridge has long stretches of nearly pristine beaches, large sections of which are deserted.
An easy hour drive north from the bridge delivers you to Khao Lak – a mellow tourist town with lovely beaches (of course) and a mountain backdrop sporting refreshing waterfalls. A little farther northeast leads to Khao Sok National Park, a true natural wonder of jungle trails and a head-spinning diversity of plants and animals including the world’s largest flower. It’s also home to Lake Cheow Lan where a rugged landscape was dammed and flooded which now has shores teeming with wild elephants, Asiatic black bears, gibbons, and all colors of tropical birds.
Finally, we would be remiss not to mention the Surin and Similan Islands famous for awe-inspiring coral reefs and marine life. Fortunately, the park service has begun limiting the number of people who can visit daily to help protect the fragile ecosystem from being loved to death.
Kho Yao Noi/Yai
Part of Phuket’s allure lies in the unique, beautiful destinations that are easily reachable from the island. One such destination is the island duo of Kho Yao Noi and Kho Yao Yai which lie 15km offshore right in the heart of one of the world’s natural wonders – Phang Nga Bay.
Small and large longtail boats, and speedboats go to and from Bang Rong Pier about 20km from Zenithy. Larger boats will even carry small motorcycles which happens to be the ideal way to explore the islands. While Phuket offers all the metropolitan trappings of modern life, the Koh Yao Islands make for a convenient getaway to knock the pace of life down several notches.
Koh Yao Yai is the larger of the two, but less developed while Koh Yao Noi offers accommodation from basic bamboo bungalows to renowned 5-star resorts and everything in between. There are no bad views, but the island’s east coast gazes out upon the primordial grandeur of Phang Nga Bay’s limestone escarpments. Wake early and behold an astounding sunrise to the song of the iconic hornbill.
Fishing is the inhabitants longtime specialty and excellent seafood can be found here. Besides exploring jungled trails to isolated beaches, visitors can enjoy kayaking through lively mangroves and visiting world-famous nearby dive sites.
From Zenithy Villas, Bang Rong Pier in Pa Klok is the main departure point for boats to the islands. Boats leave every 1-2 hours with the last one of the day leaving at 5:40pm. Alternatively, large vehicle ferries are available at the Ratsada Pier located in Koh Sire. There are typically four ferries per day to and from Koh Yao Yai, but it’s always a good idea to check ahead as schedules can change with demand.
Boat Schedule from Bang Rong Pier: 093 757 7090
Boat Schedule from Rassada Pier: 025 088 772
79/30 Moo. 4, Pasak Soi 8, Baandon-Chengtalay Road, Chengtalay Sub-district, Thalang District, Phuket Thailand