"Trust me, it's paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience."
In 2000 Danny Boyle’s “The Beach” was released on the big screen and it was the first time I had ever seen the beauty of Thailand. The crystal-clear water, white sandy beaches with palm trees, the hedonistic lifestyle - it was where I wanted to be. In 2007 the dream came true. I moved to Phuket.
At first, it seemed like the perfect island, having an array of beautiful beaches and an exciting and sometimes crazy nightlife. For the first six months, I explored Phuket from east coast to west coast, from north to south and found it to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Yet it wasn’t until I took my first trip out on a traditional Thai Long Tail boat that I realized Phuket is one of the many beautiful islands within Phang Nga Bay.
Phuket is the gateway to over 100 islands, each one easily accessible by boat and offering something different, from perfect dive and snorkeling sites, long white sandy beaches for chilled-out lazing around, and some with shacks that serve fresh tasty local food. It was after my first trip out, that my eyes opened up to the place I now call home, and how beautiful it is. That's when island-hopping around Phang Nga Bay became my passion.
Each of the islands within Phang Nga Bay has its own uniqueness. There are the distinctive features of limestone formations that rise out of the emerald waters, the best example being Koh Ta-Pu (Nail Island) known to you and me as James Bond Island. One of the most famous islands in Phang Nga Bay, having been used as the backdrop for the 1974 James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun”, now due to its popularly, it is also one of the busiest islands.
you might have (what my 5-year-old daughter calls) “boat hair” but you will have memories that last a lifetime
I have two young children, aged 3 and 5 and they love the adventure of island-hopping. Spending time on different beaches, searching for shells or exploring the caves and jungles looking for hidden treasure chests. Once they get bored of one beach, a quick swim or a walk out to where the speed boat is moored and we are off to the next adventure. Yachting in Phuket with kids is a true highlight of living in this fabulous location.
Taking a private charter speed boat is your best option. Not only can smaller boats get closer to the islands; some can even get into hidden caves and secret lagoons, depending on the tide levels. Many of these charters can also be personalized, so if you wish to see just three islands or if you want a full-on day of visiting 20 islands you can.
Bristol Charter offers a wide range of quality and comfortable boats combined with an experienced professional crew. For the best island-hopping boat in Bristol’s yacht charter’s fleet, Infinity One is the perfect craft, a stylish 36-foot cruiser by Silvercraft. She can accommodate 10 people and is the perfect boat for a day island hopping for two families. The team at Bristol will bespoke your charter to make sure you get what you want. bristolcharter.net
Limestone Adventures offers an extensive fleet of luxury speed boats perfect for island-hopping and exploring Phuket's famous destinations including Phi Phi, Phang Nga Bay and Krabi. Feel like walking down a palm fringed beach, or wanting to go snorkelling or diving? Limestone’s expert private boat charter consultants will create the perfect day out for you. limestoneadventures.com
Tiger Marine have just purchased brand new award winning AXOPAR 28 Speedboat which is designed as the perfect island-hopping craft. Tiger Marine is a great option and you can choose from one of their preexisting routes or create your own itinerary. tigermarinecharter.com
Most Phuket yacht charters will have snacks and drinks on board, and offer picnics on the beach under the shade of a palm tree. Well if that is not idyllic then I am not sure what is. However, if picnics are not your thing, don’t worry as there are many islands with resorts and restaurants and just a talk to the charter staff before you head out and this can be arranged or try one of the many local shack style restaurants that have popped up on some of the islands. The food if mostly fresh and always tasty.
My family and I try to get out at least once a month to explore and find new islands to visit, new adventures to go on and new things to see and experience. Island-hopping is a full day, but coming back into the marina as the sun is going down and the sky oozes red and orange, you might be tired, you might have (what my 5-year-old daughter calls) “boat hair” but you will have memories that last a lifetime, and when you come back to Phuket and take another boating trip you will see new islands, have new experiences and new adventures.
Trust me, it's paradise.