11 Destinations And Islands Around Phuket To Visit Now With Kids

The Ultimate Guide To Destinations Around Phuket

Islands And Destinations Around Phuket

Thailand is usually at the top of a family’s travel bucket list. The international airport connects to major cities worldwide and is located in the north of the island, close to Sarasin Bridge, the gateway to the mainland. Phuket is the ideal hub for exploring its outlying destinations and beautiful islands for a day trip or longer.

Thailand is known for its sheer Instagrammable natural beauty with pastel-colored shophouses, palm-fringed white sandy beaches, jungle landscapes, and busy markets selling unusual wares. The coastline has many intriguing fishing villages where you can explore local markets and dine on the freshest seafood in beach hut restaurants. There’s also a heartwarming collection of ethical elephant rescue sanctuaries dotted across the country.

Little Steps has curated the ultimate guide to the best destinations for families wanting to explore further afield. You’ll find spectacular ideas for day trips to world-famous places perfect for family fun, adventurous teens, and mixed-aged families.

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  • Phang Nga guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Phang Nga Bay: 1.5-2 Hours By Ferry Or Speedboat From Phuket

    James Bond Fame

    Found in the Strait of Malacca, Phang Nga Bay is between the mainland of the Malay Peninsula and Phuket. Phang Nga Bay is best known for its towering limestone karsts, James Bond Island, jungle-shrouded mountains, caves, meandering rivers, colorful temples, and breathtaking hidden bays. Turn up the volume and listen to Lulu’s ‘the man with the golden gun’ as you voyage through the breathtaking landscape comprising castle-like spires that hide secret crystal-clear turquoise lagoons. Not far from Phuket, families can make their way to this spectacular bay by boat to explore the rich land and waterscapes in the protected Ao Phang Nga National Park. Journey by rickety long-tailed boats, luxury yachts, or kayaks to discover myriad native wildlife amidst the endless mangroves and sea-level caves, which are home to mysterious bats, bevies of wild otters, odd-looking mudskippers and wild crab-eating macaque primates. Khao Chang, an elephant-shaped mountain, is the beloved symbol of the province. There are plenty of Instagrammable moments as you zip between the karsts and enjoy the cooling shade of the cliffs. John Gray’s Sea Canoes operate various tours through the islands. Explore Koh Panyee, the floating village established at the end of the 18th century by nomadic Malay fishermen. It has its own football club and a sparkling golden mosque.

    Phang Nga Bay - Book One Of These Family-Friendly Tours:

  • Khao Sok guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Khao Sok National Park: 2-3 Hours By Car / Taxi From Phuket

    Unbeatable Nature

    Koh Sok National Park is home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world and home to many rare species, including wild elephants, The Malayan Sun bear, marbled cats, over 300 species of birds, and the largest, stinkiest flower in the world, the Rafflesia Kerrii which only grows in Khao Sok. Explore the breathtaking Cheow Larn Lake in the heart of the national park and its floating raft houses and luxury tents. Breathe in nature at its best, hike through the jungles,  seemingly endless caves, and cooling waterfalls, or discover the waterways in a traditional long-tailed boat. Located on the mainland in Surat Thani between Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, and Koh Samui, Khao Sok is guaranteed to leave you with endless memories you’ll never forget. The national park hosts several tours to ensure you make the most of your time in this beautiful location. Whether you stay for one night or 10, there are endless nature-based adventures for you and your family to enjoy.

    Where To Stay In Khao Sok National Park?

  • Similan Islands guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Similan Islands: 1.5-3 Hours By Ferry Or Speedboat From Phuket

    Unimaginable Turquoise Waters

    The 140 square kilometer Similan Islands Marine National Park is an archipelago of 11 islands in the Andaman Sea just off the coast of Phang Nga Province. Mainly water, it boasts smooth granite islands topped with rainforest, edged with glaringly white sandy beaches, and fringed by colorful coral reefs. Soft corals and abundant fishes attract snorkelers and divers alike. The Surin Islands are an archipelago of five islands within Mu Ko Surin National Park. You'll have the opportunity to spot large pelagic species like manta rays and whale sharks, particularly between February and April. The islands close during the rainy season, and the park authorities limit the number of visitors that visit to protect the environment. The marine life diversity of the islands is one of the best in the world, with almost 300 species of reef fish and 107 known birds. The beautiful Surin bent-toed gecko is an endemic species only found on these islands. You'll also find the clouded monitor and water monitor lizards in the Similan Islands. The main characteristics of the islands are the impressive rock formations, giant boulders, shallow waters, and dense tropical forests.

    Similan Islands - Tours To Book That Are Family-Friendly:

  • Koh Phi Phi guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Koh Phi Phi: 1.5-2 Hours By Ferry Or Speedboat From Phuket

    The Beach

    The breathtaking archipelago known as Koh Phi Phi, pronounced pee-pee, is home to abundant coral and marine life, limestone mountains with cliffs, caves, and endless white sandy beaches. It is believed that Phi Phi was one of the oldest communities in Thailand, dating back to prehistoric times. When approached by boat, the islands seemingly rise from the sea as an impenetrable stronghold. The towering cliffs are met by powdery beaches and swaying palm trees. There are two main islands, uninhabited Koh Phi Phi Leh and popular Koh Phi Phi Don; both have incredible scenery. In 2000 Maya Bay became famous for its appearance in the film, 'The Beach', starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s since attracted millions of visitors, ultimately leading to its closure in 2018, only to be reopened to limited tourists in early 2022. It’s easy to reach Koh Phi Phi from Phuket or Krabi for a day trip, or you can stay a little longer to recharge and explore and stay in Zeavola, a gorgeous green-inspired resort on Laem Tong Beach. You can even read the late general manager’s Little Green Book, which talks of his adventures in setting up the forward-thinking sustainable resort. If you want to see monkeys, you can take a boat trip to Monkey Bay, but leave them alone; they are notoriously cheeky and have a penchant for all things glittery, food, and even cameras.

    Best Family-Friendly Boutique Hotels And Resorts In Koh Phi Phi:

  • Koh Yao Noi guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Koh Yao Noi: 30-45 Minutes By Speedboat From Phuket / 1.5-2 Hours By Ferry From Phuket / Longtail Boats Available From Bang Rong Pier

    Life As It Used To Be

    Nature lovers will fall in love with the peaceful island of Koh Yao Noi. Home to the glorious Six Senses, where nature is your playground with the world’s most spectacular seascapes. The green-inspired hotel boasts every shade of blue with impressive sea views. Circumnavigate the island in a traditional tuk-tuk or boat and experience firsthand what it’s like to live as a local fisherman, coconut, or rice farmer while staying on the island. The resort even has a Junior Eco Warrior Program where the kids can meet chickens and ducks, collect their eggs, and plant seeds that grow into lush flavorsome herbs that are later harvested for cooking. Koh Yao Noi is home to over 160 species of birds, including over 100 pairs of black hornbills; it's a favored island for migrating birds that settle for a few days before continuing their journey. Across the island are a few waterfalls which are most impressive after the rains. Various viewpoints afford mesmerizing views as you take pictures for your enviable Instagram feed. Life is slow in Koh Yao Noi, and a good reminder of Thai life a century ago, you'll find the fishermen's wives selling their daily catch at the side of the road, basket weavers, and farmers harvesting rice and coconuts.

    Best Family-Friendly Hotels In Koh Yao Noi:

  • Khao Lak guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Khao Lak: 1-1.5 Hours By Car Or Taxi From Phuket

    Low-Key And Relaxed

    If you prefer low-key, chilled-vibed, nature-inspired holidays, then Khao Lak is for you! A short hour’s drive from Phuket, it’s an ideal base for exploring endless white sandy beaches, national parks, the Surin and Similan Islands, Phang Nga Bay, and other areas of interest; Khao Lak is an uncrowded destination enveloped by wild natural beauty. The expansive coastline of almost 25 kilometers is peppered with little towns, traditional Thai bungalows, and luxury hotels with breathtaking views across the sparkling turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. Home to various elephant sanctuaries, one of the oldest rainforests in the world, and cooling waterfalls, there is truly something for every age group. The two main areas, Bang La On and Bang Niang are perfect for exploring local markets, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Each Sunday evening, you can wander the vibrant night-walking street market, which lines the streets of pretty Sino-Portuguese buildings. If you are a keen diver or snorkeler, the Surin and Similan Islands are just two hours from Khao Lak by boat. The islands afford some of the best diving in Thailand, with visibility of up to 30 meters. The national marine park protects them. Adventurous families will love the 'Little Amazon,' a boat trip that takes you deep into the mangroves and along a river fringed with ancient banyan trees that grow along the banks and are home to many animal and bird species. The community-focused boat trip is likened to exploring the Amazon rainforest in South America. You can also hike the meandering trails to various waterfalls in Khao Lak Lamru National Park.

    Best Family-Friendly Hotels In Khao Lak:

  • Krabi guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Krabi: 2-3 Hours By Car Or Taxi Or Boat From Phuket

    The Most Beautiful Beaches In The World

    Considered some of the best and most beautiful waters in the world, Krabi is an outdoor lover’s wonderland with jungle trekking, rock climbing, diving, and snorkeling on your doorstep. The deliciously crystal clear jade waters teem with endless varieties of soft and hard corals and fishes. Where ever you lay your towel, you’ll enjoy gorgeous views across the Andaman Sea on beaches in the shadows of towering limestone cliffs and dense jungle. Ao Nang Beach is the go-to beach, particularly as the sun lazily dips over the sea each night. You'll find long-tail boats lined up on the shallow shores, ready to whisk you away for some island-hopping adventures (130, to be precise!). Railay Beach is accessible by boat and is hugely popular for rock climbing. The small town has ample restaurants and back-packer-inspired accommodations in typical bungalows or dorm-style rooms. Nopparat Thara Beach offers a peaceful respite from the busy streets of Ao Nang; it needs to be developed, so remember to take your own beach chair or mat. Koh Lanta is one of the most popular islands in Krabi. There are many hiking trails, beautiful beaches, and heaps of outdoor activities. Phra Nang Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, with overhanging rocks, icing-sugar-soft sand, verdant jungle, and Phra Nang Cave located at the end of the beach. If you have the energy, climb 1,237 steps to Tiger Cave Temple, home to an enviable collection of Buddha statues and breathtaking 360-degree views. There are a couple of ethical elephant sanctuaries in Krabi but pay attention; those that offer to ride and bathe with elephants are not ethical!

    Helpful Guides For Visiting Krabi With Kids:

  • Natai Beach guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Natai Beach: 30-45 Minutes By Car Or Taxi From Phuket


    Just 30 minutes drive from Phuket, it feels like you are in another world. Dubbed the French Riviera of Thailand and the Hamptons of Southeast Asia, Natai Beach remains relatively undiscovered with its ridiculously beautiful white sandy beaches ornately fringed with swaying palm trees. Due to the strict building laws along the beach, there is a mere handful of low-rise boutique resorts, luxury private villas (check out some of the gorgeous villas in the perfectly curated collection by the Ministry of Villas), and high-end eateries. It's not unusual to have to beach to yourself save for a few local fishermen bringing in their daily catch. Natai Beach is ideal for a day trip if you fancy an uninterrupted sun-kissed day on the beach. Just off route 3006, a quiet road devoid of traffic is ideal for leisurely walks or bicycle rides through the friendly local villages. Bring your fins and mask and explore the colorful ocean’s coral reefs and plentiful multicolored fishes. Just a stone’s throw from Phang Nga, you can explore caves and endless islands by kayak or Khao Sok National Park. Discover the waterfalls for swimming and picnics along the tropical rainforest trails. The rainforest along this Thai-Malay peninsula has one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems inhabited by exotic plants and rare birds. Adventurous families will enjoy whitewater rafting on the fast-flowing rivers.

    Natai Beach - Places To Stay With Kids:

  • Coral Island guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Racha And Coral Island: 15-30 Minutes By Speedboat From Phuket

    Soft Sandy Beaches

    Known fondly by the locals as Koh Hae, Coral Island is just 6 kilometers from the southern coast of Phuket. The island is a popular destination for beach lovers and snorkelers to see parrotfish, butterflies, and elongated trumpet fish. Long Beach and Banana Beach are beautiful soft stretches of sandy beach. However, they can be crowded, particularly during high season, due to the number of tour boats frequenting the island. There are ample deckchairs and sunloungers along the shoreline and plenty of cheap and cheerful beachfront restaurants. Banana Beach is also accessible from a rugged jungle path. Parasailing, kayaking, banana boat rides and other exhilarating water sports are popular with visitors. For a peaceful moment or two, why not have a massage from one of the lovely Thai ladies that line the beaches with their massage beds?

    Racha And Coral Island With Kids:

  • Koh Khai guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Koh Khai Nai, Koh Khai Nui, and Koh Khai Nok: 20-30 Minutes By Speedboat Or 45-60 Minutes In Longtail Boat From Phuket

    Three Islands

    The three beautiful islands are just 15 minutes from Phuket’s eastern coast. Being so close to Phuket, the islands can get crowded, especially on clear sunshiny days! Koh Khai Nai, Koh Khai Nui, and Koh Khai Nok have incredible white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters home to schools of brightly colored and curious fishes. Postcard perfect, the beaches are interspersed with sun loungers and umbrellas, beach bars, and little Thai restaurants or hawkers that wander up and down the beach selling fresh tropical fruits such as pineapples and watermelons. There are also snacks like grilled corn and seafood skewers. Koh Khai Nui has no beach or facilities but offers excellent snorkeling opportunities.

    Family-Friendly Hotels In Koh Khai, Thailand:

  • Koh Lipe guide to destinations and islands around Phuket Little Steps Asia

    Koh Lipe: 5-6 Hours By Ferry From Phuket, 2-3 Hours By Speedboat

    Tiny Paradise

    In the far south of Thailand and close to Langkawi in Malaysia, Koh Lipe is part of the Tarutao Marine National Park, an archipelago of 51 islands, including Koh Adang, Koh Rawi, and Koh Tarutao. The island is so tiny you can reach most places within an hour's walk. Sunset, Sunrise, and Pattaya beaches are the three most popular on the island. In contrast, Bulow, Pitiusas, and Secret beaches remain virtually undiscovered. Sunrise Beach, as the name suggests, is hugely popular for early risers wanting to watch the sun rising over the Andaman Sea; it's bustling with long-tail fishing, diving, and tourist boats first thing in the morning, but once the crowds have left for the day, you'll have the beach to yourself. Pattaya Beach has many little restaurants and bars dotted along the shores of the walking street. There is a range of basic bungalows and upscale resorts on the beach if you want to stay a night or two. On the far west of the island is a secret beach that's only accessible by boat. It's easy to explore the other islands within the archipelago, negotiate with one of the long-tail boat captains and enjoy exploring; make sure to include Koh Hin-Ngamwhich which is covered in black stones made into little towers surrounded by all sorts of myths and legends; it’s a castaway’s dream! If you have an adventurous nature, wander along the beaches and into the tropical forests to discover freshwater lagoons.

    Family-Friendly Hotels In Koh Lipe:

Additional Info:​

Don’t forget to protect Thailand’s fragile ecosystems!

Don’t ride or bathe with elephants; it’s not ethical

Don’t feed the fish; it’s illegal

Don’t’ feed the monkeys; they can bite

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