The beautiful island of Phuket lies to the south west of Thailand in the clear blue Andaman ocean. The tropical island paradise of Phuket Thailand is now become a tourist hub with many hotels and guest houses to suit all budgets. For those looking to explore Thailand Phuket is a prime location as from here the rest of the country is within easy reach. Most of the popular well know places are all available and within easy reach.
Many people come to Phuket for a variety of different reasons. As many know the diving in phuket is second to none and those wanting the best diving phuket is the number one base. There are other islands and sights that are known around the globe such as James Bond island which was the setting for the Bond movie "The Man With The Golden Gun" Then there is Phi Phi island and Bamboo island Thailand which was the location of the Hollywood movie "The Beach" Others just come for the miles of white sandy beaches and warm tropical seas, beach side cafes and bars.
But we are here to look at Phuket snorkeling and the best locations. There a variety of snorkel tours phuket has to offer. From the 15th of October until the 15th of May each year then the Similan islands are open. The similan national park is closed for six months each year to help preserve the idillic islands. The most popular way of getting to see the most of the Similans is a snorkel trip done by speed boat. These tour take you from the mainland in Khao Lak out to the first snorkeling location which takes around 1.5 hours. The similans islands are stunning, white sandy beaches, clear light blue water and shallow coral reefs. The speed boat tour takes you to four of the best locations in the national park. Lunch is served buffet style or depending on the tour or on the beach of one of the uninhabited islands. This is a day trip where are camera is a must. Either take a water proof bag or case both for the snorkeling and just as protection from any spay. You will want to take the camera in the water as the fish and underwater life is some of the best you will find anywhere in the world.
Next up we have the Phi Phi Bamboo tour. This tour takes in a few popular spots. Namely Bamboo island thailand which is normally a 45 minute stop. This is a small island no more than 1minute walk from side to side but it does mean you can snorkel around the island with ease. Then there is Mosquito island. This is due to the size of the islands and not that its got mosquitos. Lunch is normally on Phi phi Don which is the main island. Then onto Monkey beach where you a chance to meet the locals. As the boat comes in the monkeys come from the trees in hope of getting a banana or other free food. Be warned having it in your back pack will not make it safe. The monkeys have seen enough tourists to work out how to open bags. Then on to Maya bay. This is "The beach" for a last stop before heading back to Phuket. be warned over the Christmas and New year holidays this tour is very busy so booking in advance is a must. This also applies to Chinese new year too.
This can be booked almost anywhere these days. Hotels, guest houses, tour booths and just from a stall on a street corner. However it is far better to go to a dive shop phuket has many as they will make sure the trip is a safe one. There are many trips all different prices but the price reflects the safety standards. Qualified boat drivers costs money, qualified guides cost money and snorkeling instructors cost money. The cheap tours still have the same fuel costs, same mooring fees so the only way they can be cheaper is to cut other things.
There is great local tour that is a half day tour or full day as you please. Its to a place called Khai island. This is about 15 minutes off the Phuket coast be speed boat and is ideal for a lazy day on a quiet beach. Great for high season to get away from the crowds. The other great thing about its location is you can really make the most of your holiday as it can be done as a morning or afternoon tour. So if you have an evening flight then you can still spend the morning here or if you arrive before mid day then you can still have some great snorkeling the afternoon.
Next is the Racha Islands. These two islands lie to the south of Phuket Thailand and the bonus here is most phuket diving boats go here for the divers. These dive boats also have a cheap rate for non divers or snorkelers. These big boats are far better than the small cramped speed boats. The dive boats do it in style. They have a chef on the boat who cooks your breakfast and lunch for you as well as an afternoon snack too. The boats have a sun deck, a cool saloon and plenty of space to move around. Tea and coffee as and when you want plus sodas and cool beers too.
Racha Noi is uninhabited and offers great snorkeling as its normally avoided by all the speed boats as its further away. The divers however want the better locations. Again whiter sandy bays and shallow hard coral reefs. Here you can in you are lucky get the Whale shark and the Manta Ray too. Most dive boats do two locations here before moving to Racha Yai for the third stop. Both islands are perfect as they have great sites on both east and west coasts. For Phuket thats perfect as the weather either comes from the west between May and October (green season) and from the east from October till May so all year there are protected sites. These dive boats tend to be cheaper as well as they make their money from divers and the snorkeler price is so divers and non divers can still spend the day together. The food is better too and far more of it as divers tend to be hungry when in the sea all day Just as you will be snorkeling.
There are a couple of things to be aware of when in phuket snorkeling. Snorkeling tours can be booked almost anywhere these days. Hotels, guest houses, tour booths and just from a stall on a street corner. However it is far better to go to a dive shop phuket has many as they will make sure the trip is a safe one. There are many trips all different prices but the price reflects the safety standards. Qualified boat drivers costs money, qualified guides cost money and snorkeling instructors cost money. The cheap tours still have the same fuel costs, same mooring fees so the only way they can be cheaper is to cut other things. The dive boat option is by far the best for families or for people when can not swim or are weak swimmers. Dive boats have many instructors onboard who are all trained in rescue. Dive boats also have oxygen and people trained to use it. But most of all they have a tour leader who can watch you at all times plus a qualified captain and several boat boys and a chef. All of these people will be on the boats when you are in the water. There are also life jackets for all.
So as you can see there is some great phuket snorkel tours available. From the Similan islands to Phi Phi and the rest. If you are still stuck for what to do in phuket then there are trips to Krabi too. The snorkeling in and around Phuket Thailand is some of the best you can find anywhere and its with in easy reach of everyone.