All of these towns offer package day trips to all the local tourist sites that you can buy on every street corner to places like James Bond Island. Every one trying to get you to join their tour. You see photos of places like Maya bay that was the location of the Hollywood movie "The Beach" That secret isolated beach that no one knows about. Except that is everyman with a boat in a hundred mile radius is offering a Phi Phi snorkeling tour here and your trip to the beach that no one knows about?? Well only you and the rest of the Asia.
Ok so that is not always the case but for the month from November till April its standing room only and the bay so full of boats you can walk from one side of the bay to the other from boat to boat and any attempt at snorkeling will have you run down by several hundred visiting speed boats before you have taken you first breath. James Bond island is better as the locations are smaller and more spread out. So the boats are in many different sightseeing locations that even in the height of the season its not too bad.
Now moving on....There are some great hidden locations around. Thailand Phuket especially being in a perfect location has literally hundreds of islands close by. Many of these are like the photos you see of Thailand. White empty beaches and clear blue waters. There are actually far easier to get to than you think. Any GOOD Phuket dive shop will have trips to these isolated places as divers like to be away from the crowds so they can explore. Just pop into any Phuket dive center and if they are a good one then they easily get you on a small boat to a place like Khai island or Chicken island or any of the other dozens of lesser known islands.
This applies to other areas too. There are many quieter towns and villages all over the island. Places like Rawai, Nai Yang or Kamala which are small beach resorts which have all you need including the peace and quiet. They are on the beach and still are with in reach for all the Phuket snorkeling tours and all the other attractions too.
The small villages like Kathu are just a small taxi ride over the hill from the main party town of Patong and all its attractions but are a total contrast. So laid back that I doubt its reached the 20th centuary yet let alone the 21st. Its full of nice restaurants, cafes and small bars. Local guest houses and family run hotels. They have small street markets where you can buy an evening snack and fresh fruit drinks.
You can spend hours just wandering around and exploring all the small stores that just spill out into the streets. There is all manor of food available, all freshly cooked and you just buy something and eat as you go.
All of these small villages are just crammed with interesting things to see. In these small villages the prices are half that of the bigger towns and the people will just chat to you and tell you all you need to know without wanting money for something. Most are just happy you are taking an interest in their home town.
As you wander around you will find small bands playing traditional Thai music rather than the bars of the resorts thumping out and western music at ten thousand decibels. There is dancing in the streets and all manor of entertainments.
The real island of Phuket Thailand is only just a stones throw from these big resort towns if people just take the time out to go and explore. Many building decorated with life size paintings and just many other odd things to find if you just the time out from the madness of the tourist towns.
The best way to find these places is just to ask. Talk to people like the long term Phuket scuba diving instructors as these are the guys and girls who have been there for a long time and are not interested in the bars and clubs other than for a special occasion. Most will live in the villages like this as they like to have a good day out on the ocean ( or under it) and then relax in the warm tropical evenings away from the masses. They have been here and done the exploring already and picked the best places for themselves to live. Ask a long term instructor and they can give you far more than just tips on scuba diving Phuket and all the other locations. The island of Phuket Thailand has so many hidden gems if people look to see where the tourists go and then head the other way.