exploring phuket by boat
Updated: Apr 6
Exploring Phuket on a day-long boat tour was by far the best day I had during my trip to Asia
A few weeks ago, I took a trip with my mother to Asia. Over the course of about 2.5 weeks, we visited Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore. We were in Thailand for the longest amount of time on the trip; we stayed in Bangkok for two days and Phuket for five.
Phuket was my favorite stop on the trip for a lot of reasons. For one, the landscape of Phuket was unlike anything I had seen before. I often spent days sitting by the pool and beach, staring at the massive limestone rocks that jutted out of the ocean in the distance. The weather was also fabulous during the week that we were there. Unlike the overcast, humid weather that we experienced in Hong Kong, Phuket was hot and sunny, perfect for hanging by the pool and relaxing between the other urban destinations we had lined up on our itinerary.
The main reason why Phuket was my favorite stop, however, was because of our day-long boat excursion; from taking a plunge in the sea amidst the large limestone rock formations to KAYAKING through caves inside the rock formations to even visiting "James Bond Island," an island famous for serving as a backdrop to the 1974 James Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun," it was an incredible day.
We started our morning by meeting the crew at the docks and going over our itinerary for the day. The company that our hotel set us up with was called Andaman Leisure Phuket Co.. It was fun to see and meet the other tourists who would be spending the day with us. The crew also seemed super friendly and enthusiastic about the day ahead. I was a little bit groggy after having to wake up earlier than my usual vacation sleep-in time, but I knew my mom and I were about to embark on a great adventure.
The first stop happened on our way to exploring the caves. The crew let us hop in the water and choose from an array of water sports and toys, from water hammocks to paddle boards (what I went with) to other pool floaties. After being in the hot sun for a few days, it felt amazing to dip our toes in the cool water and float in what seemed like the middle of nowhere.
Then, came my favorite part: KAYAKING through caves! At first, my mom and I were a little bit claustrophobic about going through these dark and ominous caves. However, often on the trip when I felt nervous about going outside of my comfort zone, I kept thinking about how this was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity and I would regret not taking the plunge during times like these. Hopefully these next photos will give you an idea of some of the incredible sights we were able to see.
Members of the tour company paddled us in our individual kayaks so we could enjoy the sites. We were grateful for them, because otherwise I don't think we could have made it farther than five feet from our main boat! While we were out exploring, it was fun to watch other people enjoy the sites in their respective kayaks and find smaller details that made us smile, like the dozens of tiny crabs we kept finding, clinging onto the bottom of the limestone rocks.
The last stop was one everyone on the boat was dying to get to: James Bond Island. It took quite some time to get to the island itself, and if it weren't for some of the other tourist boats that could be seen off in the distance, it truly felt like we were heading towards a deserted island. As we started to approach the island, I felt more and more tempted to ask the crew to switch our Bob Marley soundtrack out for the James Bond theme song. The scenery made me feel like I was in a real-life James Bond film.
Eventually, the boat came to a halt. We were told that we could not take the big boat that we were on and dock it on the island. However, they had long-tail boats that we could ride on that were ready to go; although the idea seemed picturesque at the time, I'll be 100% transparent with you—it was hot as hell on those boats!! We of course had to wear life vests the whole time, and we had to sit on the boats in the hot sun until the entire boat had been transferred onto the smaller long-tails.
Despite the intense heat, it was obviously a very small price to pay for the fantastic day that we experienced. However, if you are planning to do a long boat trip like this one day, I would definitely recommend bringing sunscreen, clothing made of light materials and plenty of water, if your boat does not provide any.
Here's a picture from an iconic scene in "The Man with the Golden Gun." Notice the tourists at the bottom of the photo posing! Although I could have probably spent the day on this stunning island, unfortunately we had about a half an hour to take our pictures and walk around the island.
As I was walking towards the other side of the island, I saw this amazing spot to take a picture. As I handed my phone to my mom to take the shot, one of the kind crew members offered to take my picture...and he did not disappoint! I think he took a total of 8 different pictures, directing me on where to look, how to pose; he even took a panoramic shot! Here's one of my favorites that he took below:
I mean...this guy should be a professional photographer haha! Anyways, I had a great time exploring this island, taking pictures and watching the other tourists laugh and enjoy themselves with their families.
As the tour came to a close, we finished off the night with a sunset dinner. The sky was full of brilliant pink and purple hues and the food tasted great after a very long day in the hot sun and on the water. Things particularly got interesting when it became dark outside; the crew hired a DJ to play party music downstairs, and I happened to enter the party as he started to play a remix of "Old Town Road!" It was surely an evening to remember.
Are there any tours that you've been on that have stood out to you over the years? If so, I'd love to hear more about them! Please feel free to reach out to me in the comments section of the site or DM me on Instagram.