The twin Phi Phi Islands lie 20 km southeast of Phuket, and are known for their beauty- deep blue seas, sunny beaches, and lots of greenery. An added attraction are the sheer cliffs rising high above the islands, from which are gleaned the birds’ nests used to make the Chinese delicacy of bird’s nest soup. Bamboo scaffolding rises up the sides of the cliffs and within the caves on the islands, and is used by locals to climb up and gather the nests. There is some bungalow accommodation on Phi Phi, so if you’d like to spend the night on the islands, you can.
Phang Nga lies to the east of Phuket, and is best known for the dozens of limestone cliffs rising straight and sheer out of the water. It’s a strangely beautiful place, one of its sights being a Muslim fishing village (inhabited by fishermen and sea gypsies) standing on stilts in the shallow waters by the beach. A river estuary with mangrove swamps is another of Phang Nga’s attractions.
To the north of Phuket lies a group of eight islands, known as the Similans, with the largest being the island of Miang (which is the only island on which there any form of dwelling- and that too is in the form of a camp site). The Similans and their surrounding waters have some beautiful, colourful coral formations, which are always an attraction for avid scuba divers. The islands are designated a nature park and fall under a protected zone.
Krabi though not too far from Phuket, is on the mainland. It’s one of the most lovely coastal areas on the Andaman coast, with its beaches, palm trees and towering cliffs. Krabi has some interesting caves (the most well known being the caves of Tham Lod and Tham Phi Hua To), besides a natural zone- the Bokkhorani National Park. Also part of Krabi is a unique feature- the Su-Saan Hoi `Shell Cemetery’. Krabi has accommodation to offer, including a deluxe hotel, so if you so wish, you can even spend the night there instead of simply making it a day’s excursion from Phuket.
South of Krabi lies the Tarutao National Park , which sprawls over 51 islands, with lots of greenery and beautiful views- both above as well as below water. The area has a lot coral formations- fortunately unspoilt and worth a visit.
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