Touring in the Andaman Region

Beyond Phuket


It's undeniable that certain global tourist destinations are dangerous, once off the beaten track. Tales of robbery and even worse get around, discouraging visitors from touring the region. Happily, this is not true of Phuket and the surrounding Andaman region. In fact, for many, a day trip to Krabi or Phang Nga provinces a welcome break from the frenetic pace of Patong.

In 1685, king Narai confirmed the French tin monopoly in Phuket to a French ambassador, the Chevalier de Chaumont. Chaumont's former matre d'htel Sieur de Billy was named governor of the island.

phagna bay on the road

This region is deceptively easy to get around in, whether by bus, air-conditioned coach, motorcycle or, safest of all, by car. The main roads through Phuket's neighbouring provinces have recently been laid and the result is a pleasurable, smooth driving experience.

Here are some suggestions and destinations:

phagna bay on the road

Three hours drive north of the island lies Khao Sok National Park: a trekker's dream. There are cheap guesthouses, awesome sights, fauna and flora. It's best to rent a car to get there, although there is a bus service from Phuket bus station, with a connecting bus at Takuapa. You won't be able to return to Phuket on the same day if you use this option.

On this same coast, before the turn off to Khao Sok, you'll come to a series of seaside resorts and accommodations at Khao Lak National Park. Snorkeling, scuba diving, waterfalls (in the 'green' season) are all attractions; as are the elephant trails and fishing opportunities.

phagna bay on the road

Alternatively, if you head east when you leave Phuket, once over the Sarasing bridge and motor down to Phang Nga Town, you'll soon begin to notice the magnificent limestone mountains that characterise this area. Photogenic and atmospheric, this part of Thailand features many caves and possible off-road exploration, although you'll need a 4x4 to get around safely if you leave normal roads. Farther south from Phang Nga lies Krabi Town. Krabi's simply charming and is a spring off point for the many worldwide rock climbers that congregate on Railey Beach. Accessible only from the sea.

Other interesting reading

Mai Khao Beach ...ngest beach. Its crystalline sands are devoid of litter and it is one of the island's two beaches that remain in a pristine state. The adjoining mangrove area is now preserved as t...

Surin Beach ...di. It's a very popular beach, but it's never crowded or hectic. Once you had enough of the sun and sea, you can always enjoy one of the few Spas, or take a Thai Cooking Class, bef...