From Phuket to Phi Phi Islands

Exploring the Phi Phi Islands with Simba Sea Trips

Embarking on a journey from Phuket to Phi Phi by speedboat reveals a world of unrivaled beauty and relaxation. 

phi phi island

With its crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and vibrant marine life, Phi Phi has become a must-visit destination for travelers jet setting to Thailand. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various options for traveling from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands. We will focus on the exhilarating speedboat experience, particularly highlighting Simba Sea Trips’ intimate boat tours. Discover the unparalleled beauty of Phi Phi Islands, embark on a journey of exploration, and create unforgettable memories with Simba Sea Trips’ unique offering.

Speedboat Excursions: The Ultimate Phi Phi Adventure

Embarking on a speedboat adventure from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands offers an experience like no other. It is unquestionably the most exhilarating way to explore this stunning region. Travelers can take advantage of the convenience of shorter travel times, allowing for more time to indulge in the island’s wonders.

Simba Sea Trips sets itself apart from the competition by offering intimate boat tours that depart before the crowds, ensuring a more exclusive and personalized experience. With smaller group sizes, guests can fully immerse themselves in the beauty of Phi Phi Islands, away from the standard tourist crush expected from an exploration of this idyllic region.

The Simba Sea Trips Difference 

Simba Sea Trips provides a truly exceptional experience when exploring the Phi Phi Islands. Our expert guides are passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience and ensuring guests have an unforgettable day. By traveling to the Phi Phi islands with Simba Sea Trips, visitors can enjoy a more intimate and immersive adventure.

The smaller boat loads offered by Simba Sea Trips allow for a more relaxed and comfortable experience. Travelers have ample room to enjoy the stunning scenery, soak up the sun, and capture picture-perfect moments. Moreover, the smaller group size enables more personalized attention from the guides, who are eager to share their insights and answer any questions that our guests may have.

Discovering Phi Phi Islands: Highlights and Experiences

Maya Bay shot from a drone above the limestone cliffs

Simba Sea Trips’ Phi Phi Islands tour takes you on a captivating exploration of the region’s most iconic sites. As you speed across the turquoise waters, be prepared to witness a panorama of breathtaking beauty.

Maya Bay

Begin your adventure by visiting the famous Maya Bay, known for its stunning natural scenery and as the filming location for the movie “The Beach.” Step ashore to walk on the powdery white sands and marvel at the rehabilitated bay while savouring the iconic surrounds .

Viking Cave

Get up close and personal with the Viking Cave – a fascinating limestone cave adorned with ancient rock paintings. Learn about the cave’s historical significance and the traditional harvesting of bird’s nests that takes place at this location.

Monkey Beach

Witness the playful inhabitants of Monkey Beach. Watch as these cheeky macaques cause havoc along the shoreline and interact with visitors, creating unforgettable memories.

Snorkeling in Phi Phi’s Pristine Waters 

Swim with the fishes as you immerse yourself in the underwater world of the Phi Phi Islands. Fitted out with snorkeling gear, guests can see first-hand the colorful coral reefs and the tropical fish that call it their home. Simba Sea Trips takes you to prime snorkeling spots, ensuring a memorable underwater experience.

Simba Sea Trips’ Commitment to Excellence 

Simba Sea Trips’ dedication to customer satisfaction ensures that each guest receives a memorable and rewarding experience. 

The knowledgeable guides, small group sizes, and attention to detail set our tours apart. By choosing Simba Sea Trips for your Phi Phi Islands adventure, you can rest assured that you’ll be embarking on an extraordinary journey filled with beauty, excitement, and unforgettable moments.

Embarking on a speedboat adventure from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands with Simba Sea Trips opens the door to a world of natural wonders and unparalleled beauty. 

Discover the highlights of Maya Bay, Viking Cave, Monkey Beach, and the vibrant underwater world through exhilarating snorkeling experiences. Simba Sea Trips’ commitment to a more intimate and personalized journey, provides you with the opportunity to immerse yourself fully in the Phi Phi Island experience. 


The Mystique of James Bond Island

A Jewel in Phuket’s Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay from the beach looking out to the prominent limestone rock feature

Phuket offers an array of breathtaking destinations, and none captures the imagination quite like James Bond Island. Nestled in the picturesque Phang Nga Bay, this iconic island has earned international fame since playing a starring role in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

Explore the enchanting allure of James Bond Island and embark on an unforgettable adventure with Simba Sea Trips’ Phang Nga Bay tour. Discover the island’s natural wonders, relive cinematic history, and create cherished memories in one of Thailand’s most captivating locations.

A Natural Marvel

James Bond Island, known locally as Ko Tapu, is an unmissable sight that captivates visitors with its extraordinary beauty. Prominently protruding from the emerald waters of Phang Nga Bay, this limestone karst island is a geological masterpiece.

Towering vertical cliffs covered in lush vegetation form a stunning backdrop, creating a scene worthy of any Instagram story. The island’s feature limestone rock and its unique shape has become its trademark, attracting countless travelers from around the globe.

Cinematic Legacy

James Bond Island’s claim to fame can be traced back to its feature role in the 1974 James Bond film, “The Man with the Golden Gun.” The island’s dramatic landscape served as a backdrop for Roger Moore’s thrilling exploits as Agent 007 and Christopher Lee’s outstanding role as villain. The movie showcased the island’s allure, forever etching its name into cinematic history and fueling the curiosity of adventure-seekers worldwide.

Exploring James Bond Island

Embarking on Simba Sea Trips’ Phang Nga Bay tour allows you to immerse yourself in the magic of James Bond Island. Our tour leaves earlier than most other tours providing the opportunity to explore the region in the absence of the crowds that normally descend on the region.

Disembarking onto James Bond Island, you can explore its hidden treasures. Stroll along the sandy beach, soak in the panoramic views, and discover the enchanting caves and crevices that compliment the landscape. As you wander around this natural wonder, you’ll feel a connection to James Bond island that captivated filmmakers and audiences alike.

Simba Sea Trips Phang Nga Bay Tour

the Simba Sea Trips boat arrives at James Bond Island

On this tour, you’ll enjoy comfortable transportation on a modern boat equipped with amenities, ensuring a pleasant and relaxing journey. Indulge in refreshments as you soak up the stunning surroundings. The tour also includes visits to other spectacular spots in Phang Nga Bay, such as Koh Panyee, a floating Muslim fishing village, and the enchanting Hong Island.

Simba Sea Trips’ attention to detail and commitment to customer satisfaction make this Phang Nga Bay tour an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a fan of James Bond, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking an adventure in paradise, this tour offers something for everyone.

James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay encapsulates all that is great about Phuket, blending natural beauty and promoting ultimate relaxation. With Simba Sea Trips’ Phang Nga Bay tour, you can immerse yourself in the breathtaking surroundings, relive Bond’s iconic moments, and create memories that are guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Loi Krathong Festival

Loi Krathong is one of the most high-spirited festivals that are celebrated nationally in Thailand. People refer to this famous floating lantern festival or float a basket festival as the ‘festival of lights’. Much as it is not an official public holiday in Thailand it is a Buddhist festival that is highly looked forward to and celebrated in Thailand. 

To show you how valued this exuberant festival is, it is also celebrated by few neighbouring places outside Thailand. The only difference is that it goes under different names there. In Sri Lanka, they call it Il Full Moon Poya, in parts of Myanmar, it goes by Tazaungdaing festival while the Cambodians call it Bon Om Touk.

How is the date of the festival of lights determined?

The date of this festival is not fixed. It changes every year. Like most other Buddhist holidays, what usually determines the date is that the festival occurs on the night of the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar. Normally as per the Gregorian calendar this infamous festival falls on the month of November every year (or October and November as per the Western calendar). It’s only the dates that keep changing. So typically, the date is announced a month before the festival.

The Thai people will be celebrating Loi Krathong 2021 on the night of Friday, November 19th.

What does the name as well as the festival mean? 

Remember earlier when we mentioned that it’s a floating lantern or float a basket festival? Well, ‘Loi’ means ‘float’ whereas ‘Krathong’ refers to a small basket which is usually adorned with flowers, candles, banana leaves and incense sticks. Hence the ‘float a basket’ festival.

So, the festival is to get rid of misfortunes by floating them away in the baskets. It’s meant to cleanse people’s minds, lighten their souls and give them a fresh start. 

On the evening of the festival, the locals of Thailand meet together to release the Krathongs in to rivers, lakes, and canals as the seek for purification and forgiveness from the Goddess of Water.

The origin of the festival

The festival originated in the oldest Sukhothai Kingdom which goes 800 years back and is related to Lord Buddha and water.

The Loi Krathong Festival originated in the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom which dates back 800 years. It is a festival that is closely associated with water and Lord Buddha. Because it was believed that the people of the Sukhothai Kingdom and the Thai locals today are closely connected to water and rely heavily on agriculture, they had to pay tribute to the river goddess Pra Mae Khongkha and Buddha and show gratitude for the water resources that they had in plenty as well as ask for forgiveness for the water pollution they have caused.

So just like 800 years ago, people are also looking forward to wash away sins of the past year and look forward to a clean state and good fortune the following year. Its all about letting go of past anger and hatred of any form.

Place the festival is celebrated

Much as the Loi Krathong 2021 will celebrated all over Thailand, there are specific places where the festivities happen on a massive scale. If you want to have the full experience here are the places to consider…

  • Sukhothai is considered to be the birth place of the festival. As opposed to other places which celebrate the festival 3 days, here it continues for about five days. Here you will experience floating lights, parades and lively performances, beauty contests as well as almsgiving practice to Buddhist monks.
  • Chiang Mai is one of the best places to fully experience the festival. You have the advantage of enjoying the picturesque views of the sky lanterns, exhibitions, fireworks, colourful parades, and traditional dance performances.
  • What makes Bangkok the other place to consider experiencing the festival is number of ponds and waterways there are to launch the Krathongs. The most popular places to launch the lighted baskets are Asiatique riverside, Wat Saket, Lumpini Park, Chao Phraya River and Benjasiri Park. Get there and enjoy the floating processions and fireworks.
  • Phuket has lots of major beaches so if you don’t mind the large crowds, consider participating Loi Krathong 2021 celebrations here in places like Patong Beach, Nai Harn Lake, Suan Luang Park and Saphan Hin Park.

How long does the festival last?

Usually, it lasts 3 days in most places in Thailand. The place that the celebrations last for 5 days like I mentioned above is at Sukhothai. Preparations as well as decorating for the festival are usually organized about a week before the festival.

Planning for the 2021 festivals?

As per Thai government travel by foreign tourists will begin on October 1st, 2021. Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19), only those who have been vaccinated and hold the inoculation certificate will be exempted from quarantine. There may also be some changes to the details of the event. So, contact your travel agency before making any travel plans.

Things to do in Wat Cherngtalay

Wat Cherngtalay

Wat Cherngtalay is the new favourite weekend destination is Phuket.  So, if you are looking for something fresh besides the usual famous places such as Patong, Phromthep Cape or Old town Phuket, then this place is going to be a breath of fresh air that’s for sure. 

Much as the places just mentioned are considered the top-rated tourist destinations in Phuket, the place where most tourists dream of visiting, there are times when one just craves for a new experience because these popular spots can be a bit overwhelming given the massive crowds that you will encounter there.

So, if you are looking for an equally, less overwhelming alternative, then try out Wat Choeng Thale temple. This is a pretty exciting neighbourhood on Phuket’s west coast that is both charming and packed with character. And what makes it the perfect weekend gate away is its seaside location.

The Wat Cherngtalay Temple

This Buddhist temple sits on large grounds with enough buildings there and is located near Laguna Beach on Phuket Island. It is a serene beach so whenever you need some peaceful time, then you should go there – the perfect place to spend those 48 hours of your weekend at the Andaman Sea. So, head on to Wat Cherngtalay if you are looking to rejuvenate and reset your mind from the hustle and bustle of Phuket’s hyper streets and life in general. 

There main attraction here is the Buddhist monument which houses a bone relic of Buddha which is originally from Sri Lanka. The architectural design and artwork on both the outer and inner walls of the temple are to die for. You will find get to see painted murals of intricate scenes of daily Thai life plus interactions of the Buddhist disciples and Buddha. These disciples include the monks and everyday people. The light posts have been crafted with the lights in Buddhist figures hands. Most Thai locals usually come to Wat Choeng Thale temple to make offerings and receive blessings by the monks. There is also an area where one can burn incense sticks.

So, what is interesting at the temple? Is there anything in particular to do here that draws visitors to the temple? Well, to be honest, not really. Well, here is how to spend your time in this new favourite weekend destination.

Having mentioned the painted murals above, normally people just come to the temple to walk around, enjoy the interesting and intricate artwork and take photos. It’s also a very serene place for prayer and meditation. That said though, be prepared for some distractions and sounds and the few stray dogs that have made the temple their home and territory. 

Other things to do…

The good thing about this place is the warm waters and smooth sand of the Surin beach. So, if you get tired of the temple, you can always go and take a swim here. There are other water-based activities that you can enjoy here too. Plus, while at Surin beach, you will always find a restaurant along the beach for drinks and lunch.

There are Laguna hotels and resorts near Wat Choeng Thale temple as well as the Canal village. You can take a ferry trip and enjoy the views of the hotels there. And if you are planning stay the night, you will not run out of places to wine and done. The spots to hang around in the evening are the Bampot Kitchen & Bar, Catch Beach Club or the Palm Seaside Restaurant & Lounge  

To get to Wat Cherngtalay, if you are coming from the Heroines Monument, there is a secluded sign post for Surin Beach. Take that road and stay on it for not more than 15 minutes. The temple will be on your right-hand side. There is a parking inside the temple’s grounds just before Cherng Talay Village grounds.

Let the reviews do the talking

With google reviews of like 4.3 out of 5, if you are into enjoying historical places, walking around this Buddhist temples is worth giving it a shot.

Best Islands in the Gulf of Thailand

There are islands a plenty in the Gulf of Thailand. Which are the best and which are those that can be de-prioritized if limited by time and money? Read on as we discuss those that are of most benefit for your next Thailand tour. 

The Sensational Gulf of Thailand Islands

One thing we know for sure is that Thailand doesn’t lack gorgeous islands. Since there are many islands in Thailand, how do you choose the best islands in Gulf of Thailand for your next vacation… an island that will suit your needs? Well, here are some of the stunning islands that you can comfortably and confidently add to your bucket list for your next Thailand holiday…

Koh Samui

a birsdeye view of the koh samui islands

If there is an island that has stepped up and matured, its Koh Samui. Before, it used to famous with ravers and backpackers because it was a party hub, hosting full-moon parties and had a lot of cheap huts for accommodation. These days, Koh Samui boasts itself of having some of the best luxury beach resorts and with first-class spas the world over. Just like most of the islands of Thailand, this island also boasts of its crystal-clear water, fresh green forests, ever increasing marine life and its beautiful coral reefs. Besides all that luxury and beauty, this island makes it to this list of Gulf of Thailand Islands to visit because it is second largest island well versed with lots of activities to partake in.

Koh Tao

an aerial view of the fabulous koh tao islands

First off, the beaches on Koh Tao Island are breath-taking and are perfect for swimming and lounging under the sun. That said though, one thing that gives this island its true beauty and worth the visit is what surrounds the waters. If you are not here for swimming or sandbathing, there is plenty to indulge in. 

Also known as the “Turtle Island”, this is the perfect place for explorers who want to explore what is under its crystalline waters. There are plenty of colourful marine life making this island perfect and popular with divers and snorkelers alike. The marine life you will find here include sea turtles, whale sharks, scorpionfish, clownfish, eels, coral, barracuda and grouper. With its warm-shallow waters even first-timers can enjoy the colourful marine life

This is also a place where you can just come and just pose. It’s a place you can spend a whole weekend at. So, if are the one that is looking for a party getaway, then this is the best islands in Gulf of Thailand for you. The nightlife is perfect and hosts full-moon parties. This place is very charming and when you get here, it’s the kind of island that you might not want to leave sooner. 

Koh Phangan

the idylic koh phangan island as seen at sunset from the nearby viewpoint

Now this one is fully perfect for party animals. So, if your perfect vacation involves beach parties that run from Friday through to Sunday, Koh Phangan is the Gulf Island that you need to be heading to for your next Thai vacation. It is famous for its vibrant full moon parties. It is the island that is popular with dreadlocked visitors to Thailand and hardcore party animals. Every night of the week has got some beach party action and enough cocktail bars to cater for the island drinkers. Of all the Gulf of Thailand Islands, this one is for sure Thai’s main party island. It can even host up to 20,000 wild visitors during the peak seasons, dancing away under the starry bright full mooned sky.

Now much as it’s an infamous for its full moon parties does men ‘mean that it doesn’t have natural sites to see. It does have beautiful natural spots which most people who go there solely to party miss out on. If you want a break from the beach party hotspots and cocktail bars you will find unadulterated beaches, waterfalls, green forests and some picturesque coastal rocks to fix your eyes on. So even if you are here to party, don’t miss out on the abundance beauty that Koh Phangan is. With waterfalls and secluded jungle trails, even those seeking some solitude will enjoy their peace. Now you know. 

Koh Samet

koh samet as seen from the nearby viewpoint with the small island formation in the background

IF you are looking for a place to escape away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok town Koh Samet is one of the best islands in Gulf of Thailand to consider and its normally busy on weekends and long holidays. It has a stretch of turquoise blue sea that looks endless and is packed with curved in bays with smooth white sand and coral reefs that are in perfect condition which attracts a wide variety of aquatic life.

The waters here are perfectly clear for snorkelling and diving with lovely beaches for people who just want to swim, soak up the sun or windsurf. The nightlife is also promising with plenty of bars and restaurant. To liven up the nights are the evening fire shows. What we are saying about this island is that there is something for everyone. 

Koh Chang 

koh chang seen from the mountains nearby at sunset

Koh Chang is the third largest island in Thailand which located near the Cambodian border. Compared to the other islands that I have mentioned above, it is a more polite and modest island. This is one of the Gulf of Thailand Islands that has both beautiful beaches and rugged mountains at the centre of the island. Much as it’s also covered with thick jungles of rain forests, it has charming moonlit waterfalls that are great for postcard-worthy selfies. Let me not forget the long white sandy beaches. In case you plan to spend the night, they have a wide variety of accommodation and entertainment options to choose from. With all this in one place, it makes this a very versatile island.

So, whether you are going for the beach life, a bohemian beach bar experience, more local vibe or some romantic experience, you will find it all lumped up here.

Now that you are all caught up, choose the gulf island that will give you the experience you are looking for. 

The Best Phuket Daily Tours

Top 10 Phuket Daily Tours

Updated 2022!

With a return to tourism following the pandemic, and many desirable landmarks to visit while holidaying in Thailand, it can be hard to idntify which sites are most worth seeing. Some outdated sites have experienced a rejuvenation in the absence of tourism, and it some of these sites that have now gained a place on our list of top 10 places to see!

Why Visit Phuket?

Phuket is located amid the world’s most stunning scenery. There are lavish limestone peaks that pop from the bright green Andaman Sea. They also appear in the dense jungles and on land which make Phuket one of the perfect places in Asia that has very great options for day tours.

The famous day tours ones are multi-island boat tours. During these tours you can enjoy the rides in the clear waters in a speedboat or traditional longtail as you feast your eyes on the archipelagos.

Some of the best rated Phuket day trip tours are in Phang Nga Bay which at times also incorporate Phi Phi and Similan Islands which are nearby. At Phang Nga Bay lies a distinguished pinnacle which gained its fame through a James Bond film. The Similan Islands are perfect for diving. All these islands attract lots of tourists.

Besides visiting the beaches and island hoping, Phuket daily tours sometimes include visits to Big Buddha, Chalong Temples and the old streets of Phuket Town. If you are one that loves exploring nature, there are some tours that offer eco adventures to places like Khao Sok National Park where one can see elephants, canoe in the SoK River, take nature walks through the jungle and see monkeys, gibbons, tigers and bears.

Popular Daily Tours of Phuket 

Let’s check out some of the best day trip tours that you need to consider when you visit the Island. 

Phang Nga Bay

When in Phuket, a tour to Phang Nga Bay is a must do. The place is fantastic. The tour can ger pretty busy here and the place is big. There are lots of limestone formations jutting above the waters. The more common island here is the one commonly known as James Bond Island which got its name after a huge pinnacle was featured in the 1974 film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. Most boat tours make a stopover for lunch at the Muslim fishing village of Koh Panyee. There is swimming at Naka Island and kayaking. Leave early if you plan to enjoy any of these Phuket Daily Tours peacefully.

Phi Phi Islands

There are six beautiful islands here with dramatic limestone karst formations that jut above the emerald waters. Some of the popular spots here on a phi phi island boat tour are Maya Bay which was made popular when the Leonardo DiCaprio film ‘The Beach’ was filmed there and has experienced a rejuvenation and much regrowth with the crowds absent at the height of the covid pandemic. Koh Phi Phi Don is the other main island here, packed with resorts. Snorkeling is popular Laem Thong and you can see macaques of Monkey Beach.

Similan Islands

These small islands have beautiful archipelago in the Andaman Sea making the very stunning and this is one of the daily tours of Phuket where you don’t need a professional photographer to take stunning photos. Much as most people prefer day trip tours, a 2-day trip is more ideal as it’s a bit far from Phuket town. That way you can have the morning to enjoy the beaches. At the Similan Islands you can also climb the giant boulders and do some snorkeling. 

Khao Sok National Park

Located 150 km from Phuket, the park is parked with lush greens vegetation, waterfalls, dark blue lakes and waterfalls popping in the planet’s old rainforest. Nature lovers will definitely have a blast here as they enjoy the Sok River, lakes, elephants, kayaking, canoeing and exploring the caves full of bats and many other and many other animals and bird species. 

Coral Island

The locals call it Koh Hae, and its located 6km southeast of Phuket. The place is perfect for snorkelers and beach enthusiasts. You will the Long Beach and Banana Beach with a long stretch of soft, white sand. The people who come for Phuket daily tours to the Coral Island generally feed fish and kayak too. 

Racha Islands

These two islands, Racha Yai and Racha Noi lure big crowds. Racha Yai is the most popular and has a horseshoe-shaped bay and luxury villa-style resort called The Racha. There is a bay, Ao Siam that’s quieter with people snorkelling, swimming and basking. Much as Racha Noi has no tourist infrastructure, it’s perfect for diving.

Khao Lak

With silky golden-sand beaches Khao Lak was affected by the 2004 tsunami. It has been refurbished now and has many upscale resorts and is perfect for families. One of top things to do on such daily tours of Phuket is basking on the beaches lined with lined with coconut palms and rustic cafés. There is a beautiful backdrop of green mountains. It also has 3 national parks to explore as well as bamboo rafting trips.

Mu Ko Similan National Park

This Park hosts eleven uninhabited islands. Its perfect for experienced divers and those who want to get away from the crowded islands. The scenery is stunning so when taking a Similan Islands tour, you can pop in there. It has beautiful turquoise water, smooth granite boulders on the shows and has hiking trails. In the sea are sharks and other fish. Go when the waters are calmer as the winds can get choppy. 

Koh Yao Yai

This is one of the Phuket daily tours that you take a longtail boat. Its oozes a traditional Thai ambience and has quiet, secluded white-sand beaches, Loh Paret and Laem Had which are great for swimming. What gives it the local feel are the rubber plantations, rice fields and coconut trees with the most popular modes of transport being motorbikes and bikes.

Koh Yao Noi

This is a sister island to Koh Yao Yai but it’s slightly more developed. An hour away from Phuket by long tail boat, you get to enjoy the view of Phang Nga Bay. Locals live a traditional life farming and fishing. Visitors come to get away from crowds, learn the local culture and relax on the beaches.

Phuket City Tour

Lately, the city has become fascinating with several historical style streets, ancient Sino-Portuguese mansions – both refurbished and some run down. You can visit local markets and Thai temples. The picturesque streets have shops and small cafes. Its a great exploration experience when the weather isn’t great for the each and you can walk from landmark to landmark as its small.


Is Maya Bay Open?

Is Maya Bay open? Yes! Maya Bay, which is the most recognizable landmark within the Phi Phi Islands, is one of the most popular and gorgeous beaches in the world. It acquired its fame after the movie by Danny Boyle, “The Beach”, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed there in the year 2000. After the movie was launched, the beach could bring over 5000 tourists every day. 

May 2023 Update

Great news to all tourists looking to visit Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands. As of May 1st, 2023, Maya Bay is once again reopened to tourists. While it is likely that each year Maya Bay will close for a few months to ensure it is maintained, it is currently catering to the large number of tourists keen to explore the incredible scenery that is on offer.

With that said, if  you’re thinking about visiting Maya Bay in the rainy season then it is best to contact the Simba team to ensure that the Bay is open to visitors as we are fully aware of the closure announcements and able to inform you of the current status.

Why did Maya Bay close?

The movie “The Beach” elevated the status and popularity of Maya Bay as well as the Thai tourism industry as a whole, increasing Maya Bay tours. That said though, such popularity also came with its disadvantages. With lots of tourists visiting the bay for like 19 years, the beach eventually became damaged as it could not sustain the massive tourism.

It was unfortunate when Maya Bay closed temporarily because that severe damage to the bay’s environment. A lot of the coral as well as plants died because of that drastic rise in visitors. So, the Thai authorities were forced to close it to allow for the recovery of the ecology. 

Delays in reopening 

The initial plan was that the bay be closed from 2018 to October 2018. Those few months wouldn’t have been enough for complete rejuvenation of the bay and the park. The marine required more time to recover from the pollution and littering that had been done for years by tourists and boats. The coral on the other hand grows about a centimetre in a year so for the bay to become fully restored, it will take a number of years. Luckily that temporary closure has brought about some positive results. People have started sighting blacktip reef sharks swimming at the bay. 

Cause for Optimism 

Is Maya Bay open or opening anytime soon? The thing is, since its closure Maya Bay has recovered tremendously. Conservationists’ efforts have really paid off. The coral nurseries that they planted really thrived in the undisturbed waters during the closure. The fish population has also increased by like 200% in comparison to 2018 and seabirds like egrets and herons have come back to the bay. Much as the beach still remains closed to visitors and boats forbidden from entering the protected turquoise waters of the bay, it’s the hope of both the locals and the Thai authorities that they will open soon and Maya Bay tours resume. 

Golf in Phuket

Golfing in Phuket

If you are planning to golf in Phuket, then you need to know which the best golf courses are because they have very beautiful golf courses. The main issue is which one to golf at. You will definitely be spoilt for choice. 

One thing that makes the golf courses on the island great is that they are designed in a way that gives one a great golfing experience as you enjoy the tropical climate of the island and unique scenery. 

The thing that makes Phuket the best destination for golfing when on holiday is that they have world-class golf courses. Believe me when I say, Phuket is a golfers’ paradise. The golf courses are well manicured. To add more effect to their beauty are the waters and the tropical trees. Most of the golf courses are near hotels so if it’s a family holiday, you don’t have to worry. They can bask on the beach or by the swimming pools. Your only worry should be where to play golf in Phuket?

Luxurious and top-notch customer service come with the golf packages. The standards are set very high. The green grass and vegetation are super green and the holes offer the well needed challenge for experienced players. Some of the ones that are on our list of the best golf courses have hosted world championships and international competitions. So, if you are a golfer on holiday, then Phuket will offer you a memorable golfing experience. 

Check out our best 7 golf courses and choose one that will suit you best.

Red Mountain Golf Club

If you are wondering about where to play golf in Phuket and are looking for the best of the best, the Red Mountain Golf Club has been rated by the people who have played here as Phuket’s number 1 golf course when asked to pick which one was the best course they have played in. Why? The scenery is just breath-taking with the most unique layouts in Thailand. One thing you have to know is that it is also the be the most expensive. But if you can afford it, the golfing experience you will get here is worth every penny and the view alone is breath-taking. The name came from the fact that the course meanders between hills, lakes and ponds.

Blue Canyon Country Club – Canyon Course

This one is a famous championship golf course that hosted the prestigious Johnnie Walker Classic twice where the infamous golfer Tiger Woods won. It is the one of the best golf courses and it has the best layout in Phuket. If you are looking for a challenging course then this will be great for you.

Much as it has the best layout, the conditions aren’t always great. So better check it out first before making a booking.

Blue Canyon Country Club – Lakes Course

The Blue Canyon Country Club, Lakes Course is a sister course to the challenging Blue Canyon Country Club – Canyon Course. This one is the easier one and is perfect for players of all levels. So, if say you are new to golfing and are wondering where to play golf in Phuket you should consider this course. That said though it is also has enough challenges for average golfers too. Compared to the Canyon Course, this one is always in good condition. As the name goes, it has plenty of water hazards, canyons, and ponds. You will also have to avoid some rubber trees when playing.

Laguna Golf Phuket

This is the most popular resort golf course. It is located in the middle of Laguna hotel and resort complex near Bangtao beach. Initially it was quite boring and flat but after some remodelled and re-designed it now provides golfers the much-needed challenge for golfers of all levels with enough bumps and hollows.

It’s not a very long course and its main defence are the strategically sited bunkers and water hazards and the newly shaped greens which have plenty of bumps and hollows which makes putting a challenge. The course has superb facilities and friendly staff.

Phuket Country Club

This is one of the oldest best golf courses in Phuket. Compared to the newer ones, it is pretty short but tremendously popular to both locals and visitors alike and very ideal for experienced handicappers. Initially people used to walk but these days they have buggy tracks for buggies. The landscape is varied – flat mid-section, undulating fairways and with holes closer to the jungle.

Mission Hills Golf Club 

This one was designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus. It is that is the only golf course that has holes beside the sea.  As picturesque as the course is, this can be a bit of a disadvantage during strong winds. There is a fabulous clubhouse with facilities that will meet your expectation. The maintenance of the course has been a challenge and drainage poor during heavy rains. Its best to check its condition before playing.

Loch Palm Golf Club 

If you are looking for where to play golf in Phuket in the easiest way possible. The course is situated in a valley overlooked by jungle-covered hills. There is a huge lake surrounded by the first few holes. Once you are through with the first holes or can avoid them, things get easier. Most holes aren’t so exhilarating but they are exciting enough for most local golfers.

Tachai Island – a Divers Dream

Tachai Island – A divers dream

Koh Tachai is an island in the famous Similan national park in south-west Thailand. The park is popular with tourists and divers – who will still have access to a few dive sites in the area. The place is amazingly full of rocks covered in beautiful corals. Currents are a bit strong and is highly recommended if you are a diver. There are lots of beautiful photography areas.

The shallow waters fringing Tachai have little interest to the many Similan liveaboards that visit the island. Off the south of the island is one of the best dive sites and the dive boats tend to dock there. This means quiet, secluded locations to conduct snorkel activities. The Tachai island is also an important aggregation site for migrating Manta rays which are sometimes spotted off the northern point of the island. If you know where to go, there is a chance to detect other larger marine creatures. In the quieter areas you will sometimes spot reef sharks. A scary thought, but these sharks are afraid of people and pose absolutely no danger.

A Thai Rangers’ camp with basic facilities like toilets and a restaurant allows tourists to enjoy some least amount of comfort. Most of the visitors to Koh Tachai stay on and off the beach to sunbath, swim and snorkel, while the most adventurous try to reach the viewpoint on the west coast of the island that can be reached via a steep path located toward the northern end of the beach.

There are two amazing dive sites at Tachai island, the plateau to the south and the eastern reef. Off the eastern coast, the sheltered shallow waters make for good night dives. Most liveaboards will tether here for the night.

Tachai plateau

It is about 1km southeast of the island. It is named so because it is ringed by a ridge-like coral plateau crowned with hard corals, scattered boulders, sloping from 12 – 35 m to the sandy bottom.  Some of the boulders to the west have formed swim throughs and to the east many smaller rocks covered in sea whips and hard corals. It is best to pay close attention to a dive master’s guide as Koh Tachai island plateau can be challenging at times although the swim-throughs provide shelter from the strong currents. This site is for the experienced diver. Towards the end of the dive, you may see coral-eating Hawksbill turtles, groups of batfish or even the banded sea snake.

Tachai pinnacle 

This is usually done as a drift dive. The strong currents enable the barracudas, sharks etc. to hunt easily for smaller prey. Whether there are current or slack tides, this dive site can be a magical place to find large and small marine life and is often listed as a favorite among the dive professionals. Early morning dives can waken you up from your slumber quite quickly as it can sometimes be a feeding frenzy and you may not know where to look as there are so many fish. Visibility varies on the month and the amount of plankton in the water, between 10-30m. Small frogfish and nudibranch are known to grace these waters.

How to get to the island

The easiest way to get to Tachai island is on a Thailand liveaboard trip to the Similan or Surin Islands, which will depart from either Phuket or Khao Lak. It is worth checking what port you prefer to depart from. Khao Lak is about 100km north of Phuket and can be reached overland. There are international flights into Phuket and / or domestic flights from Bangkok to Phuket. Reachable from Khao Lak in one hour you may find other day boats in the area.

Phra Nang Cave Beach

Phra Nang Cave Beach

Phra Nang Cave Beach is one of the beaches that is set against a backdrop of beautiful limestone cliffs – perfect background for taking pictures. They also provide some good shade from the sun. For those people who don’t like the crowd this is the perfect beach to hang out in as it is a secluded cave beach.

The beach is located south of Railay Peninsula. There are three other beaches in this peninsula but of the four this one has the cleanest, clearest and calmest waters. The sand is also soft and Phra Nang Beach is perfect for swimming as well as just relaxing as you enjoy the stunning view of Krabi. You can also see the views of Poda, Chicken and Tub Islands from a distance.

What’s great about this cave beach?

Phra Nang Cave Beach bordered by bright green seas on all sides. The beach is a stretch of about 450 meters. The sand is white and very soft for just relaxing as you enjoy the shallow, calm as you soak up the sun.

There is a lot that you can do here. Besides the relaxing and swimming in the shallow waters, travellers as well as locals enjoy other activities such as swimming, snorkelling, and rock climbing. Most people walk to an island called Happy Island which is a great snorkelling spot. There are also the caves to explore.

The locals normally visit Phra Nang Beach mainly because of the Princess Cave (Tham Phra Nang Nok). This is because the cave is apparently home to a Goddess of fertility. There are lots of penis statues. Locals come here to present offerings like flowers and incense.

If you want to experience Thai cuisine, this beach won’t disappoint you because there are many long tail boats anchored at the shores which serve various foods and snacks. And if you want the view of the entire beach, there is off-beat route which leads to amazing viewpoints.

What to watch out for…

When you visit here, expect lots of monkeys swinging from tree to tree. Knowing how cheeky monkeys are, you need to be careful with your things and food as they have a reputation of snatching things from visitors’ hands.

The other thing you need to beware of at Phra Nang Cave Beach is that most of the times, the bay has small jellyfish so swimming or paddling becomes a challenge. Oh! There are no toilets either making it hard to visit for an entire day.

Where to stay…

If you are planning to spend the night, the only accommodation available here is a luxurious 5-star beach resort called the Rayavadee Resort. The hotel is perfect and is located at the perfect spot. It is perfect for a romantic getaway, honeymooners and wedding venue. So, seeing as it’s a 5-star resort, you definitely have to have money to afford a stay here.

The other options available near Phra Nang Beach at the Railay beach.  Much as these hotels have a tropical feel, they still exude the atmosphere of a local village.

How to get there

There are longtail boats from Ao Nang which go directly to the beach. The ride takes between 10 and 15 minutes. If you are coming from West Railay you may have to walk to East Railay and walk along the beach towards Rayavadee Resort up to the beach.

Lampi Waterfall

Lampi Waterfall Khao Lak

Lampi Waterfall Khao Lak is surrounded by a very beautiful mountain side with several waterfalls around it and a breathtaking countryside. Between July and December is the best time to explore the waterfalls since this is the rainy season and the waterfalls will be the biggest.

Sunlight adorns this waterfall that is located 30 minutes south of Khao Lak. It is one of the most popular waterfalls in Thailand. It is located within the Khao Lam Pi – Hat Thai Mueang National Park. It is a 3 level waterfall with the main pool directly accessible from the car park after a couple of minutes’ walk. By the car park you’ll find a café/restaurant as well as a rudimentary souvenir shop.

The water in the Lampi waterfall is refreshingly (or bone chilling) cold. It is certainly colder than the average Thai shower. The waterfall is quite impressive with multiple levels of cascades tumbling out of the jungle. The hills to the east of Lampi Waterfall Khao Lak are about 500m high, almost the same as the highest point in Phuket.

The Lampi Waterfall Khao Lak is great for swimming. The main pool is wide and deep, perfect for swimming around. Nearby you can also go and explore the Thai Mueang beach which has nice restaurants along the beach. The beach drops quickly so beware as the pool will be very deep. While the flowing water looks calm, you may not feel the same peace when you try to swim in the main pool because of its depth. There is also a 1 km nature trail which follows the stream to its peak. Meals, drinks, and souvenirs can be purchased at several small stalls near the waterfall.

Entry to Lampi Waterfall

Entry to the Hat Thai Mueang National Park is about 100 baht per person. There are plenty of awesome tours, day trips and excursions to do at Lampi Waterfall Khao Lak.  Nevertheless, the most beautiful part is located near the parking lot and so this waterfall is also suitable for those, who do not really don’t like hiking. You can visit this waterfall on your own (taxi, scooter) or with a guided waterfall tour from Khao Lak. For hiking lovers, Khao Lampi Nature Trail is a 2.1 kilometer loop trail located near Thai Mueang, Phang Nga, Thailand that features Lampi waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips.

Samui or Phuket

Samui vs Phuket

Samui vs Phuket? This must be the question on your mind if this is your first time visiting on of the infamous beach holiday counties in the world; Thailand. I have been back and forth on the internet looking for information about these two holiday destination, it can get a little confusing that’s for sure especially with the loads of information highlighting the best of both worlds. Now between the two islands, which one is really better than the other?

The thing with trying to choose between Phuket or Samui is its not like making choices between two fruits, say orange and banana. The thing with these two islands is that they are both stunning. So, when it comes to trying to make a choice, then you need to go with your preference. Ask yourself, what you want to experience while on your holiday.

So, Samui Island or Phuket Island where should you really go? Well let’s hope that this article will assist you in making that choice.

The overview of both Samui and Phuket


If you are looking for a more developed holiday destination as you head on to Thailand, then Phuket is your best bet. You will have more things and activities to engage in as well as more spots to visit. If you are looking for a shopping experience, Phuket is the choice. First off, they have several modern malls and shopping options.

Between Samui vs Phuket, you will experience better dining experiences and there is more history and culture to learn a lot about. Let me not forget to mention the Phuket Old Town which is perfect for exploration, despite the age of the visitor.

You can do a lot of island-hoping in Phuket too. There are marinas where you can go there and charter a yacht that can shuttle you from the most popular islands like Similan Island and Phi Phi Island. You can even get your own private charters since there are 4 marinas here.

Tourists watch the very popular sunset cruises. For those who love the party scene, there will be no much confusion about Phuket or Samui because there are over-water all night parties.

Koh Samui

One thing makes Samui different from Phuket is that there are more beach clubs there and lesser bars. If you are one who loves street food, then Samui is lined with them every corner of the island. That said, it means that there are lesser shopping malls. You will find more restaurants on the beach and lesser dining spots in the main parts of towns.

There are no marinas at Samui. Like I said, depending on what you want to experience, the choice between Samui Island or Phuket Island can be quite easy. Now it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy chartered yacht hare. There are fewer options but there are options alright. You can charter a private yacht and still and move around Samui in style.

Compared to Phuket, Samui has more water-based adventurous activities to partake in with it being popular for having the best diving spots in Thailand. Phuket’s adventurous activities are more land-based.

The islands may differ a bit but if you are still wondering between Samui vs Phuket, one thing I can tell you for sure is that both islands have great places to visit. Seeing as both are surrounded by waters, you will definitely find something to do if you are one that enjoys water sports and other water activities. Hiking and trekking on both islands are options too. As for martial arts fanatics, there are Muay Thai events to keep your self busy with. Both islands offer cooking classes and great Thai cuisine experiences.

So let us analyse these two islands further based on what you can find here and activities…


Phuket or Samui – which island has the best beaches?

There are more beaches in Phuket, with more family friendly options to choose from. Basically, there is something for everyone. The beaches have different atmospheres. For instance, Mai Khao Beach is more secluded compared to the party atmosphere of Patong Beach.

On the other hand, at Koh Samui, there are lesser beaches. But much as they are lesser than Phuket, the beaches at Samui are better in quality with softer and whiter sand and clearer, calmer waters. There are more bars and clubs on beaches. So, if you are traveling with kids, Phuket’s beaches will be much better for you.

Accommodation spots

Between Samui Island or Phuket Island, Phuket has by far the largest and hotel industry. There are more than 1200 properties. Do you want 5-star beachfront resorts or do you prefer simple guesthouses. The variety here is amazing and even if you are traveling on a budget, you will something. Seeing as the hotel industry is booming, there is definitely lots of competition which makes accommodation here pretty affordable even during high season.

The accommodation scene in Samui is that it has more beachfront properties, hence more beachfront resorts. Most of the hotels will be found on beaches.

That said, both islands have plenty of private villas.


Comparing Samui vs Phuket in terms of flavours, there has been lots of multicultural influences over the years in Phuket so the cuisine here is more colourful and more flavourful. But if you prefer travelling like a local, Patong or Kamala will offer you the real tastes of Thai cuisine.

Samui on the other hand offers more convenient eating and dining experience. There is a main street of restaurants behind the beach with restaurants offering foods from all over the world. So, when you are there, even if you don’t fancy the Thai options, you should be able to find more palatable and conventional options without having to look for them too far.


If you are looking for the cultural spots, between Phuket or Samui, Phuket is a better option. As mentioned earlier, there are lots of spots that are rich in history and culture. With places like the Old Town to Big Buddha, you will have a great experience learning the culture of the Thai people by exploring their museums and temples.

Samui on the other has more unique – some you might even call bizarre sites. In Samui has the most unique cultural spots in the whole of Thailand. Places to focus on are Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks that are surprisingly shaped as genitalia. The other place to check out is the mummified monk of Wat Khunaram,


One thing that you may not have to worry about when deciding which one of these two islands to visit is the weather. Both have warm weather all-year-round. The best ties to visit both islands are the months of April to August.

That said though, Koh Samui gets more monsoon season compared to Phuket. Expect rains between September and November and in Phuket from September to October (not too big a difference though.)

Whichever island you choose, Samui Island or Phuket Island, we hope that this article has assisted you in visiting the best one that will suit your holiday needs. Activity wise, Phuket is better and more family oriented with options for all ages. Samui is more suited for couples with more relaxed taste.

In conclusion, they are both great. The decision relies on you and your taste.