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Adventure Cruises in Thailand

Stunning scenery, delicious food, Thailand has it all and an adventure cruise is the best way to take it all in.

Thailand is a top-rated destination for small ship cruises and island hopping. The Phang Nga Bay area near Phuket is renowned for resembling paradise on earth, while the Similan & Surin Islands off the Thai west coast have their claim to fame. In the south, the Phang Nga Bay near Phuket is renowned for resembling paradise on earth, including Phi Phi Islands, Krabi, Koh Ha, and Koh Yao Noi. Famous for featuring in Hollywood movies such as ‘The Beach’ and James Bond: ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’, the scenic Phang Nga Bay is dotted with dramatic green, lush, limestone islands adorned with stunning white beaches. There are plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. Some islands are hollow and can be visited inside at low tide for monkey and wildlife spotting. This is an all-year-round destination where you can explore caves and beaches and climb to island viewpoints to watch the sunset; adventure cruises in Thailand offer it all. Alternatively, cruise around the beautiful Similan and Surin Islands, located northwest of Phuket, 70km from the beach village Khao Lak. Established as a national park in 1982, the islands are well known for their rich birdlife on land, plus spectacular corals and diverse marine life underwater, ideal for swimming, diving, and snorkeling.

Best Thailand cruises and areas to visit

The two main areas for adventure cruises are northwest of Phuket: the Similan & Surin Islands, and the islands east/southeast of Phuket: Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ha, Koh Lanta, Krabi, and Koh Yao Noi.

Similan & Surin Islands

Located off the west coast of Thailand, the Similan & Surin Islands are a must-visit for their rich birdlife, vivid corals, and stunning marine life. The islands have been declared a national park since 1982. Wavy palm trees and huge boulders align the beaches of the Similan Islands, rendering a beautiful, rugged picture. The Similan Islands consist of 11 islands, all best known by their number. Donald Duck Bay, at the northern end of Island Number 8, is one of the most photogenic spots. It is idyllic, with pristine beaches and unique rock formations that are relatively easy to climb. The scenery of Surin Island, with evergreen forests, mangroves, and small beaches, surpasses even that of the picturesque Similan Islands.

Ko Racha Noi

Located 22 kilometers south of the main island of Phuket and 10 kilometers from its sister island Ko Racha Yai, Ko Racha Noi is a world-famous scenic bay. The waters around Ko Racha Noi are beautiful emerald green and home to scores of marine life, such as lionfish, scorpionfish, stingrays, and barracuda. Exploring the waters around Ko Racha Noi will be an unforgettable experience for anyone who snorkels or dives there, regardless of their level of experience.

Phang Nga Bay - Southern Phuket

Phang Nga Bay is a world-famous scenic bay located east of Phuket and includes the islands south of Phuket. The lush tropical limestone islands with white sandy beaches are great for adventure cruises on small ships as distances are relatively small. Swim and snorkel around the islands of Phi Phi, Koh Ha, Krabi, Koh Lanta, and Koh Yao Noi. Some of the islands are hollow, and at low tide, it is possible to kayak under the island and explore the inside. Enjoy the islands’ tropical jungle vegetation, birds and monkeys, and little villages, and hike up the hills to watch the sunset from a viewpoint or relax on the beautiful beaches.

Railay Beach

If you want to see the Railay Peninsula's beautiful beaches and mountains, then a boat ride from Ao Nang is your only option. Railay Beach is just a 15-minute trip that will take you all around this peninsula and its incredible natural scenery. The three main beaches on the peninsula are: Railay East, known for its beautiful sunrise, but it's otherwise best avoided, as it is part of a mangrove swamp and doesn't make very nice swimming or sunbathing. Anyone interested in swimming and sunbathing should head westward towards the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Railay West is where we find most restaurants and bars on this side of the island. Several alleys connect it with the east coast.

Best time to cruise in Thailand

Cruising around the Similan & Surin Islands is best from November to May when the Andaman Sea is calm, and the weather is beautiful. The islands of Phang Nga Bay are great for adventure cruises all year round due to their more protected location off the east coast of Phuket. Thailand is famous for its incredible sunsets, especially with the picturesque islands in the background.

How to get to Thailand

Thailand’s capital Bangkok is one of Asia’s major hubs; all major global airlines serve this airport. From Bangkok, it is a short 1.5-hour domestic flight to Phuket, although many airlines fly directly to Phuket as well. Alternatively, you can fly easily into Phuket via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. Phuket airport is a 50 min taxi ride to Chalong Pier from where your small ship cruise will depart.

Thailand Cruise Tips

Plan well ahead for your cruise adventure to ensure availability for your desired cruise and choose your trip at the right time of year. The same applies to arranging your flights and transfers; it is best to do that well in advance to avoid non-availability. It is highly recommended to book your flights to arrive in Phuket a little earlier, maybe 1 or 2 days before your cruise departs, to allow for any possible (luggage) delays and/or to get adjusted to the new time zone so you will be well rested. Thailand cruise packing tips include sunscreen, sunglasses, bathing suits, insect repellents, hats, light but long sleeve shirts as the Thai sun can be fierce, and a hoodie for chilly evenings. If you have your snorkeling gear, we recommend bringing it on your cruise as it fits you properly. Most boats also offer snorkeling gear on board, in case you do not have your own. Do not forget to bring a long sleeve shirt and shorts for swimming/snorkeling to avoid sunburn. Travel advice Visitors from most Western countries can obtain a ‘visa on arrival’ single entry stamp that allows them to stay for up to 30 days. Please check with the Thai embassy in your country for more details. Ensure that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity from the date you will arrive in Thailand. Entry may be refused if a passport is damaged or has missing pages. You may be required to show a confirmed return or onward ticket to leave Thailand within the maximum days you are allowed to stay in the country.

Additionally, visa-on-arrival visitors may also be asked for evidence of adequate finances for the duration of their intended stay, equivalent to 10,000 Thai Baht per person or 20,000 Baht per family. The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht, which you can withdraw from ATMs all around the country. There are also plenty of exchange booths at Phuket airport and around Phuket. The most commonly accepted credit cards include Mastercard and Visa.

Thailand Reviews

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  • Fabian S
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The snorkeling was good, but the corrals are not in best shape.

Cruising Thailand in November on the G Adventures Thailand

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