“I’m Jenny! Remember my name because if not, see you tomorrow!” Our guide for the Khai Islands half-day tour started the day with a witty spiel. She offered everyone fin for rent while giving reminders to be careful with sea urchins. After few more lines, she instructed everyone to board the boat.
A staff of the tour operator was designated before the boarding platform and tasked to take photos of everyone. It was mentioned that the photo is needed for the travel insurance. Yes, I was also surprised to know that island hopping packages here in Phuket include a travel insurance. All tour operators in the Philippines should also implement this. But later on, it’s the usual photo-op printed and put on frames that you can purchase after the tour.
The island hopping activity was purchased thru Klook. I find looking for tours on my destinations on the online booking site more convenient and hassle-free. The platform is partnering with local tour operators so you could still help the thriving local tourism. Another thing is that you can skip the pushy locals offering tours and avoid overpricing.
Booking the tour required me to put my hotel and its address as the 3 Khai Islands morning half-day tour already includes free pick up. Areas in Phuket covered for pick up are Patong, Kalim, Karon, and Kata. If your accommodation is beyond the listed places, you need to add an additional fee per person for the pickup. Travel time from Patong Beach to the jump-off point took us an hour.
Tour crew is surprisingly organized from the moment you get out of the vehicle service to boarding the speedboat. You need to sign their list to ensure that you arrived for the tour on that day. After that, they will put a sticker with a number on your clothes that will serve as your tour group.
Ride on our speedboat to the first stop, Khai Nai Island, took us twenty minutes. Despite the cloudy and windy weather, the ride wasn’t that bumpy. Speedboat is big so there’s an assurance that you won’t get soaked with splashing water. A Korean family who joined me on the front part of the boat enjoyed the drifts on the water.
Khai Nai Island
The sun finally brightened that part of Southern Thailand. Clouds were still present but I was glad for the sunny weather. There were designated stations for tour groups and make sure to go back to the table before the time of departure that the guide flashes before docking on the island. Few minutes and refreshments like water and soda will be offered by the guide, for free. It was a bit early though for some soda, but who cares!
Khai Nai Island has a large lump of sand where you can bask on given that weather will cooperate on your visit. Beach chairs are available for THB100 just in case you just want to relax and enjoy the scenes. Several stalls also sell items from grilled sweet corn to plateful of varied cuisines.
Things to do on the island include jet-ski, banana boat ride, and parasailing. I had no idea on the prices but I heard a Korean family availing a banana boat ride for THB600. These activities are not included in the package so you need to shell out more if you want fun water activities. On the rear side of the island is a cluster of boulders but the short sandbar connecting it to the island is a bit coral-y. By the way, toilet fee is THB20.
Khai Nui Island
Unlike the other two Khai islands, the tour group didn’t dock on Khai Nui Island. Instead, we stayed a hundred meters from the shore where everyone was allowed to jump into the water for some snorkeling. Snorkeling mask and life-vest are included in the package so you just need to ensure that you have both when you jump into the water.
No corals were spotted but there were a lot of fishes. Since the tide was changing during the activity, getting close to the boat was a bit challenging. The guide was helpful enough to remind everyone not to go far and always monitor that the group sticks together. The boat crew throws bread into the water so expect fishes to swim literally in front of your face. Thirty minutes was the given time and I think I consumed about 20 minutes wading through the waters before deciding to go back to the boat.
Khai Nok Island
Khai Nok Island was the last stop of the tour. Similar to Khai Nai Island, you can spend the time to swim in the clear water or just enjoy the beach. A light snack is included in the tour rate and the group was provided with sandwich, watermelon, and pineapple. Unlimited water and soda were also given. I didn’t swim in Khai Nai so I made sure to dip in the waters of the Khai Nok since it was the last stop.
Beach chairs are still offered for THB100. If you’re alone like me, leaving your stuff few meters from the beach and paying for the chair is not recommended. Just bring your things and leave it on the rocks on one end of the beach. With that, you can still monitor it while enjoying the cool water.
Most tour groups stop in Khai Nok Island around lunch time and it’s also perfect to enjoy lunch with your friends or families. You need to pay for it of course. A lot of restaurants in the island offer seafood like squid, shrimp, prawns, fish, crabs, and lobsters. I also spotted some grilled chicken wings and corn, and fresh fruit shakes.
I asked for a nice weather and I was lucky for my request to be granted. Booking the full-day tour was my initial plan because having a limited time for the half-day tour is not enough. At the end, the tour was simply satisfying and still enjoyable. The idea of having the half-day tour provides more time to relax in your Phuket accommodation or roam the streets of the town to hunt for Thai food.
3 Khai Islands Half Day Tour
Here are the inclusion of the 3 Khai Islands half-day tour available from Klook; free pick-up and drop-off on listed areas in Phuket, snorkeling gear, national park entrance fees, snacks, water and soda, insurance, and an English speaking and witty tour guide. If you want to spend more time on the Khai islands, you can opt to avail the full-day tour that includes lunch.