Hong Island, or Koh Hong, located in Phang Nga Bay features four breathtaking islands. The island is known as part of Hong Archipelago in Krabi province, which also features Lading Island, Pakbai Island, Rai Island. Noted on the map you will see the Hong Lagoon. The Islands are protected by the Than Bok Khorani National Marine Park. So when you visit here, you will pay a separate entrance fee aside from the tour.
The Hong Group of Islands is absolutely breathtaking in every sense. The main island – Koh Hong – is entirely uninhabited but packed with delightful species of birds, gibbons, plants, and marine life.
With this regard, take some caution when on the white sandy beaches of Hong Island. You can spot giant Monitor lizards roaming freely when the beach isn’t full of people. They are beautiful creatures, but also very dangerous if provoked. It does depend on when you’re visiting as well. During the high season, many people will be on the beach, so the Lizards will most probably hide away.
The Hong Lagoon
When you head to Hong Island, you will eventually get to the heart of the island. The heart of the Island is a beautiful picturesque hidden lagoon surrounded by spectacular limestone cliffs. You can only reach the lagoon by sea canoe, or kayak, but it is a must when you go. The entrance to the lagoon is about 10 metres wide between two vertically challenged limestone cliff faces. It is also accessible from the island if you leave the boat at the pier and walk along the beach.
The views are absolutely stunning, and you will be in awe during the whole experience. The water in the lagoon is literally crystal clear, and it is astonishing, see for yourself.
Depending on the time of day, the high tides will flood some places, and you may not be able to enter. So it is always best to check in advance.
The water is stunningly tranquil, and you will notice a change from being emerald green (deep water) heading towards the island and becoming more crystal clear (shallow parts) turquoise colour when you are on the island. Hong Island is one of the best hotspots for snorkelling, with lots of fish and marine life to be seen. It is also known to have a fantastic reef and divers flock here every year to experience the marine life.
Hong Island Tours
Planning a day trip to Hong Islands to spend some time in paradise? You can reach Hong Archipelago by boat from different locations around Phang Nga Bay.
Boat tours normally start at around 7-8 am and after 4 pm they go back to the departure port. There are numerous tour packages you can choose from, including sunset tours, kayak tours, longtail and speedboat tours, and of course private trips.
Ao Nang to Hong Island Tour
If you are coming from the east of Thailand, you will most probably have to leave from Ao Nang area. Ao Nang is situated in the Krabi province and is famous for to have the famous long stretch of white beach line on the Andaman sea.
It takes around 35-45 minutes to get to Koh Hong from Ao Nang on a longtail boat, traditional Thai cruise boat. A speedboat will take you there in 15-25 mins.
Depending on the size of your group, it is usually considerably cheaper to get a long tail than a speed boat. This trip will take longer, but you can enjoy the fresh sea breeze on your way to the islands. On top of that, it’s a much more traditional way of travelling to and from the Islands. The whole trip can be very exciting for those who seek paradise away from the modern civilisation.
An example of prices if you are heading from Ao Nang to Hong island would be 700-2500 baht ($20-$70). Another option is to go around the four of Hong Islands. This will cost from 1400 baht ($40) up to 2800 baht ($80).
Phuket to Hong Island Tour
If you are looking to take a Koh Hong island hopping tour, here are some reputable names for the Koh Hong trips from Phuket: Blu Anda, John Grays Sea Canoe, and Hype Luxury boat club. Prices are fairly similar throughout, but of course, the luxury boat club is slightly more expensive as they include high-end service, drinks and snacks on the boat, as well as music from a DJ and party-like atmosphere.
In the end, it is all down to your individual group. It is best to research around the local area, as there are many non-commercial tour trips, that you can probably haggle with, and get slightly cheaper.
Koh Samui to Hong Island Tour
The same goes if you are coming from Koh Samui or Koh Phangan area. You will find many long tail-independent boats, and if you split the cost between you and your group, the trip can work out cheaper than you could imagine. Of course, it all depends on the season times, as always with Thailand and tours in and around the Island.
The good thing about getting an independent long tail to take you to Hong Archipelago is a higher level of customization. You can choose where you want to go, and how long you want to stay there. Within a reasonable amount of time of course. For example, if you have visited Koh Hong before, then you might want to go to Lading Island and just spend all day there. Most commercial tours don’t cater for this, as they will more likely split the time between all the islands.
Remember that you are entering the Than Bok Khorani National Marine Park, and on all occasions, you will have to pay a separate fee to enter the park upon arrival, for adults it is 300 baht, and for children 150 baht. This will not be included in the Island tour packages as you will be paying this at the ranger stations that are based on the Islands beaches when you arrive.
Hong Archipelago consists of 12 islets. The most prominent is, of course, Hong Island with its beautiful, stunning tropical paradise features, and the hidden lagoon. There are 3 other major islands of Hong Archipelago described below. Situated in the National Park, this beautiful collection of tropical paradise islands is a must for any beach goer, traveller or simply someone who just appreciates worldly beauty.
Lading Island, also known as Paradise Beach, is one of the islands in Hong Archipelago. As your boat is pulling up to the small island, you will feel a sense building up that you are about to embark on a mini paradise adventure. You wouldn’t be wrong, this island is indeed unique. The feature is the tall limestone karst that you will pass as you are coming into the island. And then past this, you will see the hidden beach.
The beach is sheer paradise, and absolutely perfect for swimming and snorkelling. A good tip is to take some sticky rice, so you will attract the many fish species in the water and watch them all huddle together like a shoal. Behind the beach is a mini forest with tall palm trees to give shade if needed. There are one or two walking vendors here who you will meet for some light refreshments if needed. Lading Island, Paradise Island doesn’t usually get too packed, and as its part of the Hong Islands hopping tour, people tend not to spend too much time here and head off to the other three islands.
If you don’t take your camera, you will sincerely regret it!
Pakbia Island is one of the small Islands that is part of the Hong Islands Archipelago (group). It is located just behind Hong Island and can be reached from Hong Island by boat within a few minutes. The Island is known to be the quiet spot in the Hong Archipelago, with its low-lying golden sandy beach, turquoise water, and a relaxing atmosphere. The beach is fairly wide, and usually not packed at all, especially during the hours before 9 am, and after 3 pm.
The Island itself is beautiful, they all are in the Archipelago, and it has a real sense when you are there on the Island of being exclusivity, and a great sense of nature at it’s finest. Amidst the backdrop of green age and rocks, golden sands, and fascinating views of the surrounding Andaman Sea, this is a beautiful tropical Island to chill out and relax. There are only a couple of vendors who you will come across on the beach at times, who sell refreshments and snacks, but sometimes you won’t come across anyone at all.
Pak Bai (Pakbia – both are correct in spelling) is usually included in the tours as one of the Island hopping Islands, so you if you have booked a tour, you are more than likely going to visit here for a few hours, as the tours take you around the whole of Koh Hong Archipelago. You can also hire a long tail boat direct from Krabi Ao Nang, or the fishing pier Nopporat Thara.
Rai is the another Island you will come across when heading out to the Hong Archipelago. As with the rest of the Hong Islands, the scenery is picturesque: clear blue ocean, beautiful beach, white golden sand. It has very similar features to all the Hong Islands as in limestone rock, clear turquoise water, and tropical climate.
Another fantastic place for a dip in the ocean. One note to consider with these Islands is that the marine life is beautiful, but also it can be dangerous. Keep an eye out for sea urchins (black with spikes that can cause awful pain), pufferfishes, and so forth when swimming quite a distance from the beach itself. Rai Island is part of the Island hopping tour also, as this is the 4th Island in Hong Archipelago.
Hong Islands – Must-See Spot in the Andaman Sea
Thailand is known for its beauty, its tropical climates, its crystal clear waters around the many islands surrounding the Andaman Sea. The National Parks in Thailand feature some of the best places in the world to visit, hence Thailand being a huge tourist hotspot!
The limestone karsts featured at many of the islands you will head. The vast amount of spectacular marine life in the ocean, and on the Islands itself, is incredible. It’s a place people travel to find paradise. For some, it’s peace and tranquillity, while for others just some good time and get away from the concrete jungle. Sure there’s a vast amount to explore in Thailand, but if you are seriously seeking a place of spectacular beaches, that feel like they are isolated from the world itself, situated in the middle of the ocean… Then head to the Hong Islands. The feeling of exclusivity and surrounded by a beauty ocean with postcard picture views is simply astonishing.
Do your research, find the right tour, or even a private charter or independent long tail, and head off on your adventure. Always head out to the islands prepared, taking sunscreen, as the sun can be very deceiving. Mosquito repellant is a good idea, and of course, a camera to capture your memories of paradise.