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How to schedule a week in Phuket with visits to a couple of islands

We (4 Americans, two retired, two 30-year old) plan to visit Phuket and nearby islands from Feb. 11 - 17, 2012. Interested in snorkling, light hiking. None of us have visited Phuket/nearby islands. We have heard that Phuket and some of the best-known islands have become expensive crowded and touristy, so thought to spend a couple nights in Phuket (Feb 11 -12), then spend 4 days taking ferries to someplace less touristy (perhaps Trang), and get back on the 17th to Phuket so the younger couple can catch the Korean Air flight out late that night. Is this feasible? Any ideas on good hotels with ocean views/beach access in Phuket area? Possible to see a few islands en route to Trang? Other islands better than Trang for such a short visit? Hotels there? Mid to 5 star?

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