It’s not a secret that Thailand is known for its wonderful beaches and picture-paradise islands. But with literally hundreds of islands to choose from, planning a trip and choosing the best island to visit can be overwhelming. We’ve been in Thailand a couple of times and visited many different islands, from small ones with laid-back vibes to big islands full of adventure. Are you planning a trip to Thailand and looking for the best islands to visit? Here are our favorites we think you should not miss.
Tip: for prices and more information about how to get to the islands, definitely check 12Go Asia. They have really great options for booking boats, buses and other types of transport.
Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, is a great place to start or end your island hopping trip. It’s easy to and travel from as it has an international airport with several flights a day and boats which connects you to everywhere in the world. It’s quite stretched with plenty of beaches and a lot of options to stay at. From the famous Patong Beach with big shopping malls, beautiful beaches like Karon and Kata to the more quiet and remote places like Cape Panwa. Phuket is a great choice for every type of traveler and a good place to visit nearby islands.
Koh Phi Phi
Popular by the movie The Beach, Koh Phi Phi is Thailand’s island-Hollywood star. It’s located only 45 minutes by speedboat from Phuket or 90 minutes from Krabi, this island is great for those who like snorkeling and Instagram-worthy spots.
The Similan Islands are a group of 9 unspoiled islands, which form a Marine national park in the Andaman Sea. It’s the number 1 place to dive in Thailand, with its wonderful underwater world and dive sites that are considered to be some of the best on the planet. Like any other islands in Thailand, this archipelago of little wonders is harder to get to. The best and fastest way is from Khao Lak or Phuket. (check prices for boats to Khao Lak here)
Since there are no hotels on the Similan Islands you can only stay in bungalows, on a campsite or join a liveaboard. Liveaboards in the Similan Islands are all-inclusive diving trips, most of the time one week, which includes luxury accommodation, all your meals, and several dives a day with qualified dive instructors. A truly unique experience! (find more information about liveaboards in Thailand here)
Koh Lanta has something for everyone! Less than a one-hour boat ride from Krabi, Koh Lanta has quiet beaches and beautiful boutique resorts. You won’t find neon lights and party places here, just lovely beach bars, cozy restaurants and a lot of great things to do. (Read more about the best things do in Koh Lanta here) Koh Lanta is a perfect spot for recharging your batteries and appreciating the beauty of the scenery that surrounds you. For a more authentic, laid-back island experience, this island is a perfect choice!
A lonely and quiet paradise island in Thailand? Welcome to Koh Mook. Together with Koh Kradan and Koh Libong, one of the other Trang islands, this place is everything a Thai island should be. The beaches are stunning and unspoiled, there is a lovely laidback atmosphere, the people are extremely friendly and there is only one main attraction, The Emerald Cave. (which you need to see) An often forgotten jewel in Southern Thailand!
Koh Libong is the largest Trang island and one of the less visited. The beaches are less beautiful than those in Koh Mook and Koh Kradan, but still a secret jewel far away from mass tourism. If you like doing nothing and reading a book with endless ocean views, then Koh Libong might be your ideal island to go to.
Koh Kradan is a super small island of the Trang islands with the most stunning beaches. It’s only 3 kilometers long and at some places just a few hundred meters wide. It’s also part of the Had Chao Mai National Park, which makes it a popular spot to do some snorkeling. There are no main roads, supermarkets or villages and besides relaxing and snorkeling, there is not much to do. Just enjoy the amazing beaches, the ocean and have this stunning island for yourself.
Koh Chang is Thailand’s second-largest island and is located around 300 kilometers east of Bangkok near the Cambodian border. It’s a popular backpacker destination and a great choice among travelers who combine Thailand with Cambodia. The last years there tourism is growing, but still remote and has great laidback vibes. Expect jungle, great waterfalls, traditional fishing villages, and great sunset beaches.