White powdery sand beaches, nodding palm trees and the turquoise sea lapping at the shore… Thailand is the country owns hundreds of this kind of islands with spectacular beaches, however each island has its own characteristics and it is quite distinct from the other, but luckily there will always be one that matches your personality. The choices are various from islands with beautiful beaches, secluded islands, party islands, islands for honeymoon… so, we compiled this article to cater for all tastes and help you choose the one you like, so without further hesitation, let's find out the best Thai islands.
Phuket is the largest and busiest of the Thai islands and it is the most popular beach destination in Asia with fine white sands, glittering seas and lively towns. It has an area of 576 square kilometers similar to the size of Singapore with nearly 400, 000 inhabitants. It consists of the island of Phuket and another 32 smaller islands off its coast. It sits at the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. With a busy international airport and Sarasin Bridge connecting to the mainland, Phuket is easy to reach and has everything you could need for an island holiday you can find in Phuket. It is best for first-timer. The world-class restaurants, nightclubs, beach bars, honeymooners, shopping, umbrellas on the beach… From the beaches you can go scuba diving in the Andaman Sea, take an exhilarating speedboat trip to nearby tropic paradises, such as the well-known Phi Phi Islands, or enjoy a serene cruise around the amazing Phang Nga Bay. The beaches in Phuket are powdery white, silky soft. Patong Beach, Kata and Kraon beaches are most famous among the 30 glorious beaches. Phuket has championship standard golf courses for golf lovers and tropical rainforest for adventure lovers. Phuket is never lack of luxury resorts; the only question is which one to choose? Banyan Tree Phuket or Six Senses Yao Noi Beyond Phuket? Tell us what you need, we will find a suitable one for you. All in all, Phuket, one of the best Thai islands, is not an island to visit for just one or two days as there is just too much to do.
On the Andaman coast close to Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands are an island group in Thailand including Koh Phi Phi Don, Koh Phi Phi Leh, Bida Nok, Bida Nai, and Bamboo Island.
Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest, most populated island and only inhabited island in the group. Probably, Koh Phi Phi is the most famous of all Thai Islands with thousands of tourists flocking there every day. People usually get there by ferry or long tail boats from either Phuket or Krabi. The island is a tropical paradise with glistening white sand beaches, the spectacularly straight cliff shooting out of the sparkling sea water and Limestone Mountains in the island interior. The island is so narrow that you can see water on your both sides in one place from where you stand. Sitting just about a kilometer and a half away from Koh Phi Phi Don is Koh Phi Phi Leh which is an uninhabited island with incredible straight cliffs and small sandy beaches. Loh Sama is on the south side of the island where you can find beautiful coral reefs and wonderful tropical fish when you go snorkeling in the crystal clear water. Viking Cave is very famous on the island because the cave has various swifts' nests inside and the paintings on the wall look like Viking ship which are a couple of hundred years old.
Koh Phi Phi became famous worldwide when Koh Phi Phi Leh was used as a location for the film The Beach shot in 1999. From then on, the forward life on the island has been changed and it gradually become a hot tourism spot. People flocking to the island, made it a strange mixture of partying budget travelers and resort-dwelling tourists.
Koh Samui is the original Thai island lying on the east coast of Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand. It is Thailand's second-largest island after Phuket. Koh Samui is quite famous for its picture postcard beaches that are some of the best anywhere in the world, so it attracts all kinds of travelers, from the very low budget backpackers renting small beach huts to the millionaires who take their annual vacation or spend their weekends at one of the super international five star exclusive resorts or villas on one of the tranquil, soft and white sandy beach paradises. With plenty of parties, Lamai and Chaweng are two busiest beaches. Except the beautiful beaches, Koh Samui also has lots of other attractions to keep you busy when you enjoy your holiday there: The Big Buddha Temple is the most famous tourist spot in the island where you can see a 12-metre tall Buddha statue; the most picturesque Na Muang waterfalls; the timeless feel of Bophut's Fisherman's Village; or you can go to join the Full Moon Party in the nearby Koh Phangan by boat. Koh Samui is quite unique among Thailand islands and there is now something for almost every taste. There is a domestic airport with regular flights to and from so travelling to Koh Samui is very relatively easy. It is the idyllic tropical island paradise. With so many program you can take party in, Koh Samui is an ideal place for honeymooners.
lying on the eastern seaboard of Gulf of Thailand, 310km from Bangkok, near the border with Cambodia, Koh Chang is the third largest island in Thailand, and a part of the Mu Koh Chang National Park. However, there is another saying that Koh Chang is the second largest island as it is included in Koh Chang District. Koh Chang means 'Elephant Island' because of its elephant-shaped headland. With an area of approximately 212 sq.km., 70% of Koh Chang is covered in rainforests, jungle covered mountains and beaches. The highest peak on the island is Khao Salak Phet with the altitude of 743 meters and there is abundance of waterfalls hidden in the mountain with the tallest but not easy accessible Klong Neung waterfall.
Koh Chang is famed for its beautiful wildlife, great waterfalls, awesome rain forests, endless white sandy beaches, coral reefs and marine life, what more, the sunsets by the beaches are stunning. Admiring the sunset in Koh Chang is a great experience. It provides beach side bamboo huts to most luxury all-inclusive holiday resorts. Everybody can get something they desire in the island that is why it has become a must visit Thai island. Despite the increase in tourists in the past decade or so, the island has still retained its remote and rugged character, however, now it has its own airport which makes traveling to this island become easier than ever before.
Situated 60 km from the mainland of Thailand and only 30 km from Langkawi, Malaysia, Koh Lipe is the southernmost Thai island and the only inhabited island of a cluster of islands that formed Adang Archipelago. It is a remote island and relatively undiscovered paradise on the Andaman sea, west side of Thailand, without cars and very few motorcycles disturbing the serenity. The island is tiny, covered with lush vegetation, only 2 km long and 1 km wide and it won't take over 30 minutes to walk from one beach to another so explore the island on foot will be very comfortable. "Walking Street" is the main street in the island and the three major beaches: Pattaya Beach in the south, Sunrise Beach in the east and Sunset Beach in the west. Visitors can find many authentic Thai food, massage parlors and shops in "Walking Street". The beaches are quiet with powdery white sand surrounded by clear, calm turquoise water where is the perfect place for snorkeling and diving and on the beaches you can enjoy the epic sunrise or sunset.
Koh Lipe isn't as easily accessible and less development than many other popular Thai islands although it is getting more well-known now, it is still far less touristy than most other islands in Thailand. If you are looking for an island vibe that's more laidback and would like to get away from the crowds, Koh Lipe is a very good choice and it is worth exploring for a couple of days as it is full of romantic atmasphere.
Lies on the east coast in the Gulf of Thailand, quite near to Koh Samui, and Koh Phangan, but less developed than these two islands. It is quite small at 21 km in length, however, it is one of most popular Thai Islands and attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year to admire its spectacular beaches and the laid back way of life.
Koh Tao means "Turtle Island". Living up to its name, it is very famous for scuba diving and snorkeling. The salt white beaches are surrounded by the turquoise sea water. The vibrant coral reefs in the sea are home to a wide range of the colorful marine creatures. Far cheaper than Koh Samui, Koh Tao attracts a lot of budget scuba divers and mid-20s backpackers. Snorkel trips are also available to many reef for non-divers. For the past several years the demographics of the island has seen an age increase, with lots of visitors who first visited the island over a decade ago are now returning with their family and with the development of the island, several upscale places have sprung up in the south.
It is not far from Koh Phangan, party lover can take a two-hour boat to join in the monthly Full Moon Party from Koh Tao.
The island is also well known for rock climbing and bouldering. Sairee on the west coast is the most popular place for climbers. It has a 1.7 km white sandy beach interrupted only by a few huge boulders and a scattering of medium budget resorts and restaurants. For travellers who wish to escape from the crowds can go to Chalok Baan Khao, to the south of the island where is an alternative. With a great number of granite boulders both on the beaches and in the forests, Koh Tao is attracting a growing number of climbers from all over the world each year.
Koh Phangan is a famous party island in the Gulf of Thailand with two sister islands: the larger Koh Samui to the south and the smaller Koh Tao to the north. Located 70 km from the mainland and just 12 km from Koh Samui, Phangan does not have an airport and relies heavily on ferries from the mainland and Koh Samui.
The island is best known for its monthly Full Moon Party at Haad Rin Beach which is a small peninsula in the south of Koh Phangan. This boisterous night-long celebration sometimes attracts more than 15,000 people gather to dance. Now there are more parties such as Half Moon Parties in the jungle and a long list of other parties keeps the island thumping. It is a must for all backpackers and young couples as the experience and memories of the party will keep you for a life time. Luckily, not the whole island is filled with parties, the opposite side of the island has a couple of quite beautiful beaches with a lot of activities you can try while you are in the island including archery, diving and Muay Thai.
Koh Samet is the closest island of all Thai islands to Bangkok in the Gulf of Thailand. It is only approximately 220 km sountheast of Bangkok. The tiny Koh Samet is the back garden of Bangkok attracting weekenders, locals and tourists from the city. The island forms a part of the Khao Laem Ya – Koh Samet National Park and locats only 5 km off the coast of Rayong and you can find plenty of bars, restaurants and resorts there. Visitors have been keeping on coming to this tiny island for many years to enjoy the salt white sand and the crystal waters. The island offers nearly something for everybody in its fourteen beaches. You will find why people keep flocking back again and again only after a few hours when you visit the island. The island has not got its own water source, so the use of water should be as less as possible when visiting.
The island is close to Phuket but far quieter and less developed than that. Everybody who visit the island will love it. Long Beach is the best beach on Koh Lanta where is a superior place for swimming with a long strip of beach and soft sand dropping off into the deep water. Although you will meet other people during the high season, it is not as many as you will meet at Phuket and Koh Phi Phi. Koh Lanta is not a party destination but it is quiet and romantic.
We believe that there is always an island you prefer waiting there for you in Thailand. Please consult our travel advisors before you go.
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