Last Updated on November 5, 2022
Thailand is one of the most visited destinations in Asia, and it’s not for nothing. A dream destination for many, Thailand features stunning scenery, paradise-like beaches, world-renown gastronomy, and cultural treasures.
Deciding where you should go can be an arduous task as there are so many wonderful destinations in Thailand. To help you plan your Thailand itinerary, travel bloggers share their favorite Thai islands as well as useful travel tips and recommendations.
Pick and choose your favorite ones and start planning your next island hopping adventure or relaxing retreat for a perfect vacation. Keep on reading to discover the best Islands in Thailand that you should add to your bucket list!
Travel tips – Before any international trip, make sure to get travel insurance and check visa requirements. + Check out the new entry requirements and covid regulations on Thailand’s official tourism board’s website.
Related – Thailand complete packing list
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- Map of the best islands in Thailand
- Travel Tips to Visit Thailand’s Islands
- Best Islands on Thailand’s West Coast
- Best Thai Islands near Bangkok / Northern Thailand
- Best Islands on Thailand’s East Coast
Map of the best islands in Thailand
Travel Tips to Visit Thailand’s Islands
- Smaller islands often don’t have ATMs so make sure you have enough cash with you before going;
- Pack mosquito repellent;
- Some islands might be closed depending on the season, or the ferry might not run year-round, or most accommodations will be closed at some point during the year – especially less-visited islands and national parks;
- There are different seasons in Thailand depending on the area you’re in, refer to this guide for more info;
- Wear a helmet when you’re driving a motorbike, emergency care is limited on many islands;
Best Islands on Thailand’s West Coast
By Martina & Jürgen from Places Of Juma
Koh Kradan in Thailand is definitely one of the most beautiful islands in the country! Here you will enjoy a unique flair, far away from mass tourism. This dream island is never overcrowded, the atmosphere is calm, and the nature is stunningly beautiful. What makes it unique is the extraordinary setting with turquoise-blue sea colors, the white dream beaches, and even a jungle on this hidden island.
There isn`t much to do: relax, read a good book, drink cocktails in the small beach bar, swim in the sea, and snorkel. In the offshore reef, you can discover many colorful fish, and even clownfish have settled here. If you like, you can hire a boat and go to the nearby Emerald Cave to explore a former pirate hideout.
This mini-island is located in the Trang region, in the Andaman Sea, and can be easily reached by speed boat. Although it is possible to see the entire island in one day, those who want to relax should definitely plan a few relaxing days here.
There is no party or nightlife here. Although there are a few resorts, there is never much going on and you always have peace and quiet on Koh Kradan. Really lovely is the Reef Resort directly on the beach and with amazing views!
Tasha Amy from Backpackers Wanderlust
Tucked away in the Southwestern corner of Thailand along the Andaman Sea is the incredible island of Koh Lanta. This is far enough off those main tourist places such as Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, and Krabi, though close enough to only be a couple of hours journey away by van or boat.
One of the top things to do is to visit Mu Ko Lanta National Park which is a must in your Koh Lanta itinerary. Here you will find amazing clifftop views over the ocean, visiting the remote Koh Rok Islands, featuring stunning secluded beaches, incredible snorkeling and diving spots, and gorgeous landscapes.
You’ll find plenty of island hopping tours from Ko Lanta, most will feature a visit to a couple of islands, snorkeling, and maybe some kayaking.
I also recommend simply hiring a motorbike and discovering the island at your own pace. There are numerous restaurants with mind-blowing views providing the perfect excuse for a cold beer, stunning beaches, and a couple of temples worth seeing.
Lastly, make sure to check out Lanta Animal Welfare to meet some adorable doggy friends.
Koh Lanta is a lot slower pace than the other touristy areas around Southern Thailand so you will want to spend at least 3 days here. This will allow you to take a deep breath, appreciate your surroundings and join in on that laid-back lifestyle.
There are plenty of places to stay on the island, from secluded beaches to quaint villages. Backpackers tend to favor Baan Saladan, where you’ll find plenty of cheap hotels and most of the nightlife. A good place to stay in this area would be BOHO Hostel.
While Long Beach is ideal for families, couples, or people wanting to stay by the beach without being far from restaurants and entertainment. The Layana Resort & Spa is highly rated and offers great amenities while being right on the beach.
By Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers
Koh Mook (also known as Koh Muk) is truly one of Thailand’s hidden gems. The island is quite popular for the mesmerizing Emerald Cave, a swim through an 80 meters tunnel from the sea leading into a hidden beach lit up by the sun. But hardly any of these people take their time to actually set foot on the island as they’re usually part of a boat tour from any of the surrounding islands.
There is so much more to Koh Mook and you should spend a few nights in a bungalow on the beachfront, like the luxury resort Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort that sits on the Hao-Laem beach.
The long, white beaches are often empty, and you can enjoy a real Thai island paradise by yourself. Yet there is so much more to do beyond the beaches. Explore the yet not saturated island’s local restaurants and shops to get a real feel of the island life. Rent a scooter or a bike to get around and head out for a hike in the lush jungle to explore hidden beaches.
Make sure you bring enough cash for your stay at Koh Mook as they might not have any cash machines there. Consider if you are heading out to another remote island after Koh Mook too, so you have enough to keep you floating until you go back to a bigger island. Most hotels take cards as payment though.
The island is easily reached from either Trang or Koh Lanta, but only in the high season from December to March. The rest of the year there are heavy storms and most hotels and transport do not run.
James Bond Island
By Jesal from Tourist to Travellers
One of the gems of Ao Phang Nga National Park in Phang Nga Bay is James Bond Island or Khao Phing Kan. Located close to Phuket, James Bond Island is a very popular tourist destination.
The Island gets its name from the popular James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”. A 20-meter tall islet called Ko Ta Pu or Khao Ta Pu, is another popular structure visited by tourists.
You can reach James Bond Island either from Phuket or from Krabi and can take a boat from either place to visit the island. The best option is to opt for the 1-day tours that include a visit to this Island.
Ao Phang Nga Beach, Ko Panyi, Ko Panyi Rock Art, and Phi Phi Islands are some places to visit near James Bond Island.
One can opt for many things to do on James Bond Island:
- Take a boat ride and enjoy the scenic views of the cliffs and the various hills.
- Explore the island, relax on the beach, or click Instagram-worthy pictures with the unique structure in the backdrop.
- Shop souvenirs from the local shops close by. Buy the popular Koh Tapu or the James Bond Rock from the shop.
Stay at the Samet Nangshe Boutique Hotel in Phang Nga Bay to catch a perfect sunrise and sunset. Enjoy a hot meal at the rooftop café to watch stunning views of the bay
Pro Tip: The mobile connectivity is poor so try to keep the phone behind, relax and enjoy the island.
Koh Yao Yai
By Victoria from Guide your Travel
Koh Yao Yai is a small island located east of Phuket in the bay of Phang Nga. This beautiful spot is the perfect place to escape the busy streets of Phuket and enjoy a more secluded experience. It’s definitely one of the best islands in Thailand by far.
Come here for incredible beaches, a laidback lifestyle, and stunning scenery. You should plan to spend at least two to three days here, maybe more if you have time.
You can easily get to Koh Yao Yai via ferry or speedboat which both leave from Phuket. Tickets are affordable and booking in advance is highly recommended during the high season since tickets do tend to sell out.
Koh Yao Yai is all about resorts and incredible white sand beaches. Head to Son Bay Beach or Ao Muang beach for swimming, relaxing, and snorkeling. Just watch out for the jellyfish. During some seasons Thailand experiences high numbers of jellyfish which can give you a painful sting if you touch them.
Ban Rim Nam Restaurant is an absolute must-see. This beautiful little spot is located right on the water and offers stunning views and authentic Thai food as well as international options.
By Angeline from Go Around Philippines
Koh Lipe is a quiet island in the South of Thailand with a laid-back atmosphere. It is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike because of its beautiful beaches and stunning crystal-clear waters.
Koh Lipe is accessible from Thailand or Malaysia via ferry. If you start from Thailand, you need to get to Satun and take a ferry from Pakbara Pier, Satun. However, Satun doesn’t have an airport so you have to fly into Trang or Hat Yai and then take a minivan/bus to Satun.
From Malaysia, you can take a direct ferry from Langkawi to Koh Lipe too.
Koh Lipe is open year-round. However, there are two choices of when you visit – low season with rain but cheaper prices, it’s quieter but the water is not so clear, or high season with better weather, more nightlife and daytime activities open, but it’s much busier and higher prices.
It’s recommended to spend at least 5 days on the island, especially with the travel time from the mainland to the island.
Definitely visit the National Park when you are on the island, for some snorkeling and island hopping. You’ll find a couple of nice beaches on the island, you can walk to most of them. The island is also popular for diving, it’s a good place to get certified or try diving for the first time.
There are many options on where to stay in Koh Lipe. Castaway Resort is a rustic-themed resort reminiscent of the movie by Tom Hanks and is perfectly located along Sunrise beach.
Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi is one of the best party islands in Thailand, enjoy island hopping, snorkeling, or just relax at the beach during the day and party the night away. It’s the perfect location to take day trips to visit neighboring islands and if you like partying.
Phi Phi Islands are actually made up of 6 islands. The two main ones are Koh Phi Phi Don, the most popular, and Koh Phi Phi Le, known for its beaches. You can easily get there by boat from Krabi and Phuket. There’s no transportation on the island apart from a few motorcycles to transport goods.
On Phi Phi Don, don’t miss Ton Sai Bay and Beach, Monkey Beach, Long Beach, and hiking to the viewpoint. Ton Sai is the main area where you’ll find most hotels, bars, restaurants, and nightlife. You can easily book something within a 15-minute walk if you want to be in a quieter area.
On Phi Phi Le, visit Ao Pileh, spend some time at the beach, and snorkel. To get there, take a long boat from Ton Sai.
There are plenty of day trips you can take, one you shouldn’t miss is the tour to Maya Bay, where part of the movie The Beach was filmed.
Located south of Krabi in the Andaman Sea, Koh Jum is a small island full of beautiful beaches and incredible snorkeling spots offering peaceful settings and a laid-back atmosphere. The northern part of the island is often called Koh Pu. The best part about visiting this Thai island is that it’s not touristy, so everything is cheap, the locals are welcoming, and you might get the beach all to yourself!
The easiest way to explore the island is to rent a scooter and drive around. You’ll find a couple of pristine beaches and peaceful villages worth checking out – the beaches in the north are harder to reach, so if you are not used to driving on dirt roads, stick to the southern ones.
Koh Jum Village is the central part of the island where you’ll find shops, restaurants, hotels, and tour operators. You can stay there or book something in a more secluded area, depending on what you’re looking for.
You can also take day trips to visit the beautiful Chicken Island and Koh Poda Island, as well as the famous Koh Phi Phi Island and Bamboo Island.
You can easily get there from Ko Lanta or Krabi Town. Make sure to bring enough cash with you as there are no ATMs on the island.
The Similan Islands is an archipelago in the Andaman Sea and a National Park known for its crystal clear waters, white sanded beaches, and lush jungle. Most people visit on a day trip from Phuket but you can actually spend the night there.
The national park is open from mid-October to mid-May, so plan accordingly. There are 11 islands in total with Ko Miang and Ko Similan being the main ones. Most tours will stop at 2 to 3 islands.
In Ko Miang, you can rent a bungalow with aircon or a tent – you’ll find a restaurant there as well and plenty of space to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. You’ll need to book everything ahead to be sure to have a spot once you get there. You can contact the park through that email address: Similan_np@hotmail.com.
Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Noi is one of the best islands in Thailand if you are looking for something quiet, away from hordes of tourists. Rent a scooter to explore the island, its stunning beaches, and its quaint fishing villages, and take day trips to the neighboring islands.
You can easily get there from Krabi and Phuket by speedboat.
If you are short on time, you can take a mountain biking tour from Phuket to discover this rural part of Thailand.
The largest island in Tarutao National Marine Park in Satun Province, Koh Tarutao is a paradise on earth and one of the best Thai islands to visit! Untouched by mass tourism, it’s the ideal destination to relax and enjoy some quiet beach time.
You can either rent a bungalow or a tent – just make sure to book ahead. You’ll find 2 restaurants and 3 campgrounds on the island. You can also rent kayaks and mountain bikes at the park’s headquarter – make sure to pick up a map of the trails as well if you want to do some hiking.
You can easily get there from Ko Lipe and Pak Bara on the mainland. It’s also reachable from Krabu and Hat Yai but the journey will be long.
Koh Phra Thong
Koh Phra Thong, also known as the Golden Budha Island, is as remote as it gets. Enjoy miles of unspoiled beaches, small villages, and the island’s savannah, an expansive golden grassland known for being the home of plenty of rare bird species. It’s an ideal destination if you want to disconnect for a few days away from hordes of tourists.
You can kayak through the mangrove and to the nearby Koh Pling Lek and Koh Pling Ya and snorkel from the beaches there.
To get there, catch a boat at Khura Buri’s Pier and ask your accommodation to arrange transportation once you arrive (there’s no public transportation on the island).
You won’t find many accommodation options on the island. You can book a bungalow at the cozy Moken Eco Village. Note that most resorts are only open from 1st November – 30th April
Another great island to disconnect and get off the beaten path, Koh Phayam is known for its laid-back atmosphere and deserted beaches.
The main beach is Aow Yai (Big Bay) beach where you’ll find a couple of beach bars and restaurants. Nearby Aow Kao Kwai is the perfect place to watch the sunset or rent a kayak to explore the mangrove. You can also rent a scooter to visit the island further.
From there, you can take an island hopping, diving, or snorkeling tour to Koh Khang Kao and Koh Surin, both stunning islands worth checking out.
You can easily get there by ferry from Ranong’s Pier. You’ll find a couple of accommodations for all budgets – Rasta House is great for backpackers while Ailay is ideal if you’re looking for a bungalow right on the beach.
Best Thai Islands near Bangkok / Northern Thailand
By Karolina from Lazy Travel Blog
Ko Chang (The Elephant Island) is one of the best islands in Thailand. It’s located pretty close to the famous mainland cities – Bangkok and Pattaya. Even though Koh Chang’s location is convenient, it’s less popular than the famous Phuket or Koh Samui.
It’s one of the best things about Elephant Island. Because it’s not touristy, you can still feel the “vibe” of Thailand there. Plus, you will have a great chance to spot some monkeys!
There’s no airport in Ko Chang, so you need to get to the Center Point in Trat from where you can take a ferry to the island. Depending on where you are traveling from, you can either take a flight to Trat, travel by bus, or hire a taxi.
One of the best things to do in Koh Chang is spending time on the beach, having a Thai massage, and of course, eating local food. If you like hiking, you can take some pretty awesome jungle treks!
Be sure to visit Blue Haven Bay if you want to take some Insta-worthy photos. It’s also where you can find awesome restaurants and 2 great hotels to stay at – Marina Sands Resort and Peninsula Beach Resort.
The recommended time to spend on Elephant Island is 3 days. You will have enough time to explore the island and relax.
Koh Samet (or Koh Samed) is a popular destination for both locals and international tourists known for its white sanded beaches and busy nightlife. You’ll find plenty of things to do on the island and many incredible places to discover.
Pick one of the island’s 14 beaches to spend some time relaxing on the white sand or rent a scooter and visit them all! Don’t miss touring some of the island’s landmarks as well, like Wat Koh Samet (make sure to wear appropriate clothing), and the bronze mermaid and other statues on Sai Kaew Beach.
Samet Village is where you’ll find most of the restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, and tour operators. The main beach there, Sai Kaew Beach, is where most of the action takes place at night.
You’ll find plenty of accommodation options on the island, from hostels to luxurious beach resorts. Minnie Seaview Resort is a great budget-friendly option, while Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa is worth splurging.
Koh Lan / Koh Larn / Coral Island
Also known as Koh Larn, Koh Lan is a small island near Pattaya. Many people choose to take a tour from Pattaya but you can easily get there on your own and spend a few days enjoying the beach.
Rent a bicycle or motorbike and drive around the island, exploring the island’s stunning beaches. You can also walk as the island is not that big. Some of the best beaches include Samae Beach and Tawaen Beach (the most crowded), and Tien beach and Tonglang beach (a bit quieter).
Koh Mak is a popular destination among couples and families looking for something far away from party life and concrete buildings. It’s also ideal for backpackers wanting some peace and quiet away from the busy Pattaya or Bangkok.
The best thing to do on Koh Mak is just to rent a bicycle to explore the island and spend some time relaxing at the beach.
Koh Kood / Koh Kut
Also known as Koh Kut, Koh Kood has it all and is a top destination to visit in Thailand. The island features beaches, jungles, and waterfalls, enough to keep you busy for a few days. The island is still pretty undeveloped and is far away from mass tourism.
The best way to get around the island is to rent a motorcycle as things are pretty far from one another. Then you can visit the island’s many unspoiled beaches and hike inland to reach stunning waterfalls.
For something out of this world and if you want to splurge, check out the incredible High Season Pool Villa & Spa on Klong Chao Beach. Budget travelers will enjoy staying at the Walk In Homestay a few minutes away from Ao Jark Beach.
Best Islands on Thailand’s East Coast
By Cecilie from Worldwide Walkers
Ko Tao is without a doubt one of the best islands you can visit in Thailand. Koh Tao is one of the most famous places to go diving and snorkeling in Thailand. So, if you want to go snorkeling or if you’re considering taking a diving course, then you should head to Koh Tao! Make sure to pack an underwater camera as well.
There are also several places you can explore on the island if you’re not into underwater activities. It’s easy to rent a scooter and explore all corners of the island. You can easily spend hours discovering some of Koh Tao’s best beaches such as Sai Daeng, Freedom, and Sairee Beach. Or you can jump on a short boat trip to Koh Nang Yuan, which hides one of Thailand’s best viewpoints.
Sairee Beach is the best place to be if you’re looking to experience Ko Tao’s nightlife. Here you can find endless bars where you can watch a fire show while enjoying a cold drink with your toes in the sand.
Koh Tao is located next to the popular Koh Pha Ngan and Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s pretty easy to get to the island from Bangkok. You can either fly or take the train to Chumphon or Surat Thani from where you can catch a boat to the island.
If you want to do a diving course, then it’s recommended to stay a week on Ko Tao. However, if you’re only looking to enjoy the beaches and nightlife, then you can easily just stay a couple of nights and combine your trip with a couple of days on Koh Phangan or Koh Samui.
Island-hopping is one of the best ways to experience beautiful Thailand.
Koh Pha Ngan
By Cazzy from Dream Big Travel Far
Home to some of the world’s most pristine beaches and tropical destinations, there’s no doubt that Thailand is a paradise to go island-hopping. Koh Phangan is the fifth-largest island in the country and is known for its white-sand beaches, rolling hills, luscious jungles, and many dive sites, making it the best Thai island to visit on your trip.
There are more than 30 beaches to explore, each with its own unique charms. Some like Bottle Beach and Haad Rin Nok are popular among tourists, but the emptier Haad Chao Pao is no less beautiful too.
For a little bit of a mountain-escapade, you can hike the island’s tallest mountain, Khao Ra. The path is relatively easy and it takes about 2 or 3 hours to hike all 627 meters of it. The view on top is really quite spectacular!
Koh Pha Ngan also has its share of magical waterfalls, including the Phaeng Waterfall and Than Sadet Waterfall, and over 20 Buddhist temples. Catch a show at the open-air Moonlight Cinema and don’t miss the ultimate sunset experience by grabbing a drink at the Three Sixty Bar. You might also want to stroll around the markets for delicious treats and unique souvenirs.
4 to 5 days are enough to visit all the island’s most famous destinations and lesser-known gems. The island is just a 45 minutes ferry ride from Koh Samui or 2.5 hours from the main island. If you take a speedboat from Samui, it will take just 20 minutes.
When it comes to the food, Koh Phangan is teeming with a scrumptious culinary scene. Try Bluerama’s rooftop bar for a luxurious venue with affordable prices, or explore the many street foods around the island!
By Hadas from Luxury Voyager
Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular islands and tourist destinations due to its white sandy beaches, activities to suit every age and taste, and a wide range of accommodation options.
A visit to Koh Samui is a must when in Thailand as it is perfect for any tourists; whether you are after a luxury holiday or a budget one, or whether you’re traveling with your significant other, your friends, or your family. Koh Samui is indeed a dream destination for anyone.
Koh Samui offers some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand including Coral Cove Beach and Silver Beach. It also has breathtaking viewpoints. Some of the best views can be seen from Lad Koh and the bar at the Jungle Club hotel, where it is recommended to watch the sunset.
The foodies amongst you also will not be disappointed as Koh Samui offers a range of upscale restaurants and local street food stalls.
It’s recommended to stay in Koh Samui for 4-5 days before heading to the nearby island of Koh Phangan.
Related articles to help you plan your trip to Thailand:
- Everything you need to know before visiting Thailand
- Best things to do in Krabi
- Top 10 national park in Thailand that should be on your bucket list
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