When you picture Thailand, what are some things that pop into your head? Is it the white sand beaches with crisp blue waters? Or do you see yourself getting an authentic Thai massage as you lie out with a coconut in your hand?
With Thailand having over 1430 stunning islands, there isn’t a doubt that you could find one that best fits your vibe. Though with the number of islands sitting in the thousands, it comes at no surprise if you get overwhelmed when choosing which one is best to explore.
In the following, we accumulated a couple of islands that either embody a calmer scenery or meant for those hunting the full moon parties. Whichever ones you end up choosing to visit, we guarantee you will be not be disappointed.
Koh Samui is one of the best pristine islands that welcomes kids, families, and tight budget travelers. The island is the home to several resorts and bungalows offering affordable stays with incredible amenities.
If you’re looking to get wild, Koh Samui offers bars and clubs for young adults or parents on vacation without kids. Despite having the option to party, it’s intriguing how Koh Samui remains quiet.
It’s a famous island, so the long line of vendors can overwhelm you on the main strip, always trying to sell you something. Once you travel more inside, you won’t have to deal with that so much.
One of the main reasons Koh Samui sits in the spotlight is that it still manages not to have crowded beaches, hence, you’re able to lie out with no crowds.
Koh Phayam is the best to disconnect and ultimately be far from tourism. It’s one of the furthest islands from the mainland of Thailand; however, that shouldn’t stop you from going there.
In Koh Phayam, there are unpaved roads and underdeveloped buildings. So you might feel as if you’re walking in an abandoned place; however, the locals’ warm smiles put you at ease.
If you don’t want to lie out on the beach all day, Koh Phayam has affordable and entertaining activities. Such adventures include partaking in a scooter tour, hiking up viewpoints, visiting the Wat Koh Phayam Temple, jungle trekking, or surfing.
Commonly referred to as the turtle island, Koh Tao has an irresistible charm. It’s an island widely popular for those who want to learn or are amid fans of scuba diving.
Even if you’re not a diver, Koh Tao should still be on your list since it has alluring sandy coves and cute, tasty restaurants. You can also get away from the crowds by hiking in nature like trekking from Mae Hadd to Chalok.
One of the finest parts of Koh Tao is the breathtaking sunsets. There are multiple viewpoints located around the island, so you can take a hike there and catch a picture-perfect sunset.
Are you maybe a hippie-on the hunt to dance for three days straight and meet other travelers just like you? One of the top islands for that is Koh Phangan!
The hot spot is famous for the full moon parties attracting Burning Man folks and hardcore party-goers. Party all night and wake up on the beach right before walking over to the main road for a refreshing mimosa.
What if you don’t want to party though and need some tranquillity? Despite that Koh Phangan attracts wild folks, you can still trek to beaches like Bottle Beach; there, you can escape the crowds and finally relax in silence for a break.
In the Andaman Sea, south of the mainland is a natural treasure island called Koh Kradan. Fishing villages and untouched coral reefs fence the paradise oasis.
Digital nomads that are seeking an atmosphere without distractions will fall in love with Koh Kradan. It’s the perfect place to study, get work done with exquisite ocean views, and end the day by kayaking during sunsets.
Those looking for an active nightlife might not enjoy coming to Koh Kradan since there are only a few small restaurants and bars. However, if you go, you will not be upset by tasting a variety of the most authentic Thai food.
Koh Phi Phi
One of the best islands to visit in Thailand if you are single or a solo traveler is Koh Phi Phi. There are a vast amount of activities to be a part of where you might leave with a new friend.
During the daytime, you can take part in rock climbing, hiking, shark diving, be a part of a booze cruise, or swim in the waters. Once nightfall hits, throw on your favorite pairs of shoes because you will most likely run into a bar where dancing is happening. (of course, they do not force you to)
One of the main attractions of Koh Phi Phi is, without a doubt, the two Monkey Beaches. Since it’s so close by boat, don’t get scammed by a tour agent selling you a packet; vice versa, find a trusted local on the island who owns a boat that can take you for a flat fee.
Koh Yao Noi
Only about a thirty-minute or an hour boat ride from Phuket is Koh Yao Noi, a tranquil haven. The island is not for party animals however is perfect for families or honeymooners.
Like many other islands in Thailand, you can go for refreshing swims, kayaking, or snorkeling. The island also offers the opportunity for you to rock climb and hike in the vast amount of natural vegetation.
If your exploration itch kicks in, you can book a day trip to the neighboring island called Koh Yao Yai. There you will find spa places, local markets, and delicious family-owned restaurants.
The seven islands listed above are some of my personal favorites and captures the essence of many vibes. There are still an enormous amount of Thai islands that you should explore.
One of my top suggestions for you is when you get to Thailand, talk to locals about some of their favorite islands to explore. Don’t forget that the locals are the best tour guides. They would probably suggest a few that are not online!
Even before you go to Thailand, read “What You Need To Know Before Visiting Thailand,” so you are well-prepared.