WHICH ISLAND SUITS YOU?
That postcard picture of a white beach with crystal blue waters is here and that’s what most people who visit Thailand come for. Each area offers something different, where you choose to go and how you travel between them is dependent on your interests, budget and time frame. The most well known islands tend to be the easiest to visit via a quick internal flight and are packed with everything you’ll find at home. The less known host luxury hideaways and rustic wooden bungalows with barely any tourists.
GULF ISLANDS & EASTERN BEACHES
Perfect weather in the summer months. The mainland town of Surat Thani has ferry services to all three islands. You can also fly into Samui and Phangan.
A long-time favourite with backpackers for diving and snorkeling.
Every month thousands head for Haad Rin beach to dance and drink until sunrise. What most people don’t consider is visiting the island outside of the full moon parties where accommodation rates are lower and the island takes on a whole new laid back feel.
One of Thailand’s most well known holiday destinations. A large choice of golden beaches and accommodation options from small guest houses to luxurious resorts make Samui perfect for backpackers, families and honeymooners.
NORTHERN ANDAMAN COAST & ISLANDS
Dramatic limestone formations rise up from the sea making the west coast practically beautiful. Best weather November to March when visibility is best for diving. Fly to Krabi domestic airport or get buses from Bangkok, then catch a ferry over to the islands. Phuket has an International Airport so you can skip out Bangkok if you want to.
The largest and with some of the most commercialised beaches in Thailand. Experience the crazy nightlife of Patong or relax on some of the quieter beaches. You can also head to mainland Khao Lak just north of Phuket.
Quiet golden beaches are framed by palm trees with easy access to hiking in Khao Sok National Park. The Similan Islands are a boat trip away offering world class diving.
Ao Nang, Krabi
Busy beach resort with a wide sandy beach, seaview restaurants and a buzzing night life.
Phi Phi Islands
One of the most stunning islands known for its beautiful scenery and the beach from The Beach. The western part of Phi Phi Don is crammed with bars, restaurants, tattoo and parlors and day trippers from Krabi and Phuket. It has also become widely known for its nightly beach parties. The eastern side is more peaceful.
Koh Lanta Yai is the largest island and is perfect for exploring with a variety of beach options, from long sandy strips to hidden coves. Just offshore are some tiny islands and great dive spots.
SOUTHERN ANDAMAN COAST & ISLANDS
More challenging to get to but worth the reward, these southern islands are quiet with sandy beaches and an untouched feel.
A good selection of accommodation but still feels undeveloped. Visit the hidden Emerald Cave.
Pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. An island paradise without the crowds.
Most developed of the Trang Islands with large resorts.
Stunning laid back island with powdery soft beaches and turquoise waters. This tiny island is only a ferry journey to the Malaysian island of Langkawi – which is far easier than travelling from Thailand.
Be aware of the time of year you are travelling as some islands and coastal resorts close down completely in low season, or offer heavily discounted accommodation.