There are no two ways about it. The palm peppered islands of Thailand are easily among the most beautiful in the world. Between its idyllic sandy beaches and translucent teal waters, these South East Asian islands offer something for everyone.
The benefit of so much choice means that you can tailor your trip to suit you. Set up base camp on one of Thailand’s islands and immerse yourself in its beauty. Or, if you’re up for an adventure, why not do a bit of island hopping? With over 1,400 islands and islets to choose from, the archipelagos are your oyster.
Fancy a relaxing break to put your feet up? Thailand’s bungalow retreats are the perfect way to pamper yourself. Fancy yourself as a water baby? There’s plenty of water sports fun to be had on the shores. If you like to take life at a slower pace, you could gently coast through the tranquil waters. Rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak for the day and navigate your way around the coast. Crystal clear waters also make for an exceptional diving hotspot. It’s no wonder pro divers make a beeline for the islands in Thailand.
So where should you head?
Thailand’s islands are split between the west of the mainland in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand in the East. The charm of the islands in the Gulf of Thailand is how close they are to one another. A short trip might reveal a completely different experience. If you like the idea of island hopping, pack a rucksack and embrace the gulf’s archipelago.
Crucially, alongside natural beauty and a serene way of life, Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan are islands you’ve probably heard of for other reasons. When thinking about a hotspot for a wild night out, we’ll bet these are what come to mind. If party central is what you’re looking for, then Chaweng in Samui is the place for you. And the ever-popular Full Moon Party is certainly one to experience on the shores of Koh Pha Ngan. Even if a vibrant nightlife and rum buckets are not up your street, you shouldn’t dismiss these little gems.
Culture-rich Samui has plenty to investigate. If you’re looking for a luxury holiday, head down to the cosmopolitan gastronomy hotspot of Bophut beachfront. The 27 fine dining restaurants will leave your taste buds spoilt for choice. While Samui’s clear waters and super soft sandy beaches are great for relaxing away from the mundane. If you’re feeling adventurous, head out to any one of the waterfalls available, or rent a moped to visit them all. If you’d rather make a day of it, walk off those delicious meals by hiking through the thick canopy.
Make sure to save some energy. It’s just a short ferry ride across the water to peaceful Koh Pha Ngan, where you’ll discover Than Sadet Waterfall National Park. As well as its reputation for lunar activities, this sleepy island is something of a serene paradise. Lose yourself in the markets, taste local delicacies and pick up a bargain before venturing off the beaten track, where you can seek out breathtaking hidden lagoons. Try finding Thong Nai Pan Noi and Bottle Beach. You can only get to this little gem by boat or by braving the thick jungle and mountainous terrain. A challenging feat with a huge reward.
The calm islands of Koh Tao should be on your bucket list. With the variety of boulders and natural climbs, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert climber, many coastal challenges available. Stunning postcard views await you at the top.
Plunge to new depths and enjoy Koh Tao’s theatrical seascape. It’s otherwise known as diver’s island. And for good reason. Hidden underwater is a rainbow of marine life to observe. Grab a snorkel and see how many types of fish you can spot. You may even catch a glimpse of the sea turtles or nature’s gentle giant; the majestic whale shark.
Not forgetting the Western islands in Thailand, venture across the Andaman Sea to find untouched natural beauty as far as the eye can see.
For an adventure that’s a little bit different, head over to the Similan Islands. A few hours from Phuket, this collection of islands is in a league of its own. ‘Similan’ translates as ‘nine’, the precise number of islands that make up this group.
The islets themselves have a fascinating history. As water levels have changed over the years so has the landscape of the islands. At various times, they’ve been completely submerged. Thick rainforests were once covered in coral and teeming with schools of fish. Thankfully, they have become dry land once again and are bursting with colourful wildlife. Also left behind are curious stone formations, some as big as houses. Well worth a visit.
The Similans are undeniably picturesque. If you catch them at the right time of the year, you may be lucky enough to get the beach to yourself. Perfect for a romantic getaway. What better way to relax with your loved one than on a private beach, admiring a stunning ocean view?
It’s said that there is more variety of marine wildlife here than in any other area of the world. You’ll find drops of up to 80m deep, blanketed by huge, bright reefs and caves for you to investigate as an avid diver. If you prefer to snorkel in the shallows, there are wonders submerged there too.
There’re over a thousand islands in Thailand to choose from, and it’s impossible to squeeze them all into one recommendation. But wherever you pick, we guarantee the natural beauty and pure tranquillity of Thailand’s islands will blow you away.