Not all islands in Thailand are created equal. With over 1430 islands to choose from — what makes a Thai island stand out? Each Thai island has their own unique vibe, reputation and purpose for your Thai island holiday. Party islands, scuba diving destinations and islands perfect for getting away from it all — here are the 10 best Thai islands to visit while on your search for a tropical paradise on your trip to Thailand.
If you love scuba diving, sea turtles and gorgeous cliff-side beaches the island of Koh Tao is your paradise. Known as the turtle island, Koh Tao is a scuba diver’s dream (and one of the cheapest places to get your PADI certification). Aside from scuba, Koh Tao’s natural beauty can be witnessed from the many beaches and lookout points throughout the island.
If you’ve looked into island hopping through Thailand, you’ve heard about the Full Moon Party hosted on Koh Phangan. This popular backpacker party island also has a quieter side which reveals Koh Phangan’s true beauty. Watch the sunset at the popular Amsterdam Bar or spend your days at one of the hidden away beaches for a pristine Thai island experience. A true paradise on Earth!
Koh Samui is the island for sun lovers, partygoers and foodies. A world-class luxury island also lends a laid-back island vibe perfect for travelers of all budgets. Immerse yourself in the Buddhist culture at the Secret Buddha Garden or the iconic Big Buddha temple. Koh Samui also has their own airport, making it an easy island to access! You could visit Koh Samui with Travendly.
Escape from the crowds and backpackers on Koh Lipe, Thailand’s southernmost island. Most Thai islands show off their beauty in the evening with stunning sunsets but Koh Lipe lights the sky during sunrise. Wake up early and visit Sunrise Beach for you guessed it — a beautiful Koh Lipe sunrise.
Koh Phi Phi
One of the most visited Thai islands — perfect for backpackers, honeymooners, families and everything in between. Koh Phi Phi (pronounced “pee-pee”) has a party reputation but also includes romantic resort getaways and family-friendly hotels. Koh Phi Phi is known for their 4-Island tours, which includes an afternoon on an iconic long-tail boat while island hopping and snorkeling around the smaller islands of Phi Phi. There’s no better way to experience the beauty of the Thai islands then spending the day cruising from one to another!
A ferry ride away from Phi Phi Island is the quiet and reserved island of Koh Lanta. Koh Lanta is a popular destination for families as there is less of a party scene on the island. A digital nomad hotspot, Koh Lanta is the ultimate peaceful getaway. Spend the afternoon at Lanta Animal Welfare and love on some homeless puppies and kitties or take a dog on a walk!
A quick and popular getaway from the busy streets of Bangkok is the island of Koh Samet. Aquamarine waters, white sand and entertaining fire shows by night make Koh Samet a popular holiday destination. Visit the island on the weekend for a lively nightlife scene or visit during the week for a more serene island paradise experience.
Thailand’s largest island of Phuket offers no shortage of natural beauty and activities. Home to beautiful Buddhist temples, night markets and white sanded beaches — Phuket is on every traveler’s bucket list. Phuket has its own airport, making it a cheap and easy destination to fly into. Stroll down the streets of Phuket Old Town for beautiful colored buildings or spend the day on the beach sunbathing in clear waters.
Koh Similan attracts divers, adventure seekers and National Park, connoisseurs. The Similan Islands are made up of 9 granite islands and offer some of the best diving spots in the world. With lively and colorful corals and remote beaches, the Similan Islands offer a true untouched paradise.
Koh Yao Noi
Translated to “Small Long Island”, Koh Yao Noi is located between the more popular destinations of Krabi and Phuket. Head to Koh Yao Noi for an off-grid experience. Few tourists visiting the island so expect to have the serene beaches all to yourself! Rent a kayak for a day and explore the surrounding smaller islands while taking in the Thai sunshine.
Now book the flight, pack your sunscreen and prepare for the incredible encounters you’ll have while island hopping through Thailand. Experience for yourself what makes Thai islands worth the hype!
Melissa is originally from Quebec, Canada. She has been traveling and living abroad since June 2014. After living in Australia and the United Kingdom, she decided to move to Asia. She is now living her best life in Bali.