Thailand Islands Travel Guide

With so many islands in Thailand to visit it is hard to know where to start. Below is a full guide to the top islands in Thailand and what each island offers.

Phuket

When to visit Phuket: March - May
Why Visit Phuket: The largest island in Thailand

Best Phuket beaches:

  • Freedom Beach

  • Kata Beach

  • Nai Harn Beach

Top things to do in Phuket:

Best Hotels in Phuket:

Budget: Aspery Hotel
Mid: The Charm Resort Phuket 
Luxury: Phuket Marriott Resort

Koh Phi Phi

When to visit Kho Phi Phi: November - April
Why visit KKho Phi Phi: Crazy parties and a huge backpacking crowd

Best Kho Phi Phi beaches:

  • Phak Nam Bay

  • Laem Tong Beach

  • Long Beach

Top things to do in Kho Phi Phi:

  • Snorkel in Hat Yao

  • Hike in Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park

  • Boat to Viking Cave

  • Visit Maya Bay

Best Hotels in Koh Phi Phi:

Budget: P.P. Casita
Mid: Phi Phi Island Cabana Hotel
Luxury: Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort

Koh Lipe

When to visit Koh Lipe: November - February
Why visit Koh Lipe: Called the Maldives of Thailand

How to get to Koh Lipe: Koh Lipe can be reached year around from Pak Bara, Thailand. In high season boats also run to Langkawi, Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and several other islands.

Find out how to easily plan your trip to Koh Lipe on this website

Koh Lipe best beaches:

  • Pattaya Beach

  • Sunrise Beach

  • Sunset Beach

Top things to do in Koh Lipe:

  • Hike to Koh Adang Viewpoint

  • Kayak around the island

Best Hotels in Koh Lipe:

Budget: Decho Hostel
Mid: Ricci House Resort
Luxury: Akira Lipe Resort

Koh Samui

When to visit Koh Samui: December - April

Best beaches in Koh Samui:

  • Chweng Beach

  • Lamai Beach

  • Lipa Noi Beach

Top things to do in Koh Samui:

  • Na Muang Waterfall

  • Secret Buddha Garden

  • Elephant Rock

Best Hotels in Koh Samui:

Budget: Chaweng Villawee
Mid: Chaweng Regent Beach Resort
Luxury: Conrad Koh Samui

Koh Chang

When to visit Koh Chang: November - March
Why visit Koh Chang: 2nd largest island in Thailand (after Phuket) but very small crowds

Best beaches in Koh Chang:

  • White Sand Beach

  • Klong Prao Beach

  • Kai Bae Beach

Top things to do in Koh Chang:

  • Diving at marine park

  • Klong Plu Waterfall

  • Mu Ko Chang National Park Viewpoint

Best Hotels in Koh Chang:

Budget: Chang Cliff Resort
Mid: AWA Koh Chang
Luxury: The Chill Resort & Spa Koh Chang

Koh Tao

When to visit Koh Tao: February - April and July - September
Why visit Koh Tao: Famous diving destination and one of the cheapest places in the world to get Scuba certified
Read on: Best dive sites in Thailand | How to get scuba certified in Thailand

Best beaches in Koh Tao:

  • Maehaad Bay

  • Sairee Beach

  • Chalok Baan Kao Bay

Top things to do in Koh Tao:

  • Snokeling/Diving

  • Hike from Sairee to Tanote

  • Climb Mek's Mountain

Best Hotels in Koh Tao:

Budget: The Aminjirah Koh Tao
Mid: The Tarna Align Resort
Luxury: Haadtien Beach Resort

Koh Lanta

When to visit Koh Lanta: November - April
Why visit Koh Lanta: Closest island to the famous Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and Koh Haa sites, so it is very popular with divers.

Best beaches in Koh Lanta:

  • Klong Dao Beach

  • Kantiang Beach

  • Phra Ae Beach

Top things to do in Koh Lanta:

  • Long tail boat tour

  • Hin Daeng Diving

  • Mu Koh Lanta National Park

Best Hotels in Koh Lanta:

Budget: Lanta Paragon Bungalow
Mid: Amantra Resort And Spa
Luxury: Crown Lanta Resort and Spa

Koh Pha-Ngan

full-moon-party-thailand.jpg

When to visit Koh Pha-Ngan: During a full moon party
Why visit Koh Pha-Ngan: Full Moon Party
Full details on how to attend a full moon party in Thailand here.

Nest beaches in Koh Pha-Ngan:

  • Bottle Beach

  • Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach

  • Malibu Beach

Top things to do in Koh Pha-Ngan:

  • Drink

  • Party

  • Drink

Best Hotels in Koh Pha-Ngan:

Budget: Star Light Resort
Mid: Pariya Haadyuan
Luxury: Panviman Resort


There are also numerous islands in Thailand that you can only visit for the day. Here are my top picks on the ones you cannot miss.

Hong Island

Hong Island near Krabi Thailand. One of the most beautiful islands in all of Thailand.

Best way to visit: Rent a private boat from Krabi or join a private tour
Full guide on visiting Hong Island here. 

James Bond Island (Phang Nga Bay)

One of the most beautiful places in all of Thailand - James Bond Island or Phang Nga Bay

Best way to visit: Join a private tour from Phuket

Maya Bay

The island made famous by the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. You have to visit Maya Bay when in Thailand.

Best way to visit: Join a private tour from Kho Phi Phi or try and score a spot on the sleep aboard for a truly unique experience in Maya Bay.
Full review of Maya Bay sleep aboard here.

Poda Island

One of the best islands in all of Thailand - Poda Island near Krabi

Best way to visit: Take a long tail boat from Krabi

Final Thoughts

Thailand's islands are so beautiful I am pretty confident you will love anywhere you choose. 

One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you. I always use Lonely Planet's pocket guides since they fit in my ...... pocket.

A super common question I get is: what camera do I use for my travels. The body is a Nikon D3300 and this is the wide angle lens I use and love - I am seriously obsessed with it. 

My full guide that includes all the camera gear I take on every trip is here.

 

And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (tessajuliette@gmail.com). 

For your Pinterest

Thailand has so many islands to choose from and you may want to consider Island hopping on your next vacation there. So which islands should you visit? Which one has the best beaches and activities? Here is a full guide you have to read!

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