This article may contain affiliate links. If you use these links, we may earn a small commission. Thanks for your help.
Island hopping in Thailand is an absolute must if you are planning a trip to Southeast Asia. The tranquil turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and laid-back atmosphere draw you in and might make you consider staying forever.
Wondering how many islands there are in Thailand? A whopping 1,430!
So choosing the best islands to visit in Thailand can be overwhelming. However, they all have their own special something, and you could easily spend years exploring these slices of paradise.
Check out this area-based guide and start planning your idyllic beach getaway.
North Andaman Sea
If you are drawn to well-known and popular destinations, the North Andaman Sea may be for you. You can visit Phuket Island, the Similan Islands and many beautiful small islands on a day trip from Phuket. ADD A LINK
Almost every itinerary in Thailand will mention Phuket, and for good reason!
It is a fantastic island because you can choose the type of beach you are looking for. If you feel like partying, head to the wild and crazy district of Patong. If you want a more laid back vibe, relax and sunbathe on Karon Beach.
Going from one island to another from Phuket does not have to be a huge ordeal either! You can base yourself in Phuket and take a speedboat to Coral Island (Koh Hae) or Koh Khai Nok for an incredible day of sun and snorkeling.
Another option is to go from Phuket to Koh Lanta by speed boat for 1.5 hours.
The nearby Similan Islands are a group of nine islands about 85 km (~53 miles) northwest of Phuket. They are home to some of the best diving and marine life in the world! And a diver’s dream.
Eastern Andaman Sea
Based in Krabi? Island hopping in Thailand is exceptionally easy, as you’ll have Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Yao Yai within easy reach.
Krabi is a great base as the beaches are fantastic and the town is lovely.
After exploring Krabi Town, head to Koh Lanta to enjoy the long, uninterrupted beach and incredible snorkeling spots.
You can also start your island-hopping adventure in Krabi by taking a 1-hour speedboat from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi, one of Thailand’s most famous islands. Koh Phi Phi is famous for Leo DiCaprio’s film The Beach and was closed for several years to help the beach recover from over-tourism. However, it has since reopened and is still as beautiful as ever.
James Bond Island is another nod to Hollywood in Thailand. It was the filming location for The Man with the Golden Gun. It’s a short trip from Koh Phi Phi and can be done in a day.
Koh Yao Yai is one of the best islands in Thailand and still relatively unknown. Its beaches are much less crowded than its neighbors, but offer luxury spa experiences and fantastic resorts. It’s easy to get from Krabi or Phuket to Koh Yao Yai as it’s right in between!
Southwest Andaman Sea
If you’re looking for the best Thai islands for couples, head to the southwest Andaman Sea. Here you will have access to Koh Lanta, Koh Muk and Koh Lipe, some of the most romantic and relaxed islands in the country.
Koh Lanta has a fantastic stretch of white sandy beaches, ideal for lazing in the sun all day.
Two lesser known islands are Koh Muk and Ko Lipe. Both are close to the Malaysian border. You can take a speedboat from Koh Lanta to Koh Muk or a ferry from Langkawi, Malaysia to Koh Lipe. These secret treasures are perfect for your island-hopping adventures in Thailand.
Koh Muk is a little piece of paradise with some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. You can definitely plan a few romantic days of relaxing by the ocean and enjoying stellar sunsets.
Koh Lipe is a great place to visit as it is very laid back and the atmosphere is amazing. There’s not much to do except relax on the beach, sip cocktails as the sun sets, and enjoy a meal along their walking street. But hey, what more could you ask for?
Gulf of Thailand
The Gulf of Thailand is home to several islands that offer great beaches and fantastic nightlife. You can explore Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao which are definitely the best Thai islands in this region.
The island hopping of Koh Samui is great because there are several small islands right next to Samui that you can easily explore in a few days. Start by spending time at the Emerald Lagoon on Koh Mae Koh, located in the Ang Thong Marine Park, and an easy day trip from Koh Samui.
You can also see Koh Wua Talap, the headquarters of the marine park and home to a great walking path and some small scenic beaches.
If nightlife is what you are looking for, head to Koh Phangan. A 30-minute ferry ride from Koh Samui, this party island is famous for its full moon parties every month.
Koh Tao is an island that offers a balance between Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. You can definitely hit some great beach bars. But it’s more than just a party. There are hiking spots with breathtaking viewpoints and outstanding diving and snorkeling spots to help you connect with marine life.
Take the ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Tao as it is a quick and easy trip.
No matter where you start your island hopping in Thailand, you won’t be disappointed. The hardest part of your trip will be getting away from these beautiful islands.
Are ferries reliable in Thailand?
Yes, ferries in Thailand are very reliable and reputable. Although they are not always the most modern boats, they certainly get you from A to B with no problem.
When is the best time to go island hopping in Thailand?
It depends on where you are going. Koh Samui and Phuket, for example, have opposite weather conditions, so read our best time to go on duty in Thailand for a month-by-month breakdown.
Do you need to book transfers in advance?
It really depends on when you are traveling. If you’re doing all your island hopping during peak season, it’s a good idea to book ahead to ensure a spot on the ferry you want.
The post Island Hopping in Thailand: The Best Islands to Visit appeared first on Bookaway.