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11 Beautiful Islands in Thailand – Which Island fits you?

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Home » Blog » 11 Beautiful Islands in Thailand – Which Island fits you?
by         : RJ Fisher
last update: September 2023

<jump to any of the Islands in Thailand below>

How to choose the Best Island in Thailand?

Is your mind set on visiting one or more Islands in Thailand? Well, you’re in for a treat! But which Island in Thailand fits you? Even if you’re hopping different Islands, you will have some difficult choices. After all, the best Island for me isn’t necessarily the best Island for you.

Thailand has more than 400 Islands, not counting the micro Islands. Unless you’re blessed with unlimited time and funds it will be impossible to visit them all. Our selection of “11 beautiful Islands in Thailand” provides you with first hand info on the absolute must visit Islands that Thailand has to offer. Of course we have visited each and very Island ourselves, most of them even on multiple occasions. Personally tried and tested!

Traveling to the Thai Islands? Quick check the latest entry requirements

Which of the Islands in Thailand fit you?

Before packing your bags and heading to the airport you’ll want to know where you’ll end up. Your aim might be to spend a few relaxing days in a hammock on an empty white sand beach. In that case you don’t want to find yourself on a ‘hardcore party all night’ type of Island.

Or imagine you’re looking for a romantic getaway with candlelight dinners in a luxurious setting. Ending up on the “wrong” Island could mean that you have to machete your way through mosquito infested jungle. Then, you find that the only food on offer is fried crickets from a rickety old food cart.

There’s something for everyone on the Thai Islands, but what we’re saying is, not every Island might be for you. Well good news, because we did the all the heavy legwork for you (oh sacrifice). After extensive trial and error we are happy to share our findings here so you can decide which are the best Islands in Thailand that fit you.

1. Koh Phayam – Backpacker’s Paradise

Koh Phayam beach
Thailand Islands are really like this

Perhaps the least known of the Thailand Islands in our list, but that’s actually its biggest draw. This is indeed one of those Islands to relax in your hammock. Next to small hidden beach coves there are two long stretched beaches that are lined with mostly small scale resorts. It’s a relatively small Island (34km2) without cars, so bicycle, motorbike or motorbike taxi is the way to go.

Surfing, snorkeling, dive tours and kayaking through mangroves are pretty much the only things to do here, besides curling up in your hammock with a book that is. There are plenty of local eateries to never go hungry. Also, in the evenings small bars will open that make good places to meet likeminded travelers.

Koh Phayam arrival
Koh Phayam beach

Note that not all resorts on Koh Phayam have 24/7 electricity (although most beach resorts do) and wifi can be patchy. The Southern part of Ao Yai beach can get noisy at night as that is where sometimes beach parties are organized. The rest of the Island is pretty much party free. Also take note that some of the resorts are closed from May to October due to the monsoon.

Book your ferry tickets to Koh Phayam online, including a transfer from the Ranong bus station to the Ranong pier.

Island vibe: Koh Phayam is a backpackers paradise. Extremely laid-back without the tourist hordes and still friendly priced. Couples will fall in love all over again and families can bring their kids without worries. The Island is perfectly safe and the beaches are quite pristine, but not undeveloped. For me the vibe here kind of reflects how Thailand was before the tourist boom.

Koh Phayam
Give me a hammock and a book and I’m fine

Koh Phayam accommodation

Finding accommodation will be easy. Just rent a motorbike at the pier right off the ferry and drive around until you find the right place to stay. As said, it’s a small Island and there are plenty of guesthouses and resorts. If you’re looking for the hot spots or maybe an extra secluded location you might want to book ahead. The tourist hordes haven’t arrived here yet, but most accommodations are very small so the most sought after can fill up fast.

We stayed at the Starlight Beach Resort in one of their brick bungalows. Though affordable, it’s not the very cheapest. It was a nice change however fom the expensive ramshackle bamboo huts on some of the other “luxurious” Thai Islands. Excellent and well maintained resort on a favorable location, almost on the beach and with the most friendly owners.

2. Koh Yao Noi – The Real Thing

Kho Yao Noi Thailand
Thai Sea Gypsies (Chao Leh) doing their daily thing

Situated right in between tourism giants Phuket and Krabi is the Koh Yao archipelago with Koh Yao Noi as the most developed Island. Although equally as beautiful as her famous sister Islands, the small Muslim community on Koh Yao Noi has been successful in keeping over-development at bay.

There are beaches for relaxing and sunbathing. However, most of them aren’t as wide and picture perfect as on some other Islands in Thailand. The waving palm trees, a green hillside interior and breathtaking views over the distant limestone rock formations of Phang Nga Bay and the Islands towards Krabi make it all worthwhile though. It’s authentic, laid-back and not overrun by tourists. The best way to experience Koh Yao Noi is to take your rental motorbike around the Island to see the beaches in the East and the mangroves in the West.

Book your boat tickets from Krabi to Koh Yao Noi online, including a transfer from Krabi/Ao Nang to the Krabi pier.

Ko Yao Noi is one of 11 beautiful Islands in Thailand
View of Phang-Nga Bay

Island vibe: Deserted beaches are alternated with mangrove forests and traditional fishing villages. Meet the sea gypsies and witness life in the villages and rubber plantations as if nearby glitzy Phuket doesn’t exist. Couples will love the luxury high end resorts with endless pampering. Backpackers can expect to find Thailand’s Southern Island authenticity.

Where to stay on Koh Yao Noi

Most accommodations are concentrated along the Eastern coastline where the beaches are. Some of them are high end, but there are also ample mid range and a few budget options.

We are always on a budget so no “Six Senses Resort” for us. Instead, we opted for Tha Khao Bay View. Small bamboo and wooden bungalows that are built uphill guarantee spectacular sea views. The family running this place might not be the most professional, but they make up for it with kindness and hospitality. There’s an excellent restaurant on site as well.

3. Phuket Thailand – Almost Cosmopolitan

Phuket is one of 11 beautiful Islands in Thailand
Beach Phuket Thailand

The mother of all Islands in Thailand. Some regard the overdeveloped beaches along the West coast of Phuket as kind of a let down. However, the immense number of return visitors proves that for many it is exactly what they are looking for. The list of beaches is endless and each one has a more or less different vibe.

The overall tourism infrastructure, although a bit strained, is also well developed. From high end 5 star resorts and water parks to small guesthouses with just a rocking chair and a pool table. From haute cuisine dining experiences to street side food stalls, it’s all there.

Phuket Thailand is reachable by air, land and sea. The nearby airport receives regular flights from Bangkok and other Southeast Asian cities. Mainland Krabi and the main Andaman Sea Islands all have a ferry and speedboat connections with several ports on Phuket and the bridge in the North ensures convenient access by car and bus.

Things to to on Phuket, Thailand

Bars and restaurants are abundant and for entertainment there’s the Phuket Fantasea cultural theme park, the zoo, an aquarium and a bird park. For shopping you can go to the Jungle Ceylon and Central Festival malls or one of the many night markets.

Do rent that motorbike for exploring the many viewpoints, the big Buddha and Wat Chalong. Be careful though, the roads are ok, but not all Thai and other tourist drivers are.

Phuket Town

Above all, do not skip Phuket Town for a bit of cultural context on your vacation. The historical influence of Chinese immigrants is visible here in the many colorful shop houses, much like on Penang Island in Malaysia. Phuket Town also has the yearly Jay Vegetarian Festival, a rather gruesome festival I might add.

Phuket Old Town
Phuket Thailand

Island vibe: To categorize Phuket Thailand as lively would be an understatement. Some beaches are crazy crowded in high season as are the roads. Still, we highly recommend Phuket for families as all important amenities are close at hand. Medical care, convenience stores, kids attractions and international food options are abundant.

There really is something for everyone. Yes, some of the beach towns can be hectic, but this is the largest Island in Thailand. So, if its seclusion you want, you can find it. Inland and even large coastal parts are covered in beautiful and sometimes rugged nature.

Party people go to Patong Beach, families will thrive at Karon and Kata Beach. For a more subdued atmosphere, there’s Nai Harn and Rawai Beach in the South. Nature lovers should head inland or to the East coast.

Patong Beach, Phuket
Crazy Patong Beach

Phuket Thailand – Accommodation

Luxurious holiday treats are there for the picking, but also family resorts, cheap hostels and guesthouses are all around. Budget travelers might have a hard time here, although there are certainly options.

We opted for Kata Poolside Resort, which is situated right in the middle of the Kata Beach hustle and bustle, yet quiet enough to get a good night’s sleep. The rooms are comfortable and really spacious. We chose a room with pool access right from our private terrace.

On another occasion we treated ourselves to a 3 days stay at the Centara Beach Resort at Karon Beach. It was just for a short holiday break from work and we really needed a pampering. It was money well spent, truly fantastic stay and we utterly enjoyed it.

4. Phi Phi Island – Beautiful Chaos

Phi Phi Island is one of 11 beautiful Islands in Thailand
Loh Dalum Bay on Phi Phi Island

Another major tourist draw in the Southern Andaman Sea. It’s actually two Islands, with Phi Phi Don being the larger of the two with all of the development. The small Isthmus in the middle of Phi Phi Don has Tonsai Bay facing South and Loh Dalum Bay facing North.

The entire Isthmus is a completely clogged up maze of tourism build up. Every 10 meters or so touts will address you. You’ll probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than to find a free space for your towel on the beach. Also, it can get noisy, because of the all night (every night) parties. Restaurants are rather boring, serving mediocre food at best for outrageous prices. Away from the Isthmus though, on either side of Phi Phi Don it gets much better.

Phi Phi Island view
Phi Phi Island Isthmus

Did I mention the beauty of the Islands, because they are truly gorgeous. It’s easy to understand what fuels their popularity. The picture perfect postcard vistas and convenient access to all tourist amenities is a winning combination. If party all night on flip-flops and drinking booze from a bucket with a tropical backdrop is your thing, then Phi Phi Island is for you. Bring money though, lot’s of money.

Phi Phi Leh

The other Island, Phi Phi Leh is uninhabited and only accessible for day trips. Both Islands are beautiful, but Phi Phi Leh is absolutely stunning. Sadly, over-tourism is taking its toll, which resulted in a 3 year closure of the famous Maya Bay to let nature restore itself. Maya Bay was reopened on 1st of January 2022, but it still closes for two months in the year.

To get to Phi Phi Island you will have to travel to Krabi or Phuket first by either airplane or bus/minivan. From there ferries leave for Phi Phi Island on a regular schedule. Naturally there are ferries from the other nearby Island as well. Book your ferry ticket online.

Maya Bay over-tourism
The photo that opened the world’s eyes to over-tourism of Maya Bay – Photocredit: Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat
Maya Bay
Maya Bay now

Island vibe: Lively and at times even raunchy. There’s a never ending party atmosphere that will appeal to many, youngsters in particular. However, families can also have a great time on either side of Phi Phi Island away from the Isthmus.

Phi Phi Island – Accommodation

It’s incredible how many accommodations there are on this relatively small Island. Especially on and around the Isthmus the buildup is cramped close together. Yet, with so much supply, come peak season you will still have difficulties finding a vacant room, so make sure to book ahead.

After a hit and miss in the hectic area of Phi Phi Don we found Paradise Pearl Bungalow on a stunning location at a quiet part of Ao Tonsai (Long Beach). The resort has an excellent restaurant, but if you want to visit the occasional party in the main area you can use their shuttle boat. Of course the resort is still overpriced, but that seems to be the norm here. All we can do is suck it up and enjoy the party.

Visit Krabi for some of the best beaches on the Thai mainland and the most convenient jump-off point for many of the famous Islands in Thailand.

Our free Krabi travel guide will point you in the right direction for the best places to stay and eat plus endless tips on fun things to do in Krabi.

Krabi, Thailand

5. Koh Lanta – A bit of everything

Koh Lanta is one of 11 beautiful Islands in Thailand
Low tide on Koh Lanta

Fairly well known with seasoned tourists, but pretty much low key is Lanta Yai, the larger of the two Thailand Islands that make up Lanta. The 10 or so beaches along the Western coast might not be as spectacular as those on Krabi or Phuket Thailand, but they are beautiful nonetheless. There is also a more authentic feel to Lanta and the somewhat subdued holiday atmosphere makes it a very agreeable Island.

Things to do

There’s ample exploring to do here should you need a break from the beach. For a nature experience head for the Mu Ko Lanta national park at the Southern tip or the Khao Mai Kaew Caves near the center of the Island. More nature can be found on the smaller Island to the North, “Lanta Noi”. The Lantas are connected through a bridge for easy access.

Koh Lanta Old Town

If you’re culturally curious then “Lanta Old Town” is a must visit. This settlement has been here since the 1600’s and still has some century old Chinese stilted houses on display.

You can reach Koh Lanta by ferry from several Islands or by bus/minivan from Krabi. Buy your transportation tickets online, skip the lines at the bus station and secure your seat.

Island vibe: Empty beaches in some parts, chic resorts and world class dining in other parts. Holiday makers in the West, mangroves and fishing villages in the East. Lanta has many faces so it really matters which part of the Island you are staying at. Or, you could move around and get the best of all worlds, sounds like a plan?

Koh Lanta, Thailand
How much beach do you need?

Koh Lanta – Accommodation

Khlong Dao is the most developed beach on Lanta Yai. While this beach is not the prettiest, it is the most lively, because of the largest concentration of hotels, bars and restaurants. Our room at the Lanta Mermaid Beachfront Resort came with wifi, safe, small refrigerator and a coffee/tea maker. Strangely enough, there is no airconditioning, but the stiff sea breeze will cool you down.

Khlong Nin Beach about halfway Lanta Yai also has a nice beach. We didn’t stay here, but while on the road we spotted The Narima on a nice location. Well maintained bungalows made of natural materials, each with a spacious deck. We saw many families with children that seemed to have a good time.

Since Lanta Yai is so large we kept moving South where it became more and more remote. We ended up on Ba Kan Tiang beach, which is the most beautiful of both Thai Islands in our opinion. There aren’t too many accommodation options here, so we were really happy to find La Laanta Hideaway Resort.

6. Koh Lipe – The most beautiful

Koh Lipe is one of 11 beautiful Islands in Thailand
Stunning Koh Lipe

Oh wow! This must be the most gorgeous of all Thailand Islands! It may not have the dramatic limestone rock formations that Phi Phi Island has, but wow again! The water has that fresh aqua color and it’s so unbelievably clear. And what about the sand? The most soft and pearly white sand we have ever seen!

Trouble in paradise

It’s not a perfect Island though, there’s trouble in paradise. It got too built up in too short a time and now it’s paying the price. Waste management is being tackled, but still relies too much on volunteer organizations. Peak season from December through February can be crowded and the Island suffers from water shortage. There’s also a lot of irreversible damage to the coral, due to irresponsible tour operators and ignorant tourists.

Koh Lipe Thailand
The most gorgeous of all Thailand Islands

However, aside from peak season when the infrastructure is stretched beyond its limits, this Thai Island is a great holiday destination. We love the mellow vibe with multicultural visitors from Europe, Australia and the US, as well as China, Japan, Korea and domestic Thai tourists. There are parties, but there’s no real party scene. Instead, expect small atmospheric cocktail lounges, rasta inspired beach bars and a surprising creative food scene.

Koh Lipe is only accessible by either ferry from the Thai and Malaysian mainland or speedboat from the other Islands. Find the schedules and online tickets here.

Island vibe: Crowded and lively during the peak season. Mellow and friendly for the rest of the year. This is the kind of place that you imagine when daydreaming about the perfect tropical Island. A haven for beach lovers and snorkeling enthusiasts. Couples in search of a romantic getaway will find exactly what they are looking for and families can safely bring their kids.

Koh Lipe Thailand
Chillin on Koh Lipe Thailand

Accommodation – Koh Lipe

Accommodations are abundant on the three major beaches with additional options in “walking street”, the Island’s commercial thoroughfare. The latter also has the lowest rates, although they won’t be the most idyllic. As an extra perk, you are pretty much centrally located from all the main beaches.

The lovely renovated bungalows of Charming Lipe Villa are situated on Pattaya Beach just behind their newly renovated beachfront restaurant. The charming owner and her staff really try their best to make you feel welcome. Breakfast was included, but on some days we craved something different and were happy that Walking Street is just 50m away.

For our friends wedding we were lucky enough to stay here for one night at The Cliff Lipe Resort. Perched on a small cliff with access to Sunset Beach and stunning views over Koh Adang and Koh Ra Wi. The rooms are huge (90m2) with a jacuzzi on your deck. There is a great pool area as well, a free shuttle service and a private beach. Just wish more of our friends would marry.

7. Koh Samui – Beach and Coconuts

Koh Samui is one of 11 beautiful Islands in Thailand
Koh Samui in the golden hour

The second largest of all Thailand Islands has a population of 40,000 and more than 1,000 accommodations. That says it all with regards to popularity doesn’t it? Beach at the front and coconuts in the back as they say here, since tourism has not completely displaced the coconut industry.

The hills are covered in virgin rainforest fringed with palm trees, which in turn is lined with white sandy beaches and surrounded by a turquoise sea. Tourists are drawn by the millions to experience a piece of paradise and frankly, we can only agree.

Things to do

For the most spectacular sights you will have to venture off Island to the Ang Thong National Marine Park. The nature reserve boasts 42 micro Islands in a 100 km2 area and is home to a rich variety of exotic wild- and marine life. Towering lime stone rocks, green lush forests and white sandy beaches await you. Day trips to the park offer activities such as snorkeling, hiking, sea kayaking and diving.

Link to Ang Thong discovery cruise
Ang Thong discovery cruise

Exploring the Island itself is also fun and visits to the big Buddha shrine and Wat Plai Laem temple at Bophut, are recommended. Furthermore, there’s the Namuang waterfall near Nathon and don’t skip the secret Buddha garden or the mummy monk at Wat Khunaram temple. Both are near to the waterfall.

You can fly to the Island’s own airport or ferry from all major mainland piers. Book your ferry tickets to Samui online.

Island vibe: Lot’s to see and do on Koh Samui, but the main draw is of course the beach. Life here revolves around the beaches and fortunately there are a lot of them. It’s definitely a luxury destination with chic resorts, boasting world-class dining options and top of the bill spas. Having said that, Samui is also popular with package tourists. With some effort even tranquility seekers and budget travelers can find something to their liking. The Island is large enough to please everyone.

Tropical paradise

Accommodation – Koh Samui

As expected, accommodation rates are high compared to the Thai mainland. Even if you’re not staying in one of the numerous upscale posh resorts you will have a hard time finding a bed under THB1000. When on a budget, best stay away from popular Chaweng and Lamai beach.

The latter are the most developed and busiest areas with numerous accommodations along the beach and in town. Bophut and Maenam on the Northern shore traditionally cater more to families (but not only).

Lamai Coconut Beach Resort is situated on a quiet part of the Lamai Beach with bars and restaurants just a 5min walk away. The rooms in the building overlook the pool area and there are also spacious garden villas available. To be honest, it’s all rather basic, but so are the rates and truth be told, we loved the place for its location and the friendly staff.

We are always on a budget so Sans Souci Samui might not the most luxurious option, but for the money this hotel is pretty decent. What’s more, it’s right on the beach! Added bonus is that this part of Chaweng Beach gets the least crowds and is kept very clean.

8. Koh Pha Ngan – Bohemian Island

Ko Pha Ngan is one of 11 beautiful Islands in Thailand
Mae Haad beach on Koh Pha Ngan

It’s true that Koh Pha Ngan is infamous for its full moon parties, but that’s not the whole story. This Thai Island is special. First of all, it has a really good laid-back feel with that typical charm that Thailand Islands like Phuket had many years ago. Second, if you take a good look at the Island, the natural beauty of the dozen or so beaches and many more secret bays is simply stunning.

Things to do

A good way to explore is to rent a motorbike and just explore. The ring road is in mint condition and the Island is small enough to visit the majority of beaches in one day. Just be careful since not all other road users may be as skilled as you are. Don’t forget to catch a sunrise and/or sunset at one of the many viewpoints. The best viewpoint however, at Khao Ra, requires you to get off your bike and trek your way up for a few hours.

Bottle beach viewpoint on Koh Pha Ngan
Bottle Beach viewpointphotocredit

Ferries from Koh Samui, Koh Tao and the mainland make regular stops at Koh Pha Ngan. Buy your ferry ticket online.

Island vibe: Come full moon the Island is overrun by an often very loud and raunchy crowd, which can be a lot of fun if your in to it. It’s different for the rest of the month where to relax is the credo. So, partygoers, nature lovers, beach bums, young families, bohemians, vegans, yoga bunnies, digital nomads, flip floppers, back packers and “finding yourselfers”, this is the place for you.

As far as the full moon parties go, they’re not what they were used to be. They are reduced to main stream parties with mediocre music and basically just a whole lot of people getting high or drunk on buckets of booze. In my opinion you’re better off joining the half moon or dark moon parties. Less crowds, better music and a much better vibe.

Get your bucket

Accommodation – Koh Pha Ngan

If you’re here for the full moon party you might want to stay in or near Haad Rin in the South, since that’s closest to the party. Note that in the days around the party the whole of Koh Pha Ngan is often fully booked. Many accommodation rates are doubled and some places require a minimum stay of 5 nights. The further North or West from Haad Rin the more secluded it gets.

We found a cozy resort in the popular Haad Rin area close to the party scene. Moonstone Studio offers small and larger studios with air-con and a fridge for affordable rates. We fell for the typical Thai ornaments and decorations that really liven up the place. The beach is just a short walk through luscious green environment. The resort has a swimming pool and a small bar where we spent many fun evenings.

We also spent a few nights at the luxurious Chantaramas Resort on Ban Tai beach. If we could afford it we would live there. All amenities that you would expect from a resort of this level are present. With 70m2 our room was huge and also came with a good sized balcony. The pool area right smack on the beach is amazing and the staff is extremely well organized.

Read more: Here’s a funny story about how I almost got mauled by a huge Thai dog. A terrifying experience!

9. Koh Tao – Padi Paradise

Koh Tao is one of 11 beautiful beaches in Thailand
Nangyuan Island near Koh Tao

A tiny speck in the Gulf of Thailand, this little Thai Island has a short name, but a large reputation. It’s notably the most popular place in Thailand to learn scuba diving. Don’t worry, if you’re not into diving it’s still a good place to visit. Due to its size the Island feels kind of cozy, although in high season (December to February and July/August) the strain on the limited infrastructure is obvious. There’s beach, there’s clear water, there’s jungle with hiking paths and above all there’s plenty of sunshine.

Things to do

Koh Tao is one of the cheapest places in the world to obtain a PADI license. Combined with the presence of about 20 dive sites and the chance of whale shark sightings it’s no wonder that the bulk of visitors are into diving one way or another. Next to scuba diving there are also free diving and snorkeling possibilities.

The Island is also beautiful above water and a good way to see it is to take your rental motorbike across the different beaches and viewpoints. Other land activities are rock climbing, abseiling, muay thai boxing camp, mountain biking and yoga.

Whale Shark
Whale Shark at the Thailand Islands

Ferries from the other Island and the mainland make regular stops at Koh Tao. Buy your ferry ticket online.

Island vibe: Anticipation lingers in the air. Dive students frantically trying to absorb the Padi study material. A mostly younger crowd, attracted by the combination of affordable diving rates and a lively nightlife scene. All of this on a tropical holiday Island. Who can resist?

Accommodation – Koh Tao

There are hundreds of accommodations to choose from. If you’re here for diving then it makes sense to stay near your diving school as you need to visit there multiple times during your stay. If you’re here to party then stay near Mae Haad or Sairee where most of the nightlife is concentrated. There are also some more secluded beach areas with less crowds.

Sairee Cottage Resort on Sairee Beach is a popular resort boasting two swimming pools, as well as the beach at arm’s length. Rooms in the main building are poolside while different style cottages are spread out over the well maintained garden. The atmosphere is very laidback and mellow. We made friends with a friendly dog and an enormous gecko. Considering the more than reasonable rate this resort offers great value and a nice restaurant on site as well.

10. Koh Chang – Two faced Island

Koh Chang Southern tip
Koh Chang Southern tip

Tucked away in the Eastern part of the Gulf of Thailand is a 52 Island archipelago with its name giver Koh Chang as the third largest of all Islands in Thailand. Off the mainstream tourist radar until the early 1990’s, hi-speed development took off resulting in an uninspired concrete coastline at the main beach Haad Sai Khao.

However, even with development at full speed there is still a long way to go before it can measure up to its peer Islands in the West. Large parts of the Island are still untouched offering ample opportunities to disconnect and find tranquility.

The Island’s interior is made up of towering hills, clad in endless rain-forest that invite you for jungle treks. The Western coast is lined with beaches while the East coast is predominantly rocks and mangroves with a few small hidden beach coves.

Salak Phet, Koh Chang
At Salak Phet fishermen’s village

Things to do

If your as fond of motorbiking in Thailand as we are then this is paradise for you. Be careful though, since roads are not always in the best condition and some parts can be steep and winding. Check out the sunset on the West coast beaches or the mangroves in the East and the authentic fishermen’s village of Salak Phet in the South.

Other activities include jungle trekking from waterfall to waterfall, boat trips, Muay Thai camp, yoga class, cooking class, diving and snorkeling at beautiful reef or wreck sites.

Koh Chang snorkeling tour
Koh Chang snorkeling tour

To get to Koh Chang, travel by bus/minivan or airplane to the city of Trat and find the pier with the ferry to the Island. See the ferry schedule.

Island vibe: It’s a mix of fine beaches with small guesthouses and larger resorts. The mountainous and wild jungle interior is practically untouched. You’ll find some nightlife in the Western coastal areas, but nothing fancy. Due to its diverse nature, Koh Chang will appeal to any kind of visitor.

Accommodation – Koh Chang

So many beaches here. It starts with lively Haad Sai Khao in the Northwest and the further you travel South it gets more subdued and tranquil. From family friendly Khlong Prao down to the chic resorts of Kai Bae all the way South to mellow Khlong Kloi. Somewhere in between is Lonely Beach for all you party people.

Lonely Beach, Koh Chang
Lonely Beach on Koh Chang’s West coast

On Haad Sai Kaow (White Sand Beach) you can not do any better than the KC Grande Resort. Not the cheapest, but absolutely value for money. It’s beachfront with an incredible pool area. Rooms in the main building are very nice, but you can upgrade to one of the garden or even beachfront villas. KC Grande offers luxury all the way, from the breakfast to the comfy beds and the outstanding service. We do recommend.

We also wanted to experience the quieter side of the Island so we headed South on the West coast and ended up at Lazy Republique Villa in Ban Lai Bay. Once there we didn’t want to leave, ever. The incredible friendly French hosts made our stay perfect. Delicious homemade breakfasts, clean spacious bungalows and a great location. The resort’s grounds are impeccable and the atmosphere is relaxed. Koh Chang really can be paradise.

11. Koh Kood – The new kid on the block

Koh Kood Thailand
Relaxed Koh Kood

Yup, the cat is out of the bag. Travelers are starting to discover this relatively unknown Thai Island for the gem that it is. Situated in the far East of the Thai Kingdom, Koh Kood is relatively difficult to reach. Up to now this has delayed serious development. However, as said the Island appears increasingly on the radar of potential visitors that have outgrown the overcrowded tourist magnets like Phuket Thailand and Koh Samui.

Similar to most Islands in Thailand, it has a hilly jungle interior with mangrove and rocks bordering its coastline. In the West and South the rocky coast is alternated with the most beautiful beaches that Thailand has to offer. Some of the 20+ pristine beaches have only one resort present, which makes for wonderful secluded beach holidays. As a result there is virtually no party scene.

Koh Kood Thailand
Tranquil Koh Kood

Things to do

Water activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, mangrove kayaking and fishing trips. On land you can do various jungle treks including waterfall spotting and visiting the Khao Rearub cave or the ancient Makka trees. Also, the authentic fishing village Ao Yai in the Southeast is really worth a few hours of your time. But actually, the best thing to do here is to spread your towel on the sand and just relax.

Koh Kood can be reached by ferry from neighboring Koh Chang or the Thai mainland from Trat. Book your ferry ticket online.

Island vibe: Stunning scenery, picture perfect beaches and tranquility. This is the secluded getaway Thai Island if ever there was one with the exact amount of rough edges to remind you of its authenticity. Backpackers will love the feel as it’s unique to Thailand Islands. However, they will be less happy about the accommodation rates.

Koh Kood Thailand
What else do you need?

Accommodation – Koh Kood

About 20 beaches await you with some of them only accessible by boat. Note that weekends and Thai holidays can see an influx of domestic tourists so you might want to pre-book for the most popular accommodations. Also, during rain season from May to October about 50% of the accommodations are closed. The ferry stays operational all year round.

Klong Chao Beach is more or less the touristic hub of the Island. Having said that, you won’t find any massage shops, tour operators or anything. Just a few luxurious resorts next to affordable bungalow resorts along the river.

We were happy to find the Baan Klong Jao Resort. Simple and basic bungalows, but very affordable. Breakfast is included and we could use their kayaks for free. Also, the resort is locally owned, which should count for something. Just a 5 minute walk to Klong Chao beach where we indulged on cocktails in one of the posh resorts.

Not exactly a luxurious place, but as it is hard to find beach front comfort for a decent price the Dusita is a real find. The small scale resort really delivered on service, cleanliness and good vibes. The pretty garden and the small beach made staying here very worthwhile. Don’t forget to drop by the Kood Vibes Bakery & Restaurant next door for lunch, it’s fantastic.

Travel Insurance

Do not skimp on travel insurance. Staying on an Island means expensive medical transport in case of a serious ailment or injury, payable upfront if you lack proper insurance. Make sure to cover adventurous activities like snorkeling, hiking and maybe touring the Thailand Islands on a rental motorbike. You know what they say. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel!

At least get a free, instant, non-committal quote.


Which Island in Thailand is the most beautiful?

1. Lipe – White powder sand beaches and a turquoise sea
2. Koh Pha Ngan – Stunning beaches and a green hillside interior
3. Koh Yao Noi – Magnificent beachs over the limestone rock Islands in the Andaman sea
4. Koh Samui – Not only for the gorgeous beaches, but also because of the Ang Thong archipelago
5. Koh Kood – Because it’s so tranquil with small hidden beaches to give you that Robinson feeling

What Islands are best to go to in Thailand?

1. Koh Kood and Koh Phayam for tranquility without the tourist hordes.
2. Koh Pha Ngan for full moon parties.
3. Koh Tao for Padi diving.
4. Phuket Thailand for lively and tourist infrastructure.
5. Koh Samui for package tours as well as first class resorts.
6. Koh Yao Noi for a peek into Thai village live.

Are there any other Islands in Thailand you think should also be in this list? Let us know in the comments below. We wouldn’t mind an excuse to research another beautiful Island at all.

Safe travels,


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You might also like…

link to 15 fun things to do in Krabi blog post
link to Renting a car in Thailand blog post
link to Best Thailand Festivals blog post
link to Thailand Travel Guide
link to Khao Yai Travel Guide
link to Kanchanaburi Travel Guide

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