Life’s a beach.
You need some Vitamin Sea in your life. This is why I’m a travel blogger, now, and forever.
Islands in the stream; that is what we are.
You get the idea – there’s nothing we love, wish for, and admire longingly from our cold winter days and nights back home more than a gorgeous tropical island with a pristine beach. And when it comes to all of those things, Thailand is a check, check, and definitely check!
In fact, Thailand is known has having some of the nicest beaches and most memorable islands in the entire world, drawing more than 32 million tourists every year (extremely remarkable in a country with a total population of only 68 million!)
Described as “Koh” and then the name (Koh just means “island” in Thai), the nation boats a jealousy-inspiring 1,430 islands. But we’ve put together a (very) short list of the top 5 for you to check out.
Enjoy island hopping in Thailand and don’t forget your sunscreen!
The Ultimate Guide to Islands in Thailand
Koh Phi Phi
Best accessible from Phuket (Thailand’s biggest and most developed island) nearby, Phi Phi is a must-see for any world traveler. In fact, it’s so beautiful that they chose to film the iconic 1990 film, The Beach here. You can snorkel, swim, or cliff jump to your heart’s content, but the tribal island vibe among a cross section of the world has really become the nighttime attraction.
Koh Phna Ngan
While there are plenty of stunningly beautiful islands in Thailand, none is quite like Koh Phna Ngan with its worldwide reputation for wild and untethered Full Moon Parties! In fact, the Full Moon Parties have been going on PHna Ngan since the 1980s, growing markedly until about 30,000 international backpackers and thrill seekers go crazy once a month when the moon is biggest. But now, it’s a serious commercial event, with Dark Moon and Half Moon parties, too. Basically, you’ll never miss a party on Koh Phna Ngan!
While there are more popular (read: crowded) and better-known islands in Thailand, Koh Samui is one of my personal favorites. It’s a perfect balance of the best that Thailand has to offer, but easily accessible (Samui’s quaint island airport is one of the neatest you’ll find anywhere!), not expensive or too crowded, and plenty to do and explore whether you’re a young solo adventure seeker, a partier, a couple taking a romantic vacation, or a family looking to relax. My advice is to stay on Lemai Beach (Chewang is a little overbuilt), spend your days at Silver Beach Resort, try some training at Siman Muay Thai, and indulge in Bear’s Cocktails at night!
If you’re on northern Phuket or even Koh Samui, take a ferry to the more laid back and relaxed Koh Tao, with its many coves, incredible scuba diving, and yester-year seaside villages and restaurants. You’ll enjoy all of the amenities of the nicest resorts and bigger islands but fall in love with the traditional Thai island charm.
Finally, an island not named “Koh?” But seriously, the Similan Islands offers the absolute best of all the other beaches and islands in Thailand, and stretches it out over a national park in the Andaman Sea that spans nine separate islands! Kick it in bamboo beach bungalows, swim and sunbathe to your heart’s content, and even dive with whale sharks (or just sit around on the beach gorging on amazing fresh seafood) on the Similan Islands!