10 Islands in Thailand Everyone Must Visit
Thailand has fast become a haven for both backpackers and holidaymakers. It's a land of unparalleled beauty, and one of the few places on Earth to boast a world-class metropolis and a string of exotic beaches. But it isn't only the rip-roaring buzz of Bangkok and the breathtaking beauty of the beaches that bring people to Thailand. It's the friendly vibe that runs through the veins of its population.
Their upbeat mood is infectious, and that's evident in their penchant for partying and love of all things fun. In fact, you won't go far in Thailand without seeing some sought of celebration. In this article, however, we focus on what Thailand is known for most: Its islands. Here are 10 that we believe offer everything you could want from a place aptly nicknamed, 'The Land of Smiles.'
10. Koh Lanta
Comprised of several little islands, Koh Lanta has something for everyone. And whether it's being a beach-bum or taking a hike through the jungle, Koh Lanta is a place that is far from one-dimensional.
The accommodation is also multifaceted and ranges from sparse huts to five-star joints, with the high-end hotels offering views and amenities that are just as stunning as Thailand's more established and well-known islands.
9. Koh Chang
Koh Chang is a jungle paradise, with some of Thailand's most diverse habitats found within the dense forestry of Koh Chang.
The beaches aren't bad either and offer stretches of sand that are sparsely populated and well beyond the prying eyes of many tourists. However, for those who want to experience rural Thai beach life in all its glory (before it inevitably becomes eradicated) then visit Salakkok Bay for a look at the life of a traditional fishing village.
8. Koh Phangan
Serving as one of the main gateways to youthful wanderlust, Thailand's Koh Phangan island provides a great experience, particularly for young travelers.
Synonymous with the famed Full Moon party, you'll see people from all over the world on Koh Phangan, and though the psychedelic party location of Had Rin beach is the number one attraction, there are more tranquil and lesser-known areas, such as Bottle and Silver Cliff Beach.
7. Koh Lipe
When a group of Malaysian sea gypsies discovered and settled on Koh Lipe many moons ago, they probably reveled in their luck. Visit today, however, and you'll quickly realize the island isn't only the preserve of a lucky few.
Nonetheless, Koh Lipe maintains an untouched and pristine beauty that few other islands have. What's more, as one of the 51 islands that make up the Tarutao Marine Park, the aquatic life is breathtaking. Better still, the island can be explored on foot within a few hours.
6. Similan Islands
Postcard beaches don't get much better than the Similan Islands. In fact, it's hard to imagine these islands haven't been tampered with by photographers until you see them for yourself.
Famed for offering some of the best diving sites in the world, those wishing to view any of the nine islands dotted around the Andaman Sea must often take an arranged boat trip from Thailand's busiest island, Phuket.
5. Ko Tao
A diving mecca for backpackers, Ko Tao mostly attracts a younger crowd who dive by day and party at one of the many bars dotted along Sairee beach by night.
For those of a more romantic deposition, you'll be more than satisfied with dining at one of the many lantern-lit restaurants overlooking the ocean.
4. Koh Samui
One of the more famous islands on this list, flocks of tourists shouldn't put you off this scenic island: so longing as you're willing to spend, spend, spend.
In fact, the vast majority of visitors are holidaymakers rather than backpackers. As such, some of the hotels dotted around the expansive ashen coastline are of the highest quality and regularly attract a host of celebrities.
The razzle and dazzle of Thailand's Phuket is unrivaled anywhere else in the country. And whether it's a six-star hotel with a room overlooking the shimmering waters of the Andaman sea or a dining experience at one of the many celebrity-chef owned restaurants, Phuket has it all.
Of course, the busiest island in Thailand isn't as serene as others and after a wave of tourism, thanks in part to the international airport, Phuket isn't everyone's cup of tea. But overlook the sleaze of Patong and the mass hordes of package holidaymakers and you'll see a coruscatingly beautiful island unrivaled by few others.
2. Koh Si Chang
It may not look as enchanting as others on this list, but for those in Bangkok who haven't time to take a long-haul trip to the southern islands, then the nearby seaside town of Koh Si Chang is an excellent alternative.
Only a two-hour boat ride away, Koh Si Chang is a popular holiday destination with Bangkok workers keen to escape the throbbing and pulsating lifestyle of the big city.
1. Koh Phi Phi
If you were to judge the island's based only on ascetic beauty, then Koh Phi Phi would continually come out top. The key to the island's allure is the mythical beaches. Surrounded by the island's signature limestone cliffs and bucolic forestry, Koh Phi Phi beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world; a truism only affirmed when Danny Boyle choose the scenic Koh Phi Phi Ley beach as the primary setting for the Leonardo Di Caprio movie, 'The Beach.'
Sadly, tourism was put on hold after the infamous tsunami of 2004 devastated the lives of thousands of locals and tourists. In fact, Koh Phi Phi was one of the worst-hit areas, but 12 years on and you would have never known. Modernised and lined with plush hotels, the crowds that Phi Phi attract tend to be affluent (wealthy Japanese tourists frequent the island) but backpackers, undeterred by the sky-high prices, also revel in Thailand's most prized asset.