In Thai, the word for island is ‘koh’ (เกาะ), which goes before the name of the island. Thailand is home to a number of beautiful islands, so you will probably hear it a lot. Each of these are home to amazing beaches. Being located towards the south of the country, these tropical paradises attract millions of visitors every year and understandably so. All of the Thai islands come in a range of different sizes and different landscapes. not only do they offer great Thai cuisine, but also spectacular views and experiences like no other.
So, this begs the question: Which of these Thai holiday islands should you visit? With so many options, it is easy to get become indecisive. We have put together a guide that will help you to decide which you should visit now, and which you should visit later.
Koh Phuket is often referred to as just Phuket (ภูเก็ต), and is probably the most famous Thai island, as well as being the largest of them all. As an island, there will be all the usual activities to expect. This includes swimming, diving, snorkelling, jet skis, and other water based activities. At the same time, the nightlife on Phuket is much more developed than on other islands, meaning you can relax during the day and go out in the evening.
Though it is quite far from the capital, the island has its own airport which makes it quick to get to. Otherwise, it is a case of taking a boat from Krabi, a popular stop in its own right.
After a 90 minute boat ride from Surat Thani, you will arrive on the second largest Thai island. Koh Samui (เกาะสมุย) has become very developed, even having its own international airport. Thousands of visitors stop by every year to enjoy the beaches, corals and relaxed nature. There are plenty of coconuts and seafood to enjoy here
The island is usually the first stop for those looking to go onwards to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, but it is worth stopping by for a couple of days to enjoy the island life. It is interesting to talk with the locals and explore the whole island.
The island of Koh Phangan (เกาะพะงัน) is very unassuming upon first glance. Generally, it is a quiet, peaceful place where you can relax and forget all of your problems. However, every month during the full moon, the full moon party takes place. This always turns out to be a wild party, with plenty of buckets and music going around. It can be a great way to spend a night if you are into that sort of thing.
Saying that, this is all usually confined to just Haad Rin Nok Beach, with the rest of the island being spared from the noise. Just keep in mind that transport and hotels will be booked up around these dates.
The smaller of the three main islands near Chumphon is Koh Tao (เกาะเต่า). Tao island is most famous for the scuba diving opportunities it provides. Whether you are looking to learn or just to take part, this is the place to go. Of course, there are many other things to enjoy about this place. It doesn’t see the large crowds that plague Samui or Phuket, giving some more personal space. The nature is also a beautiful sight.
Coming from Koh Phangan or Koh Samui, you will notice that things are less developed here. Be sure to take care on the roads, which are lower quality than the others.
Koh Phi Phi Don (เกาะพีพีดอน) is the larger of the Koh Phi Phi island group. It is considered one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the world. Development has mainly been restricted to a small area, helping to maintain this natural beauty. You should be fine getting around on foot, even if the cheaper accommodation is slightly further away from the action.
There are a few interesting activities available here. Firstly is the viewpoint that gives a great perspective of the island. Next, is diving. Like Koh Tao, there are many interesting sights underwater to be explored.
As you can see, there are a whole range of different islands for you to visit during your time in Thailand. Each has a variety of hotels, hostels, and resorts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. This is far from a complete list, though these options are amongst the most popular. Make sure you spare a thought for the environment and be thoughtful of the waste you produce and avoid littering as always.
Whether you love trekking across the hills or sunbathing on the beach, there is something for you. Food and other goods tend to be more expensive on the islands than the main lands (which is understandable) so make sure you budget for that. And make sure to bring your sunscreen.