Best Places for Island Hopping in Thailand
This place is simply awesome
Thailand is graced with scores of gorgeous islands. Whether you are eyeing your honeymoon, a family vacation, or a backpacking trip, The Land of Smiles make for an exotic holiday destination. From serenity to water sports, there are a bunch of things waiting for you on its islands. The best time to visit the islands of the country is from December to March.
Following is a list of the 12 most pristine islands in the lively Southeast Asian country:
1. Koh Hae -
Popularly known as Coral Island, Koh Hae attracts travellers from across the globe due to its ethereal diving sites. Spoil yourself on this island by relaxing on the beach or by Parasailing. Offering peace and tranquillity, Koh Hae is a gorgeous place if you are visiting Thailand for your honeymoon. On the island, you can find a monstrous Monitor Lizard or two. If you go for swim at the Banana on a fine day, you can see a wide array of colourful fishes, at just 100 metres from the shore.
How to Reach - You can take a ferry or hire a speed boat from Phuket to get to this island.
2. Koh Phi Phi -
Koh Phi Phi is a small group of islands that form a national park together. The islands store a huge collection of colourful corals, vibrant marine life, breathtakingly beautiful azure blue sea water, and its laid-back culture makes it the most popular place in the country. In spite of being majorly destroyed during the 2004 Tsunami, Koh Phi Phi has recovered remarkably. Its biggest attraction is Maya Bay - a beach on Ko Phi Phi Lee. There are several dive sites around the islands with great visibility.
How to Reach - You can take a ferry, a speed boat, or a flight from Phuket.
3. Koh Samet -
Think of an exotic tropical island sans the touristy crowd, and you shall get Koh Samet. Proudly boasting some of the best beaches of Thailand, Koh Samet must be considered for island hopping in Thailand. There is a bevy of bars and restaurants running parallel to the beaches. Like many other islands in the country, Koh Samet, too, is known for its quality dive sites. Albeit it is not known as a party island, its night life is quite happening with jugglers and pyromaniacs performing on the beaches. How to Reach - From Rayong, you can take an island or hire a speed boat.
4. Khao Phing Kan -
Owing to a 007 movie - The Man with the Golden Gun - that was shot here, this island is also known as James Bond Island. It is one of the most popular islands in Thailand, and has pretty much everything a tropical island generally has - thick vegetation, several limestone cliffs, and thrilling caves. Explore the limestone karsts on a kayak which attracts a number of visitors from different parts of the world.
How to Reach - You can take a day cruise or a long tail boat from Phuket, located at a distance of about 40 kilometres.
5. Koh Khram -
Koh Khram is off the tourists' radar owing to the fact that there are not restaurants or cafes. Under the supervision of the Thai Royal Marine, the island is uninhabitable for locals and tourists, and you cannot stay here overnight. Maybe that is the reason why it so pristine. The two beaches are as clean and euphoric as you can imagine. The seawater is crystal clear, promising excellent visibility for Scuba Divers and Snorkelers. Set up a hammock and simply enjoy the natural beauty of this place as you relax on it.
How to Reach - You can hire a speed boat from Pattaya City to get to this island.
6. Koh Lanta -
Koh Lanta can be referred as a synonym to peace and tranquillity.
Comprising lush green rainforest, beaches with soft, fine sand, and an extremely beautiful underwater world, Koh Lanta makes an ideal island to visit if you are travelling with your family. If you want some adventure on the land, go on an expedition to Khao Mai Kaew Cave. For animal lovers, there is a wonderful animal shelter named Lanta Animal Welfare which is also the No. 1 attraction on the the island as per Trip Advisor.
How to Reach - You can take a ferry or a speed boat from Krabi to get to this island.
7. Koh Sak -
The shape of this small island is similar to that of a horse shoe. The island has hosted two eminent personalities who were the first ones to land on the moon - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. In spite of no permanent shelters, it still manages to attract travellers who want to lay themselves on the soft white sand of its beach as well as Scuba Diving enthusiasts who want to experience wreck diving and see a variety of underwater animals.
How to reach - To get to this island, take a ferry or hire a speed boat from Pattaya City.
8. Similan Islands -
This list would remain incomplete without the mention of Similan Islands. For the uninitiated, the small archipelago is one of the most interesting Scuba Diving regions in the world. The crystal clear seawater surrounding the islands help spot sharks, turtles, trigger fish, barracudas, a number of golden fish (Nemo), et cetera. Its ecosystem is unique and fragile, as a result of which, it has been converted into a national park.
How to Reach - You can either take a long tail boat, or hire a speed boat from Phuket to get to Similan Islands.
9. Koh Samui -
The second largest Thai island is a hot mixing bowl, attracting all types of travellers. The variety ranges from backpackers who stay here for months and leisure tourists who stay in lavishing sea-facing hotels. The popular beaches such as Chaweng, Lamai, and Maenam are dotted with majestic palm trees, contrasting with the milky white sand and the various shades of blue sea water. For adventure seekers, there are Any Terrain Vehicles, Jet Skis, Kayaks, et cetera available for rent.
How to Reach - You can take a flight from Bangkok or a ferry from Surat Thani to get to this island.
10. Koh Racha Yai & Koh Racha Noi -
To escape the hustling and bustling of a crowded island vacation, visit Koh Rachya Yai and Koh Racha Noi, located south of Phuket. The islands are no less than a paradise for Scuba Divers and Snorkelers. The soft, white blanket of sand, colourful reef, and the rich variety of marine animals are enticing to say the least. Another water based activity that attracts people to these islands is Scuba - a hybrid or Scuba Diving and Snorkelling.
How to Reach - You can reach the twin islands from Phuket by taking a long tail boat or a speed boat.
11. Koh Pha Ngan -
Koh Pha Ngan is arguably the most popular island in Thailand because of the Full Moon Party. Ideal for backpackers who want to party like there is no tomorrow, this island has a bunch of activities for its visitors. The best activities of interest after the Full Moon Party are The Challenge Pha Ngan which is identical to Wipeout adventurous reality show, Muay Thai clubs, Pha Ngan Jorkyball which is a form of two a side indoor football, zip lining, ATVs, et cetera. For nature lovers, there are secret beaches, waterfalls, and a beautiful marine world waiting for you on this happening island.
How to Reach - Take a ferry from Surat Thani which will drop you to the island.
12. Koh Tao -
Koh Tao is an island in the Chumphon Archipelago which translates to Turtle Island in English. Living up to its name, it is an important breeding ground for Turtles. Dotted with numerous dive sites, one can swim with Turtles, Black Tip Reef Sharks, Whale Sharks, and a variety of other marine animals. It is also a highly preferred island for those who want to learn Scuba Diving or Free Diving. To move around the island, you can rent a dirt bike which is fun due to the islands muddy terrain. Rock Climbing is another activity on this island that is popular amongst visitors.
How to Reach - You can take an overnight ferry or cruise from Surat Thani to get to this island.
Pic credit - Flickr
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