14 Incredible Thailand Island Hopping Destinations & Itineraries
With over 1400 islands, a trip to Thailand would be incomplete without an island hopping adventure.
Below, I’ve laid out the 14 best Thailand island destinations and several itinerary examples. Find the itinerary that fits your style and start planning the holiday of a lifetime.
Table of Contents
14 Best Thailand Island Destinations
Thailand Island Hopping Itinerary
What Is The Best Island To Stay In Thailand?
How Do You Get To The Islands From Phuket?
What Is The Closest Island To Bangkok?
How Do I Choose A Thai Island?
What Should I Avoid In Thailand?
The Wrap-Up: Thailand Island Hopping
14 Best Thailand Island Destinations
Each Thai island is unique and presents its own charm. With so many islands to choose from, it’s difficult to know which ones are worth your time. For the ultimate island hopping trip, consider these 14 incredible places:
1. Ko Surin Nuea
Overall, the best Thailand island destination is Ko Surin Nuea, located north of Phuket in the Andaman Sea. Ko Surin Nuea is a national park that is perfect for exploring deep within the ocean.
I suggest coming to Ko Surin Nuea between the months of November to February. During these months, the water is clear and great for spotting marine life.
Outside of this season, plankton makes the water murkier, although still very beautiful.
Many visitors compare Ko Surin Nuea to the Similan Islands. The biggest difference is the number of people visiting these national parks. While the Similan Islands are bombarded with tourists, Ko Surin Nuea gets a much healthier dose of travelers.
But, the number of visitors increases every year, so I suggest visiting now before it’s sadly too late.
What To Do On Ko Surin Nuea
Ko Surin Nuea is one of the best places in Thailand for snorkeling. Thanks to its preservation as a national park, you’ll be able to experience thriving marine life.
Along those same lines, diving is also very popular here. Although Koh Tao is widely known for its diving community, Ko Surin Nuea is where you can find the best diving location in the country: Richelieu Rock.
You simply cannot go to Ko Surin Nuea without camping on the beach. This national park offers two separate campsites, which you can book ahead of time on the Thai national parks website or in person when you arrive.
Where To Stay & How To Get To Ko Surin Nuea
Since this island is part of a national park, there aren’t any resorts to stay on the island of Ko Surin Nuea.
The best way to experience Ko Surin Nuea is by taking a tour of the national park. With the tour group SeaStar, you’ll be guided around the island for unforgettable snorkeling excursions and beach camping. Check out the 3 days, 2 nights trip to Ko Surin via SeaStar.
2. Koh Lipe
Quickly growing in popularity, Koh Lipe is another island to add to your Thailand island hopping itinerary.
Located in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Langkawi, this island paradise is perfect for water sports and adventurers. For a truly awesome experience, come to Koh Lipe during offseason. Exploring the ocean without crowds of people is the way to go!
Expect this island to be a bit more pricey than other Thailand island destinations. With tourism drastically increasing to this area, the island prices also increase.
Note: As crowds rush to this island, the infrastructure takes a serious hit. Do your part to keep this island clean. Throw your trash in bins and be aware of your impact on the land.
What To Do On Koh Lipe
✔ Drinks & Sunset On The Beach
There’s nothing better than enjoying a cold cocktail on the beach while watching the sunset. We recommend checking out Zodiac See Sun Beach Bar on Sunrise Beach.
Rent a kayak on the beach or join a tour group to explore the coast of the island and its magnificently clear ocean water. The best place to rent a kayak is Sunrise Beach, but you can find kayak rentals in many locations.
✔ Visit Walking Street
From souvenir shops to restaurants to tour guide businesses, you’ll find everything you need on Walking Street.
Note: Nightlife in Koh Lipe is becoming more and more prevalent. If you aren’t up for loud parties, I recommend staying away from Walking Street.
How To Get To Koh Lipe
From Bangkok, fly down to Hat Yai. Airlines like AirAsia and NokAir service this route daily and the flights are quite affordable.
From Hat Yai airport, take the shuttle to Pakbara pier. From this pier, you’ll take a ferry over to Koh Lipe. It takes about an hour and a half to reach Koh Lipe on this ferry and you’ll want to budget about $20 for a one-way ride.
During peak season, it’s even easier to reach Koh Lipe by taking a fast boat from the island of Langkawi. Langkawi is a major Malaysian island, so getting here is cheap and easy.
Where To Stay On Koh Lipe
When visiting Koh Lipe during your Thailand island hopping adventure, stay at Ten Moons Lipe Resort. This resort is located just ten minutes from the pier. The seclusion, ample amenities, and clean rooms make this place very charming.
For a budget-friendly to stay, check out Bloom Cafe And Hostel. It’s highly rated and offers dorm room-style beds for backpackers and other thrifty travelers.
3. Koh Wua Ta Lap
Representing Koh Anthong National Marine Park is the island of Koh Wua Ta Lap. Visiting this island might just be the most incredible experience you’ll have in all of Thailand.
In my opinion, Koh Wua Ta Lap has it all: the best snorkeling, beaches, and kayaking adventures for any traveler. Add this island to your Thailand island hopping itinerary to really get the most out of your trip.
What To Do On Koh Wua Ta Lap
✔ Koh Wua Ta Lap Viewpoint
This famed viewpoint manifests unbelievable views of the surrounding national park. From the top, you’ll see islands such as Koh Mae Ko and Koh Sam Sao among others. The trek to the top has many stairs but is easily doable for those who are physically fit.
As a national marine park, this protected area is perfect for spotting unique fish and coral reefs.
✔ Go Kayaking
Kayaking around this archipelago will leave you speechless. Weave in and out of the islands for ultimate views.
How To Get To Koh Wua Ta Lap
To get to Koh Wua Ta Lap, you’ll take a day trip from either Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. Since this is a national park, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee of 300 baht per person.
Where To Stay On Koh Wua Ta Lap
Koh Wua Ta Lap is an island situated in Angthong National Marine Park, therefore you cannot stay on the island overnight.
Instead, you’ll likely spend the night on Koh Samui or Koh Phangan.
4. Koh Tao
Despite poor publicity in recent years, Koh Tao is a scuba diver’s paradise. The diversity and plethora of things to do on this island is unmatched by any other Thai island.
Skipping Koh Tao on your island hopping vacation would be a shame. With powder white sand and crystal clear water, it’s the perfect place to soak up the sun on vacation or just relax in your hammock with a good book for days at a time.
What To Do On Koh Tao
✔ Get Your PADI
Many travelers come to Koh Tao to get dive certified. Koh Tao offers the best prices in the entire world and the best dive sites for all levels.
✔ John Suwan Viewpoint
Make your way up to John-Suwan Viewpoint for an unbelievable view of Shark Bay, Freedom Bay, and the entire island. I wouldn’t recommend wearing flip flops on this trek because you’ll be climbing quite a bit, but the effort is well worth it.
How To Get To Koh Tao
There are several ways to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok. Here’s what you need to know:
Flying is by far the easiest way to get to Koh Tao.
First, you’ll need to fly from Bangkok to Koh Samui. This route is serviced by Bangkok Airways and AirAsia. You can expect to pay between $65 to over $200 for this roundtrip flight.
Next, from Koh Samui, take a short bus ride from the airport to Bangrak Pier. The ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Tao takes about an hour and a half and they have a few differet departure times each day.
To get to Koh Tao from Bangkok by bus, you’ll need to start at Hua Lamphong Bus Station in Bangkok. A ticket from Bangkok to Chumphon by bus will cost approximately $30-45 depending on the time of year.
From Chumphon, you’ll take a boat over to Koh Samui. Once you reach Koh Samui, you’ll continue over to Koh Tao by ferry.
For the cheapest option, take the train from Bangkok to Koh Tao.
Start by hopping on a train at the Hua Lamphong Train Station in Bangkok. This train will take you to the Chumphon Railway Station. This trip can cost as low as $5 per person.
From the railway station, you’ll need to take a taxi over to the pier. At the Chumphon pier, you’ll take a boat over to Koh Tao. That catamaran will take approximately 2 hours and will cost between $15 and $25.
Where To Stay On Koh Tao
Grab an ocean view room at View Point Resort on the southern end of Koh Tao. Here, you’ll be getting an upscale resort stay at an affordable price.
For frugal travelers, consider staying at The Dearly Koh Tao Hostel.
5. Koh Samui
Although Koh Samui is one of the most touristy islands in Thailand, this should not be excluded from your island hopping itinerary.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand off the coast of Surat Thani, Koh Samui is the second largest island in the country.
With a bustling nightlife, white sand beaches, and snorkeling spots for those looking to see an array of underwater life, you should consider staying here for at least several days on your trip.
What To Do On Koh Samui
✔ Relax On Maenam Beach
The best way to see Koh Samui is by renting a motorbike and visiting all of the beaches. Make Maenam Beach your first stop!
✔ Stroll The Coast At Chaweng Beach
The next stop on your beach hopping tour of Koh Samui should be Chaweng Beach. Chaweng Beach boasts white sand and plenty of beach bars.
✔ Overlap Stone Viewpoint
Overlap Stone is a neat rock formation and quite frankly a hidden gem among tourists. Take your motorbike up to this viewpoint, but be careful. The road to Overlap Stone is unmaintained in many places.
How To Get To Koh Samui
This is by far the easiest island to get to in Thailand. Thanks to Samui Airport, you can fly directly to the island from Bangkok. The plane ride is an hour long and you can expect to pay between $35 and $150+ for a one-way trip.
In addition, you can take the bus, train, or minibus from Bangkok to the pier in Chumphon province. From Chumphon, take the ferry across to Koh Samui. This is the cheaper option, but the entire trip will take up to 13 hours.
Where To Stay In Koh Samui
For luxury, stay at the Banyan Tree Samui. The best mid-range hotel is the Sandalwood where you will experience luxury at affordable prices.
And if you’re island hopping in Thailand on a budget, check out Samui Zenity.
6. Koh Chang
My personal favorite island on this list is Koh Chang. A more off-the-beaten-path destination, Koh Chang is much less crowded than other islands in Thailand.
The first thing you should do when you get to Koh Chang is to rent a scooter. This is by far the best way to see the entire island. With hidden waterfalls and national parks to explore, you won’t want to miss out on a thing.
What To Do On Koh Chang
✔ Visit Khlong Plu Waterfall
I know this post is dedicated to Thailand island hopping, but once on Koh Chang, you’ll want to do a bit of waterfall hopping. Add Khlong Phlu Waterfall and Than Mayom Waterfall to your list of things to do.
I found that Khlong Phlu Waterfall was one of the largest waterfalls I had seen in Thailand; it is a true spectacle.
✔ Watch The Sunset
Once you are finished waterfall hopping, it’s time to pick a pristine beach for one of the best sunsets you’ll see in all of Thailand. Mu Koh Chang National Park is a great place to relax during a jaw-dropping sunset. Grab a cocktail and unwind on this island oasis.
✔ Day Trip To Koh Yuak
Just off the coast of Koh Chang’s western coast is a small island called Koh Yuak. With great snorkeling spots and quiet beaches, don’t forget to add this day trip to your itinerary.
How To Get To Koh Chang
First, you’ll need to get to Trat, Thailand. You can do this by taking a minibus (van) or bus from Victory Monument or the bus station in Bangkok. There is also an option to fly to Trat using Bangkok Airways.
Once in Trat, take the ferry over to the island.
Where To Stay On Koh Chang
Splurge on Koh Chang at the Sands Resort. The Sands Resort is perfect for couples or families looking to have privacy.
But you don’t need to pay $900+ per night for luxury. The Chill Koh Chang is a fantastic hotel that won’t break the bank while still providing high-quality customer service and amenities.
Save money at Pajamas Koh Chang, a hostel that even has a pool!
7. Koh Mak
Koh Mak is another off-the-beaten-path island that is underdeveloped unlike other islands on this list. It is one of those islands that you can’t help but want to stay on forever.
With white sandy beaches and clear blue water, it’s hard not to fall in love with this island paradise.
Note: Since Koh Mak is more undeveloped than other islands, bring enough cash to supply your trip. There is an ATM on this island but it often doesn’t work or frequently runs out of cash.
What To Do On Koh Mak
✔ Koh Mak Viewpoint
This hidden gem has a relaxed beach vibe with excellent viewpoints that overlook the surrounding islets.
✔ Go To Ao Soun Yai Beach
You won’t find many parties on Koh Mak, so I suggest enjoying a night on Ao Soun Yai Beach while watching the sunset.
✔ Enjoy A Quiet Island
Island hopping is popular among travelers visiting Thailand, so finding a quiet island can be difficult. But Koh Mak might just be your answer.
How To Get To Koh Mak
Koh Mak is located off the coast of Koh Chang. Therefore, you must first go from Bangkok to Trat. You can get to Trat by plane, bus, or minibus.
From the pier in Trat, take a boat over to the island of Koh Mak. Foreigners can expect to pay about $14 for a one-way boat ticket.
Where To Stay On Koh Mak
By far the best place to stay on Koh Mak is Seavana Beach Resort. Although a bit isolated, Seavana Beach Resort has it all: great food, excellent staff, and a laidback island feel.
For budget-travelers, consider the Ao Pong Resort, located on the south coast of the island.
8. Koh Phi Phi
If you’ve been researching the Thailand islands, I’m sure you’ve heard of Koh Phi Phi. This famed island is full of epic experiences for your Thailand island-hopping journey.
Koh Phi Phi consists of two different islands, Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh. You’ll be staying on the large island, Koh Phi Phi Don. After being completely leveled by a tsunami in 2004, the Phi Phi Islands have made an inspiring comeback.
What To Do On Koh Phi Phi
✔ Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint
Of course, a visit to Koh Phi Phi wouldn’t be complete without a trip up to the viewpoint. This viewpoint is one of the most famous sights in all of Thailand. Take the short walk up the steep stairs to enjoy a beautiful Thai sunset over the limestone cliffs of the Phi Phi Islands.
✔ Party Like There’s No Tomorrow
Famously known for beach parties, you can’t go to Koh Phi Phi without having a few cocktails on the beach with other packpackers.
✔ Long Tailboat To Koh Phi Phi Leh
Although Maya Bay is closed to tourists, you can still take a longtail boat out to Koh Phi Phi Leh to see some of the best sites in southern Thailand.
For more things to do Koh Koh Phi Phi, check out the 19 activities we recommend here.
How To Get To Koh Phi Phi
There are several different ways to reach Koh Phi Phi. The easiest way to reach the island is by plane. Select from either AirAsia or NokAir to get you from Bangkok to Phuket or Krabi.
You can also get to Krabi by bus or minibus.
From the piers in Krabi or Phuket, take the ferry across to Koh Phi Phi. Ferry prices from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi cost approximately 300-400 baht one way.
The ferry from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi will cost at least 500 baht one way.
Where To Stay On Koh Phi Phi
For budget travelers, check out The Pier 519 Hostel. This hostel offers clean rooms and a friendly staff.
For a bit more luxury, book a room at the Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort. Both of these resorts are set back from walking street and the main drag so that you can enjoy the party, but leave if you want.
9. Koh Adang
Another atoll worth visiting during your Thailand island hopping journey is Koh Adang, an island located directly next to Langkawi at the southern tip of Thailand.
The best part about Koh Adang are the prices. Experience this paradise Thai island for a fraction of what you would pay at other islands.
Whether you’re into water sports or you want to explore a national park in Thailand, Koh Adang should be a stop during your island hopping journey.
Note: Be sure to bring enough cash with you to Koh Adang. There are no ATMs or markets on this island. Stock up before leaving Koh Lipe.
What To Do On Koh Adang
✔ Hike To Koh Adang Waterfall
Another great adventure to experience on Koh Adang is Pirate’s Waterfall. Although this is a small waterfall, the journey to get here is priceless.
A short walk from the beach will bring you through the dense jungle; keep an eye out for unique wildlife along the way!
✔ Go To Tarutao National Park
Take a speed boat out to Tarutao National Park where you’re sure to find some of the clearest water in the Andaman Sea.
Koh Adang is the perfect place for snorkeling and diving. As an off-the-beaten-path destination, the beaches are typically vacant and the marine life is plentiful.
How To Get To Koh Adang
The easiest way to get to Koh Adang is via Koh Lipe. To get to Koh Lipe, check out our description here.
Once you’re on Koh Lipe, head to Sunrise Beach. From there, take a longtail boat to Koh Adang. The ride to the island will last just a few minutes.
Where To Stay On Koh Adang
One of the very few options for accommodation on Koh Adang just so happens to be an awesome resort.
Adang Island Resort is affordable and offers a variety of amenities. Use their free kayaks or snorkeling gear to explore the shores or cool off in their beautiful pool.
10. Koh Lanta
Sit back and relax on the island of Koh Lanta, located near Krabi, Thailand. This laidback island is a great place to unwind after a long Thailand island hopping trip.
Be sure to rent a motorbike while staying on Koh Lanta. With a motorbike, you’ll be able to see the whole island and find hidden gems.
From beaches to hiking trails, you’ll find everything you might want on this island paradise.
What To Do In Koh Lanta
✔ Volunteer To Clean The Beach
Pollution tends to rear its ugly head on the beaches of Koh Lanta. In order to preserve this peaceful paradise, volunteer to help clean up the beaches.
✔ Go Trekking
Koh Lanta also has a dense jungle and great trekking. Get off the beaten path and discover all that Koh Lanta has to offer.
✔ Watch The Sunset
Expect epic sunsets on Koh Lanta and beautiful beaches in the south. The northern beaches of Koh Lanta are struggling with pollution and litter, so do your part to keep this island as clean as possible.
How To Get To Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is located near Krabi. In order to get to Koh Lanta, fly, take the bus, or take a minibus to Krabi. Once you reach Krabi, a fast boat will take you to Koh Lanta from the pier in Ao Nong or Railay Beach.
Where To Stay On Koh Lanta
Layana Resort & Spa is a great place to stay on Koh Lanta if you’re looking for high-end amenities. Get a pool-front villa with plenty of space to relax and enjoy your Thailand vacation.
For slightly cheaper prices, check out The Houben that sits above Kantiang Bay. And for frugal travelers, consider Sweetlife Community Guesthouse.
11. Koh Talu
One of the more unique islands to visit on this list is Koh Talu. If you’re at all interested in marine life or conservation, this is the island for you. Located about 5 hours south of Bangkok,
Take in the scenery of this quiet and peaceful island paradise before continuing on to your next Thailand island hopping destination.
What To Do On Koh Talu
✔ Get Off The Beaten Path
Thanks to the fact that Koh Talu is still a hidden gem among Thai islands (not to mention it’s a private island), you can get off the beaten path and explore it without running into crowds.
✔ Visit The Sea Turtle Sanctuary
On Koh Talu, you’ll find the famed sea turtle nursery that works to protect, breed, and release sea turtles into the ocean. This nursery attracts many travelers from all over the world and it’s an experience you won’t forget.
Along with the nursery, Koh Talu has a lagoon perfect for snorkeling and diving. The coral reefs here are teeming with colorful fish and marine life.
The water is typically clean, however, trash frequently washes up from mainland Thailand. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for islands to escape the trash epidemic.
How To Get To Koh Talu
There are two ways to get to Koh Talu and both of them will take some time.
In Bangkok, choose between a minibus or the train and ride down to the southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan. The coastal area you’re looking for is called Bang Saphan District. From the pier in Bang Saphan District (Ban Ma Prao Resort Pier), you’ll take a boat over to Koh Talu.
Where To Stay On Koh Talu
You can’t come to Koh Talu without staying at Koh Talu Island Resort. This resort is home to the sea turtle sanctuary, which is one of the best things to do on the island.
12. Koh Ra Wi
If you’re looking for a true “off-the-beaten-path” Thai island experience, Koh Ra Wi is the island for you. Located a stone’s throw from Koh Adang and Koh Lipe, Koh Ra Wi is an undiscovered and undeveloped beauty.
Tired of sharing the Thai beaches with other tourists? This might just be the serenity that you crave. Often competing for the title of best beaches in all of Thailand, Koh Ra Wi is not to be missed.
What To Do On Koh Ra Wi
✔ Camp On The Beach
As part of the national parks system, it is possible to camp on the beaches of Koh Ra Wi and you’ll be glad you did. Be sure to check the Thai national parks website to make further plans.
✔ Soak Up The Sun On Clean Beaches
On Koh Ra Wi, you’ll find clean beaches, clear water, and sugar-white sand. It’s rumored that this island boasts the best beaches in the entire archipelago.
The secluded coves and azure water make this hidden gem a magical oasis for Thailand island hopping.
✔ Swim In The Ocean
As part of Tarutao National Park, you’ll find the beaches to be clean and the water to be crystal clear.
How To Get To Koh Ra Wi
Since Koh Ra Wi is a hidden oasis, it’s not easy to get to. Start by getting to the island of Koh Lipe. If you’re unsure how to do that, click here for more detailed directions.
From Koh Lipe, take a longtail boat over to Koh Ra Wi. This is a short trip, but prices continue to increase. Feel free to barter for a cheaper fare or find friends to join in order to split the cost.
Where To Stay On Koh Ra Wi
As part of Mu Ko Tarutao National Park, there aren’t any resorts on this island. The best way to experience Koh Ra Wi is to camp on the beaches for a night or two.
Rent a tent from the ranger station or bring your own. The fee to camp is extremely cheap, but bring cash because there are no ATMs on this island.
13. Koh Phangan
If you’ve heard about Thailand’s notorious Full Moon Party, then you’re probably familiar with the island of Koh Phangan. Just north of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan has a lot more to offer than just alcohol and parties.
Rent a motorbike on Koh Phangan and navigate your way through the entire island. Stop at the many waterfalls or visit the excellent night market, Thong Sala Night Market.
There’s something for everyone on this often overlooked island.
What To Do On Koh Phangan
✔ Go For The Full Moon Party
Koh Phangan is famous (or notorious) for the full-moon party.
These parties occur on each full moon, about 12 times per year. The beach becomes swarmed with tourists that are ready to drink and dance the night away.
✔ Visit Bottle Beach
If you’re looking for beaches, look no further than Bottle Beach.
Bottle Beach is a very secluded beach, but it’s definitely worth the effort to get to. Although it can be accessed on foot, I wouldn’t recommend doing it due to the dense jungles and lack of trail. The best way to reach Bottle Beach is by taking a water taxi.
✔ Trek To Khao Ra
Break out the hiking shoes and climb up to the highest point on Koh Phangan, Khao Ra. You’ll get the most scenic views of the island below and it’s a lot less traveled than other places on Koh Phangan.
How To Get To Koh Phangan
To get to Koh Phangan, start by flying, driving, or riding to the province of Surat Thani.
You can get to Koh Phangan directly from the pier in Surat Thani or you can choose to go to Koh Phangan after a Samui island trip since these islands are only 45 minutes apart by boat.
Where To Stay On Koh Phangan
Our first choice of resorts on Koh Phangan is Le Divine Comedie Beach Resort. This resort is budget-friendly and breathtakingly beautiful. With beachfront access and an infinity pool, who could ask for more?
For something more upscale, consider The Cabin Beach Resort, a gorgeous set of cabins that look out over the ocean.
14. Koh Kood
A hop, skip, and a jump from Koh Chang is a small, off-the-beaten-path island called Koh Kood (or Koh Kut). On Koh Kood, you’ll encounter clean beaches and fun jungle trekking trails.
Located near Koh Chang on the southeastern end of the country, Koh Kood isn’t the most accessible island on our list, but it’s definitely worth the trip.
What To Do On Koh Kood
✔ Go To Nang Yai Beach
One of the best beaches on Koh Kood is Nang Yai Beach, a great place to stop and unwind for the day. The sugary white sand and azure waters will check all the boxes for the perfect beach oasis.
✔ Swim In Khlong Chao Waterfall
One of the best things to do on Koh Kood is to visit the Khlong Chao Waterfall.
Be sure to visit this waterfall during the wet season as the waterfall can become weak during the dry season. Pack your swimsuit while visiting this waterfall and come early to avoid any crowds.
✔ Relax At Klong Hin Beach
We’ve included two beaches on the list of best things to do in Koh Kood simply because this island has some of the best beaches in the entire country.
How To Get To Koh Kood
Since Koh Kood is located near Koh Chang, take a plane, bus, or minibus to the pier in Trat. Once you’re in Trat, you can catch a boat over to the island of Koh Kood.
Where To Stay On Koh Kood
For affordable luxury, rent a villa at Santaa Koh Kood with a beautiful sea view. And for a cheaper accommodation option, check out Kama Siri, a small guest host with a kind host.
Thailand Island Hopping Itinerary
Because of the plethora of islands in Thailand, it can be difficult to decide which island hopping route to take. Below, I’ve created four of the best itinerary plans for your holiday.
Eastern Gulf of Thailand Island Hopping Itinerary
Visiting Eastern Thailand on your way to Cambodia? Add this Thailand island hopping itinerary to your trip for some beach days before Angkor Wat.
Koh Chang – Koh Mak – Koh Kut
All three of these islands are within close proximity, which makes it easy to hop from one islands to the next.
If this is the island hopping route that you want to take, you’ll need to get to Traft proince near the Cambodian border. From the pier in Trat, go to any of the three islands listed on this itinerary.
I recommend spending 3 days on Koh Chang, 2 day son Koh Mak, and 2 days on Koh Kut.
Western Gulf of Thailand Island Hopping Itinerary
Jumping across the Gulf of Thailand, we can find some of the country’s most famous islands. If you’re looking for luxury, pristine beaches, or water sports, you’ve come to the right place.
Koh Tao – Koh Phangan – Koh Samui – Koh Wua Ta Lap
If you want to visit famous Thai islands like Koh Samui or Koh Phangan, this is the island hopping itinerary for you.
You’ll start your island hopping on Koh Tao, which means you’ll need to get there.
From Bangkok, you can fly, ride the bus, or catch a minibus to the island. Of course, the easiest way is to fly into Koh Samui and take the boat over, but the most affordable way is to drive.
Spend at least 3 days on Koh Tao because this is where you’ll want to get your PADI certification. These programs are typically 3 days, so give yourself the time that it takes. Once you complete your PADI, you’ll be able to dive in any island destination in Thailand during your holiday.
Next, head to Koh Phangan for a full moon party. No more than 2-3 days is needed for Koh Phangan.
And finally, take a boat from Koh Phangan to Koh Samui. I recommend spending 3-4 days on Koh Samui; take a day trip over to Koh Wua Ta Lap to explore the national park.
South Andaman Sea Thailand Island Hopping Itinerary
At the bottom of Thailand, you’ll find a group of islands so beautiful that you’ll never want to leave. With such close proximity to Malaysia, this is the perfect to island hop before crossing over into Malaysia.
Koh Lipe – Koh Ra Wi – Koh Adang
If you want national park hidden gems, sunsets on the beach with cold cocktails, or quiet hidden beaches, then this is the route you’ll want to take through the islands of Thailand.
You’ll start your journey in Koh Lipe. In order to get there, follow these directions here.
Spend 3 days on Koh Lipe before heading to the neighboring island, Koh Ra Wi, by boat. Camp on the beach for 2 nights on Koh Rah Wi before heading back to Koh Lipe to change boats.
To wrap up your island hopping vacation, spend 2 days on Koh Adang.
Central Andaman Sea Thailand Island Hopping Itinerary
Another popular area for Thailand islands is along the coast of the central Andaman Sea. With so many islands to choose from over here, how will you be able to select the best itinerary?
Ko Surin Nuea – Koh Phi Phi – Koh Lanta
If you want a little of everything: off-the-beaten-path, beach parties, and relaxing luxury, then this itinerary should pique your interest.
Start by signing up for a tour of Ko Surin Nuea. There are operators out of Bangkok and Phuket, but it would be more helpful to be picked up and dropped off in Phuket.
Most tour groups spend 3 days and 2 nights exploring Ko Surin Nuea and the national park.
From there, you’ll make your way down to Phuket, where you can take a ferry to the island of Koh Phi Phi. Spend 2-3 days adventuring and/or partying on Koh Phi Phi before jumping over to Koh Lanta by ferry.
Koh Lanta deserves at least 2 days of your time, so plan that into your itinerary, too.
What Is The Best Island To Stay In Thailand?
The answer to this question completely depends on what someone means by “best”. Do you mean most convenient? Most beautiful? Full of activities?
If you are looking for the most convenient island to visit while island hopping in Thailand, go to Koh Samui. With direct flights from Bangkok, this destination doesn’t require a ferry or boat ride.
In addition, Koh Samui does offer some incredible views. And with access to Angthong National Marine Park, you’ve got a handful of the most beautiful Thai islands within day trip reach.
If adventure sports are your thing, Koh Samui has you covered.
So, if you’re completely new to traveling in Thailand and you want to experience some of the countries best islands, I suggest starting with Koh Samui.
How Do You Get To The Islands From Phuket?
Unknown to some, Phuket is actually an island itself. From Phuket, you can reach various islands like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta with a short ferry ride.
If you want to access other islands, you’ll need to cross the Gulf of Thailand or hop to the other side and into the Andaman Sea.
Luckily, Phuket is easily accessible thanks to the airport on the island. This makes it easy to reach any island destination in Thailand quickly.
What Is The Closest Island To Bangkok?
If you want a quick weekend trip to an island from Bangkok, the best and closest option is Koh Samet.
This small island has plenty of great beaches, activities, and accommodation options. It’s a short 3-hour minibus ride from Bangkok. Hop on the ferry or a speedboat at Ban Phe pier. From there, the boat ride is extremely short.
How Do I Choose A Thai Island?
In order to choose the best Thai island, you have to think about your preferences and what you’re looking for in a vacation. Do you want to do adventurous sports? Relax on a beach? Party?
Each of these factors are important to consider and think about when deciding on a Thai island.
To help you decide, here is a quick rundown of the best islands for various scenarios:
The best island for adventure sports is Koh Tao. Here, you can get your PADI certificate and scuba dive with an awesome community. You can also spend time hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling on Koh Tao.
Relaxing On A Beach
To find the islands that boast the best beaches, you’ll need to get off the beaten path a little. Remember, the fewer tourists, the less trash on the beach.
Koh Ra Wi and Koh Kood both pack a strong punch in the beaches category, so add both of these island destinations to your Thailand itinerary.
Partying Like It’s 1999
The best party island in Thailand is actually a toss up. While many islands have vibrant nightlife scenes, two islands come to mind when talking about parties: Koh Phi Phi and Koh Phangan.
With a reputation for hosting drunk young adults, it’s hard to deny that Koh Phi Phi knows how to throw a bash.
But on the other hand, we can’t forget about the best party in Thailand: the Full Moon Party. This party takes place 12-13 times per year.
What Should I Avoid In Thailand?
Let’s face it, Thailand can’t be perfect in every corner. And after spending a year living in Bangkok and exploring Thailand, I’ve come up with a list of the most disgusting places in Thailand (psst! This popular beach destination is one of them.. check out #2 on my list).
I hope you take my advice and avoid these awful places. You can read my detailed list here.
The Wrap-Up: Thailand Island Hopping
If an island hopping adventure appeals to you, use these four itineraries to help you decide where to go and what to see. The best part about Thai islands is that there is something for everyone out there.
Have you been island hopping in Thailand? Where did you go and what did you see?
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