Thailand

Your Ultimate Island Hopping Guide: 5 must-visit islands in Thailand

Thailand is one of the most popular tourist countries in the world. According to CNN, both Bangkok and Phuket, respectively welcomed 20 million and 10 million tourists in 2018, and are on the top 20 most-visited-city list. Why does Thailand captures a multitude of travelers’ hearts and drive them to visit every once in a while? Maybe because Thailand gathers the diverse resources that travelers dream of in one single country.

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In addition to the well-recommended Bangkok, Thailand also boasts numerous paradise-like islands suitable for vacation. Therefore, please roll down and check out what we recommend to you.

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1. Koh Samui

Photo by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash

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Koh Samui(Samui Island) is located in the Chumphon Archipelago, off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus. Palm trees swinging, tasty coconut water, and crowded downtown can describe your first image on this island. However, Koh Samui can astonish travelers even more-it caters to a wide range of travelers, from budget-conscious backpackers, sweet couples, to luxury-resort VIP. No matter what you are longing for, in here, you never have to be anxious about wasting time. Even lying down in white-sand Chaweng Beach and embracing sea breeze can be actually ‘something’ to talk about during your journey.

Photo by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash

Moreover, Koh Samui is quite big, so travelers are recommended to rent scooters to better explore other amazing attractions on the island. In fact, there is plenty to do. You may take a glance at the Big Buddha Temple(Wat Phra Yai) to appreciate the solemnity and beauty of Thai Buddhism culture, while at night, savoring local Thai cuisine is a must. Chaweng Night Market and Lamai Night Market, for example, drive many travelers hungry. You would always experience some culture shocks, especially speaking of food. Nevertheless, that’s part of your fabulous journey, isn’t it?

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2. Phuket

When it comes to incredible islands in Thailand, Phuket is probably the most well-known name, which stands for a Thai province as well as the main city. Actually, Phuket is abundant in extraordinary marine life, and with its beautiful beaches, this island attracts tons of travelers every year, enabling Phuket to crown the wealthiest province of Thailand. Besides taking part in water activities, such as snorkeling and scuba diving, travelers may also select some other tourist attractions on land; diverse museums, aquariums, national parks, and monuments can be found in Phuket as well. Not to mention all kinds of fancy stores selling clothing, handmade crafts, and typical Thai cuisine. So, why not slow down your pace and spend a leisure afternoon on window-shopping?

Photo by Andrzej Suwara on Unsplash

On top of that, Phuket is an appropriate base for island hopping, since a wide array of islands or islets are scattered nearby. Each of them is quite accessible by taking a speedboat (it is mostly around a 1~2 hour journey). Some of the most famous offshore islands, such as Koh Khao Phing Kan( famously known as James Bond Island), Koh Tachai, and Koh Panyee. Finally, never forget to visit Koh Pipi. It’s a must-hop island with eye-grabbing scenery. Here we introduce this unforgettable island as follows.

3. Koh Phi Phi

Because of the adjacent location, many travelers island-hops to Koh Phi Phi following their stay in Phuket. As a matter of fact, many flocks to Koh Phi Phi for the sake of Maya Bay, which has become worldwide famous since the Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which was filmed in 1999. Nonetheless, for those who are craving to visit Maya Bay, there is bad news to tell-this place is set to be tourist-free for at least 2 years as CNN reported, in an effort to clean up the island and restore its natural habitat from excessive tourism.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

In this case, taking an ocean cruise tour is a better idea. During your journey on the sail, you can feel the refreshing wind and relieve some stress, while chatting with foreign friends aside. Later on, travelers can seize the chance to savor several natural wonders, such as Monkey Beach, Loh Moo Dee Beach, and Mosquito Island. Magnificent cliffs, white sand, fresh crystal clear water, and grassy hills can be collected in your memories all together in this journey. 

4. Koh Chang

Photo by Ragnar Vorel on Unsplash

If you prefer tranquility rather than busy nightlife, perhaps Koh Chang is your best option. Koh Chang is named after its elephant-like shape. Although Koh Chang is the 3rd largest island in Thailand, situated in the East, it is less developed and popular than Phuket and Koh Samui. As a result, it reserves more authentic culture and biodiversity. A traveler may approach natural beauty while retreating from the hustle and bustle of the crowd. At this moment, you decide your pace. No rush, and stay calm. Listening to the sound of ocean waves slapping to wind could become part of your morning routine. 

Photo by Ragnar Vorel on Unsplash

Thanks to a fewer number of visitors, wandering around Koh Chang, which boasts vibrant natural life, is more at ease. In addition to several high-quality beaches to relax on, you may also hire a local tour guide to lead a variety of treks, such as jungle trek, bird-watching trek, and a good mountain hike, etc.. To capture the numerous picturesque scenes,  Koh Chang is definitely the destination that all photography lovers should bring their cameras to. 

5. Koh Yao

Photo by Humphrey Muleba from Pexels

Koh Yao contains two islands-Koh Yao Yai(big long island) and Koh Yao Noi(small long island), both of which are located in the middle of Phang Nga Bay. Because it is less introduced by media and bloggers, Koh Yao is on the less familiar side among countless islands in Thailand. However, its nature and uniqueness are admittedly prominent to take a glimpse of; the Guardian even put it as the last unspoiled island in Thailand.

That’s to say, travelers are far from the bustling of nightlife, loud music, and crowded tourists. In this way, you are more able to soak up a pristine beach, warm sunshine, and wildlife. It’s cozy watching a herd of baby goats meh~meh around at your side. Especially with crystal blue sky and sea in sight. And above all, finding a rather hidden paradise will increase your sense of achievement during the journey.

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Thailand is beyond travelers’ imagination, right? Now you’re aware of the beauty of these 5 islands, and it’s time for you to take action to start your unexpected adventure.

Author

Hello, Yu is my middle name. Currently an full-time media editor, also lifelong traveler. Easily attracted by exotic culture. Once exploring a new place, I feel like travel spirit get refreshed thousand times. So far, have lived in Vietnam, Korea and Spain for quite a while, and been to Portugal, Japan, etc.. Journey never ends...Feel free to share with me your travel stories:shonelouis@gmail.com