If you are planning a trip to Thailand there is plenty of islands you can choose for a few days of relax with crystal clear sea. Three island groups in particular are to be considered: those between Bangkok and Cambodia; those in the Gulf of Thailand; and those in the Andaman Sea.
The most popular islands in the Gulf of Thailand are Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Being very close to each other – but also very different – you can easily visit all of them and discover their peculiar traits.
The busiest thai island at all, also thanks to its modern airport which allows to get here from Bangkok in less then one hour. Although being a touristic destination, not all beaches are crowded, especially if you are ready to leave the main beach, Chaweng, to explore the island’s hidden corners. Indeed, Choweng is covered by luxurious resorts, but the internal land often shows wild and idillic landscapes.
How to get there: by ferry from Surat Thanu, about 650 kilometres south from Bangkok, or by plane. The cheapest solution may be flying to Surat Thani and then taking the ferry.
The favoured destination by backpackers looking for fun and parties. The usual accommodations are bungalows on the beach. The island’s most popular event is the Full Moon Party in Haad Rin Beach. A unique experience, although a very chaotic one.
But Koh Phangan doesn’t offer just wild parties, but also relaxed atmospheres and quite landscapes with their distinctive wild touch. I especially liked Haad Salad Beach, where all the noise seemed so far away and I could relax in a peaceful environment.
How to get there: by ferry, from Koh Samui (about an hour ride) or from Surat Thani (about four hours).
Koh Tao lies north to Koh Samui in the Surat Thani province. Among the three, this is the smallest island and was the last to be discovered by tourists. Nowadays it still offers a quite and relaxed atmosphere, beside a wilder soul. In Sairee Beach are packed most of the accommodation options and the business activities. Two other beaches where you may find a place to sleep are Mae Haad – although there is the port here – and Chalok Baan Kao – quieter and isolated than Sairee. These three places are the only ones to be connected by road, the other beaches can be reached by boat but hardly from the land.
Koh Tao is a great place for diving and counts many schools and diving centres. Don’t miss the trip to Nang Yuang Island, a stunning place made by a strip of white sands among two rocks – better if you go early in the morning though, because of the crowd of tourists.
How to get there: by ferry, from Koh Samui (about two hours) or from Surat Thani (five hours)