The islands of Thailand, located off the coast of the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Siam, are some of the best places to go on a beach vacation in Southeast Asia.
Many of the Thai islands are world famous for their beautiful beaches, where the white sand, the hammock gently swaying between two palm trees and the turquoise sea in the background, create a paradisiacal atmosphere.
Thailand's islands also offer numerous opportunities for recreation, spiritual explorations, relaxation and each island has a distinct appearance and character from the others. They are also a great choice for cheap seaside vacations all year round.
Which island to choose for a beach vacation in Thailand
Here is a selection of the most beautiful islands in Thailand where you can go on a beach vacation according to your preferences, needs and tastes.
Koh Phi Phi: the best for singles vacations
If you are so on vacation alone or with single friends Koh Phi Phi may be the right island to choose. Many activities are offered here (diving, snorkeling, boat trips to Koh Phi Phi Phi Ley) and there is no shortage of good times.
Days are spent enjoying the great outdoors, or exploring nature. Afternoons are spent shopping or meeting at the beach bar, making friends, watching Thai dancers juggling fire and dancing until the early hours of the morning.
A destination accessible from both Phuket and Krabi, Phi Phi island is a small archipelago known mainly for its main island: Phi Phi Don. A must-see destination, recommended for couples, families, groups of friends or backpackers.
In fact, the island offers both a lively nightlife, which is concentrated in the town of Tonsai, and idyllic beaches lapped by crystal clear waters ideal for a relaxing vacation.
Also from Phi Phi Don you can go out to discover the archipelago by renting a long-tail boat, the typical Thai boat. Among the main attractions is Maya Bay, the famous beach of the movie The Beach, which unfortunately or fortunately has been closed indefinitely, or rather until the destroyed ecosystem is restored.
In any case, even if you can no longer go to Maya Bay, you can still see it close enough and admire it without thousands of tourists. In addition, there are many other excursions not to be missed, such as the beautiful Bamboo Bay.
Phi Phi Island is an unmissable stop on a trip to Thailand!
Koh Lanta: the best island to do it all
Koh Lanta is one of the best islands in Thailand because you can do it all. Less than an hour by boat from Krabi, Koh Lanta is actually composed of several small islands, the most visited of which is Koh Lanta Yai. It has nature reserves and beaches for all tastes, accommodations of all kinds, from budget to super luxurious.
It is also very suitable for vacations with children because the waters are calm and the island is safe. If you want to have it all on vacation, sunbathing on beautiful beaches, enjoying a massage, diving, having fun in the beach bars, kayaking in a mangrove, then Koh Lanta is the place to go on vacation.
To tell you the truth, when I talk about Koh Lanta I can not be impartial, because it is a place that I especially loved and where I spent a month.
Koh Lanta is the perfect island for lovers of nature and pristine beaches, even in high season you will always find corners of paradise just for you. Although the island is not small, it is easy to move around, the best way is by scooter, the perfect way to admire the beauties of Koh Lanta.
Also from Kho Lanta there are many excursions to the marine park, among the most beautiful is the tour to the Four Islands, Koh Rok and Koh Haa.
Koh Lipe: for romantic vacations and honeymoons
When you imagine a Thai island, you probably think of a place like Koh Lipe, one of the 51 islands that make up Tarutao Marine Park, in the southern part near the Malaysian border.
It is a rather intimate island as it has far fewer tourists compared to Phuket or Samui. Its beaches are postcard perfect, lined with luxury hotels. The island is small enough to be explored on foot.
Pattaya Beach hosts most of the island's nightlife while Sunset Beach is quieter and more secluded. You can do various activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, excursions to nearby islets or you can enjoy couples massages at one of the exclusive resorts.
If in addition to the spectacular sea you are also looking for some nightlife, if you prefer a place to stroll among restaurants and stores, then Koh Lipe is the one for you.
A small island where there are no cars, only mopeds or tuk tuks, you can easily walk around it and it offers some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, with a crystal clear sea in the style of the Maldives.
Its beaches are known for white sand lapped by clear waters and for snorkeling thanks to a coral reef full of tropical fish and located very close to the shore. But Koh Lipe is also the perfect destination for diving lovers.
Koh Lipe is not the best place in Thailand for partying, besides some clubs there are not many, but for a couple and family vacation, it is the right choice.
Koh Ngai is part of the Koh Lanta National Marine Park, it can be easily reached from Pak Meng harbor in Trang province or from nearby islands. It is a tiny island, 4 km x 2, an unspoiled oasis and mostly covered by dense tropical jungle, the ideal destination for a romantic vacation.
There are no roads and one moves around by boats or internal roads. It is not an inhabited island and there are only mid-high range resorts.
If you want a relaxing vacation in a small corner of paradise, you should seriously consider Ko Ngai, a place still little known and waiting to be discovered.
From Ko Ngai you can reach the nearby islands of Kradan and Mook.
Therefore, the island is particularly suitable for couples or families, not suitable for young people looking for fun or backpackers.
Another popular beach destination in Thailand is Krabi. It is not an island, but an area in the south of the country appreciated for its beautiful beaches and the many easily accessible islands.
Something in common with Phuket is precisely the possibility to go around and participate in daily tours to paradisiacal islands, such as the unmissable Koh Rok.
Ao Nang is the main tourist center of Krabi, the sea here is not the best, but it is the starting point for excursions around the bay. Also, although there is no wild nightlife like Patong in Phuket, Ao Nang offers a decent nightlife with a wide variety of restaurants and bars.
Krabi is the perfect destination for a relaxing vacation for couples or families ready to explore the southern part of Thailand. Among the various islands that can be reached from Krabi are also the Phi Phi Islands, where I suggest, however, to stay at least 3 nights.
Similan Islands - to visit many islands together
The Similan Islands represent a chain of nine small beautiful islands, known for their white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and beautiful coral reef. It is a good excursion to visit many islands inone day.
The islands are numbered from north to south and together form the national park in the Andaman Sea, one of the most beautiful landscapes and scenery in Thailand. The entrance fee to the national park for foreigners is 500 baht per day, while for children it is 300 baht.
Koh Samui: for a family vacation with children
Koh Samui is one of the most visited islands in Thailand and the best organized to accommodate all types of tourists. It offers about 1,000 hotels of various types, for all tastes and budgets.
The island has some of the best luxury resorts in the world, excellent beach hotels and world-class spas. Here the whims of most visitors are easily satisfied.
Couples can enjoy luxurious hotels, beach clubs and 5-star restaurants; families can choose hotels with children's pools and western food; and first-timers can experience Southeast Asia without sacrificing comfort and without unpleasant surprises.
From the beautiful southern islands we move to the pearls of the Gulf of Thailand. Here the most famous island is definitely Koh Samui, a perfect destination for any kind of vacation, the island offers everything: nightlife, beaches and nature tours. However, the important thing is to choose the right area to stay.
The nerve center of the nightlife and the most developed tourist areas are Chaweng and Lamai, located on the east coast. And it is on this side that you will find some of the most beautiful beaches. The advice is to explore the island, perhaps renting a scooter, and discover some unspoiled areas surrounded by nature. Do not miss the beach of Thong Takian Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches of Koh Samui, characterized by white sand and crystal clear waters.
The most convenient way to get to Koh Samui is by plane, there are direct flights from major airports in the country or there are low cost airlines such as Air Asia or Nok Air that offer combined tickets, ie flight + minivan + ferry.
Koh Phangan: for those looking for beach parties
If your perfect vacation idea offers beach parties, Koh Phangan is the Thai island for you. Famous for parties under the full moon Head Rin Sunrise Beach announcement, this island is for the most avid revelers.
During the high season, the island receives more than 20 tourists dancing and drinking on the white sand, under the full moon, partying until dawn.
There are also secluded beaches away from the crowds as the Beach Bottle (preferred by hippies). Undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Thailand, with many spas where you can relax.
Koh Phangan is the island of Thailand mainly famous for the Full Moon Party, the full moon party, a mega party that takes place every month and gives the best of itself in August.
But Koh Phangan is not only Full Party, on the contrary, there is much more, a wild island with pristine beaches and paradisiacal corners where you can relax and stay away from the confusion. In fact, Koh Panghan is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand.
The island is particularly popular with backpackers, recommended for groups of friends but also for families and couples.
Kho Phangan can be easily reached by ferry from Koh Samui, the trip takes about 30 minutes. Alternatively, there are always combined tickets for those who wish to reach Phangan directly from Bankok or other cities.
Koh Tao: the best for scuba diving
Koh Tao is fast becoming a favorite for those who come to Thailand for recreational purposes. Activities on the island are mainly dedicated to divers, climbers and hikers.
Approximately 7,000 divers qualify on Koh Tao each year. This makes it one of the most popular and also one of the cheapest destinations in the world to learn to dive.
If you want to stay away from the tourist fleets, the best island in this area is Ko Tao. It is not a virgin place but compared to nearby Koh Samui it is a quieter island and it will be easier to find a quiet place to relax and enjoy its wonderful beaches.
Ko Tao is a small island very famous for activities like snorkeling and especially diving. In fact, there are many diving centers and it is also possible to get a certification and learn to dive.
For sea lovers, do not miss the excursion to nearby Koh Nang Yuan, a beautiful island with crystal clear sea where you can snorkel.
Besides Koh Nang Yuan, there are many beaches on Koh Tao, some of the most beautiful in Thailand, such as Aow Leuk Bay, Tanote Bay, Mango Bay, Ao Thian Og or Jansom Bay.
For those looking for a bit of nightlife, there is the village of Sairee, where there is no shortage of restaurants and beach clubs for a sunset drink.
Koh Tao is a wonderful island, the perfect place to relax, ideal for couples, families and diving enthusiasts.
Phuket: the best for vacations for both young people and families
Phuket is thelargest islandin Thailand and offers all the amenities and services that you may desire or that the tourist may need during the vacation. There Phuket Town is the most chosen place to stay on the island.
Celebrity chef restaurants, six-star resorts with private butlers, famous boutiques, world-class plastic surgery for luxury and wellness lovers. But there are also plenty of restaurants, accommodations and opportunities for recreation and entertainment. for those looking for a budget vacation.
Phuket also has some of Thailand's most beautiful beaches. Many are run by international resorts, but if you're looking for a more relaxing spot, head to Kata Noi.
Some of Phuket' s attractions include golf courses, historical museums and monuments. If you want to have a great vacation, Phuket is the right island to choose. You can get there easily with numerous flights with stopovers in Bangkok, Istanbul or other airports.
Phuket is one of the most popular and well-known tourist destinations in Thailand. It is the largest island in the country, perfect for every need, for those who are looking for fun, for those who want to relax on the beach and for those who want to admire the island and its surroundings.
Despite being a destination rich in tourism, Phuket offers wide beaches and you will always find a free corner.
For the record, it must be said that Phuket is not famous for crystal clear sea, especially Patong beach is not as heavenly as you might expect. But the beauty of a Phuket vacation is exploring the island, touring the various beaches and visiting nearby islands.
Overall, Phuket is perfect for those looking for fun between various activities and nightlife. Less recommended if you want an unspoiled island with spectacular sea. But don't worry, if you read on, you will find what is right for you.
Koh Si Chang: for a beach vacation near Bangkok
If you come to Thailand only for a few days and you are looking for a beautiful island near Bangkok, Koh Si Chang is a great choice for a beach vacation.
It is recommended and more convenient to spend a couple of days of beach vacation on Koh Si Chang (not to be confused with Koh Chang, which is about two hours by boat from the city), compared to reaching the more distant islands.
This beautiful beach is one of Thailand's top beach destinations. The island is suitable for all types of tourists, offering all types of accommodation and leisure activities.
Getting to the island is very easy. By bus or mini-van you have to reach the port of Ko Loi (Sri Racha) from where ferries and boats leave every hour to the island of Koh Si Chang.
Koh Chang is the third largest island of Thailand, after Koh Samui and Phuket. It is located on the border with Cambodia and is a destination that has seen some success in recent years, thanks also to the growing tourism development of neighboring Cambodia.
Koh Chang, along with 70 other islands and islets, some of which are uninhabited, is part of the archipelago of the same name.
Koh Chang is the perfect place for nature lovers, in fact it is a protected area, recommended for those looking for a destination still far from mass tourism and oriented more towards eco-sustainable tourism.
Among the most famous beaches of the island is Playa Blanca, where most of the resorts and restaurants are concentrated, recommended for those looking for a little fun. But the island is full of hidden and unspoiled bays and beaches to discover with a little adventure.
Koh Chang is about 280 km from Bangkok on the Cambodian border and is perfect for those who want to go to the neighboring country for a trip to the magical Angkor Wat.
To get to Koh Chang, you should arrive in Trat, by bus or plane, and then take the ferry to the islands from the port of Laem Ngop.
Koh Kradan is one of the most beautiful islands of Thailand, with an incredible sea among the best in the whole country, comparable only to Ko Lipe and Koh Kood.
Koh Kradan is perfect for those who are looking for a beautiful sea and are not interested in nightlife. A place not yet invaded by mass tourism, the right destination to disconnect completely. You can relax on the beach, swim and explore the coral reef just a few meters from the shore or participate in excursions to other nearby islands such as Koh Mook to see the famous Emerald Cave.
Other than that, the island doesn't offer much, there are only a few resorts and you go to bed very early in the evening. But for a few days of pure relaxation, Koh Kradan is ideal.
Koh Kood (Koh Kut)
Still remaining in the national park of Ko Chang, we can not fail to mention Koh Kood, an island still little exploited but with the sea among the most beautiful in Thailand, it competes only with Koh Lipe and Kradan.
Koh Kood is not the island of luxury or unbridled fun. It is a destination for nature lovers and for those who want to explore the interior among waterfalls and tropical forests. There are no real towns, just a few villages and resorts.
If you are looking for a seaside place in Thailand not far from Bangkok, Koh Samet is the right choice, it is located only 170 km from the Thai capital.
There are several beaches for all needs from the quieter ones like Ao Nuan or Ao Wai to the livelier ones with more services like Hat Sai or Ao Hin Khok. From the climatic point of view, Ko samet can also be a good solution for those who travel during our summer.