The Most Beautiful Destinations for Island Hopping in Thailand
Hot off the press: the most beautiful destinations for island hopping in Thailand
Island hopping in Thailand means choosing from over 300 islands that surround the mainland. With this many islands, it’s no wonder that Thailand is one of the hottest yacht vacation destinations. However, deciding where to charter and how to plan out your itinerary can be tough. Choosing the right islands means understanding what each has to offer. Are you looking for a relaxing beach haven away from the crowds? Ready to dive into the crystal blue waters in search of sea gypsies? Or are you looking to experience some of those popular tourist destinations? The best itinerary will have the perfect mix of all of these. Making every day a new and exciting escape.
Here are some of my favorite destinations for island hopping in Thailand:
LUXURY BEACH RETREATS
IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR AN ESCAPE FROM THE CROWDS, THESE ISLANDS ARE THE PERFECT HIDEAWAYS
Thousands of tourist flock every year to the islands of Thailand. Ko Kut is one of those rare islands that has yet to be discovered by the masses. Covered with luscious jungle and dotted with white sand beaches, this island is a paradise. A favorite on the island is Ao Noi, a crescent white sand beach speckled with palm trees and a few hammocks. Without even leaving your beach chair you can see fish swimming in the crystal clear blue waters. If you are looking for a mini day trip, hike or kayak up the Klong Jao River to the Klong Chao Waterfall. There is also a perfect little swimming hole to fight off the summer heat. Although you can visit this island year-round, make sure you properly stock your yacht if you are visiting off-season. Many of the cafes, restaurants and bars do close down.
Are you looking for that secret spot without any tourists? Only looking for glorious beaches and waves? Koh Poda will answer all of your Thailand travel dreams. This should definitely be added to your Island Hopping in Thailand itinerary. One of the reasons it is in such pristine condition is that it is uninhabited. It’s also very small, totaling less than a kilometer large. Upon arrival you may notice some groups of tourists, but after walking along the beach you can watch them disappear with the tide. This island is the ultimate hideaway.
Koh Yao Yai
Peace and quiet are pretty tough to come by on the coast of Thailand. That’s where this little gem of an island comes in. Koh Yao Noi hides perfectly behind its more popular neighbor, Phuket. Here you can experience the true island-life of Thailand without the tourist crowds. More cultivated than Koh Poda, there are many authentic restaurants and friendly locals. It’s a simple island, with a simple way of life. This is one of the many reasons why it’s a perfect retreat from the mainland. However, keep in mind that this is a predominately Muslim community. Make sure to wear proper dress and clothing when traveling around the island and along popular beaches.
Here, on Koh Hong, there are no vendors nor do you have to fight for a sandy spot on the beach. Within eyesight of the mainland, this island is a popular day trip destination. However, it’s also one of the best kept secrets for Island Hopping in Thailand. The key is to charter to this island early in the morning, before any other day-trippers arrive. You will experience the quiet calm waters and glorious white sand beaches without noise. This is another destination where you will want to pack the yacht with lunch, drinks and snacks. There are no shops or restaurants on the island.
POPULAR TOURIST ISLANDS
THESE ISLANDS ARE POPULAR FOR A REASON, PURE BEAUTY AND COUNTLESS ADVENTURES!
Ko Pha Ngan
Known for their legendary Full Moon Parties, this island seems to be forgotten about after that one week. Don’t let a popular backpacker’s destination deter you. This island makes for a perfect destination for island hopping in Thailand. There are plenty of secluded bays to explore. The most popular stretch of beach, Hat Thong Nai Pan Noi, portrays similarities to Ko Samui with its luxurious private villas and elegant resorts lining the beaches. It also offers great swimming, a few bars, and a lively vibe.
However, crowded and popular this island may be, it’s beauty still speaks to me. Over 1.5 million visitors flock to Ko Samui, and for good reason! Clean white sand beaches, elephants, waterfalls, and plenty of authentic places to dine. Ko Samui is the postcard for Thailand’s ultimate beach destination. You can spend a day chartering to hidden coves and undeveloped beaches. Or venture into a beach bar and sip on a milk punch while staring at the turquoise waters. If you are looking for a place to stay on Ko Samui between island hopping in Thailand, look no further than the Four Seasons Resort.
Koh Phi Phi
Partially due to the Leonardo DiCaprio film, “The Beach”, Koh Phi Phi is one of the more popular islands in Thailand. However, this isn’t without good reason! Jagged cliff formations and countless beaches wrap around the island drawing in lots of thirsty island-goers. Long-tail boats line up along the beach making for that perfect Instagram photo. This is also a popular nightlife spot with numerous bars and friendly crowds. However congested this island might be, if you look past the tourists you will see some real beauty here.
ADVENTURE & DIVING
THESE ISLANDS ARE HOME TO SOME OF THAILAND’S BEST KEPT SECRETS… AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN FLOOR!
Harder to get to, this chain of islands is a dream sanctuary away from the crowds. These nine islands could very easily be placed in the beach retreat section. However, the marine life makes this an epic diving destination. Famous spots like the Elephant Head Rock are home to schools of barracudas and manta rays. Or head to Richelieu Rock between February and April to uncover whale shark territory. This protected national park is known as one of the world’s best dive sites and an obvious addition to your itinerary. Island hopping in Thailand will never be the same without a visit to the Similan Islands!
Again, choosing between a beach oasis or an adventurer’s dreamland wasn’t easy. Ko Tao is one of the smallest islands in Thailand- just a speck on the map! Neon coral surrounds the island with sharks and rays swimming through. Be prepared to bring your snorkel and dive gear to capture some of this incredible marine life. This island also has some breathtaking hiking trails. Get lost in the Jurassic Park-esque Jungles and watch the wildlife around you. You won’t find any cars here, only incredible viewpoints and glorious scenery.