Thailand's Islands Are Some Of The Best Places To Visit In Thailand
Thailand's islands are second to none and is one aspect of Thai tourism that is not to be missed. While visitors to Thailand usually know of Thai beaches, a lot of people are unaware that Thailand also offers many breathtakingly beautiful islands to visit. These islands are often secluded and time seem to have slowed down just for them. On these island, your activities will be filled with waking along fine beaches, snorkeling, and generally enjoying the scenery and a slower pace of life. There are also some island with full amenities and enjoys the same lifestyle as small mainland cities, yet even there the island vibe is strong and attractive. Here are some islands of Thailand that are hidden treasure waiting for you to visit.
Koh Lipe (Lipe Island)
Image Source: ferryadvice.com
Koh Lipe is one of Thailand's most famous island and for good reasons. The island is part of the Tarutao national park in Satoon province. It is an absolutely gorgeous island with crystal clear water, white sands, great reefs. It is made up for many big and small islands. The word "Lipe" in the locals' language means "paper" and this reflects the geography of the island which is mostly flat. The island its self is actually quite small measuring just around three kilometers long and at its widest point is just 1.75 kilometers. The most famous beach of the island is called Chaolae beach. There's another beach at the back of the island called the Pandayha beach which is now a full-scale tourist beach.
Because Lipe island is one of the most popular of Thailand's islands, it is one where locals have adapted to a new way of life that caters to tourists. Many locals now change their professions from fishermen to tourist boat driver and tour guides as well as other tourism related jobs. Alas, if you are looking to see traditional seafaring way of life, this island may not be the best option. The island is also not the most virgin because with popularity comes commerce and many resorts have pop up over the years. On the flip side, Lipe's accommodation is comfortable and of higher class when compared to other islands down the list. Nonetheless, the island has not lost its charm and the scenery and waters are just as beautiful as ever. Having a walking street adds to the fun.
Koh Mook (Mook Island)
Koh Mook is indeed a hidden pearl of Thai island. In fact, it's name "Mook" translate to pearl. It is the third biggest island of Trang and a large portion of the island is filled with high rocks that forms something of a cliff. This unique landscape makes the island home to many swallows. The local population here sits at around 1,000.
The island of Koh Mook is is blessed with long white sandy beach which is the island main attraction and highlight. The beach is so white that its beauty can be seen from afar while you are en route. There are many resorts on the island for visitors to pick from such as the Pawapi Resort or the Siwalai Resort. Most of these resort are very comfortable with full hotel amenities and are very popular with European guests. Koh Mook has three beaches and they are very beautiful and crystal clear. Just swimming in the beach here is worth the trip. Not to be missed on Koh Mook is the Emerald Temple which is a cave that leads to an lagoon. The main pier of the island also has many restaurants and coffee shops as well as motorcycle and bicycles for rent.
Koh Yao Noi (Yao Noi Island)
Image Source: travel.sanook.com
One of the bigger islands in this list is Koh Yao Noi. This island is a part of Pang Nga province but one of the island's best feature is that it is accessible from many piers. Getting to this island is possible from three provinces: Pang Nga, Phuket, and Krabi. Because it is a big island, visitors will be able to find island life that is almost like that of coastal cities. There are in fact as many as four schools on the island. Because of it being quite a bit island, visitors here will be able to find bigger hotels with fuller amenities and even chain hotels. Visitors here will find that this island has a more "tourist-ready" feel to it which are close to many popular coastal tourist cities. Nonetheless, the environment here is still relatively virgin. So if you are looking for a balanced compromised of virgin island feel as well as the convenience of touristy town, Koh Yao Noi is an enticing option.
Koh Yao Yai (Yao Yai Island)
Image Source: wetraveltolive.com
Twice as big as Koh Yao Noi is Koh Yao Yai. In fact, these two islands are like sisters. Koh Yao Noi literally translate to the long small island and Koh Yao Yai translate to the long big island. These two island makes up the two tourist ready islands around Koh Yao. The population of Koh Yao Yai stands at around 8,000. Locals on both islands are mostly Islam and most are fishermen. For an in depth article, our friend at WeLiveToTravel.com has written a great piece about the island here.
Image Source: justglobetrotting.com
Koh Lanta is one of the more popular islands on this list. It is part of Krabi and has been inhibited for hundreds of years. Koh Lanta is actually an island group which consits of Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi which means the big island and the small island respectively. Tourism mainly happens on Koh Lanta Yai (the big island) where visitors will be able to enjoy pristine beach, white sand, and a local way of life that is relatively unspoilt thanks to the distance to the mainland which is quite far. Koh Lanta also have amenities and accommodations of small tourist town so comfort and nature do go hand in hand here. The smaller island (Koh Lanta Noi) is where the the municipal building is located. For more information on Koh Lanta our friend from justglobetrotting.com wrote a great and detailed post about it here.
Koh Bulon (Bulon Island)
Image Source: manager.co.th
Koh Bulon or Bulon Island is part of the Petra national reserve. Its area is part of two province which are Trang and Satoon. It is actually a group of five islands that are still virgin and beautiful and the way of life of the locals here are very well preserved. Visitors to this island group will be enjoy one of the most beautiful scenery Thailand has to offer. The crystal clear seas here is perfect for shallow water activities such as kayaking and snorkeling or just plain old swimming. Visiting the locals and seeing their way of life is another popular activity. Of the islands here, Koh Bolon Mai Phai is the most popular with the most beautiful seas and the clearest water. The island is also the base of the park rangers. One of the most spectacular spectacle the islands has to offer is the giant vertical rock that sticks out of the ocean. The rock has become quite famous over the year and featured in numerous photographs. Alson within the island group is the island of Bulonlae which is a big island and the place of settlement of locals. It is a full-fledged community with its own school.
Surin Islands (Koh Surin)
Image Source: hotelsthailand.com
Surin Islands in Pang Nga province is a picturesque group of islands that is still virgin and abundant. The beaches, fauna, and ocean life on these islands are plentiful and in great conditions. The beach here is filled with many fishes and corals that visitors can simply snorkel down and visit.
Visitors to Surin Islands starts their journey from the Khura Buri (a district in the Pangnga province) pier and from there must take a speed boat. The trip to the island will take approximate one hour. The first and biggest island in the island group is the North Surin Island which is also the home base of the Surin Island national park guards. On this biggest island visitors will find beautiful faunas and beaches as well as accommodation and camping ground. This big island also serves as the capital island within the island group where amenities and park services can be sought. The second biggest island of the group is named simply the South Surin Island. The North and the South island are separated by a body of ocean known as Ao Chong Khat which in its self is a stunning sight to behold. Another bay of note is the Mae Yaey bay which is where the most beautiful shallow water reef is located.
Activities on Surin Islands mostly revolves around sight seeing and taking in the fairy tale landscape of the islands. Snorkeling in the many bays within the island group is popular here. The clear blue seas makes swimming and snorkeling magical indeed. During low tides the sea recedes to reveal a huge beautiful beach (especially on the Krating bay) and with it ample photo opportunities.
One more aspect that captivates visitors of Surin Island are the locals' way of life which can easily be appreciated. These people have a long history with sea faring life and leads an intriguing sea-borne life style. They are also very friendly and welcoming. Many locals will have handmade wares such as souvenir and baskets available for sale.
Koh Panyee (Panyee Island)
Image Source: booking-thailand.com
Koh Panyee or Panyee Island is a well known tourist destination in Pangnga bay. This island is in fact a community of floating houses and is a municipal in and of its self. How this island got started is an interesting story. Toh Babu, an Indonesian who immigrated here 200 years ago saw a tiny island and decided that this spot would be a great place to settle down and build a community. He planted a flag which would tell his fellow immigrants that this is the place to settle and people really came. One by one more houses were built on flotations that just kept on expanding and expanding until it became an impressive man-built island of sorts in its own right. The word "Panyee" means "flag" and is a tribute to the flag that got it all started.
The highlight of the Koh Panyee is the impressive housing community its self. It is truly amazing to see such a community floating on water. That there is even a soccer field makes the feat even more impressive. Visitors will be able to browse through many souvenir shops on the island as well as many hand made items. Recreation activities around the island such as Kayaking are also available.
Koh Sukorn (Sukorn Island)
Image Source: kohsukornresorttrang.com
Koh Sukorn is the second biggest island in Trang and is a municiple in and of its self. The island is just 3 kilometers off the coast and is a long island that parallels the main land. There are four villages on the island with a combined population of around 3,000 people with 95% of them being Islam. The island has many open plains and therefore many locals are farmers or own rubber plantations. A unique type of farming here is rice farming using buffalo. This practice is the traditional way of rice farming that has been lost through time elsewhere. That it can be seen in actual practice and not just to show tourist is indeed amazing. Watermelons grown here are also popular and very delicious. Of course the majority of the people here are fishermen and fish keepers.
Visitors to Koh Sukorn can take a guide tour of the island on a tractor which is very fun and not to be missed. The tour will allow visitors to see the loca's way of life with an added bonus of seeing them produce batik clothes. Sunrise here is also one of the most renown in Thailand. Sukorn island is home to a large resort so visitors can stay on the island in comfort.
Koh Klang (Klang Island)
Image Source: phuketneophoto.com
Koh Klang or Klang Island is a small island in Krabi. It is situated between a huge mangrove and Krabi's estuary which basically puts it in a picture perfect location. The island is extremely easy to get to and only takes 5 minutes in a speed boat. The island is home to 3 villages with a total population of around 5,000. The island is blessed with plenty of wide flat area suitable for growing rice which many locals do. Locals here are also very good fishermen and fish keepers as well as shell collector. They live very peaceful life making their living from their land and the sea. Some also grow rubber in their plantations. In fact, the way of life here is part of what makes the island so attractive and visitors can get tours of the the villages and their way of life. Visitors to this island can explore on their own in rented motorbikes or bicycle and even tricycles or opt for a guided tour.
Koh Sam Chong Tai aka Bam Sam Chong Tai
Image Source: cdd.go.th/
Sitting in Pangnga Bay is another renown group of island known as the Koh Sam Chong Tai which roughly translate to islands with three waterways between them. This group of Island was originally the settlement of local fishermen and the one of the three waterway actually goes to Koh Panyee mentioned earlier. Within this island group, two island stands out. These are the North Island which is known for its fantactic seafood. Then there's the South Island which has long been famous among photographers as of the most picturesque location in Thailand.
Koh Sam Chong is indeed known for its beauty and several elements combine to make it so. First there's the unusually calm spread of ocean and then there's the abundant mangrove that serves as an amazing background. Then there's all the fishing boats, floating fish hatcheries and nets that goes a long way to complete a perfect picture.
The village here has plenty of home-stay accommodations and many local shops that offers seafood, roti, dim sum, tea and coffee to travelers.
As you can see Thailand has many islands for you to visit. Weather you are looking for a convenient beach-city type get away complete with hotel amenities or a full hidden island feel, don't forget to think of Thailand for your next island getaway!