Island hopping through Southern Thailand is an irreplaceable item on everybody’s bucket list. It’s all but impossible to stay away from the soft white sand beaches with bright, clear aquamarine waters. Here’s a breakdown of all the Southern Thai islands you want to know about for the day you make the vacation of your fantasies come true.
If you’re like me, you probably didn’t know Phuket is an island and not attached to the mainland. Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, located on the western coast. It’s known for white sand beaches and interesting rock formations by Phang Nga Bay. Travelers have many options to venture out to other island by boat around Phuket, such as Koh Naka where COMO Beach Club is located.
Phuket is the ultimate luxury destination in Southern Thailand with endless choices for five star hotels and resorts all over the island. For a swanky Thailand vacation, Phuket is your one-stop for a glamorous time lounging on white sand beaches!
Koh Phi Phi
To be honest, I was most excited to see Koh Phi Phi and I was quite let down by what I found there. From the moment I disembarked from the boat, I felt like I was in Disneyland for partying adults and backpackers. The beaches look absolutely unreal, with the lightest shade of turquoise water that’s crystal clear. But when you turn around on the beach there are endless bars and party hostels blaring bad EDM music and peddling buckets of alcohol. It’s was a bit morbid how a place with such trashy parties could be so unbelievably beautiful.
Although Koh Phi Phi didn’t end up being my cup of tea, it might be heaven for those wanting to drink and dance on the beach at all hours of the day. Maya Beach is where Leo DiCaprio’s famous movie “The Beach” was filmed, making it a popular attraction for booze cruises and travelers to the island.
Krabi is an underrated destination on the west coast, but is exceptionally stunning in its natural beauty. The unique point of Krabi are the large rock formations and mountains that form part of the beach. The most famous beach in Krabi is Railay Beach, a beautiful bay where you’re surrounded by limestone cliffs and sparkling waters. Other popular beaches are Tonsai and Ao Nang, both of which are very laidback, calm and lined with palm trees and cliffs.
I highly recommend Pop-In Hostel for backpackers, a new hostel in Ao Nang. It’s clean, convenient and very well set-up by people who know what a hostel needs to provide!
Koh Samui was my favorite part of my island hopping trip. It’s the 2nd largest island has tons of cultural offerings, upscale resorts and large expanses of electric blue ocean. Taling Ngam Bay in the southwestern part is the largest stretch of beautiful water that you’ll ever see. The exquisite InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort right on top of the bay offers the dreamiest, most romantic honeymoon of your life.
Koh Samui can thank Barracuda Restaurant for bringing fresh, fine dining to the island. At Barracuda you can taste amazing seafood and produce from local waters, where the simple flavors of the ingredients speak for themselves.
There’s no shortage of swanky locales to hang out at on the island. Our favorite of course being W Retreat Koh Samui, where you can drink artistic cocktails at Woo Bar while taking in the ocean view. Other than the W, people flock to the stylish clubs, hotels and shopping centers of Chaweng, the metropolitan hub of Koh Samui.
Koh Phangan, the island right next to Koh Samui is uber famous for its insane Full Moon Party. Tens of thousands of partiers looking for an experience of a lifetime flood the island every month. Some hate it some love it, but there’s no denying that island is very beautiful.
Other than the Full Moon Party, the western part of the island is a haven for passionate yogis. One can find any variation of yoga and meditation retreats and communities of boho hippies having escaped to Koh Phangan.
Koh Tao is no doubt the most popular, up-and-coming island destinations with backpackers at the moment. It seems every person who goes there instantly falls in love with the gorgeous landscapes, laidback atmosphere and super cheap diving. Koh Tao is the second cheapest destination in the world, a dream come true for divers on a budget!
Photos: Nadia Cho
What’s your favorite island in Thailand? Share with us in the comments.