Island hopping Thailand is probably one of the most popular holiday packages in Asia for young people. Everyone once heard stories about the Full Moon party, crazy nights in Koh Phi Phi or the early mornings in Phuket, but it is not only about partying, there are way more things to do in Thailand than just getting drunk.
The Best Islands In Thailand
I have visited almost all the major tourist hubs in the Gulf of Thailand, all the islands around Krabi and also stayed in a bunch of luxury hotels in Phuket to get that taste. And then we almost forget the stunning islands in the South and the diving heaven Andaman islands. It is almost impossible to name the best islands in Thailand as everyone is looking for something else. That is why I decided to split them up in: the best islands in Thailand for diving, for partying, luxury, for adventure, for yoga, for backpackers, and those islands with the best beaches Thailand has to offer. This guide should make it easier for you to plan your trip to Thailand and choosing your island. If you need more Island Hopping Thailand tips or a 2 weeks island hopping itinerary then have a look at those articles.
The best islands to visit in Thailand for diving
This is a really easy category as the best diving in Thailand is in the Similan Islands. Some islands are even closed a couple months a year to protect the underwater world so try to choose your Thailand island hopping adventure around those dates if you want to go scuba diving here. I did my PADI Divemaster training in Koh Tao and you probably heard that everyone dives there. Yes that is true, but that is because it is the cheapest place in the world to get certified, plus Koh Tao is a fabulous island. The best diving? Nope! The Similan Islands are a National Park and therefore staying here is limited to overnight camping trips and liveaboards.
The best islands in Thailand for partying
If you are planning a trip to Thailand and want to go all the way then make sure you don’t miss Koh Phangan. The Full Moon party is a major tourist draw and understandable as thousands of young people gather together on the beach and dance until the last man standing. I have been 4 times to a Full Moon party but now I know there are better parties on Koh Phangan. Definitely try out the original Full Moon party but believe me the better party is the Half Moon Party in the jungle. Or what about the Black Moon Party and the Jungle Party. Yes plenty of choice. Read more about partying in Koh Phangan in my Koh Phangan Full Moon party guide.
The best beaches Thailand has to offer
We all want the perfect beach picture, cause that is what we are sending back home to show off how awesome our holiday is, right?. When we are planning a trip to Thailand we get drawn to Phuket and Koh Phi Phi by the picture perfect Maya Bay. But unless you are not getting up at 5am and rent a private boat you wont see this. Last time I was at Maya bay I was there with about 2,000 other people! So where to find the best beaches Thailand has to offer? Koh Lipe and its surrounding islands are definitely the best islands in Thailand for sending home those pictures of unspoiled white sand beaches.
The best islands in Thailand for backpacking
This recommendation comes from word of mouth as I have never been there myself. Koh Chang is apparently a very lovely and super laid-back island. It is close to the border of Cambodia, about 6 hours travelling East of Bangkok. Because it is off the island hopping Thailand trail it is not a standard destination for people that visit the Land of Smiles. Here you find a more traveling crowd rather than a holiday crowd!
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The best islands to visit in Thailand for luxury travel
For me this is a hard decision as I have to choose between two islands, but the best places to go in Thailand for luxury are without a doubt Phuket and Koh Samui. On both islands you have many amazing hotels. In Koh Samui you have the ultra luxurious Intercontinental, W Hotel and the Conrad for example. Where in Phuket my two favourites are Samsara Phuket, the Banyan Tree and Sri Panwa. Hard to choose which island is fancier, they both live up to their image of best islands in Thailand for luxury.
Best islands in Thailand for adventure
It is may be because I lived there for a while and I lost a piece of my heart at Koh Tao, but this island can not be missed in this list. Scuba diving, hiking to viewpoints and snorkelling trips to hidden bays are among the best things to do in Koh Tao.
There is something for everyone and therefore it is a really popular destination. The cheapest scuba diving in the world, beach parties every night, jungle raves, amazing sunsets, High Bar, flipflops and swim shorts, that is Koh Tao. The best island Thailand has for islandlife! Planning to go hiking? Try all these Koh Tao viewpoints!
Don’t get fooled by the media and the Koh Tao murder stories. Yeah sure you have to be a littile careful but isn't that everywhere in the world nowadays. Tourist murders in Koh Tao have been in the news quite a few times and it is a sad thing. But I have lived there and never came across anything strange. Is Koh Tao is safe for tourists? Yes I would say so, but keep only if you live by the rules. If you getting yourself into illegal things than of course weird thngs can happen! Use common sense and act respectful to Thai laws.
Let me help you pick the best place to stay in Koh Tao, check out the link and make sure you don't end up in a deserted bay away from the action. Looking for a the most romantic hotel in the world rated by Tripadvisor? Click on the picture down below to find out where that is!
Island hopping Thailand
If you are planning to travel to Thailand make sure island hopping will be part of your trip and I hope I gave you a little guide for the best places to go in Thailand for every category. No one can tell you what the best islands in Thailand are, but at least you now know what to find where so you wont be disappointed. Also don’t forget great places like Hua Hin, Ao Nang and Railey Beach, which are on the mainland but equally beautiful. If you are still not convinced to travel to this fabulous country then check out what makes Thailand so popular and I tell you all the things I miss about the country of smiles.
Now you know what to expect on all of the islands, but how are you going to squeeze that all in a 2 week itinerary for Thailand? I designed 4 different itineraries for Thailand to make sure you will get the most out of your Thailand vacation. Check out the link and search for the island hopping itinerary or if you rather also see Chiang Mai and the hilly countryside of this country find the Thailand itinerary with best of both worlds.
Best islands to visit in Thailand
As you have read I am not the biggest fan of Phuket itself, but I adore the surrounding islands. The Sumilon Islands and the stunning archipelago of Koh Lipe for sure have the best beaches in Thailand and since I have lived a long time on Koh Tao I am biased when it comes down to name the best islands to vacation in Thailand. If you need help planning your trip take a look at my suggested Thailand island hopping routes with itinerary maps of the islands. What is are your favorites and why? Or if so tell me where you did you get disappointed and why was that? Tell me your Thailand island hopping stories! I am curious.
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