After a little research you know which are the best islands to visit in Thailand and the most appealing to you but now you are stuck making an island hopping Thailand itinerary. I admit it is not easy to decide how long to stay on each island, but we all want a rough schedule, right?
Don't book Thailand Island Hopping Tours!
Let me first start to tell you that there is no need at all to sign up for one of the Thailand Island hopping tours. Traveling in the land of Smiles is the easiest thing on earth and therefore one of the best countries to backpack alone. In this article I will give you a lot of route suggestions for a 1-week to a 4-week itinerary. Click here for more island hopping Thailand tips about getting around and information in general.
To get to the islands use the bus-boat combo tickets like the one from Bangkok to Koh Tao or fly to either Phuket, Koh Samui or Krabi and start your adventure from there. Cheap domestic flights in Thailand can easily be found online, but more about that later...
Thailand Island Hopping Itinerary
In other Thai island blogs I already explained that you need at least a couple weeks to see the best places to visit in Thailand, though I understand that not everyone has a month to go island hopping and therefore I will give you a Thailand island hopping itinerary for 1, 2 and 4 weeks. If you are interested in seeing culture and nature than I have way more itineraries for Thailand for you, including Chiang Mai, The Golden Triangle and an itinerary from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok.
Thailand Island Hopping Itinerary for 1 week
Itinerary for Island hopping in Phuket
- 2 nights Phuket
Fly to Phuket and stay 2 nights in Patong, the touristy heart of Phuket Island. Party in Bangla Road and go on a scooter adventure around the island and discover stunning beaches.
- 2 nights Koh Phi Phi
Take a boat to Koh Phi Phi and stay here 2 nights. Sign up for a tour to see the famous beach of Koh Phi Phi Leh , snorkel or dive in the clear waters, party hard during the night and climb up to the viewpoint for stunning views over the island.
- 2 nights Koh Yao Yai
Take a boat to Koh Yao Yai and stay here 2 nights as well. Rent a scooter and discover a totally different side of Thailand. No parties, but deserted and stunning beaches. From here sign up for an island tour to one of the many picture perfect beaches around like James Bond Island or Hong Island. I stayed at Glow Elixir, click on the link to read my review.
- 1 night Phuket
Go back to Phuket and splurge your last night in one of Thailand’s affordable luxury hotels and have a sunset drink in Babe Nest, see the picture below. Click on the picture to find out where this is.
Accommodation suggestion for Phuket:
- Sri Panwa Phuket, Samsara Phuket, Como Point Yamu, The Ratcha Phuket (luxury),
- Lub D Patong (mid range),
- Lupta Hostel Patong, Aspery Hotel (budget).
Island hopping routes for Krabi
Although Krabi is not an island, definitely consider exploring this stunning region with its fantastic limestone cliff islands and tiny islands. Fly into Krabi airport but leave straight away for Ao Nang.
- 2 nights Ao Nang
Stay 2 nights in the charming town of Ao Nang. Sign up for a tour to Hong Island one day and climb up to Tab Kak Hang Nak (one of the best island hopping Thailand tips I ever got) and the Tiger Temple the other day for exquisite views over Krabi and its outer islands. Get yourself a scooter and drive for about 30-40 minutes North along the coast to get to the start of the trek. I got a lot of questions like 'Do I need an international driver's license in Thailand'. Click on the link to find all your answers and tips about renting a motorbike.
- 1 night Railay Beach
Head over to Railay Beach and stay here for 1 night. This ultra peaceful bay is surrounded by limestone cliffs and only accessible over water, for me one of the best places to stay in Thailand and the best beach in Krabi.
- 2 nights Koh Phi Phi
No one wants to miss Koh Phi Phi neither on a Thailand island Hopping adventure around Krabi. Discover the beauty of this island and party until the early morning on the beach.
- 2 nights Koh Lanta
Don’t miss this laid-back island which is totally different from the others. Not the typical party island, not the utterly beautiful picture perfect beaches, but everything in and between. End your week in peace and completely rejuvenate in this peaceful paradise. Drive your scooter around the island and find your perfect spot to read a book and watch fantastic sunsets while sipping a beer before you head back to the airport.
Island hopping itinerary for Koh Samui
Spending a week on the East Coast in Thailand is totally different than its West Coast, no limestone cliffs, just three major hotspots and mostly on everyone’s agenda when planning a Thailand island hopping itinerary: Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan.
As you can see on the map above there are three arrival options. The budget traveler may want to arrive at the airports of either Surat Thani or Chumporn as budget airliners fly here. Flying directly to Koh Samui is the most convenient option but more expensive. Your island hopping route comes down to where you enter and want to leave, and just like I said before there is no need to book island hopping tours. Ferries to and from the islands go multiple times a day and you can secure a ticket on every street corner. A suggested Thailand island hopping itinerary for the West coast would be as follow:
- 3 nights Koh Samui
The biggest and most popular island where you will easily find the holiday vibe. Discover great beaches, viewpoints and waterfalls by scooter, drink a sundowner at Air Bar, party on the beach at Ark Bar, hang out in Fisherman’s Village, hit the nightlife in Chaweng, drive to Silver Beach and book a day tour to Ang Thong National Marine Park.
- 2 nights Koh Phangan
Make sure you are here as one of the famous Koh Phangan parties kicks off. Its notorious full moon, half moon, and jungle parties are one of the reasons loads of travelers find its way to this island. But Koh Phangan is not only about the parties. What you wont find in many Thailand island hopping guides are the deserted beaches and stunning bays in the North but definitely worth it, or navigate your scooter over the green hills in the center of the island. Scuba divers should definitely go diving at Sail Rock, one of the best dive sites in Thailand.
- 3 nights Koh Tao
To me this is one of the best places to stay in Thailand. Go and feel the real island vibe you are looking for and enjoy the uncomplicated lifestyle on this tranquil island. Hike up to a new Koh Tao viewpoint every day, dance all night long in beach bars, explore unspoiled bays, go scuba diving, and end your days with a cocktail in your hand watching the sunset on vibrant Sairee Beach. Read about the 5 best things to do in Koh Tao.
Island hopping Thailand itinerary for 2 weeks
If you have longer than one week you can combine the suggested routes. Transportation from the East coast to the West coast will cost you about 10 hours including ferries and will cost you about $30. Faster but more expensive is a flight of course. Find the cheapest domestic flights with with Kiwi.com!
If you want to stay on just one coast then I would suggest to stick around the West Coast of Thailand as there are more islands to discover and some of the best places to stay in Thailand. Combine island hopping Phuket with Island hopping Krabi and consider a detour to one of the best islands to visit in Thailand: Similan islands.
1 month island hopping in Thailand
If you have all the time then most definitely read my island hopping thailand tips and what I think are the best islands in Thailand for backpackers. Add the gorgeous islands around Koh Lipe in the South to your Thailand itinerary with some of the best beaches in the country.
Is it safe to go on a Thailand island hopping trip?
Just like in every other country Thailand has its issues, but generally spoken these just include scams and will only hurt your wallet! If you are responsible and don't get yourself into shit by doing drugs or disrespecting the Thai culture you are 100% going to have a wicked time in this lovely country. I dedicated a complete article on Is Thailand Safe Right Now, click on the link to learn more about traveling in Thailand. I have been multiple times to the land of smiles and never anything happened, but I also want you to know the truth about for examples the Koh Tao Murders. They took place on my birthday in 2014 when I was on the island. I lived on Koh Tao but never felt even uncomfortable! I love traveling in Thailand so much that I also wrote: 18 Reasons To Travel To Thailand.
Island Hopping Thailand Tips
Now you decided where you want to go and how long you are going to stay in Thailand you of course want to have an idea how much cost a trip to Thailand? Click on the link to see the prices in Thailand. In the article I break down the prices for transport, alcohol, parties, transportation, accommodation and so on. Need more help? Read my Thailand trip planning blog. Click on the link or leave a comment and I am happy to help!
Although I have been to the islands plenty of time I am still looking for those hidden gems that I am not aware of. Please share your secret tips with me. At the end of 2017 I will go to Thailand for the 18th time and I really hope to discover new spots based on your recommendations! I hope you liked my Thailand Island hopping routes, leave a comment if you do.
And please if you feel like sharing, do it! Would mean the world to me as I seriously hope to get as many people to tag along with my adventure and in that way to inspire them to travel. Living an island life is such an uncomplicated lifestyle and if you are looking for a break from a rushed corporate life this could be your excape. Island hopping in the Philippines is an option as well. Thailand or Philippines, different but with both an amazing island vibe.
A perfect tool to book busses around Thailand is the following one. Reserve your ticket before they are sold out!
Want to stay online during your trip to Thailand then I would advice you to buy a sim card in Bangkok. I did the research for you and checked out what is the best sim card for tourists. If you wanna be online straight away when you land then check out SimEasy as here you can order your Thai Sim card online and they will ship it to you.
If this article was helpful for you would you mind pinning it on Pinterest or share it on Google+ or even better in a Facebook Group for me? It would mean a lot to me, thank you so much!