Seven best islands to visit in Thailand

Seven best islands to visit in Thailand

Thailand is renowned for its stunning islands, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and recreational activities. Thailand is famous for its beautiful islands in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Siam. 

Many countries boast of a single splendid coastline. But in Thailand, deciding which one to visit can be a daunting task, because there is a plethora of islands spread across the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Emerald lagoons, pristine beaches, verdant peaks, and exciting water sports in Thailand  – each island has its speciality and has something unique to offer. A Luxury Concierge would help travellers plan and select the best islands and also provide the best travel (Hotels, Villas, Jets, Experiences) amenities. 

The best islands in Thailand will surely make one wish to visit the dreamy destination. Here are seven of the best islands to visit in Thailand:

  1. Phuket: Located in the Andaman Sea in Southern Thailand, Phuket is the biggest and busiest island in Thailand – known for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and various activities. It is an excellent option if one is looking for an all-round holiday combining picturesque beaches, convenient transport options, and loads of activities. It is ranked among the world’s most popular destinations for splendid vacations. Stunning gold sand beaches, colourful shorelines, thrilling watersports, and cosy beach resorts in Phuket make it one of the best islands in Thailand. Chosen for luxury stays and family getaways, there are plenty of undiscovered spots to explore. There are many exotic restaurants served by celebrity chefs, and star resorts with private butlers – in short, Phuket offers every convenience that one can think of. 

Phuket has been infiltrated by package holidays and cheap sleaze in a few places. For example, one should avoid Bangla Road in Patong. Phuket also has cosmopolitan diversions in the form of designer boutiques and world-class restaurants.

Many of the best beaches in Phuket have been taken over by smartly groomed international resorts that have transformed the beaches with stylish sunloungers and deluxe beach bars.  For the ones seeking someplace more laid-back, they should head to the stunning beach of  Kata Noi.

Some of the Gold Listed hotels are in Phuket including the first-ever Banyan Tree resort Banyan Tree Phuket, with its flagship destination spa. Amanpuri, on Pansea Beach, is also awe-inspiring. 

        2. Koh Phi Phi: The Phi Phi Islands, including Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh, are famous for their crystal-clear waters, limestone cliffs, and vibrant marine life. Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh gained fame after being featured in the movie “The Beach.” Adventure activities like snorkelling, diving, and boat tours are popular activities. Phi Phi Islands are the very essence of exotic beauty, offering limestone karsts with thick jungles and stunning coves of golden sand. For people going on holiday alone or with single friends, Koh Phi Phi might just be the island for them.

It is worth mentioning that Phi Phi Don, the only inhabited island, has seen rampant development in recent years, which slightly spoils the solitude of the island. In recent years it has been almost entirely rebuilt after the tsunami devastated it. Smarter places to stay are developing more than ever. This means that there are more developed tourist facilities such as restaurants, beach bars and shops. Full moon parties are particularly popular with the young backpacker crowd for whom the nightlife on Koh Phi Phi becomes especially noticeable.

Koh Phi Phi is known for the adventure activities that it has to offer – diving, snorkelling, and cliff jumping. Of these boat trips to Koh Phi Phi Ley, among other islets, where The Beach was filmed, Koh Phi Phi draws a young, stylish, energetic crowd with a degree of sophistication, ready to relax or to party, particularly on New Year’s Eve.

The best hotel on Koh Phi Phi is Zeavola Resort, a little away from the busy town – is lovely, made of teakwood in traditional Thai style, and overlooking the ocean or tropical gardens. The Pool Villas are the ones to be looked out for as they are possibly some of the best-appointed in all the islands of Thailand.

       3. Koh Samui: Koh Samui is chosen by travellers for its palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves, and dense, mountainous rainforest. It is part of the well-trodden tourist trail, offering excellent facilities, a range of stunning beaches and even some large shopping malls. With an annual footfall of over 1.5 million tourists, Koh Samui surpasses even Phuket as the undisputed king among the best islands in Thailand for every type of traveller – be it couples, backpackers, ravers, & even families. There was a time when it drew party enthusiasts with its sensational beaches, cheap huts, and escape parties. But now it has emerged as a luxury destination. The beaches in Koh Samui – such as Chaweng, Lamai, Bophut, and Lipa Noi – meet one’s ideal picture of a tropical coastline. Varied accommodation options are available on Samui- from mid-range category to some incredible 5-star resorts located in secluded bays away from the popular East Coast. At Banyan Tree Samui, villas rise from the peninsular in different shapes and sizes, offering either a garden view or a sea view of Lamai Bay. In the family and couple villas, rainfall showers are big enough for two, and grand bedrooms open up to reveal private infinity pools.

The Four Seasons Koh Samui, set in palm trees at the back of a beach on the north-west tip, manages to cater to both honeymooners and families. It has a serene spa and candlelit dinners on the beach option, and the family villas have private infinity pools and separate sleeping areas for children.

Chaweng Beach is a vibrant beach, where Baan Mika is a luxury villa made up of six suites around an infinity pool, which runs down to a children’s pool beside the property’s private beach. There are also big, roomy living areas, a well-stocked kitchen, and an outdoor dining area and barbecue. Lamai Beach offers a more relaxed vibe. 

Koh Samui also features the famous Big Buddha Temple and the scenic Angthong Marine National Park.

     4. Koh Yao Islands:  Koh Yao Islands offer off-the-beaten-track adventures and empty sands. Despite their proximity to the vibrant and lively island of Phuket which is just a 30-minute speedboat ride away, the twin islands of Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi could not be more different. Instead of glitzy beach clubs, there are sleepy fishing villages lining the shores, and locals fondly refer to the 7 11 as the only shopping mall on the island. The beauty of the place is that there isn’t a lot to see or do. Both islands are spread with a patchwork of rubber plantations and rice paddies, crisscrossed by dirt tracks and a few paved roads. Travellers can rent a scooter and spend the holidays sipping Thai iced tea overlooking the mangroves – The Rest Calm in Yao Noi’s Pradu village is a lovely spot to spend leisure– chancing upon deserted beaches where there is more chance to bump into a water buffalo than another visitor and feasting on freshly caught seafood in the ramshackle restaurants that line the main roads.

Though it is smaller in size, Koh Yao Noi (‘small long island’) is the most developed of the two. Its main draws, Had Pasai and Klong Jark Beach, remain affably low-key. If a traveller wants to steer clear of southern Thailand’s tourist buzz for some seclusion, he could lay base on this island and explore its bigger sibling Koh Yao Yai (or ‘big long island’) on a day trip.

Both islands are home to a dozen or so homestays and smart apartments. The eco-chic Six Senses Yao Noi is undoubtedly the best place to book for uber luxury. Draped over a jungle-clad hill on the east coast of Koh Yao Noi, most of its 56 villas have widescreen views over the dramatic karst formations that jut out of the sea. Each villa is designed with teak and thatched roofs. They are carefully positioned to feel like a private tropical hideaway, with open-air showers, infinity pools and canary-yellow daybeds.

Another off-beat accommodation on offer in Thailand is 9 Hornbills Tented Camp, where 10 safari tents fan out across a former rubber plantation with their pools and large gardens, plus four-poster beds and outdoor rain showers clad in salvaged wood.

    5. Koh Lanta:  Koh Lanta is a group of islands known for their laid-back atmosphere and pristine beaches. Of all Thailand’s islands, Koh Lanta is one of the best all-rounders –  offering travellers the opportunity of suntanning on beautiful beaches, a bit of world-class diving, a great massage, fun beach bars, kayaking through a mangrove forest, eating seafood tom yum with the locals in friendly fishing villages. Less than an hour’s boat ride from Krabi, Koh Lanta is made up of several little islands, the most-visited of which is Koh Lanta Yai. It has nature reserves and beaches where only a few travellers are commonly seen. 

Pimalai was Lanta’s first five-star hotel. It is set in a tropical forest on the edge of white-sand Ba Kan Tiang Beach near Lanta Marine National Park. Accommodation ranges from rooms to entire villas and the spa has outdoor massage tables surrounded by palm trees.

On Phrae Ae Beach, the five-star Layana Resort & Spa is a neatly groomed resort comprising more solidly built rooms and suites, and fully mod-conned-up. It also has Hobie Cats to sail and a spa. Travellers can relax in Klong Dao or Long Beach, explore the Old Town’s charm, and visit the Mu Ko Lanta National Park. The islands are also known for diving and snorkelling, with beautiful coral reefs.

   6. Koh Pha Ngan: For travellers seeking the perfect holiday involving three-day beach parties, Koh Pha Ngan is the Thai island best suited. It is famous for its full moon parties at Haad Rin’s Sunrise Beach, this island is for hardcore partygoers and dreadlocked travellers. During peak season, the island can see 20,000 visitors dancing, drinking and cavorting on the white sands under the full moon. There are half-moon and black-moon parties in intervening weeks, and there’s action every night of the week at the island’s beach and cocktail bars.

The morning after, partygoers can sleep it off in the shade of a palm tree while enjoying a Thai massage. There are secluded beaches far from the crowds like hippie favourite Bottle Beach, and plenty of spas such as the Ayurvana Spa at Santhiya Resort on Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach in the north of the island. 

The best hotels in Koh Pha Ngan are in the main town of Haad Rin. The Suncliff Resort is ideally placed, less than 10 10-minute walk from both Sunrise and Sunset Beach. It is dotted with rustic huts on stilts, some more hi-tec than others hidden among the tropical trees, most with spectacular views of the ocean. For a more luxurious, design-conscious stay, a boat ride whisks one to Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villa Resort & Spa, also on Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach.

   7. Koh Chang: Koh Chang is one of the largest Thai islands in the Gulf of Thailand. It is known for its dense rainforests, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. Poetically called more shy and retiring than big sisters Phuket and Samui, Koh Chang is Thailand in miniature. It is not exactly a virgin island, but much of its interior is a national park, great for jungle trekking. Adventure enthusiasts can easily get from here to the smaller, secluded islands of the archipelago. It is also getting popular with those who want to hop over to Siem Reap after a week in Thailand.

For the best hotels on Koh Chang, one should avoid the main west-coast beaches and try either Mangrove Hideaway, set on Salek Phet Bay amid biodynamic gardens with yoga classes on offer, or the Serenity Resort near the ferry pier – just seven beach bungalows designed by local craftsmen with marble floors and great seafood.

White Sand Beach is a popular destination with a range of accommodations, and the island offers opportunities for trekking, kayaking, and exploring the Mu Ko Chang National Park.


When planning a visit to all these islands, it’s essential to consider factors such as the weather, activities, and the overall atmosphere one might be seeking to ensure a memorable experience in Thailand’s island paradise. Consulting a concierge luxury travel would expedite the process of planning a hassle-free trip to the wonderful islands of Thailand. 

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As a Startup Specialist and the founder of Aditya Group, Thailand, Ande Aditya is often hired as a Business Advisor to assist business owners to execute their vision.

17 Industries | 22 Startups | 6 Countries | 12 Awards

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