Best Islands and Island Groups in Thailand
The Best Islands in Thailand
Now the world has returned to a sense of normality following the covid-19 pandemic, its time to pack the suitcase and venture back to the incredible Thailand region.
The world renowned beauty of the Thai region stems, in large part, from the wide array of spectacular Thailand islands that surround the region. All along the Andaman Sea and throughout the Gulf of Thailand sit a wide variety of sensational islands each with something to offer those who are fortunate to venture to the region. The difficulty comes in trying to decide which of these islands to visit (especially if limited by time), the best way to get there and how to make the most of your time once there.
In this article we’ll go in-depth and provide ample detail about, what we consider, to be the can’t miss islands throughout the country that we consider the greatest on Earth!
How many Islands in Thailand
If you are wondering exactly how many islands in Thailand, well, put simply, there are too many to count! There are hundreds upon hundreds throughout both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. At best there are over 1430 islands in the region. They range from those barely big enough to step onto, to the more attractive islands where you can easily waste the day away bathing in glorious crystal clear waters and strolling on white sandy beaches.
Thai Island Map
See below for a map that illustrates the most visited Thailand islands. This map includes the major tourist islands such as the similan islands, koh chang and koh samui and shows precisely where these places are located.
As can be seen there is a wide array of popular islands and the location of these tourist attractions are spread quite wide. Whether setting off across the Andaman Sea or across the Gulf of Thailand, you’ll have options a plenty. As you can see the majority of these islands are located off the coasts to the South of the island.
What is Thailand’s largest Island
The largest Island in Thailand is the very famous Phuket. Currently, there are more than 400,000 people currently residing on the island and it is the main tourist hub for people travelling to Thailand and in need of an island getaway. The total area of the island consists within 576 square kilometres, which makes it close in size to that of Singapore. The length of Phuket is approximately 50 kilometres and at its widest is just over 20 kilometres in width.
As you can image the island can easily be traveled within a day, but despite its size there are plenty of things to see and do. Just some of the many popular activities on the island include:
- A visit of Big Buddha
- Strolling down Thalang Road
- Embracing the atmosphere at the Phuket Weekend Market
- Walking around Phuket Old Town
- Getting up close and personal at the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park
The ultimate island group in Thailand
Many travelers are keen to travel to island groups that allow the traveler the opportunity to venture to a number of unique islands within the space of a short day. Without any shadow of a doubt, the most popular island group in Thailand is the Similan Islands. This spectacular is made up of a number of islands of various shapes and sizes, all with a unique view to offer. The 9 islands that make up the Similan Islands Group are:
- Koh Huyong
- Koh Payang
- Koh Payan
- Koh Miang
- Koh Haa
- Koh Hok
- Koh Payu
- Koh Similan
- Koh Ba-gnu
The island group is ideal for adventure seekers looking for perfect snorkeling and scuba diving conditions and the island shrubbery offers nature lovers and bird watchers with plenty to see and do.
If you are looking for a lengthy days worth of activities in the most idyllic setting then a trip to the best island group in Thailand should really be on your wishlist!
Which islands to visit in Thailand
With so many beautiful islands in Thailand, ensuring that you see the most memorable given what will likely be a short stay is essential. That is why we’ll outline below the very best islands that you really should include in your travel itinerary so that you leave Thailand having made the most of your island getaway. So let’s get right into it. In no particular order….
Ko Tapu (James Bond Island)
Made famous in the James Bond (hence the name) classic, The Man with the Golden Gun, very few leave Ko Tapu disappointed. Located approximately 25 kilometres North-East of Phuket, Ko Tapu is rife with glorious rocky cliffs rising sharply out of the water. Situated within Phang Nga Bay, tourists arrive in the location having cruised between limestone cliffs making the entrance to Ko Tapu that much more memorable.
There are no shortages of photo opportunities within the area and you can instantly identify why the James Bond producers chose this location as the island paradise setting in the classic movie. The major negative is that, obviously, due to its immense popularity you’ll likely to be stepping on the toes of other tourists and can potentially be fighting for elbow room when looking to take that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ photo.
However, this can largely be avoided by taking an intimate boat tour into the area. Which is something that Simba Sea Trips provide. The lower volume boat trips cater to those looking to leave earlier in the morning, therefore missing a large percentage of the tourist traffic. This affords boat guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the area the way that nature intended; in relative solitude. If keen to witness Ko Tapu in all its glory, consider booking a spot on a Phang Nga Bay tour!
Ko Phi Phi Don
While 6 Islands make up the Phi Phi Islands region, without question one of the best of the bunch is Ko Phi Phi Don. The beautiful location has rebounded from the devastation that struck when a tsunami hit on Boxing Day, 2004 almost destroying the island and its inhabitants.
The island is divided into two large sections due to a strip of land that separates the North and South sections. On both sides sits a glorious beach that looks out upon crystal clear waters and makes it an ideal location to soak in the sunshine and swim in the surrounds.
Ko Phi Phi Leh
Also located within the Phi Phi Islands, Ko Phi Phi Leh is a must-see (Check out the best things to see at Ko Phi Phi Lee). Made famous after the release of The Beach, this paradise setting is one that has to be seen to be believed. The limestone surrounds provide cover for brilliant crystal clear turquoise waters which are the home of a wide range of marine life making the area a wonderful snorkeling option.
Other popular activities in the region include diving, rock climbing and kayaking. There are also amazing spas in the region that provide the perfect opportunity to be pampered. Of course, for those looking to simply lounge around on the beach, you are unlikely to find a better setting on Earth.
Of course, much like Ko Tapu, the popularity of the main two Phi Phi islands means you are likely to encounter significantly large volumes of tourists. Which again makes the best option for traveling to the region part of an intimate boat tour. Leaving at the crack of dawn is likely to not only be the most relaxing way to travel to Phi Phi, but will also provide you with the most natural way to experience these exceptional Thailand islands. So, why delay, book a Phi Phi Island boat tour with Simba today!
Koh Hong Island
Located within the Krabi region, Koh Hong Island is a destination that is rapidly gaining in popularity. Much like the other islands mentioned above Koh Hong provides great opportunities to soak in spectacular scenery and undertake a variety of activities including swimming, snorkeling and diving.
The major appeal of this specific location is the Koh Lagoon situated just off the island. The Lagoon is only reachable via a narrow water entryway by way of a boat, making it an extremely unique experience.
To best experience the Koh Hong island, you’ll want to be sure to book a boat tour that will provide you with access to the Lagoon. Simba Sea Trips does precisely this which is why you should strongly consider booking a Krabi Tour with us today!
Located approximately 7km off the coast of Pattaya, Koh Larn is a spectacular island situation within the Gulf of Thailand. The island is close to 4 kilometres in length and 2 kilometers wide. Heavy vegetation covers the island, and it can be considered quite mountainous. The roadways are quite narrow and in some parts it’d be preferable to be on a motorbike. However, the majority of roads are adequate for cars.
There are 6 main beaches on Koh Larn, and some hidden gems can be found as well for those visitors looking to avoid the crowds. All the beaches in the region feature clear white sand, and crystal clear waters.
There are water activities aplenty to enjoy and even parasailing at the main beach locations. Restaurants and well kept bathrooms and showers also line the foreshore making for a comfortable, enjoyable day at the beach if you choose to travel to Koh Larn.
Thai Island adventures are a crucial part of any trip to the region. The information provided above will hopefully guide you towards the best islands Thailand has to offer. If you are a food lover make sure to check the best restaurants by island. We guarantee that you will not regret a trip to any of the above locations and highly encourage you to add them to your itinerary.
Can’t wait to see you out here at one of the beautiful Thailand islands!
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