ISLANDS in THAILAND

Multicolored, authentic, aesthetic, loved by many..

...and justly so!

 

 4+ months around Thailand's Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Phang-Nga bay, Krabi islands, Phi Phi islands,

Koh Lanta, Trang islands (Koh Kradan, Koh Ngai, Koh Mook), Koh Libong, Koh Sukorn & the Adang-Koh Lipe Archipelago <

We've had the fortune to enjoy many islands around the globe. There are indeed many gems. And the islands in Thailand is one of them!

Our passion for travelling throughout Southeast Asia have led us to Thailand many times, and the more we go there the more we're hooked. The first time we island-hopped around Thailand we hadn't seen much of great Asia, and we were thrilled. The second time, we must admit that our interpretation developed to be too snobbish, too arrogant: Why go there, when you can go elsewhere along less trodden paths? Why bother seeing something you have to share with so many other tourists... Well, here's why: Try it the other way around and visit 10 exotic island groups around the world. Afterwards then go to the Thai Islands to relax, enjoy the beach life, dive, engage with the locals, and eat well. Just do what you usually do when "islanding around". You will most likely be very surprised how alluring and enjoyable these beautiful islands really are.

 

There's the Maldives, the Seychelles, the Pacific islands. All unique, all very beautiful in their own way, and all epitomized as paradise on Earth. We've been to these places, and many others, and we've visited Thailand afterwards. And here's the secret: Thailand is all as unique and beautiful. The Thai islands south of Phuket towards Malaysia, and the islands in the South Chinese Sea all have a deep soul, they are authentic, and they possess an appeal that's very hard to beat. Every time we visit these islands we're completely checkmated: Friendly, funny and open locals; oceans, bays, karst isles, and beaches in wild shapes and colors; superior and affordable sea food, fresh fruits, and some of the best cuisine; Thai massages, hammocks, slow moving time; and still islands to be found that are less developed. The Thai Islands invites for the perfect vacation. And they've provided us with this feeling many times, again and again...

If you are also keen on island hopping in the SEA region see also our island pages on the islands of VietnamMalaysia, Palawan, Visayas, Mindanao, Sulawesi, and Bali & Lombok.

Selected pics:

Area of island exploration
Area of island exploration
press to zoom
Paradise long tail boat
Paradise long tail boat

The island-hopping travel experience in Thailand is symbolized by the traditional and iconic long tail boat. The boat is noisy and uncomfortable on longer trips. But at the same time it's beautifully simple and often decorated. It represents the history of canoe-like boat crafting and sea and river travel of Thailand. A speedboat will certainly not give the same feeling as the slower long tail watercraft

press to zoom
Beach girl in muslim Satun province
Beach girl in muslim Satun province

We had just arrived on an isolated beach on Koh Adang, and this sweet girl walks up to us and start to chat. She was on her annual holiday and had chosen a beach destination as she wanted to learn how to snorkel. The head scarf and dress was no obstacle at all. Southern Thailand is on the Malay Peninsula and the majority is Muslim.

press to zoom
Haad Tien Beach, Koh Tao
Haad Tien Beach, Koh Tao

Our childhood buddies, Troels and Thomas, had been living on the island Koh Tao for almost a year. We wanted to visit them and see how the life as dive instructors unfolds: Early morning SCUBA diving (to make a living), local lunch, kickboxing sessions in the afternoon, motorbike trips to the beach and free diving at dusk, partying in the night time till dawn - and all week long. It was great fun. Most dive instructors can continue for only a few years like this...

press to zoom
Koh Phangan boy
Koh Phangan boy

Koh Phangan is a jungle-clad island in the Gulf of Thaisland. At most time it's quit. But once a moth several thousand tourists and locals gather at a beach, to engage in the (in)famously Full Moon Party.

press to zoom
Cobalt blue water around Koh Tao
Cobalt blue water around Koh Tao

The Thai Islands has waters in many hues of blue and turquoise, dependent on the light and clouds. They represent a natural canvas board with thousands of bluish paintings. Here seen from Tanote Bay on Koh Tao

press to zoom
Jumping into rock pool, Samui
Jumping into rock pool, Samui

We had rented some motor bikes to take the tour around Koh Samui Island. It was deadly hot that day and we ended up driving into the lush hills and found this cool rock pool deeper into the jungle north of the Na Muang waterfalls. It was a great surprise and we ended up staying there for several hours

press to zoom
Big Buddha smiling at us
Big Buddha smiling at us

At the smaller village of Bang Rak on Koh Samui a big golden Buddha statue has been raised to greet believers and visitors. It's a very nice sight

press to zoom
Ship's boy, Andaman Islands
Ship's boy, Andaman Islands

This cool fella was checking boat tickets and carrying luggage on one of the many ferries which navigate between islands in the Andaman Sea. His favorite music? Bob Marley, of course - and yes, many of the Thai Islands is also, like many other places, such as the Caribbean, Bob Marley land.

press to zoom
Phang Nga bay islands exploration
Phang Nga bay islands exploration

Along the Phang Nga bay in Krabi Province there is a natural system of karst islands and wild water filled canyons and mangroves. It's a vast area and great for day tours or longer expeditions in kayaks. This pictures was taking just after lunch time in the area around Ao Thane

press to zoom
Cave beach at Phra Nang, Krabi
Cave beach at Phra Nang, Krabi

The cave beaches are wild sights and great for rock climbing. We weren't worried about climbing without ropes - if one slipped it was free falling into the water for a refreshing dip and a small swim to the beach

press to zoom
Fresh fruit bonanza
Fresh fruit bonanza

Traveling in SEA, including the islands around Thailand, often allows for enjoying fresh fruit for breakfast, during lunch, at snack time, and during dinner. It's fresh, it's tasty, it's healthy, and it's cheap. Here at a booth in Phang-Nga

press to zoom
Koh Tulep and greenish waters, Krabi
Koh Tulep and greenish waters, Krabi

We were lucky and had the chance to stroll around this island and its sand bars all by ourselves. Rent a long tail boat and go there early - start at sunrise to beat the crowds.

press to zoom
Phra nang cave beach, Railey, Krabi
Phra nang cave beach, Railey, Krabi

Just arrived at Railey beach, checked in to the bungalow, dropped the luggage, jumped into swim pants, hiked along a jungle path along the rock peninsula, and found this spot

press to zoom
The iconic Maya Bay...
The iconic Maya Bay...

... before it got world known and crowded by day tourists from Phuket. The bay and its beach is part of the idyllic Phi Phi Islands

press to zoom
Monkey beach, Koh Phi Phi
Monkey beach, Koh Phi Phi

We rented a long-tail boat and went there with kids and its great fun. Koh Phi Phi Don has a special beach full of macaque monkeys.

press to zoom
Getting fresh coconuts
Getting fresh coconuts

We did a trek across the Phi Phi islands and met a friendly local who climbed a palm tree to get some fresh coconut water to quench our thirst. Loh Moo Beach, a quit and isolated part of the otherwise rather crowded Phi Phi islands

press to zoom
Long beach, Phi Phi islands
Long beach, Phi Phi islands

Long Beach in the Phi Phi's is a great stretch for kids and families. The beach is magnificent for playing and swimming, and the resorts serve up cheap and fresh seafood: 3 kg of grilled lobsters for something like 40 USD (year 2015) - Dig in!... bonus info: A rocky isle off the beach is home to several black tipped reef sharks, so bring snorkeling gear

press to zoom
Karst seascape in the Andaman Sea
Karst seascape in the Andaman Sea

You easily fall in love with this special type of fairytale scenery. We simply are passionate about such views and have traveled widely in Asia to sail, kayak and walk around many of these surreal rock-and-sea landscapes

press to zoom
Surreal karst seascape
Surreal karst seascape
press to zoom
Snorkeling in Wang Long bay
Snorkeling in Wang Long bay

Rented a boat, bought fruit, water, and a spring roll lunch box, and left early for a snorkeling tour around the Phi Phi islands. SCUBA diving is great fun, but snorkeling allows for getting closer to the fish and can be done for many hours without breaks; further, if one skin dives to get deep, snorkeling builds breath holding capacity, great stamina and will power

press to zoom
Long tail boat engine mechanics
Long tail boat engine mechanics

The engine is an expensive part of a long tail boat, and these guys was splitting the machine into more than 1,000 parts right on the beach. They had their "office" right at Long Beach, the Phi Phi islands

press to zoom
The boat has been blessed
The boat has been blessed

"Hawaii-like" flower necklaces are decorating the beautiful long tail boats around Thailand. At Nui Bay, the Phi Phi's

press to zoom
Kantiang Bay, Koh Lanta
Kantiang Bay, Koh Lanta

On our Thailand trips we have island-hopped all the way from Krabi and the Phi Phi islands down to Koh Lipe and Langkawi in Malaysia, visiting more than 10 different islands along the way. Kantiang Bay on Koh Lanta is a good stopover for a couple of days, offering a good beach in a quiet setting.

press to zoom
Koh Ngai sunset
Koh Ngai sunset

Three small islands off the Trang coast line in Southern Thailand offer great tranquility and different islands experiences: Koh Ngai, Koh Mook, and Koh Kradan. We loved this Koh Ngai beach view over the Trang karst islands seascape with the sun setting behind the rocky isle of Koh Chueak

press to zoom
Sunset football on the sand bank
Sunset football on the sand bank

Koh Kradan is a small island along the Andaman coast, which has a extreme ebb tide, where corals and large sandbanks rise from the water at low tide. The local villagers used the sand flats for evening football tournaments and we were invited to join in

press to zoom
Koh Kradan hammock nap
Koh Kradan hammock nap

The island has no roads, no cars, no hassles. Only a few resorts along a long white, picture-perfect beach. Bring the kids, they'll love it!

press to zoom
Deserted beach on Koh Kradan
Deserted beach on Koh Kradan

Koh Kradan only has a few paths along the beach an then a path crossing the hilly interior and going through the jungle. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the western part of the island. No-ones living there. We made a stop at this deserted beach and played in the water with the kids - one big beach all to ourselves

press to zoom
Stilt village playground, Koh Mook
Stilt village playground, Koh Mook

We can recommend a visit to the less developed Koh Mook in Trang Province. Include a visit to one of the villages, which will provide a chance to observe truly traditional ways of island life.

press to zoom
Koh Mook beach panorama
Koh Mook beach panorama
press to zoom