Best Islands in Thailand for a Beach Vacation of a Lifetime

The 926 islands of Thailand are recognized worldwide for the exceptional natural beauty and are some of the most popular destinations for visitors of Southeast Asia. Enticing a wide array of tourists, Thailand’s islands offer delights for party-lovers, adventure-seekers, divers, snorkelers and photographers.

The islands also cater for visitors seeking relaxation, pampering, spiritual exploration or just a tropical getaway. Scattered throughout the islands are some of the world’s most luxurious beach hotels as well as some of the best beach resorts in Thailand, and even the world.

Ban Karon by superUbO

Top 3 favourite island escapes from Bangkok

Need an island escape from the noise and mayhem of Bangkok? Consider Koh Si Chang, Koh Samet and Koh Kood.

1. Koh Si Chang

Being probably the closest island for a quick beach escape from the bustling capital, Koh Si Chang is only around 2 and a half hours away and welcomes in plenty of local and international visitors. This island has a quaint and charming feel; and being a fishing-village, offers visitors supreme seafood at excellent prices and is also an ideal island for families. Small temples and jungle pathways dot the island and many visitors enjoy the decent snorkelling opportunities.

2. Koh Samet

For those looking for a bit more of an upbeat atmosphere, Koh Samet is also a great island getaway from Bangkok. A vibrant night-life and party scene hits the island once the sun sets, whereas daytime activities include water sports, swimming, seaside lounging and snorkelling.

3. Koh Kood

Quite a bit further than the other two islands, Koh Kood is somewhat tricky to get to, but with its Maldivian characteristics, crystal-clear waters and secluded feel, it is well worth the effort. Serenity, natural beauty and absolutely jaw-dropping surrounds make Koh Kood one of the very best islands in the ‘Land of Smiles’.

3 biggest islands in Thailand

The three biggest islands in Thailand are also three big hits with beach bums. In order of size these are Phuket (514 km2), Koh Samui (229 km2) and Koh Chang (217 km2).

1. Phuket

Phuket is an island in the south of Thailand that has mountainous and rainforest qualities that offers something for all tastes, desires and budgets. A busy nightlife, excellent dining and accommodation options, temples, exquisite beaches and wonderful boat tours to the nearby islands are all on offer. The beautiful nearby islands include the famous Phi Phi Islands, Koh Khai and Koh Yao to name a couple.

2. Koh Samui

Shaggy palm trees, white sand and catering to the needs and whims of absolutely everyone, Koh Samui is famous for its wide range of facilities, hotels and exceptional beauty. Shoe-string backpacker hostels and some of the world’s most luxurious hotels are all on offer on this strip of paradise.

3. Koh Chang

The secrets out! Koh Chang, Thailand’s third largest island, is a prime location for diving and jungle trekking and is growing in popularity amongst tourists and is yet still largely undisturbed. A beautiful meeting point of rural, rustic charm; unspoiled natural beauty; and a flourishing party scene.

3 Thai islands for a family vacation

The islands off of Trang and Satun, such as Koh Lipe, Koh Tarutao and Koh Libong offer less crowds, less noise and easy and enjoyable swimming, making them the ideal family getaway.

1. Koh Lipe

Known for its marine rich waters and beautiful corals, Koh Lipe with its plentiful family bungalows and family resorts allows for everyone on holiday to have a good time. Friendly locals, cheap food and the abundance of resort activities catering for the kiddies, means that rest and relaxation is the order of the day; even for mom and dad.

2. Koh Tarutao

Nature-loving families need not look further than the non-commercialized Koh Tarutao. With its thick, dense jungles with monkeys swinging from the trees; and very basic accommodation options and facilities; even teenagers will have no choice but to put down their cell phones. Ideal for families who want to reconnect over card games, jungle adventures and minimal Wi-Fi connection.

3. Koh Libong

Families with young ones in tow can rely on the exquisite coves and immaculate beaches of Koh Libong to relax and unwind. The gentle waters of this island offer enjoyable swimming for all ages and the fortunate might even spot the endangered dugong (“sea cows”) while exploring below the waves.

3 Thai islands for party animals

For backpackers unencumbered with children, worries or social inhibitions, Thailand is the birthplace of some of wildest and craziest island parties in the world.

1. Koh Phangan

Home to the world-renowned Full-Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach, Koh Phangan rockets its way to the very top of the list on being the one of the best party islands in Thailand. The monthly held Full Moon shindig is a year round festivity and one that between 10,000 and 30,000 people participate in every month.

2. Phuket

Yes, we have to mention Phuket once again here as it is yet another hotspot for party animals and travellers who long to dance the night away. With its vibrant nightlife, pulsating clubs and notorious go-go bars, Patong Beach, Karon and Kata Beach in Phuket are the natural habitats of party-goers from across the world.

3. Koh Chang

Fire-dancers, thumping-bass and masses of teeming bodies all swaying to the sounds of booming music, Koh Chang is steadily growing in popularity as a key player in Thailand’s island-party scene. Lonely beach, White Sand Beach and Kai Bae Beach are the main areas dominated by Koh Chang’s party-enthusiasts.

3 best diving and snorkelling destinations in Thailand

For visitors looking to swap their neon body-paint for snorkels or diving gear, the islands of Thailand boast wonderful marine life and coral encounters. What would a tropical holiday be without getting your hair wet?

1. Koh Tao

Best known as the ideal destination to get ones diving certificated, Koh Tao offers an abundance of diving schools and plentiful snorkelling tours around the island. Snorkelers can expect to glimpse colourful fish darting in between beautiful corals and gently swaying seaweed. Mango Bay, Shark Bay and the tiny and stunning Koh Nang Yuan are popular snorkelling spots around Koh Tao.

2. Koh Ngai

Making up a portion of the Mu Koh Lanta National Marine Park, Koh Ngai can be accessed via Koh Lanta, the mainland Trang as well as Koh Mook. Beautiful snorkelling spots and dive sites are dotted around all three of these islands and Koh Ngai, Koh Lanta and Koh Mook, provide visitors with magical delights below the waves. With the dreamy landscape of deserted white beaches and gentle surf, these islands in the Andaman Sea are ideal for divers, snorkelers or visitors wanting a relaxing break in an idyllic and stunning location.

3. Koh Phi Phi

Calling all mermaids, marine life enthusiasts and water babies! The Phi Phi Islands are one of the most popular snorkelling spots in all of Thailand and with its abundant marine life, crystal clear water and convenient and affordable tours, it’s easy to understand why. Maya Bay, Sama Bay and Hin Klang are excellent snorkelling spots on any of the Phi Phi Islands snorkelling tours.

Well worth a mention too is the live-aboard trip where snorkelers live aboard a ship for three days and explore the nine gorgeous islands that comprise the Similan Islands. The translucent waters and teeming marine life are unforgettable and fascinating ways to discover this unspoiled archipelago. The live-aboard trip departs from Khao Lak.

3 Thai islands for real gedonists

Thailand islands are not only world famous for their parties, snorkelling or beautiful landscapes, but are world renowned for their luxurious beauty-spas, famous Thai massage and world-class pampering too. For visitors who long to relax and unwind the tiny island, Koh Ngai just off Trang, Phuket and Koh Lanta offer some of the best spas in Thailand.

1. Koh Nhai

Twenty minutes on a speedboat lies, untouched white beaches and immaculate tropical surrounds on Koh Ngai. Served with a side of ocean sounds and the soothing lullaby of crashing waves, the peaceful ambiance is only enhanced by the assortment of pampering facilities offered by numerous resorts and spas. Mayalay Spa at Mayalay Resort offers traditional Thai massages as well as three different packages that include everything from body scrubs, milk baths, steams, massages, hair treatments and facials. Varin Spa at Thapwarin Resort also on Koh Ngai promises spa facilities that rejuvenate both the body and spirit.

2. Phuket

And yet featured in one more category, here comes Phuket. While vibrant Phuket is filled with questionable nightlife, it is also crammed full of award-winning and first-class pampering opportunities. Whether you are recovering from a wild night out or just in need of some rest and relaxation, Phuket has you in good hands with their seemingly endless choice of spas. The idea of spas in Thailand is to find a healthy balance between ancient traditions of holistic healing and today’s modern lifestyle. Many of the Phuket’s major hotels, resorts and spa centres all offer traditional massage, herbal baths, meditation, and steam and sauna treatments that have been practiced for centuries.

A couple of our favourite spas in Phuket are, The Santosa Detox and Wellness Center, Oriental Massage and Spa and Oasis Turquoise Cove Spa.

3. Koh Lanta

Indulging in a Thai massage ranks pretty high on visitors bucket-lists prior to visiting Thailand and on Koh Lanta there are plenty of pampering options to choose from. Pampering the stresses of modern life, the island boasts a wide range of holistic therapies and beauty treatments set against the backdrop of a true tropical paradise. Pimalai Resort and Spa, Lanta Sands and Dreamy Spa come highly recommended.

3 ultimate island resorts for a perfect beach getaway

With the abundance of exceptional beach hotels and resorts scattered generously on the islands of Thailand picking the cream of the crop is something of a challenge; but with the gorgeous surrounds, exquisite facilities and big, friendly smiles of the locals, we felt up to the challenge!

1. Keemala Villas in Phuket

Our best beach resorts in Thailand are spots that offer unique and exceptional services and that are distinctive in some way. Keemala Villas in Phuket with its individual luxurious tree-houses with a private pool suspended amidst the trees, outside shower and standalone bath tub ticked all the boxes. Lush rainforest views sets the scene for the ultimate decadence and the gorgeous interiors add to the ambiance of bringing the outdoors indoors. Stunning pools, a fine-dining restaurant, an intimate wine cellar, a holistic spa and wellness retreats are all on offer for guests of Keemala.

2. Soneva Kiri Resort in Koh Kood

For those looking for an unmatched fusion of opulence, eco-harmonious design and a memorable, authentic Thai experience, look no further than Soneva Kiri Resort in Koh Kood. Each villa features a private infinity pool with views of the stunning beach or untamed rainforest. Highlights of Soneva Kiri Resort include the open-air cinema, Benz’ Mangrove restaurant, the observatory, the Chocolate and Ice-cream Parlor and the unforgettable Treetop Dining Pod. Yet another service that sets Soneva apart is the extreme importance placed on fun and learning for children with professional child-minders educating, playing and carefully minding children of all ages. This resort makes Koh Kood one of the best Thailand islands for families with generous budgets.

3. Banyan Tree Samui

Situated on a hillside on the southern end of the pristine Lamai Bay on Koh Samui, lies Banyan Tree Samui. This 5-star, luxurious resort has 78 villas all complete with a private pool, a bathtub, rain shower and panoramic views from the outside terraces. The onsite spa, two restaurants, steam room, sauna and fitness and yoga classes may make it impossible to leave upon checking out.

Thai island paradise is waiting for you!

The islands of Thailand with their blonde beach sand, warm turquoise waves and genuinely welcoming locals make a vacation on any one of them an unforgettable experience. From sunrise to sunset Thailand islands are filled with a range of activities and sights that will thrill a diverse array of tourists, travellers and backpackers. Whether you’re out on a solo traveling adventure, traveling with friends, on your honeymoon or holidaying with the family, the impeccable islands of Thailand will captivate and seduce all who land here. May your passport be up to date and your coconut always full – paradise is waiting.


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