The most famous tourist destination in Southeast Asia, Thailand is a country full of surprises. Home of the world famous Thai food, this country is culturally rich and has a well-developed infrastructure catering millions of tourists every year. Thailand has over 1430 islands blessed with scenic nature, and we have curated a list of best islands in Thailand for your next vacation.
There’s everything in Thailand. Beautiful beaches, Exciting wildlife, Stunning water sports, Fascinating marine life, Heritage sites, Awesome nightlife, Amazing food, Tropical climate, Friendly culture, Thai cooking classes, Thai massages and what not! Pick your favourite way to explore the islands of Thailand and have the time of your life.
The islands in Thailand host the biggest party on full moon nights and also organize exciting activities for kids. Unbeatable Thai hospitality will make you feel comfortable and relaxed. You can always hop between islands and enjoy the best of it all. Prefer visiting two or three in one vacation for a complete experience and avoid wasting your time in crowded island-hopping ferries. Read our list of the 8 best islands in Thailand and know what to expect in each of these.
The 8 best islands in Thailand
- Koh Phi Phi
- Koh Lipe
- Koh Tao
- Koh Phangan
- Koh Samui
- Koh Lanta
- Koh Chang
1. Koh Phi Phi – experience the magical Maya bay
A beautiful island and seascape,Koh Phi Phi has been portrayed in Leonardo Di Caprio’s The beach movie. Koh Phi Phi, one of the best islands in Thailand, boasts a lot of beautiful bays, white sand beaches, evergreen tropical forests and towering limestone cliffs. The most famous among them is the idyllic Maya bay with crystal clear water, white sands, and lazy fishing boats. Koh Phi Phi hosts a lot of adventurous activities like snorkelling, swimming, rock climbing and hiking. The picture-perfect island has a vibrant nightlife too, with many beach clubs, bars and dance floors entertaining with raging parties and performances.
- Sightseeing attractions: Phi Phi Le national park, Maya Bay, Bamboo Island, Mosquito Island, Monkey Bay, Tonsai village and Viking Cave.
- Famous outdoor activities: Visit Hat Yao for the best snorkelling experience in warm waters. Head to paradisiacal Ao Pileh bay to swim and snorkel. Ao Lo Dalam is a famous spot for hiking. And Fancy rock climbing? There’s plenty of walls, to start to go to Tonsai tower.
- Party scene: The origin of the famous Thai bucket, (literally a bucket filled with cocktails and straw) head here for non-sleazy, fun and entertaining parties.
- Getting there: Koh Phi Phi island does not have an airport, its well connected through ferries from Krabi or Phuket town.
- Getting around: You can take ferry rides to cover all the attractions.
- Best time to go: December to April
- Stay: Tonsai village has the best accommodation options.
Also See: Top 10 Things To Do In Phi Phi Islands
Quick tip: Prefer going early in the morning as the tides are great or set sail in the evening to witness the bays bathed in orange hues of evening Sun.
2. Koh Lipe- for breathtaking coral reefs
Koh Lipe is very small but fascinating. It is a part of Tarutao national park and has rich corals and marine life. Koh Lipe has the most stunning beaches with calm turquoise water ideal for diving and snorkelling. There are three famous white sand beaches: Sunrise beach, Pattaya beach and Sunset beach. These beaches live up to expectations and have a chilled out vibe. Pattaya beach is the most beautiful white sand strip with best spots to snorkel, whereas the other two beaches stun you with dramatic sunrise and sunset views. Live the leisurely beach life, roaming around one of the best islands in Thailand, Koh Lipe.
- Sightseeing attractions: Sunrise beach, Pattaya beach, Sunset beach, Walking Street
- Famous outdoor activities: Snorkeling can be enjoyed off the beach. Diving is at its best at spots like 8-mile rock, Talang, Stonehenge and Koh Taru.
- Party scene: It isn’t a party island, but there are few excellent bars and clubs with relaxed vibes.
- Getting there: There are no direct routes from Bangkok, but one can take flight to Hat Yai. And then, take a bus ride to Pakbara pier and on to Koh Lipe by ferry boats.
- Getting around: You can explore the whole island on foot. (It takes only 45 minutes)
- Best time to go: November to April
- Stay: Resorts near Sunrise beach area are the best.
3. Koh Tao – the romantic getaway
Koh Tao is one among the best islands in Thailand, where the charm and nature of the place is preserved in its glory. Sairee beach is where people head for a relaxed beach day with mesmerizing sunsets and fun activities. Also, hike your way to cliffs and enjoy sunsets from viewpoints like the famous John Suwan viewpoint, for a perfect romantic evening.
In Koh Tao, visiting the most beautiful island in the world, Koh Nang Yuan is a must. Koh Nang Yuan is a group of three islands connected by small white sand bars that live up to the postcard-like expectations. Koh Tao is also stunning underwater, so if you are looking for an underwater experience for your family visit this island.
- Sightseeing attractions: Sairee beach, John Suwan point, Koh Nang Yuan, Sai Nuan Beach, Shark Bay, Muay Thai, Hin Wong Bay, Tanote Bay.
- Famous outdoor activities: Koh Tao is best known for diving and snorkelling with a rich marine life. (Quick Tip: You can get all levels of professional diving training and certificates from diving schools here.)
- Party scene: Koh Tao’s various bars lit up the night in the sands of Sairee beach with unlimited music, fire dancing shows and drinks.
- Getting there: You can get to Koh Tao only by boat, there are services from nearby Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
- Getting around: Walking and cycling would be ideal for people who want to soak in this tropical land. There are long tail boats, songthaews and taxis available for rent easily.
- Best time to go: Being a year-round destination, if you are going for diving, choose May to August.
Stay: For a secluded stay, choose Chalok Bay. To enjoy the live nights, choose Sairee beach.
4. Koh Phangan- for the Haad Rin full moon party
Koh Phangan, the home to the full moon party scenes, is one of the best party islands in Thailand. The famous shores of Haad Rin beach are where the notorious night parties come alive where DJs, bartenders, fire poi artists and dancers engage the crazy crowd. There are many picturesque beaches on this island, you can spend relaxing days in hammocks and swim the crystal clear waters away from the party crowds.
The island has many hidden waterfalls and exploring them through hikes from the mainland is an excellent experience. Also, one of the most famous dive locations other than Koh Tao is Koh Phangan in Thailand.
- Sightseeing attractions: Some must visit waterfalls are Thaan Prawes waterfalls, Sramanora waterfalls, Wangsai, Phaeng, Thaan Sadet and Paradise waterfalls, Haad Rin beach, Bottle beach, Haad Salad, Long Beach, Thong Nai Pan
- Famous outdoor activities: Diving, kitesurfing, kayaking, hiking and adventurous water theme parks to pump up your heartbeat.
- Party scene: Head here to party hard in the scenic beaches. Loud music, unlimited drinks and amazing crowd keep the crazy parties live all night.
- Getting there: As there are flights to Koh Phangan, you can reach Koh Samui and then take ferry boats.
- Getting around: Take boat trips to enjoy the scenic coastline and hop to many places which are difficult to visit through the land in Koh Phangan.
- Best time to go: January to September
- Stay: Hotels ask for 3-day booking during Full moon parties, so it’s better to stay in Koh Samui and commute.
Also See: 8 Best Beaches in Thailand
5. Phuket – the island for every kinda traveler
Phuket is very big that it hosts every kind of traveler, and is among the best islands in Thailand for families. Phuket, one among the best islands in Thailand, is blessed with the amazing piece of nature. To start exploring this beauty first visit Karon viewpoint. The viewpoint overlooks three scenic white sand beaches, greenery-filled mountains and blue waters and gives you an idea of what Phuket really is.
The island has a mountainous terrain and is filled with jungles ideal for hiking expeditions and wildlife encounters. The west coast of the island has the best white sand beaches. Among them, Patong beach undoubtedly hosts the best parties in Thailand. While the palm-fringed, crystal clear, Kata beach is less crowded and family friendly.
- Sightseeing attractions: Big Buddha statue, Phuket Old Town, Wat Chalong temple, James Bond island, and beaches like Patong, Kata and Karon.
Famous outdoor activities: Snorkeling and scuba diving.
- Party scene: Phuket is the best party island in Thailand. Patong beach in Phuket is a fantasy land with neon lights gleaming on your way to endless parties till the sun comes up. For a less crowded experience, check out Karon beach to party the night away.
- Getting there: Phuket has a busy international airport connecting many major hubs of the world.
- Getting around: Book a boat tour to sail in the crystal clear water and drift through the unique looking rock islands.
- Best time to go: November to April
- Stay: Mai Khao(near the airport) to Karon(beach area), there’s plenty of choices, choose a beach resort or historic hotel in Phuket as per your liking.
6. Koh Samui – luxurious Thai paradise
Koh Samui is a scenic and adventurous island in Thailand. Koh Samui is an ideal spot to enjoy a laid back atmosphere and a quiet beach vacation. Mae Nam beach, Lipa Noi beach, Silver beach, Chaweng beach, Lamai beach and Fisherman’s village(Bophut beach) are the popular beach escapes. Koh Samui, one of the best islands in Thailand, is decked up with luxurious resorts, spas and restaurants to pamper you. If you are a nature buff, visit the famous Ang Thong National Marine Park, a set of 42 islands with rich marine life, tropical rainforests and massive limestone islands.
- Sightseeing attractions: Big Buddha shrine, Wat Plai Laem temple, Secret Buddha garden, Wat Khunaram, Ang Thong Marine National Park, Fisherman’s Village, Namuang waterfalls and Hin Lat waterfalls.
- Famous outdoor activities: Spend a day exploring the unadulterated islands of Ang Thong National park and try your hand at swimming, scuba diving, kayaking or snorkeling. You can also hike the jungles and take a dip in the clear ponds below various waterfalls.
- Party scene: Koh Samui hosts half moon and black moon parties resembling the famous full moon parties of Koh Phangan. There’s laid back beach clubs with Thai performances or full-on trance music blaring dance floors, choose your kind and enjoy the non-stop parties.
- Getting there: The easiest way to reach Koh Samui is by air, and there are daily flights from Bangkok.
- Getting around: You can rent taxis or scooters to get to all the places on the island. Or try songthaews(small bus like public transport) for cheaper and easy transportation.
- Best time to go: January to August
- Stay: Chaweng, Lamai, Mae Nam and Bophut beach areas host the best accommodations for all kinds of travellers.
7. Koh Lanta- for secluded beach vacations
Koh Lanta, one among the best islands in Thailand, has the most stunning seascape backdrop. Though Koh Lanta is equally stunning like popular Phi Phi and Phangan islands, there is a lesser crowd providing a secluded vacation. The beaches here are clean and secluded, rent a lounge or lie on your sarong and chill. Though there’s limited infrastructure on the beachsides, there are plenty of diving spots to keep you amused.
Koh Lanta prides itself for the most romantic sunsets in Thailand. Koh Lanta is also famous for marine cleanups, petting adopted dogs and other sustainable activities, letting tourists also participate and gain a memorable experience.
- Sightseeing attractions: Visit the beautiful beaches like Kantiang Bay, Klong Khong, Phra Ae and Klong Dao. Other attractions are the historic lighthouse, Koh Lanta National Park, Khlong Chak waterfall and cave.
- Famous outdoor activities: Nature walks, Hiking through jungles, Diving
- Party scene: Nightlife is minimal here
- Getting there: Take flights from Bangkok to Krabi or Phuket, the two airports have transfer services to the ferry piers. Then take the ferry services or minivans to reach Koh Lanta.
- Getting around: Rent motorbikes, or hire taxis and songthaews to get around the well-paved roads of the island.
- Best time to go: January to April
- Stay: Klong Khong, Phra Ae and Klong Dao beach areas offer all kinds of accommodation.
8. Koh Chang- the heaven for nature lovers
It is a mountainous island with pristine waterfalls and idyllic white sand beaches. It is very near to Bangkok but is peaceful and away from all the buzzing noise. Packed with Thai performances, these parties are ideal for meeting like-minded travellers and enjoying a great nightlife atmosphere. At the beaches, you can spot rich corals and marine life very close to the shore while enjoying a swim in crystal clear waters or sunbathing in the white sands. While at this one of the best islands in Thailand, don’ t miss the sight and sound of waterfalls flowing from the mountains.
- Sightseeing attractions: White sand beach, Klong Plu waterfalls, Lonely beach, Mu Koh National Park viewpoint, Klong Prao Beach, Chai Chet, Salak Phet
- Famous outdoor activities: Snorkeling off the beach, Hiking to many hidden waterfalls in the jungles
- Party scene: Lonely Beach, White Sand Beach and Kai Bae Beach are where the party scene lits up with live music, dances and fire shows.
- Getting there: From Bangkok, catch a bus to the piers at Laem Ngop and then hop onto a ferry boat to reach the island.
- Getting around: Spend time cycling or motorcycling through the island and explore the tropical forests and beaches. Kayaks and boats are great to explore the surrounding islands.
- Best time to go: November to March
- Stay: You can holiday in one of the cool beachside accommodations on a secluded beach or white sand beach.
Enjoy the world famous Thai massage and Thai food. Experience the captivating natural scenery of Thailand and relax. Take up diving lessons or Thai food cooking classes and spend your holiday learning an exotic skill from scratch. Visit these 8 best islands in Thailand, and experience the best Thailand offers.