The Thai islands are essentially what you think of when you think of a tropical paradise. Private white sand beaches, crystal clear shallow ocean waters and tropical greenery make every island the ideal setting for a relaxing holiday, but don’t be fooled by the idyllic format as each island is very different! If you’re planning the holiday of a lifetime to Thailand, here’s what you need to know about the islands.
In a nutshell: Beaches and nightlife
Best beaches: Chaweng Beach is perhaps the most well-known on Koh Samui with a busy nightlife close by and some great surf and shopping opportunities too. Maenam Beach however offers a much quieter setting on a vast stretch of sand and it’s here that you’ll find the top-end resorts and plenty of honeymooners.
Nightlife: Chaweng Beach is the main base for the island’s nightlife. Head down for the beach and town bars with all the latest chart songs and a lively atmosphere that can rival the Full Moon Party.
What to do: Head to the Ang Thong Marine Park for a spot of snorkelling and some swimming in the Emerald Lake.
In a nutshell: Party island and tropical paradise.
Best beaches: The most well-known beach is of course Hat Rin where the world-renowned party takes place each month. There are plenty of small hidden beaches around the island too though which make for peaceful retreats especially mid-month when the island’s partiers take leave.
Nightlife: If you’re going to Koh Phangan there is a 90% chance you are doing so for the Full Moon Party. Taking place at the end of each month, Hat Rin beach is where you’ll find fire-eaters, dancers and a coastline chocca-bloc with neon-painted bodies. It’s an incredible experience but not for the faint-hearted!
What to do: Go to the Full Moon Party of course!
In a nutshell: A diver’s idea of heaven.
Best beaches: Diving is so popular here because of the deeper waters so whether you fancy diving or snorkelling you have a strong chance of spotting some beautiful underwater life. Sairee Beach is where you’ll find some great drinking and dining options while Haad Tien has crystal clear ocean waters and leaning coconut palms.
Nightlife: Though the nightlife scene isn’t as big as Phangan or Samui you can still find plenty of cool bars peppering the coastline. Mae Haad is essentially the capital of the island and where you will find plenty of shops, bars and restaurants.
What to do: Delve into deeper water and have a go at becoming a diver! It’s one of the best and cheapest places to learn to dive in the world.
In a nutshell: Where you’ll find the honeymooners.
Best beaches: Koh Lanta’s boutique hotels and holidaymaker fan-base ensures the beaches stay peaceful and unspoilt. Coastal points such as Long Beach boast numerous bars and restaurants yet never feels crowded whilst Relax Bay is a hidden beach perfect for yoga enthusiasts.
Nightlife: The nightlife is much tamer here but if you fancy small wooden beach bars on stilts and beach drinks service then this is the place for you.
What to do: Book one of the great spa hotels on the islands and enjoy a massage on the beach. If yoga is your kind of thing then you’ll be sure to find a peaceful spot to practice your poses here.
Koh Phi Phi
In a nutshell: The classic Thai island.
Best beaches: It’s on this island that you can find the iconic Maya Bay, also known as ‘The Beach’ from the famous nineties film. Long tail boats draped in colourful ribbons pitch up to the breath-taking setting on a daily basis and other island beaches such as Tonsai Village and Tonsai East also boast spectacular jungle and limestone backdrops with a quieter atmosphere.
Nightlife: Tonsai Village is the island’s hub for everything including nightlife. On Phi Phi you can expect a relatively laid-back ambiance and more traditional features including Thai boxing bars while the beaches will still be peppered with beanbags when the sun goes down.
What to do: Make the most of the beautiful beaches here, especially the iconic Maya Beach which really is a tropical paradise even with all its regular influx of visitors.
With plenty of stunning beaches and shallow waters the Thai islands are perfect for families while the world-renowned nightlife makes it a strong contender for group holidays. Who would you fancy doing some Thai island-hopping with? Let us know by leaving a comment below.