Which island of Thailand is right for you?
The islands of Thailand have something to fantasize about. The white sand, the chic rustic cabins skirting the beaches, a white hammock swaying gently between two palm trees while a turquoise blue water extends on the horizon … But each island is different from the others, with its own peculiarities, and there are dozens of them. So, how to choose? We have selected an island for every type of traveler, whether you want to party until the end of the night, take diving lessons, discover Thai gastronomy or travel in love.
Koh Phi Phi: to travel solo
If you are going on holiday alone or with a friend, Hua Hin to Koh Samui is the best place to visit. But there is another option; Koh Phi Phi. Koh Phi Phi is the island for you. It was almost completely rebuilt following the 2004 tsunami. Numerous activities are offered (diving, snorkelling, boat trips to Koh Phi Phi Ley, etc.) to a young, dynamic and trendy clientele who seeks both to relax and to party (especially on New Year’s Eve). After a day of sunbathing, swimming and exploring, the evening is the perfect time to go shopping, have a cocktail on the beach watching the Thai dancers juggle the fire, and dance until short day. You may arrive alone at Koh Phi Phi, but chances are it will not be the case when you leave.
Or sleep ?
The rooms of Zeavola Resort – away from the city center – are absolutely charming, decorated in the purest traditional Thai style and offering views of the ocean or the tropical garden. The Pool Villas are among the best equipped in all of Thailand.
Koh Lipe: for everlasting romances and honeymoons
When you imagine an island in Thailand, it’s probably a place like Koh Lipe that you think. Known for owning the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, Koh Lipe is one of the 51 islands that make up the Tarutao Marine Park, further south at the border with Malaysia. It is the dream destination that combines the calm of a remote location (much less touristy than Phuket or Kho Samui) with postcard beaches and luxury hotels. The island is small enough to be explored on foot. Pattaya Beach is the most bustling beach and that’s where the nightlife goes, while Sunset Beach is quieter and secluded. Snorkelling, diving, visits to small islands around … many activities are offered, unless you prefer to enjoy massages for two in one of the many spas of the island.
On the beach of Sunrise Beach, Idyllic Concept Resort is a place full of style, to prefer to the usual beach bungalows. There is a bar in the pool, and 28 rooms with beautiful finishes in a contemporary decor.
Koh Lanta: for those who cannot choose
Of all the islands in Thailand, Koh Lanta is probably the most versatile. Less than an hour by boat from Krabi, Koh Lanta is actually a set of several small islands. The best known is Koh Lanta Yai, with its nature reserves and beaches where you will not meet the soul … The range of accommodation is very wide, from the economic to the ultra chic, and welcomes more customers between 30 and 50 years as young backpackers. Children are welcome, thanks to calm waters and a very safe island. If you want to sunbathe on beautiful beaches, dive into one of the most beautiful sites in the world, have massages, have fun in beach bars, kayak in the mangrove and enjoy seafood with locals in a warm fishing village … then Koh Lanta Island is for you!
The island does not lack elegant resorts. Pimalai was the first five star hotel in Koh Lanta, located in the tropical forest on the edge of the white sand beach Ba Kan Tiang Beach, near the Lanta Marine National Park. Accommodations range from rooms to villas, and the spa offers outdoor massages surrounded by palm trees.
Koh Samui: for families
Koh Samui is already known as a honeymoon destination, but it is also a perfect place for children. There are indeed international hospitals (with English speaking doctors), the hotels take care of the children, the restaurants have menus designed especially for them and the shops all offer sunscreen, buckets, shovels and everything what you could have forgotten. When children no longer want to play on the beach, offer them a stroll along the waterfalls, a visit of butterfly gardens, an elephant trek, karting, or a cinema. However, Koh Samui is also suitable for adults once the children have been dropped off at the daycare: sunsets on the beach, starred restaurants and luxury spas.
Many of the island’s hotels are thought for couples, but the Four Seasons Koh Samui, located in the heart of the palm trees behind a beach, is ideal for both families and lovers. While couples can enjoy a sapa zen and candlelit dinners on the beach, the villas with swimming pools and children’s areas are ideal for families.
Koh Tao: for divers
On the coast of Koh Tao, or Turtle Island, are lined creeks, small lantern-lit restaurants and dive shops. Most travelers are here for this, as the island is one of the best places in the world to learn diving. And the competition between all the stores makes it also one of the cheapest places to practice this activity. If you are a beginner in this field, sign up to pass your diving certificate. This usually takes four days, with one outing a day. If you already have your certificate, you can take night diving lessons, around wrecks or with sharks, or simply board one of the ten boats that sails every day. If you are not a diving fan, you will still be seduced by the charm of Koh Tao and its incredible nightlife, which would not be what it is without the famous Full Moon Party, less gigantic and more responsible while those of his neighbor Koh Pha Ngan.
Most of the hotels are built around pools in which the apprentice divers train. For something a little more refined, Casas del Sol offers five villas with swimming pools located on a hill and overlooking the sea, each accommodating up to 4 people.
Phuket: life in a big way
Phuket offers everything, even what you do not think. Star restaurants, luxury resorts with private concierge, cosmetic surgery … You will find everything here. It is the largest and most touristy island in Thailand. And although many places are affordable in terms of price, Phuket is also full of luxury shops. The beaches, among the most beautiful in the country, have been stormed by hotels and beach bars. If you are looking for a quieter place, head for Kata Noi.
Phuket does not lack luxury hotels. The only question to ask is: which one to choose? The Six Senses Yao Noi Beyond Phuket, and the Banyan Tree Phuket are among the most recommended.
Thailand offers beautiful islands for various types of travelers. Are you ready to travel to the Southeast Asian country? Enjoy your vacation and good luck!
Image credit: Thailand via SantiPhotoSS/shutterstock