Thailand has so much beauty to offer to its tourists that its somehow been quite underestimated. Travellers often just stop at ‘popular’ islands which they have heard of and don’t explore the other undiscovered places which are untouched and raw. We bring to you some islands which are more or less jewels in terms of their beauty and are worth adding to your bucket list.
Ko Chang (Elephant Island) is Thailand’s second largest island and the primary destination for those visiting Ko Chang Marine National Park, which includes dozens of unspoiled islands. Drawn to Ko Chang’s pristine beaches and sparkling water, more well-to-do Thai and international travelers have been discovering Ko Chang and numerous luxury spas and resorts have sprung up to cater to them. Nonetheless, the island is still a dream destination for budget travelers and families, with a wide variety of affordable accommodation options and numerous gorgeous and tranquil beaches surrounded by crystal clear water.
Tiny “turtle island” Koh Tao is a top destination for scuba divers though even non divers are easily drawn in by the island’s beauty and its inhabitants charm. The tiny island of Koh Tao (“Turtle Island”), 45 km north of Koh Phangan, is one of the top scuba diving destinations in Thailand, if not the world. In fact, only Cairns, Australia issues more PADI certifications than Koh Tao. Non-divers can appreciate the beauty of Koh Tao, which seems relatively devoid of inhabitants while the majority of visitors are spending their days underwater, by taking a boat trip around the island to visit Koh Tao’s many gorgeous beaches and bays, hiking to the summit of the island, studying yoga, or simply relaxing in a hammock and enjoying the view of nearby Koh Nang Yuan, a spectacular attraction in its own right.
Located 70 km south of Krabi, Koh Lanta features a pair of large islands so close to the Thai mainland that it not inconceivable that bridges will someday be built to connect them to each other and to the mainland. The island is also a scuba diver’s paradise as there are many coral reefs, limestone outcrops, seamounts, pinnacles, and underse caves around Koh Lanta and nearby islands. The prime attractions on Koh Lanta are its long beaches, clear water, and laid back atmosphere. The west coast of Koh Lanta features nine beaches along its 25 km shore, most of which are great for swimming and ideal for long, romantic walks and sunset views. It’s a great place for a family vacation or a romantic escape.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand a short boat ride from Koh Samui, Koh Phangan (pronounced pun-ngun) is a large, mountainous island covered with coconut trees and surrounded by white sand beaches and aquamarine waters. While each month thousands of young people flock to the world famous Full Moon Party in Haad Rin, where local and international DJs play music on the beach, there are dozens of other beaches in varying stages of development that are alternatively occupied by five-star beach resorts, budget beach bungalows, and a number of yoga, meditation, and health retreats. Koh Phangan is an ideal destination for those looking to party, relax, or engage in wellness programs, such as a yoga or meditation retreat.
Phang Nga is renowned for its spectacular beauty, particularly Phang Nga bay, which contains hundreds of island including Koh Tapu (James Bond Island), where the film The Man with the Golden Gun was shot, and Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai, which feature laid back communities that allow for cultural home stay experiences. Phang Nga province is blessed with a variety of outstanding natural attractions including the stunning Phang Nga Bay, the idyllic Surin and Similan Islands, the sandy coast of Khao Lak, and Phang Nga is a province equally renowned for its beautiful land, spectacular bay, and amazing islands; Phang Nga national parks feature magnificent scenery with immensely different attractions. Most famous is Phang Nga Bay National Park, a geological wonder filled with islets, sunken caverns, and startling rock formations rising vertically out of the sea. The bay is extremely sheltered and therefore ideal for expeditions on sea kayak that explore the many fascinating caverns and islands throughout the bay.