Known for its lush tropical beaches, bustling cities, and mouth-watering cuisine, Thailand is a top destination for many travel dreamers. While Bangkok and Chiang Mai draw in millions of visitors each year, many people prefer to escape city life in exchange for relaxing on the white sandy beaches of Thailand. So if you’re planning your visit, make sure to factor in time to go island hopping around Thailand.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Thailand?
If you’re looking to escape cold, harsh winters, visiting Thailand at any point of the year is sure to be an improvement. Still, there are some seasons that are better to visit than others for island hopping in Thailand. The ideal time to go island hopping is between November to March, which is the dry season. During these months you can expect hot, but not overly humid weather and plenty of sunshine. From April to June Thailand will have extreme heat temperatures, so while sunny, you must plan ahead to stay hydrated and sunburn-free! Keep in mind, the rainy season in Thailand is generally between the end of June through October. If your goal is to lay on the beach all day, you may want to avoid traveling during these months.
How To Island Hop In Thailand
Island hopping around Thailand is fairly easy to navigate. Most adventurers will start their Thai island hopping experience in either Phuket or Koh Samui, which have direct access from Bangkok where most people fly into. From there, it is easy to catch ferries to your desired islands for an affordable price. However, it is important to keep in mind that if you are traveling in the rainy season, ferries may get canceled or be quite rough. Always have a backup plan in mind in case your original ferry plan does not work out.
✈️ Pro Tip: Exchange island life for city streets. Use this Digital Nomads Guide To Chiang Mai.
What Are The Best Islands To Visit In Thailand?
You could easily spend weeks, months, or even years exploring all of the vast islands that make up Thailand. Still, we found some of the best spots you should add to your must-visit list while island hopping in Thailand.
Arguably one of the most well-known islands to explore while in Thailand, Phuket makes for the perfect beach vacation spot while island hopping. With white sandy beaches lined with visitors relaxing in the sun, Phuket is an excellent choice for those looking to get some R&R time. While visiting, make sure to enjoy the viewpoints at Kata Karon and Cape Promthep to soak up the stunning scenery. After, enjoy a tour and tasting at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery to learn more about the process of making rum. You’ll leave slightly smarter and definitely a little tipsy, which is the ideal spot to be while on vacation. Of course, no trip to Thailand is complete without daily Thai massages, so book some relaxation time before you jump over to the next island.
We promise you, you won’t be feeling crabby while in Krabi! Relaxed, excited, slightly hungover, definitely, but grumpy you will not! Start your adventure off by visiting the picturesque Railay Beach. Rent a kayak and go on a sea adventure, or just lay out in the sand working on your tan. Take some time to explore Wat Tham Suea (Tiger Cave Temple) with its impressive views and large Buddha.
The Phi Phi Islands/Koh Phi Phi
After exploring Krabi, a trip to the Phi Phi Islands is a must. Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh are the two main islands, however, Koh Phi Phi generally has more name recognition out of the six Phi Phi islands. If you are SCUBA certified, you’ll love diving into the turquoise waters and swimming with the fish that surround the Phi Phi Islands.
✈️ Pro Tip: Not SCUBA certified yet? No problem! Head to one of these Best Places To Learn How To Scuba Dive.
Located in the Andaman Sea, the Similan Islands make up the maritime border between Thailand and India. These eleven archipelago islands make up Similan Islands National Park and are the perfect spot for animal and nature lovers to explore. With abundant wildlife and serene nature trails, the Similan Islands are the perfect spot for your Thailand island hopping adventure.
Koh Pha Ngan
If you’re ready to spend the night dancing under the stars, Koh Pha Ngan is the place to be! Koh Pha Ngan hosts the Full Moon Party, a monthly festival to celebrate the full moon with dancing, light shows, drinking, and more. This Thai island draws in crowds of visitors looking for a good party, and it does not disappoint. Time your visit to Koh Pha Ngan to align with the full moon to get the optimal island experience.
✈️ Pro Tip: Avoid getting travelers tummy while in Thailand by making sure you have all of these Medications You Should Always Pack When Traveling.
Koh Samui is filled with many fun adventures waiting for you. Start off your exploration by visiting the famous Big Buddha for some peace and zen after partying it up in Koh Pha Ngan. If you have a dirty mind and peace and tranquility aren’t really your style, make sure to check out the rock formations Hin Ta And Hin Yai that closely resemble male and female genitalia. Without a doubt, one of the most stunning experiences you will have in Koh Samui is hiking to Namuang Waterfall, which is sure to take your breath away.
Last, but certainly not least on our list of the best islands to explore while island hopping in Thailand is Koh Tao. If you are not yet SCUBA certified, Koh Tao is one of the best and most affordable spots in the world to earn your certifications. However, if you prefer to be above the water on dry land, hike to the Fraggle Rock viewpoint for an epic sunset or book a yoga class to reconnect with your inner self.
Thailand is more than bustling cities and impressive temples, although those aren’t bad things! Still, if you’re looking for some fun in the sun, island hopping in Thailand is the route to go. There are endless options to choose from, so depending on how long your visit will be, pick the islands that fit best into your schedule. No matter what you choose, you won’t be disappointed!
What island in Thailand do you want to visit first? Tell us in the comments!