If you’re in need of a beach getaway, there is nowhere else on Earth that compares to the Thailand. Whether you travel from Koh Phangan to Koh Phi Phi or Koh Tao to Koh Samui, spending time exploring the Thai islands is the best way to add a slice – or many slices – of paradise to your life.
One of the biggest mistakes among the travelers of the world is not allocating enough time to the islands, so it is important to give yourself plenty of time to soak up the sun. Spending at least two weeks traveling around Thailand is a must, but three weeks is even better. After your 21-day journey island hopping around Thailand, there’s a good chance you won’t be ready to leave.
Get Started in Bangkok
No matter where you intend on going, Bangkok is the ultimate starting point. It is highly recommended that you spend at least a day or two exploring the hustle and bustle of Bangkok before heading to the islands of the South. As the capital of the country, Bangkok serves as the mecca of Thai culture.
Before soaking up the sand, surf, and salt, spend some time trying authentic Thai street food, browsing through night markets, and exploring the temples surrounding Bangkok. One of the biggest mistakes by travelers flying through Bangkok is not spending any time in the city. Sure, it’s hectic and might not be your cup of tea, but just give it a chance for a day or two.
Head South to Phuket
There are a few options for getting from Bangkok to Phuket. The first is to fly, but the much better option is to travel by land. Of course, if you’re in a hurry to get to the southern Thai islands, taking the one hour flight is your best bet. However, you’ll be missing out on some gems that you can only experience by traveling over land. If you do choose to take a bus or train, make a side trip to the National Park called Kanchanaburi.
Once in Phuket, you’ll quickly see why this is referred to as the Gateway to the Andaman Sea. If you’re lucky enough to book accommodations right on the water, you’ll be surrounded by azure waters morning, noon, and night. Although Phuket is touristy and hectic, it is a must-visit destination.
The neighborhood you choose to stay will have a huge impact on your Phuket experience. For crazy nightlife and ladyboys on every corner, head to Patong. For something a bit more lowkey and less in your face, Kata Beach is a better choice.
Take a Ferry to Phi Phi Islands
Phi Phi is known best for being home to the famous Maya Beach where Leo filmed his famous movie, The Beach. Although Maya Beach is currently closed to tourism, there is plenty more to keep you busy. Similar to Phuket, Koh Phi Phi is just as touristy and has a lot going on. However, the tiny size of this island means that you can walk around the entire thing. In fact, you’ll have to resort to getting around on foot since there are no motor vehicles on the Phi Phi Islands at all.
Next, Head to Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is another fairly small island, but it is large enough to accommodate for cars and scooters. The vibe on Koh Lanta is entirely different than Phuket and Phi Phi. It is way more laid back here, so it’s easy to take a break from partying during your time on this island. Check out Hey Hostel if you’re hoping to stay right on the beach and in need of some social vibes.
From Koh Lanta, Head to the Gulf
If you have the time, make a trip to the island of Koh Lipe and then spend some time in Krabi’s Railay Beach. If not, it’s time to head directly to the Gulf of Thailand from Koh Lanta. The most famous Gulf islands include Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. Koh Tao is a diver’s paradise, so be sure to check this little island out if you have SCUBA on the brain.
Koh Phangan is home to the infamous full moon parties, so plan your trip accordingly so that you’re on the island during the full moon. Koh Samui is a less popular area, but it’s a great place if you’re hoping to chill and get away from all the partying. There is also an airport in Koh Samui where you’ll be able to catch a flight to Bangkok before heading back home.