As a jaw-dropping destination, Thailand never ceases to amaze every visitor to see its breathtaking beauty. With more than 300 hundred of islands, island hopping is one of the best ways for those who wish to explore tropical Thailand. The weather will have a direct bearing on your choice of destinations. While the best on the Andaman Sea (the west coast) is between November and April, January to September is the right time for the Gulf of Thailand (the east coast). Here are some must-try destinations to gain precious memories.
The Andaman Sea Island Hopping Route (Photo: Koh Lipe Thailand)
Apart from being known as home to the elephants, Andaman Sea is an internationally famous area when it comes to Thailand. The 2 main hubs that you cannot miss are Phuket and Krabi. Be aware that the ferry journeys between these islands change annually, so remember to check the dates before planning your route. Also, some ferries are closed during the monsoon season. However, with Exotic Voyages, you will take the private luxury June Bahtra Cruise or the open John Gray’s Sea Canoe from Phuket to explore caves or float the Krathong in the evening.
As the pearl of Thailand, Phuket is a great spot to start your trip thanks to the tourist attractions as well as nearby islands. This place is readily accessible because of the Phuket International Airport. Once you step into this area, do not hesitate to head for Mai Khao and Krabi - the two must-visit havens.
With the 11 kilometers in length, Mai Khao Beach is one of the longest and the least crowded heavens of this tropical country. Most of this area is blissfully deserted without massage places, touts, drink sellers, so it is perfect for long walks and enjoying natural wonders in a tranquil ambiance.
A once in a lifetime to see the native wildlife
Interestingly, Mai Khao is a part of Sirinat National Park, or Nai Yang National Park - a 13-kilometer coastline marine park in Phuket. There are mangrove forests, evergreen forests, sparse forests, and wildlife which are waiting for you aside from the mysterious marine life. This might be your once in a lifetime opportunity to see the beautiful coral reef, turtles lay eggs, seashells, and mole crabs that normally appear on the TV screen.
Trust me! Krabi is an ideal place to escape the crowds and what a pity if you do not explore one of the best beaches in Krabi - Tonsai. Beautifully situated on a peninsula between Ao Nang and Krabi Town, this province features breathtaking scenery, a very long coastline with about 200 islands and wonderful white sand beaches. Also, the tropical jungle attractively illustrates exotic wildlife, magnificent waterfalls, limestone caves, and cliffs. Needless to say, the ecosystem will openly back you with tons of interesting activities to do like hiking, snorkeling, cliff jumping, rock climbing or just soaking up the sunlight, and relaxed atmosphere.
Climbing in Tonsai
Once you enter Tonsai by a long-tail boat, you will be welcomed by the crystal-clear water that you are gliding on with a dramatic backdrop of towering rock mountains. This tropical paradise is nothing but a perfect place for rock climbers with stunning views and aesthetic wandering flows which are world renowned. Rent gear from the nearby shops and a map to start your outdoor adventure.
The wonderful Pohda Island
In case you are not a devoted fan of extreme sports, find a kayak to paddle around to explore the exotic points of interest. You can travel to Phanang Cave, Pohda Island, Railay Beach, Tub Island, or Chicken Island to bask in the pleasant sunshine and watch picturesque scenes. If you desire to delve into the aquatic life, there are some dive operators in Railey Beach which is only 10 minutes away.
Find out more: things to do in Krabi for the couple.
Your islands hopping tour will not be complete if you do not spend time visiting the Gulf of Thailand, in other words, the Gulf of Siam that is bordered by Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The warmth of the water and the coral reefs make this shallow gulf alluring with star attractions. Likewise, there are 2 island routes to reach here - Surat Thani and Trat province leading you to the gorgeous Koh Phangan and the peaceful Koh Mak.
Full moon party in Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan is one of the islands located in Surat Thani Province. A wide reason that makes it special is Full Moon Party is held monthly which party-goers are covered in neon paint dancing wildly till dawn. Most of the participants are in the twenties, so attending a party on a moonlit beach with them will give you an unforgettable moment. After the party, it turns back to a pristine area with glistening waters and white sand.
Scuba diving for admiring its sheer beauty
For relaxation, you should head to the north of this island for quiet beaches, amazing vegetarian cafes, and the clear water. If possible, take boat trips, scuba diving, and snorkeling to admire its sheer beauty. Otherwise, lounging in a hammock with your favorite book creates a friendly atmosphere that creates such a homely atmosphere.
Photo by Matthias Ripp
A Thailand itinerary for beach lovers would be a big loss if it did not include Koh Mak which is ideally located in Trat province. However, it is one of the smallest and the most underrated islands in Thailand. Thus, you should not turn down this ideal chance to experience the authentic land and avoid mass tourism even in the peak season. That said, Koh Mak is not a place for hectic nightlife. Instead, this spot tends to be a paradise of calmness. Taking up about 16 square kilometers, it is easy for you to access the majority on foot. Meanwhile, there is a range of excellent accommodations from cozy bungalows to posh villas built on the beach.
Cycling - Low carbon tourism on Koh Mak
This island is well mapped with walking trails and bicycle paths that allow you to explore the hidden gems. It has a rich and colorful history of the most ancient house, the untouched beaches like the Turtle Beach on the northern tip, Laem Son in the northeast, or the erotic art produced at The Kingdom of Somchai.
To discover more stunning tropical beaches in Thailand, book a tour here.