Essential Information for Thailand Island Hopping
Best time for Thailand Island Hopping
If you are thinking of Thailand Island Hopping, the first thing that comes to your mind is the best time to visit the place. The area experiences southwest monsoons which bring heavy rainfall from November to early December. During this time, the sea remains rough.
The driest season for Island Hopping is between January to April. It is the best time to visit the place with the chances of pleasant weather and little rain. The winds remain high during this time and are great weather for any water sports. Therefore, January to April is the peak season for island hopping in Thailand.
How to Reach Islands in Thailand
1. By Air- Bangkok is the most easily reached place in Thailand by flight. The Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Don Mueang Airport are well-connected to different parts of the world. Both these airports lie in close proximity to the city center, making them accessible for tourists.
2. By Road- The cities in Thailand have appropriate connections via bus routes. Buses have good connectivity between various parts of Thailand like Surat Thani, Chanthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Ko Samui, Phuket, and Krabi. Regular buses keep on functioning in these routes.
3. By Water- If you are planning to do Island Hopping in Thailand, waterways are the best mode of transport to do so. You can avail yourself of ferry services that take you to different islands in Thailand.
Phuket Island Hopping Tours
Ko Phi Phi
Ko Phi Phi, a small archipelago of six islands is the most beautiful and widely popular tourist destination in Andaman sea. Beautiful bondage of two islands together by a narrow isthmus is something that makes this place this pretty.
The postcard picture-perfect beaches, unending thickets and craggy cliffs of this island have been known for seducing people from all over the world. Often visitors find it a herculean task to detach themselves from the just flawless beauty that this place offers.
Things to Do: While in Phi Phi Islands, you just cannot miss the viewpoint which is around 186m above sea level and allures you with the breathtaking views of the entire region. Relax and unwind yourself at Lane Beach, take a leisure walk in Yao Beach and enjoy some spectacular views at Hin Khao Beach.
James Bond Island
James Bond island is a popular landmark in Phang Nga Bay which gained all the attention after being starred in a James Bond movie. This gained the Bay great number of tourists over the years who considered the island a good option for Thailand island hopping.
The distinctive cliff made of limestones, vertically jutting off the emerald water of the island makes for another highlight, absolutely worth visiting here. As James Bond island falls under the national park area, it can be viewed only through boat rides or by reaching a little beach on Koh Ping Ghan.
Things to Do: Island hopping, sunbathing, swimming.
Getting There: The island can be accessed via trips from Phuket or Phang Nga.
Raya Islands (Koh Racha)
The Racha or Raya islands, some 12 km south of Phuket, are best known as an excellent diving and snorkeling day trip destinations. Racha Yai, however, is quickly developing into a place to stay with a number of bungalow and resort operations springing up in recent years. Spend a day and fall in love with the hidden beauty of the island!
Things to Do: The water here is clear and perfect for snorkeling, even though the bay gets quite busy with visiting boats in the afternoons. The other large bay, Ao Siam, is a pretty place where the visitors can bask in the tropical forest.
Getting There: Long-tail and speedboat transfer is the easiest way to travel from Chalong Pier or Rawai of Phuket, and the trip takes about 45 minutes to more than an hour, depending on the boat speed.
Similan Islands, Phang Nga
Settled at a distance of just 84 kilometers from the town of Phuket, Similan islands have gained popularity across the globe - mainly for being one of the best dive areas in the world, making it among top places to visit in Thailand. The underwater beauty of the coral reef and crystal clear visibility attract tourists from all over the world and make this a must-visit amongst various other Thailand island hopping destinations. These are a total of 9 established islands that offer a lot of scope for explorations for tourists.
Things to Do: Scuba diving, snorkelling, sailing, swimming.
Getting There: Thap Lamu Pier in Thai Muang district of Phang Nga province is the nearest launching point to the islands. However, no regular boat services ply to the Similians. Thus it is advisable to check availability before planning a visit here.
Phang Nga Bay, Phuket
Phang Nga Bay can rightly be regarded as the hub of limestone islands. The two most famous ones of which are James Bond Island and Koh Panyee where the majority of tourists pay a visit.
Whilst Thailand island hopping, Phang Nga Bay can be on the list of visitors who would like the idea of relaxed time, cruising around the stunning limestone cliffs. Taking a boat ride from the northern end of Phuket is the best way to enjoy the most of this region.
Things to Do: Cruising, sunset watching, sailing, kayaking.
Getting There: Phang Nga Bay has a number of launching sites from where tourists can hire a long tail boat, charter or a speedboat to get around the islands.
Ko Yao Yai and Snorkeling Lagoons
Hidden in an inland sea south of Thailand, Ko Yao Yai is an idyllic spot for travelers who like maintaining a distance from crowded beaches and bustling tourists. Embraced by desolate rocky islands perching from the water – this stunning island has a fictional aura attached to it that makes Ko Yao Yai all the more enticing. The mysterious caves and hidden bays further enhance the interest.
Things to Do: Ko Yao Yai is best known for its snorkeling adventure. The crystal clear waters provide visitors with an amphitheater view of the stunning aquatic life. However, for this ravishing adventure, you will be required to set off in a long tail boat for Ko Hang – an island comprising of two stunning white beaches and a beautiful lagoon. Embark on this stunning snorkeling adventure in the deep turquoise waters of this island.
Getting There: Your journey to Ko Yao Yai begins from Phuket or Krabi, hop onto a ferry that will take you to this paradise. Enthrall in the beauty of the stunning limestone rock that emerges from the water during this one and half hour boat ride.
Enjoy strolling on this island and be sure to wake up early so you don't miss the exquisite sunrise that happens every single morning more beautiful than ever, it's indeed a fantastic way to start your day.
Things to Do: Snorkel right off the beach! You'll be sure to find all types of aquatic life that will take your breath away. Enjoy some great time with your loved ones while taking a walk together!
Getting There: You can get to Koh Lipe from Pak Barra Pier on Speedboats or ferries.
Krabi Island Hopping Tours
Nestled in the farthest of South Coast of Thailand’s Andaman, Trang island is where you may want to go for some peace and tranquillity. The easy accessibility and short island-hopping destinations within the group make these a favorite pick amongst tourists.
Unspoiled beaches, clear waters and pleasant climate make for a few more reasons to head to Trang Island. These islands remain accessible only during the months of October to April.
Things to Do: Swimming, sunbathing, relaxing, island hopping.
Getting There: Regular speed boats, charter, and long tails run to and from Trang Island. These run from Ko Ngai, Ko Muk, and Ko Kradan as well as from Ko Phi Phi and Phuket. Moreover, Trang also has an airport that has regular flights from Phuket and Bangkok.
Have a blast in this Island tour form Krabi. Enjoy the amazing ride from Ao Nang pier to Hong marine National park by the speedboat. (You will need to pay for the entry ticket at the national park). A guide will be assigned to you to help you witness the exotic marine life of Hong marine national park, which includes jellyfishes, various type of fishes and many other marine animals.
Complete the whole tour of the marine national park and then head to the bay of Koh Hong. Delicious lunch will be provided to you at the bay of Koh Hong. After the power packed lunch, get ready to click some beautiful pictures at the bay of Koh Hong. The water at the bay of Koh Hong is extremely clear and the sand is wonderfully white. Buy drinks, forget about all the worries and enjoy life with a scenic view on a white beach. The speedboat will be ready in the evening and will drop you at Ao Nang pier where the cab will be waiting to drop you at your hotel in Krabi.
There are two different packages for this tour.
Package 1 includes shared land transfer, speedboat on sharing basis and Lunch.
Package 2 includes shared land transfer, longtail on sharing basis and Lunch.
8:00- 09:00 AM: Transfers from your stay to Ao Nang Pier.
9:30 AM: Reach Hong Marine National Park Island by shared speedboat.
13:00 PM: Take buffet lunch and head to the bay of Koh Hong.
16:00 PM: Transfers back to Ao Nang Pier and then to the Hotel.
National park fees are to be paid at the onsite location.
Child ticket applicable for children of age 3-10
Koh Poda Island
Stretching for not a bit than 1 kilometer in diameter, the beautiful island remains fringed by turquoise blue waters and has a vast treasury of glistening white sands and amazing coral reefs that are simply mesmerizing.
Highlights: The island can easily be visited on a day tour from Ao Nang or the Railay Beaches. One can have a wide range of beach activities here but popular sports here are swimming and snorkeling.
Distance from Krabi: 16.7 km.
Chicken Island is also known as Koh Kai, Koh Gai or Koh Hua Khwan derive this hilarious name from its unusual shape that resembles the head and neck of a chicken. Crowned in the south of Poda and Tup Islands, this timeless beauty is just 30 minutes away from the coast of Krabi.
One impressive feature about this island is that during low tides, a sandbar emerges from the water which connects Chicken Island to neighbouring tiny islands of KohMor and Tup. This stunning event is called as TalayWaek.
Things to Do: Snorkeling is one activity that you just cannot miss while here as the water is crystal clear and azure, thus, bringing the entire aquatic life into existence. This island is known for enticing people for its incredible sandbank that emerges during the low tide.
Getting There: Your journey to this stunning island begins from Ao Nang- board a longtail boat till Koh Kai. You can even board these boats from Klong Muang, Nopparat Thara, and the Railay Beaches.
Situated off the coast of Krabi, Ko Lanta is considered to be as one of the most stunning islands of Thailand, which tempts most visitors to include it on Thailand island hopping list. The island has a long stretched coastline with several beaches, all of which have different views and charm of their own.
Here, October to April runs the busiest; with maximum tourists flocking in the month of December until March. May to October - the green season is also not a bad time to visit.
Things to Do: Beach exploring, snorkeling, scuba diving, sunbathing, swimming.
Getting There: The island is accessible from all major cities and towns of Thailand via speedboat, ferry or a minivan. Krabi airport is the nearest airport.
One of the most famous offshore islands around Krabi, this stunning island is also known as Tup Island, Koh Tap or KohThap. The mesmerizing vibes of the parting of the sea are something that makes this place all the way more popular among tourists from all over the world.
Comparatively smaller as compared to rest of the islands, however, the beautiful beach and the raging waves make this place worth visiting.
Things to Do: A sandbar emerges during low tides connecting the Chicken Island to Koh Mur and Tup on left and right respectively. It is an incredible feeling to walk over this and bar as the water is shallow and provides a picturesque moment. Tup Island does not support the availability of any water sports, thus, this place is highly recommended to people who are looking for some calm moments.
Getting There: This tiny island can be accessed via longtail boats from Ao Nang. You can also board the boat from Klong Muang, Nopparatthara, Railay and Cho Fah pier in Krabi town.
Koh Ngai, also popularly known as Koh Hai is an island off the coast of Trang. It is a part of Krabi province but is a lot more accessible from Trang and other islands like Koh Mook or Koh Kradan.
The island has a few resorts with absolutely no roads and shops, which make it slightly isolated but a great choice for tourists wanting to cut off from the outside world.
Things to Do: Relaxing, cruising, sunset watching.
Getting There: The most convenient way of reaching Koh Ngai is to first fly to Tran, thereafter take a minibus to Pak Meng Pier. From Pak Meng Pier, boats leave for Koh Ngai daily which take about an hour or two for the crossing.
Ko Hai Island
Ko Hai Island - a paradise filled with lush greenery, turquoise water, and white powdery sand beaches. Get on a sunbed and soak some tan, enjoy relaxing time and go snorkelling in the clear blue waters exploring the corals of this little gem.
Visiting here is highly recommended for honeymooners and other couples wanting to spend some quality time. Regardless, for other types of travellers, having this one on island hopping in Thailand list is also a great idea!
Things to Do: Snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing
Getting There: The most convenient way to reach this island is to fly from Bangkok to Trang, take a cab to the pier and then a charter further ahead.
Koh Samui Island Hopping Tours
Daydreaming on Ko Samui
Ko Samui is one of the favourite destinations among travelers from all over the globe looking for some fun-filled time and high life. The gorgeous trail of the white sandy beaches adorning the azure waves, soothing sunshine combined with the warm Thai hospitality are some added perks that make this place all the more favorable.
This delightful island has much more to offer than just crystal clear waters and sandy beaches; while here you can choose from an array of restaurant and bar that will cater your taste buds and will keep you longing for more.
Things to Do: While in Ko Samui, you just cannot miss traditional junk cruise – this enthralling cruise is conducted over a traditional style wooden ‘junk boat’ which will take you to a mesmerizing journey to the neighbouring island Koh Phangan. Explore the beautiful – vividly coloured underwater, admire the stunning beauty of this coral island and finally get ready to capture beautiful shots of various tropical fishes that are easily visible under the transparent water.
Getting there: The easiest way to reach Ko Samui is via an overnight train journey from Bangkok to Suratthani. From here, you head straight to Ko Samui via ferry. This delightful 2-hour boat ride will take you to Ko Samui, on way get ready to pass through the beautiful islands of Ko Tao and Koh Phangan.
Renowned for monthly full moon party, Koh Phangan is crowned in the southeast of Thailand. Loaded with beautiful beaches, enjoy the beach life, fire-dancing shows, beautiful sunsets and fabulous water for swimming, and these are some things that make this beach unique in the list.
Another notable factor is, more than half of the island is designated as a National Park and people can come here to explore the tropical rain forest filled with diversified flora and fauna.
Things to Do: For a party freak, this place is heaven, the well-acclaimed full moon parties are held on the other end of the island at Had Rin Beach. However, in order to attend the party, it is mandatory to coincide your travel dates with a full moon. Peace lovers, on the other hand, can either relax on the sandy beaches or embark on a snorkeling spree for some thrilling time.
Getting There: Get a ferry or speed boat ride from Koh Samui and reach Koh Phangan within a span of 1 hour.
Ko Tao or Turtle Island has gained its latter name owing to its resemblance to a turtle nose-diving towards neighboring island of Koh Phangan. This easily accessible island is much more laid back and is known for providing a completely soothing experience to all its guests as compared to neighboring islands.
The powdery white sand touching the azure waters of the beach and the beautiful lining of the coconut trees are certain ingredients that make this place a perfect vacation destination.
Things to Do: Apart from all the pristine beauty, there are two specific elements that make this island all the more popular – coral reefs and colourful fish. While here, get ready to explore these stunning beauties by embarking on a thrilling snorkeling trip. At some specific intervals, it is even possible to feed the fish – get ready to dazzle yourself while feeding these diversify school of fishes.
Getting There: Ko Tao Island is easily accessible via ferry from both KoSamui and Koh Phangan. You can even opt for an overnight bus journey from Bangkok to Chumphon which will then be connected via boat ride to Ko Tao
Ko Chang Waterfall Island
As the name suggests, Ko Chang waterfall is an island popular for being home to a number of waterfalls. The island is one of the most famous ones and is on majority go-to lists of island hopping in Thailand of tourists.
The island is easily accessible, has a large pool for swimming and has water-filled all year round. The best time to be here, however, is in October to mid-December.
Things to Do: Waterfall exploring, swimming.
Getting There: One can choose to fly to Trat from Bangkok or take a bus from Ekkamai Bus Station till one of the mainland piers of the islands. Thereafter, board a boast that regularly plies to the islands.
A small town in the Surin Province, this is one quieter place located towards the east of Bangkok. Surin’s only claim to fame is its annual Elephant roundup ceremony. This land of big elephants explodes into a dynamic city after November, as during this period the city hosts giant crowds of pachyderms.
Things to do: Surin is untouched by the modernization and still showcases the traditional and agricultural Thailand. While here, visit Surin National Museum and Silk village and know more about the history, tradition, and agriculture of this quiet land.
Getting There: Surin can be comfortably accessed via public transport. Buses depart from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal to Surin every day.