Tag Archives: thailand islands

Ao Nang Guide : Krabi Thailand

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Ao Nang Guide : Thailand Island Reviews

Ao Nang is the best location to stay in Krabi. Krabi is the name of the province. Within Krabi province there is also Krabi town which doesn’t have a beach. Ao Nang makes an excellent base for travelling Krabi province and nearby Thailand beaches like Railay beach. Ao Nang is the best location to stay in Krabi also as a jumping off point to go to many beautiful island destinations in Thailand such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Hong.

 

Go Thailand Island Hopping to Koh Hong from Ao Nang

Ao Nang Monkey Trail

For a good chance to see monkeys then consider a short hike along Monkey Trail Ao Nang. It is a 15 minute walk between Ao Nang beach to the Centara Grand beach, with sea views and monkeys. It is possible (and likely!) to see a family of macaques as well as dusky langurs hanging out on this monkey trail in Ao Nang. 

Ao Nang Snorkelling

Ao Nang day trips can be arranged for snorkelling and island hopping routes around Krabi.

4 Island Tour Ao Nang

 One of the more famous Ao Nang day trips is the 4 island tour which involves visiting different Krabi beaches, stops for snorkelling and lunch on an uninhabited island. Ao Nang Tip: check if your day trip includes National Park fees as these can often be the same price as the trip itself. Thailand National Park fees are set by the government and are not negotiable. 

Beautiful beaches of Krabi

Koh Hong Island Trip: Ao Nang Beaches

Koh Hong is a stunning, uninhabited island with white sand and clear, turquoise water and a stunning viewpoint of Phang na Bay. It has one of the best beaches in Thailand in the white sand beach category. Note: It gets busy with daytrippers in peak season and on weekends so try to avoid these to get this quiet Thailand beach to yourself! National Park fee is 300 baht to enter, but it is worth the money.  

Ao Nang Guide: Head to Koh Hong on a Thailand island hopping trip!

 Ao Nang Beaches

Ao Nang has two long stretches of beach which you can walk to from most Ao Nang hotels. The beaches have yellow sand and the beautiful backdrop of the limestone karsts behind them. They are not, however, as beautiful as the white sand beaches on neighbouring islands so many visitors arrange an island hopping day trip to visit these stunning Krabi beaches. 

Ao Nang to Railay Beach

Visiting Railay is one of the best things to do from Ao Nang. Railay beach is one of the best beaches in Thailand, with three beaches to choose from, wild monkeys, a cave shrine and a very impressive bat cave. To get from Ao Nang to Railay beach it is incredible easy. You can take a long tail boat, it will cost 100 baht one way or 200 baht return and you can take from the ticket office just at the bottom of the main road in Ao Nang infront of Vacation Village near the beach. Book a return ticket or you may have to wait on Railay for others to join you to return to Ao Nang as there are multiple long tail boat operators. At the time of writing, boats leave from Nopparat beach so you will be taken in a songtaew (truck) for 5 minutes down the road as part of the ticket price. 

Railay beach, one of the top beaches in Thailand

Ao Nang Hike

Ao Nang is a great base to stay at so you can experience Ao Nang hiking in nearby beautiful national parks in Krabi. There are many options including the emerald lagoon, hot spring waterfall and some fantastic viewpoints. There’s always a chance of seeing monkeys. You can organise with roadside tour operator. The tours are well organised Krabi day trips often including water and snacks/lunch. Alternatively rent scooters and travel there yourself. The emerald lagoon is about a 1 hour drive outside of Ao Nang.

Ao Nang Diving

If you are a diver then one of the great thing to do in Ao Nang is scuba diving nearby dive sites. If you are a beginner then consider getting PADI qualified and doing your Open Water course in Thailand. There are many Ao Nang dive centres. Many will offer long day trips to Koh Phi Phi for diving in the marine national park there, as well as shorter day trips to Ao Nang local islands. While the coral is not as impressive as other areas of Thailand it is still possible to see reef sharks, turtles and seahorses. 

Ao Nang Guide : Best Places to Stay in Ao Nang

There are so so many Ao Nang hotels that it can be hard to decide between them. Make sure you are staying near enough to Ao Nang beach so that everywhere is walkable and book a hotel with a rooftop swimming pool. The best place to stay in Ao Nang for mid-range accommodation is BlueSotel SMART (Agoda) or (BlueSotel SMART Booking.com) which is two minutes’ walk to the beach, has a stunning rooftop infinity pool and beautiful, clean, spacious rooms. It is also a great place to watch sunset from while having a cocktail at the rooftop pool bar. 

The best place to stay in Ao Nang for more budget friendly Krabi accommodation is Sea Seeker Hotel (Agoda) Or Sea Seeker Reviews on Booking.com. The rooms are clean, modern and all have a balcony with mountain views. The swimming pool has a bar and a slide. It is located 5 minutes walk from Ao Nang beach. Compare Ao Nang hotel prices with Agoda or with Booking website.

 

 

Ao Nang Guide to Restaurants : Where to Eat

There are various street food markets, stalls and many many restaurants in Ao Nang. It is a great place for Indian food as well as Thai cuisine. One of the best places to eat in Ao Nang is Thailandia on the main strip down to Ao Nang beach. It does the best massamam curry I’ve ever had with the added bonus of roti as well as rice. 

Getting from Ao Nang to Koh Phi Phi

Travelling to Koh Phi Phi from Ao Nang is also incredibly easy. There are many roadside tour operators who will organise a hotel pick up and ferry ticket for you. The ferry (a slower boat) is approximately 2 hours and speedboat is 1 hour journey to Koh Phi Phi. Prices vary but expect to pay around 400 baht for the slow Ao Nang to Koh Phi Phi ferry and more than double that for the Koh Phi Phi speedboat.

Krabi Airport to Ao Nang: Airport Transfer Krabi to Ao Nang

Getting from Krabi airport to Ao Nang is incredibly easy. On arrival at Krabi airport there will be a transport operator asking where you are heading. You can then share a minivan with other people arriving for 150 baht per person. It will leave once full or you have waited for other flights. The minivan will drop you at your hotel. You can arrange with the same company to collect you if or when you need to return from Ao Nang to Krabi airport. The airport is approximately 30 minutes from Ao Nang. This, of course, depends on traffic and if your minivan is stopping to drop off other visitors. 

Viewpoints of Phang na Bay from Koh Hong – Ao Nang Guide to Thailand Island Hopping

3 days in Ao Nang

3 days in Ao Nang is the perfect holiday time to go to Railay beach, go Thailand island hopping and visit Krabi national park. If you just have two days in Ao Nang then I recommend choosing either Railay, the island hopping tour or some hiking in the national park. It is possible to go here for a weekend getaway from Bangkok as it is close to Krabi airport and easy to access. 

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If you enjoyed this Ao Nang Guide then find more Thailand island guides here, click here to see what other Thailand islands you should visit

Koh Kood Island Thailand

My always honest Thailand island reviews. I wrote this Koh Kood review after visiting the island in February 2022 as I know this is important information to be aware of if you are visiting Thailand in the pandemic.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a booking I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Is Koh Kood worth visiting?

Absolutely. Koh Kood is worth visiting because it has some of the best beaches in Thailand and is a lovely, quiet island, not too far from Bangkok. You can pair visiting Koh Kood with Koh Chang or Koh Mak.

Koh Kood or Koh Kut? You will see various different spellings of English words in Thai as there is no standardised way of spelling words. Therefore you will sometime see the word for island as ‘ko’ or ‘koh’.

Where is Koh Kood?

Koh Kood is an island towards Cambodia, found near Koh Chang and Koh Mak.

How to get to Koh Kood from Bangkok?

Boonsiri offer a package deal from Khao San or Latkrabang (near Suvarnabhumi airport) which includes a bus ticket to the pier Laem Ngop, ferry ticket from the pier to Koh Kood and it also includes the transfer to your hotel. The cost of getting to Koh Kood was 1000 baht per person. To find a cheaper ticket you can book a government bus, then pay transfer to the pier and then approx. 400-600 baht for the ferry or speedboat. From Koh Kood back to Bangkok you can also do the same deal with Boonsiri. The bus journey from Bangkok is approximately 5 hours. Buses do a stop in the middle and have a toilet onboard. They also provide food/snacks and water.

There is also an airport at Trat which is the nearest airport to Koh Kood. However, I personally feel by the time you have flown it is the same time it takes to get on a bus and it’s better for the environment!

Koh Mak vs Koh Kood

I visited both these islands during a one week trip from Bangkok and recommend doing the same. Koh Mak is smaller and has more of a chilled, island vibe. Koh Kood is bigger, has more resorts and stunning beaches.

Is Koh Kood open?

Yes, as of 2022, Koh Kood in Thailand is open and ferries are running. Restaurants and bars are open but at the time of writing still closing early at 11pm. I visited Koh Kood in February 2022.

Where to stay in Koh Kood: Accommodation Koh kood

Koh Kood has resorts and hotels but few budget hostels. I stayed at mid-range accommodation and one of the best Koh Kood hotels at Pink Kangaroo Bungalows (Agoda Reviews) or Pink Kangaroo Reviews on Booking.com run by Dick and Wan and would definitely recommend staying there. I paid approximately 450 baht a night and this was a covid price in February 2022. They have clean, well equipped Koh Kood bungalows surrounded by a lot of nature. There was a mango tree just outside by terrace. I stayed at the one bedroom chalet and would definitely recommend as it had a kitchenette, fridge and outdoor seating area. Wan cooks a great breakfast (coconut pancakes anyone?) and Dick arranged a scooter for me and even gave me a mini lesson because he knew I was nervous.

My friends stayed at one of Koh Kood’s resorts Sunshine on the Rocks, which is a great Koh Kood beach resort as it has a stunning beach, Ao Phrao beach, just in front of it. This resort is also called Sunshine Koh Kood. I snorkelled there and spotted an octopus! I recommend getting a motorbike as the area is a little far from the more ‘central’ beaches and restaurants.

For luxury resorts on Koh Kood, consider Soneva Kiri Book with Agoda or Soneva Kiri on Booking.com in the North which is Koh Kood’s most expensive resort and probably the best resort in Koh Kood at a luxury pricetag. Just check it out for some luxury travel inspiration if you are more into budget to mid-range accommodation like me.

Koh Kood Resort booking: I always use Agoda to book accommodation or I go directly with the hotel. I often compare with the hotel prices on Booking.com but find that Agoda is very often cheaper.

Where to eat: Koh Kood restaurants and bars

A lot of Koh Kood restaurants are on the road near Bangbao beach, also a few restaurants are near Peter Pan resort Koh Kood. I recommend eating at Black Banana which does yummy Thai food, beers and smoothies. I also had delicious Italian food at Heaven Sense and recommend their pizza and pasta. I also recommend Pizza and Pasta further in the North across the bridge. Both places are run by Italians. Ngamkho Restaurant did a really good fried rice and I stopped there on my surface interval when scuba diving nearby. Kood Vibes Bakery also does yummy bread and sandwiches. Viewpoint Café I would recommend for a drink with an ocean view and the waves just under your dangling feet. Please note at the time of writing (February 2022) many of the restaurants and bars near Viewpoint Café were closed.

Koh Kood restaurants on the beach

What to do in Koh Kood: Best beaches in Koh Kood

Does Koh Kood have the best beaches in Thailand? Yes, potentially. I went in February so dry season and the sand is white, the water pretty clear and calm.

Ao Phrao Beach Koh Kood – long stretch of beach, where the jungle meets the sand. Lovely and calm when I was there and had a snorkel. Bad visibility but I still spotted an octopus!

Bang Bao Beach Koh Kood – Definitely recommend this beach, a few restaurants and bars to eat and drink on it which is perfect. It’s still very green with white sand and clear water.

Million Beach Koh Kood – Million beach is a smaller beach with two resorts on it. At the time I went it was extremely quiet. It has a little pier and a small rock island nearby which has some decent snorkelling and you can dive a bit deeper. We had the best sunset view here.

Beach in front of Peter Pan resort near the river – lovely long stretch of beach and mangroves nearby, busy in the evening with people taking sunset photos

What to do in Koh Kood Thailand?

Visit some of the best beaches in Thailand, experience a quiet island, snorkel some nice reefs, go scuba diving, visit the waterfalls (I did not do this as it was dry season and they will always be better in rainy season!)

Scuba Diving in Koh Kood

I did two scuba dives with Koh Kood divers and really enjoyed the scuba diving experience. The reef was much healthier than I imagined (as someone who has seen a lot of dead and damaged coral reefs in Thailand). I saw a decent diversity of marine life and spotted the usual tropical fish, nudibranchs and was lucky enough to have a private dive instructor, Jessie! I strongly recommend diving with Koh Kood Divers as they really tailored the dives to me as an experienced diver.

Koh Kood Weather

Writing this in the year 2022, the weather in Koh Kood and also the weather in Thailand is being more unpredictable than usual. Usually we have a dry season from October – April and rainy season from May-September. However, it has still been raining in dry season in Bangkok lately and the same for some of the islands!

For a complete island guide, check out my quick summaries for each Thai island here

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Best Islands Thailand : Thailand Island Hopping & Thailand Island Travel Guide

Please note: this Thailand island hopping blog has been updated since the global pandemic.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. If you make a booking, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

So how many islands does Thailand have? Nobody seems to know for sure but it’s safe to say that Thailand has hundreds of islands you can stay on and visit, and even more uninhabited desert Thailand islands to explore.  If you’re planning a Thailand vacation then it is likely you will be also planning a Thailand island trip.

With so many island destinations, it can be difficult to choose which island to visit in Thailand. Visitors should consider the following questions when planning a Thailand itinerary to make the best decision for how to pick a Thai island:

  • How to pick the best Thai island for partying?
  • Where are quiet Thailand beaches?
  • How to choose Thai islands for island hopping?
  • Where is the best snorkeling in Thailand?
  • Where is the best island in Thailand?
  • Where can I learn to scuba dive in Thailand?
  • Where is the best diving in Thailand?

Once you have decided on a Thai island there are many island hopping tours that you can book as a day trip from every island. Alternatively, spend a few days on each island and create your own Thailand island hopping itinerary. Please note some ferry schedules may be reduced as a result of the covid pandemic.

Here is a summary of all the ones I’ve been to so far and some brief information to help you decide how to choose a Thai sland to check out first including must-do activities and how to get to each Thai island. Read more about how to travel around Thailand on this post.

Thailand Island Hopping : Your Thailand Island Trip

For planning your Thailand island trip, consider where the islands in Thailand are. There are three main groups: The Gulf of Thailand, the Andaman and the Eastern islands.

For Andaman island hopping, consider islands like Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta and Krabi, Ao Nang and Railay for the best islands in Thailand.

For the Gulf of Thailand, you may be planning an island hopping Thailand itinerary that includes Koh Tao, Koh Phangan or Koh Samui. Island hopping from Samui is popular as it is one of the few islands that has an airport.

For a Thailand island itinerary in the Eastern area near Cambodia, you could consider islands like Koh Chang, Koh Mak and Koh Kood also spelt as Koh Kut.

As many visitors will also be planning a Thailand beach itinerary I have included beach areas on the mainland such as Krabi (Ao nang and Railay beach).

Best Islands in Thailand to Visit – The Gulf of Thailand

How to choose a Thai island – Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao Thailand Islands
Learning to dive on Koh Tao

A backpacker island in the Gulf of Thailand. It has beautiful beaches and an obvious party scene but mostly it is known for cheap diving courses, and is often advertised as one of the cheapest places in the world to learn to scuba dive. I took my PADI Open Water Qualification here and many others choose to get scuba qualified in Thailand as it’s so cheap. Your Open Water diving certificate can start from around 9000 baht. Try and get your accommodation thrown in too. If you turn up at the pier, you can often negotiate prices with the dive shops.

Unfortunately Koh Tao is not without its problems and I suggest being careful here, not to get too drunk and never to cause problems with locals, such as getting into fights etc.

Best Thailand island for: learning to dive. Once you learn to dive, head to some of these places for the best dive sites in Thailand

Things to do on Koh Tao: get PADI certified for your Open Water dive course or advanced. Check out beautiful viewpoints and quiet beaches.

Cheapest way to get to Koh Tao: Sleeper train/night bus to Chumpon and then ferry. You can book tickets here

Fastest way to get to Koh Tao: Fly to Chumpon/Surat thani, bus to pier and take the ferry. Lomprayah have the fastest service. Alternative is to fly to Koh Samui and take a ferry from there.

Book your transport here with this useful website. The more you book the cheaper the tickets become…

How to pick Thai islands – Koh Phangan 

bottle beach 2
Bottle Beach on Koh Phangan

Home to the infamous Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan is one of the best party islands in Thailand. Even if you are visiting Koh Phangan island not during a full moon party, then there are other party events happening. If you’re interested in party islands and attending the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, then read my Full Moon Party blog post – I should know, I’ve been to 5 full moon parties in Koh Phangan.

Koh Phangan is not just a Thailand party island, it’s actually one of my favourite islands in Thailand. The North of Koh Phangan is tranquil, green and has some of the best quiet beaches in Thailand including Bottle Beach in Koh Phangan.

Scuba diving in Koh Phangan can be great although visibility is unpredictable. Sail Rock Koh Tao is one of Koh Phangan’s famous dive sites (actually found between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan) and whale sharks can be spotted here  fairly regularly so I hope you’re feeling lucky (I haven’t been lucky…yet!). I love staying in the best accommodation in these cute Koh Phangan bungalows, right on a lovely stretch of beach. Check out Seaboard Bungalow’s reasonable rates here. The restaurant here did great food and there were more food options further down the beach too.

A budget Koh Phangan accommodation was these basic bungalows that also had a pool but not as a nice a beach was Lucky Resort. Compare their room rates here. The restaurant had great views of the ocean for sunsets too.

Best Thailand island for partying: Dancing until sunrise. Even if you miss Full Moon there are Half Moon Parties, Jungle Parties, Waterfall parties…Read my post here for more Full Moon Party advice

Best things to do on Koh Phangan: Party and the chill out on Bottle Beach (one of my favourites), party or go scuba diving.

Read more about Thailand’s quiet beaches here

Cheapest way to get to Koh Phangan Sleeper train/night bus to Chumpon and then ferry

Fastest way to get to Koh Phangan: Fly to Chumpon /Surat thani/Koh Samui and take the ferry. Lomprayah have the fastest service.

How to Choose Thai islands: Koh Samui

Koh Samui Thailand Islands
Koh Samui during an island day tour I took to see temples, beaches, monkeys and waterfalls

Boasting one of coolest airports I’ve ever been to, Samui caters to holiday makers on a large scale. It is the only island in the Gulf of Thailand to have an airport.

In all honesty, Koh Samui is probably my least favourite island as a result of this, it can get very crowded over peak season (December – when I went!) and I don’t think it is as idyllic looking as Koh Tao or Koh Phangan.  That said, if you are on limited time it is one of only two island that you can fly direct from Bangkok to Koh Samui (the other being Phuket).

I stayed in the luxury Koh Samui accommodation at Lamai Wanta Beach Resort (courtesy of my generous aunt who took my sister and I there).

For a budget Koh Samui accommodation,  stay in these Koh Samui bungalows: New Hut Bungalows and recommended them to me. They look like a great photo opportunity too!

Why are flight so expensive from Bangkok to Koh Samui?

The airport in Koh Samui is owned by Bangkok Airways so the flights will always be expensive compared to Thailand’s budget airlines. However, the airport looks like the garden of a 5 star hotel and is worth seeing. Occasionally cheap flights with Thai Smile can be found.

Best Thailand Island for families: luxury resorts, families and couples

Best things to do on Koh Samui: an all round island tour including temples and waterfall visits

Cheapest way to get to Koh Samui: Sleeper train/night bus to Surat thani, bus to pier and then ferry. You can buy all inclusive tickets from this website

Fastest way to get to Koh Samui: Fly direct from Bangkok

Koh Phangan vs Koh Tao

I would personally go for Koh Phangan because of the nature, the option to party or stay in a quiet Koh Phangan beach and it’s a bigger island so more to explore.

Best Andaman Sea Islands Thailand – Andaman Island Hopping Itinerary

There are many Thailand island hopping routes in this area and if flying from Bangkok you have the option of flying domestic to Phuket or to Krabi.

How to choose a Thai island – Phuket

 Phuket is one of Thailand’s largest islands and is attached to the mainland by bridge. It has an international airport which can lead to extremely busy beaches and very high prices for taxis, which is why it has a bit of a bad reputation among those of us who live in Thailand. However, I don’t feel this is totally deserved and as it is such a huge island there are many less popular places to explore. The busiest area seems to be Patong beach which I avoid unless I am looking for a party island in Thailand. I’ve mainly spent time in the South at Kata and Karon beaches for surfing during rainy season (June-October). I loved staying at this budget hostel,  accommodation in Kata and Karon beach. It was about 4 minute walk to the surfing beach, was good value and they had really nice facilities.

Island hopping from Phuket is very easy as it is well set up for tourists and has many ferry connections even post covid.

Last time I visited Kata Phuket I stayed at this lovely accommodation right between Kata and Karon beach. I would definitely recommend and I would stay there again. It had a gorgeous rooftop pool and was really conveniently located. Click on the image to check the cost of Phuket accommodation here:

Best Things to do in Phuket:  some of the best surfing in Thailand is in Phuket (and top surfing spots on Khao Lak as well).  If you are looking for beginner waves in Thailand, then you can hire a surf instructor and you get the board included for the rest of the day (the best season in Thailand for surfing is during rainy season from July-September)

The cheapest way to get to Phuket from Bangkok:  Take a night bus to Phuket Town, then songtaew (local trucks) to the beach of your choice. You may need to take two, one from the bus station and then another from Phuket town to the beach. Approx cost of transport in Phuket: songtaew 20 baht.

Fastest way to get to Phuket from Bangkok: Fly to Phuket from Bangkok or international airports and take the local bus further south.

Best Andaman Sea Islands Thailand – Koh Yao Noi

koh yao noi thailand islands
Stunning Views of Phangna Bay from Koh Nok, a small island I kayaked to from Koh Yao Noi

This island has really chilled out vibes and zero party scene. Koh Yao Noi is one of the quietest islands in Thailand. It felt like off the beaten track Thailand but still has hotels and restaurants around.

The beaches are fairly thin strips of sand so there’s not all that much room for sunbathing. Swimming with the backdrop of Phangna Bay behind you felt pretty awesome though. I rented bicycles and cycled around the island – which has a couple of hills so be prepared! (or get off and walk like someone may have done…). This is a great place to rent kayaks from as well and I discovered the small empty island of Koh Nok which this amazing viewpoint. I loved the Koh Yao Noi accommodation that I stayed at,  Sabai Corner Bungalows, it had tall wooden bungalows set back into the mountain with great views of the bay. It was also very affordable and the owners were helpful with renting kayaks and bicycles. It also had lots of cats!

For a luxury stay on Koh Yao Noi – stay at Six Senses. We went there for some cocktails and it’s a gorgeous luxury Thailand resort.

Best Thailand Island for a hidden gem in Thailand : non-touristy islands in Thailand

Best things to do in Koh Yao Noi:  Kayak around Phangna Bay, stop on unihabited paradise islands and find secret viewpoints in Thailand

Cheapest way to get to Koh Yao Noi from Bangkok: Night bus to Krabi, bus from bus station to pier and then long tail boat. Book tickets on this useful website

Fastest way to get to Koh Yao Noi from Bangkok: Fly to Krabi, bus from airport to pier, speedboat to island.

Best Andaman Sea Islands Thailand – Koh Phi Phi

Scuba diving in Koh Phi Phi with the famous Maya Bay beach behind me

Koh Phi Phi is the type of island that the first time I went there, I hated it. Lots of young backpackers falling drunk out of bars and overpacked long tail boats pouring into Maya Bay to see the beach from Dicaprio’s ‘The Beach’ movie. Even post covid pandemic, this is one of the best partying islands in Thailand.

That said, I really enjoyed my last visit to Koh Phi Phi in 2022 because I spent most of my time on a boat scuba diving some of the best dive spots in Thailand.

Now I’ve returned there a 2nd, 3rd and 4th time, I have to admit that Phi Phi is growing on me. I’ve accepted it for what it is : a party island and a great place to meet backpackers. Try taking a snorkelling trip to a few of the less crowded islands and definitely watch some of the fire shows. I personally feel they are the best fire shows in Thailand.

The diving around the marine park is generally of a very good standard for Thailand. I was lucky enough to see a turtle, black tip reef shark and a leopard shark all in one day. I also love that you can walk everywhere and it’s a Thailand island with no cars, definitely a bonus if you’re living in Bangkok and sick of traffic jams.

Best Thailand island for partying and best Thailand islands for scuba diving: parties and beautiful beaches combined with a beautiful marine national park for scuba diving

Top things to do in Koh Phi Phi:  An island hopping trip to nearby islands, the famous Maya Bay from ‘The Beach’, scuba diving around Koh Phi Phi Ley and the wreck dive

Cheapest way to get to Koh Phi Phi from Bangkok: Night bus to Krabi, bus from bus station to pier and then ferry. Book all your tickets together here

Fastest way to get to Koh Phi Phi from Bangkok: Fly to Krabi, bus from airport to pier, ferry to island

Scuba Diving Tips Thailand: Dive with Blue View Divers. I had a great time with them, they’ve got a big dive boat and I loved diving with Jaa, a female Thai divemaster.

Best Andaman Sea Islands – Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta Thailand Islands
Lunchtime with a view!

Serene and stunning, this is one of the quietest islands in Thailand and probably the best beach in Thailand. Kantiang beach in the South is huge, wide and empty when I was there in April. There isn’t much of a party scene and not so many backpackers here. The snorkelling and island hopping trip was definitely a highlight for me as it took you to Koh Kradan, a stunning white beach uninhabited island. I went with my parents and we stayed at Alama Sea Village Resort which was incredible. It has a great view (so a short walk uphill), an infinity pool and monkeys who come and visit your balcony. Click the Agoda link to see how much Koh Lanta accommodation costs:

Best Quiet Island in Thailand: best island for relaxing, couples, families

Best Things to do in Koh Lanta:  The 4 Island Hopping Trip, hanging out on the best beach in Thailand , Kantiang Beach

Cheapest way to get to Koh Lanta from Bangkok: Night bus to Krabi, bus from bus station to pier and then ferry. Tickets can be booked via this website, including ferries

Fastest way to get to Koh Lanta from Bangkok: Fly to Krabi, bus from airport to pier, ferry to island

Best Andaman Sea Islands Thailand – Koh Lipe

koh lipe
Mango smoothies and banana pancakes breakfast on the beach! Yes please!

Koh Lipe is paradise and is home to white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, beautiful coral reefs and less tourists than many others.  It also had some of the best sunsets I’ve seen in Thailand, the coral reefs are extremely colourful for snorkelling and it is the best diving in Thailand. It’s close to Malaysia so can fill up if there are Thai and Malaysian coinciding holidays. I suggest you book in advance if this could be the case.

Koh Lipe is the best Thailand island for white sand, blue water, snorkelling and scuba diving. Check out my full Koh Lipe Guide here including the best Koh Lipe hotels and the best snorkeling in Thailand

Best Thailand Island for scuba diving: Koh Lipe dive sites are the best dive sites in Thailand.

Best Things to do on Koh Lipe:  Walk around the corner from the main beach to Sunset beach for some of the most impressive sunsets in Thailand

Cheapest way to get to Koh Lipe from Bangkok: Night bus to Hat Yai, minivan to pier, 2 hour speedboat

Fastest way to get to Koh Lipe from Bangkok: Fly to Hat Yai, minivan to pier, 2 hour speedboat

This island can take a long time to get to. I think it’s definitely worth it but don’t try if you’re on limited time.

showing you the prettiness of Koh Lipe beaches
White sand and clear water on Koh Lipe

Best Andaman Sea Islands Thailand – Koh Jum

IMG_2868

A complete hidden gem in Thailand, Koh Jum is a lesser known island to both tourists and Thais, this is a rocky, wild island which still feels fairly untouched. However, this is not always a good thing as it was extremely expensive to get to from Koh Phi Phi and once on the island it was difficult to get around.  My sister and I stayed at the gorgeous Onlee bungalows with amazing food as the couple who run it are Thai-French.  The stargazing was also incredible and so clear as there is not much light pollution nearby. I recommend settling into a resort as there are limited ways to visit other restaurants and if you want to hire a ‘taxi’ it won’t be at a cheap price.

Best Thailand Island: that people have never heard of

Best things to do on Koh Jum: Star gazing, eating, relaxing at a beautiful resort

Cheapest way to get to Koh Jum from Bangkok: Night bus to Krabi, bus from bus station to pier and then ferry

Fastest way to get to Koh Jum from Bangkok: Fly to Krabi, bus from airport to pier, ferry to island

Best Thailand beaches in the Andaman – Railay

White sand beaches in Railay

I’m including Railay in this island section as it is only accessible by boat and therefore many people think Railay is a Thailand island.  Lots of snorkelling day trips stop off here so it can get crowded during peak season (Nov-Dec) but you can jump on boats from Krabi to get here at any point during the day. Limited options at night where the boats can charge a much higher price.  Watch dusky langur monkeys climb in nearby trees, hike to the top for a sweaty but great view and visit the Buddhist shrine to the penis. This is one of the best beaches in Thailand for outdoor adventures like rock-climbing and hikes to viewpoints.

Best things to do on Railay: slip and slide your way up the viewpoint for a pretty view of both beaches, go into the huge bat cave and experience rock climbing and abseiling

Thailand Island Hopping Tip: Many boats arrive on the not so nice beach area so walk through the jungle pathway to reach the prettier beach

Cheapest way to get to Railay from Bangkok: Night bus to Krabi, bus from bus station to Ao Nang and then longtail boat. Book your bus tickets here now. 

Fastest way to get to Railay from Bangkok: Fly to Krabi, bus from Krabi airport to Ao Nang, then a long tail boat for 10 minutes from Aonang to Railay.

Best Andaman Sea Destinations: Ao Nang

Aonang Krabi is also not an island but it’s the easiest beach destination to get to in Krabi. Ao Nang has two long, wide stretches of yellow sand beaches where a lot of long tail boats depart from, making for some pretty photos. It has a lot of choices of accommodation and restaurants and is a good jump off point to go island hopping to the nearby beach of Railay, and National Park island hopping to nearby uninhabited islands like Koh Poda, Koh Hong and many more.

Read my full Ao Nang guide here including best restaurants, where to stay in Ao nang and the best island hopping tours.

Best Beach Destination for a weekend getaway from Bangkok: for having as a base to explore Railay, the national parks and to scuba dive the local Aonang islands

Best things to do in Ao Nang: sign up for some rock climbing nearby at Railay, go into the impressive bat cave, explore national parks and the emerald lagoon, go scuba diving

Thailand Island Hopping Tip: Wait for the boat to fill up and take a 20 minute long tail boat to Railay when it’s quieter. At night time only private long tail boats run which are more expensive. A shared boat is 200 baht return (at the time of writing in 2022).

Cheapest way to get to Ao Nang from Bangkok: Night bus to Krabi, local songtaew from bus station to Ao Nang . Book your night bus tickets here now. 

Fastest way to get to Ao Nang from Bangkok: Fly to Krabi, minivan from the airport to Ao Nang (approx 150 baht), no need to book the minivan in advance and they will drop you at your hotel. You will see the minivan tour operator as you exit the airport in the terminal.

The best views from the viewpoint on Koh Hong island

Best Thai Islands: East Coast of Thailand

How to pick Thai island – Koh Chang

koh chang Thailand Islands
Lonely Beach in Koh Chang

Koh Chang has a really chilled back vibe to it, a small party backpacker crowd and some decent diving. This is one of the first islands I travelled to alone and I immediately met backpackers as it has a more intimate feel to it than other islands like Koh Tao or Koh Phi Phi. Lonely Beach is the main backpacker area and White Sand beach is a little more upmarket. I have stayed at a few places but none to rave about. There is also one creepy bartender who has followed a few solo females home so be aware and try to always walk in groups or with someone late at night.

Best Thailand Island for: daytime chilling

Things to do on Koh Chang: enjoy the backpacking party scene

Cheapest way to get to Koh Chang from Bangkok: Big bus or minivan from Ekkamai, Bangkok, songtaew (truck) to the pier then ferry- often a car ferry. You can book your tickets here

Fastest way to get to Koh Chang from Bangkok: Fly to Trat then ferry

How to pick a Thai island – East Coast of Thailand – Koh Mak

Photo of the best bar in koh mak
Sunsets from Blue Pearl Bar Koh Mak

A lovely relaxing East islands in Thailand near Koh Chang. It’s one of the quietest islands in Thailand and it has the best pier with a bar at the end of it. The dive sites were also enjoyable. Rent a bicycle or motorbike and explore the small island. Read the full Koh Mak island Thailand guide here including where to stay on Koh Mak, how to get to Koh Mak and the best restaurants and beaches

Best Thailand Island for: relaxing with a spot of scuba diving

Best things to do on Koh Mak: hang out at the bar at the end of the pier, cycle around the island, go scuba diving

Cheapest way to get to Koh Mak from Bangkok: Big bus or minivan from Ekkamai, Bangkok, songtaew (truck) to the pier then ferry. You can book your tickets here

Fastest way to get to Koh Mak from Bangkok: Fly to Trat, then transfer to the pier, then ferry

How to pick a Thai island – East Coast of Thailand – Koh Kood or Koh Kut

Dancing along one of Koh Kood’s beautiful beaches

Another contender for the best quiet islands in Thailand, Koh Kood has gorgeous white sand beaches, lovely range of accommodation and some great restaurants. Read here for a full review of Koh kood Thailand island guide here. Stay at these gorgeous bungalows a short walk or even shorter motorbike drive to the closest beaches. Click on the bungalow to compare Koh Kood hotel accommodation prices on Agoda

Best East Coast of Thailand Island for: relaxing with a spot of scuba diving

Best things to do on Koh Kood: exploring by motorbike, visiting different beautiful beaches, going to a waterfall

Cheapest way to get to Koh Kood from Bangkok: Big bus or minivan from Ekkamai, Bangkok, songtaew (truck) to the pier then ferry. You can book your tickets here

Fastest way to get to Koh Kood from Bangkok: Fly to Trat then transfer then ferry.

Best luxury resort in Koh Kood is Soneva who fly their guests into Koh Kood itself, click on the image below to check out Soneva Kiri on Agoda:

Read here for Bangkok’s closest islands and beaches 

For more information on Thailand Island Hopping, click on the Thailand island guides below:

Koh Lipe Guide

Koh Lipe Accommodation

Ao Nang, Krabi Guide

Koh Mak Guide

Koh Kood Guide

The best quiet islands in Thailand

 

 

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Best Thailand Islands Guide

Wildlife In Thailand: See Wild Animals in Thailand’s Jungles, Oceans and Islands

Thailand is one of the best destinations in South East Asia for wildlife and nature. There is so much nature to see in Thailand’s jungles, oceans, mountains, national parks and islands. Thailand has such a variety of different natural habitats that you can see wild elephants one day and scuba dive with whale sharks the next.

So, for the best places to see wild animals such as elephants, dolphins, whales, turtles, sharks, whale sharks, monkeys and more, continue reading my Thailand travel blog. I have recommended the best places for wildlife in Thailand, particularly ways to experience wild animals in their natural environment as I believe this is important for respecting the animals and ethical wildlife tourism.

Elephants in Thailand

The top wildlife that you can see in the jungle in Thailand are the wild elephants, in my opinion. Many travellers come to Thailand wanting to see elephants and many tourists end up seeing working elephants at questionable elephant camps where animal abuse can be rife. Luckily, travellers and backpackers are becoming increasingly aware of this elephant abuse and choosing better alternatives to elephant camps. Read here to see why you should never ride an elephant in Thailand. More sanctuaries where elephant riding is banned have opened up for tourists to have an ethical elephant experience. However, the best way to see elephants in Thailand is in their natural habitat, the jungles of Thailand.

Where to see Wild Elephants in Thailand

I think Khao Yao National Park is one of the best places to see wild animals in Thailand and the most common place to encounter wild elephants. They are amazing creatures and despite all the elephant sanctuaries in Thailand (ethical or not?), the jungle is where they truly belong and to have the opportunity to see Asian elephants in the wild, and not in chains or in a camp, is a unique animal experience that I would love more tourists to take advantage of. Paying National Park fees ensures that that protected areas like Khao Yai National Park will remain safe and ethical places to see animals like elephants.

Wildlife Safari in Thailand: See Wild Elephants in Khao Yai National Park

I strongly recommend the ethical wildlife safari called Greenleaf Tours as I thought they were fantastic and they have very knowledgeable guides and will even pick you up from Pak Chong, the town where the minivans from Bangkok arrive.

Want to visit the park independently? You can rent scooters from Pak Chong upon arrival from Bangkok and ride around 15 minutes until you get into the park. Like all National Parks in Thailand, you can camp overnight by renting equipment from the National Park office. Make sure to bring your own food.

Khao Yai is about 2 hours from Bangkok by minivan (approx. 180 baht) making it an ideal day or overnight trip from Bangkok.

Cost of Foreign Visitor – National Park fee (at time of writing) = 400 baht. Seeing wild elephants = priceless.

Thailand Travel Tip: For getting to Khao Yai National Park, take a minivan to Pak Chong from Bangkok Ekkamai Bus Station

For more about how to visit Thailand’s National Parks read my post here

Thailand Wildlife Fact: Elephants are seen as Thailand’s sacred animal. However, many elephants who are forced to work in elephant camps are subject to animal cruelty and animal abuse in Thailand. Read here for my recommendations on ethical elephant sanctuaries.

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Elephant Spotting in Khao Yai National Park

Wild Animals in Thailand: Snorkelling with turtles or scuba diving with turtles?

Seeing turtles when snorkelling or diving is definitely possible and you can have a good chance in some areas of Thailand. The island of Koh Tao is named after turtles although I have seen more when scuba diving around Koh Chang, Koh Phi Phi and around the Similan islands. The type of turtles that I have seen most frequently in Thailand are Hawksbill turtles.

For getting to the Gulf of Thailand (Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui): book your transport here.

For travelling to Koh Phi Phi, book flights or a night bus to Krabi and then a ferry. You can book in advance using this website.

Koh Phi Phi Travel Tip: allow more time as the ferry has often taken longer than 2 hours for me.

diving with turtles in Thailand
Diving with turtles in Thailand

Wild Animals in Thailand: Scuba Diving with Whale Sharks

The whale shark is the biggest fish in the ocean and are one of the best marine animals to see in Thailand. They are generally spotted around Chumpon Pinnacle near Koh Tao and occasionally around Koh Phangan. Richelieu Rock, above the Similan islands is the dive site where I was lucky enough to see my first one and most divers will tell you this is the best dive site in Thailand for whale shark spotting. Rainy season around Koh Tao and Koh Phangan sometimes brings more in and a few were spotted around June-July of this year (unfortunately not by me!)

Diving Thailand Tip: For dive trips to Richelieu Rock and the Similan islands, take a night bus to Khao Lak and book your diving in centres there. It can get busy so consider contacting a dive centre in advance to ensure your place.

For more about diving in Thailand, read this post

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Diving with a whale shark at Richelieu Rock, Thailand

Are there dangerous animals in Thailand?

Short answer – yes. There can be dangerous animals in Thailand particularly some species of snake so it it always advisable to enter national parks with a tour guide or stay on allocated paths when trekking in Thailand.

Dangerous Animals in Thailand: Monitor Lizards

These enormous monitor lizards can be found all over Thailand and even in Bangkok. They can grow up to a couple of metres. We regularly see them in Bangkok’s parks and have a good look when crossing over any canal as you can often see them swimming (and not what I thought was a crocodile on first glance!). They eat small birds and can climb trees. Despite many locals nonchalant attitude towards these massive lizards, they are actually extremely dangerous and their bite can be fatal to humans so do not approach them.  If you want to see monitor lizards then visit Lumpini Park in Bangkok. It is home to many monitor lizards who are used to people wandering around the park and co-existing with us.

Thailand Wild Animal Fact: The nickname for a monitor lizard is an extremely rude swear word in the Thai language.

wild animals thailand
Monitor Lizard among canons in Bangkok

Where to see monkeys in Thailand?

There are monkeys all over Thailand and they range from shy to over-friendly with tourists depending om how they are treated in that area. In the National Parks they are treated as a wild animal and the monkeys are extremely shy and will steer clear of humans, whereas on crowded tourist islands like Monkey Beach in Koh Phi Phi, the monkeys are fed by  people and therefore associate people with food and can be aggressive.

Wild Animals in Thailand: Monkeys

Thailand has a variety of different species of monkey. Macaques are probably the most common monkey that you can see on the mainland and also on some of the islands. They live in huge families so often where this is one, there are lots more. I love seeing them in Khao Yai National Park as they are still a respectful distance away from humans, whereas places like Lopburi you can see them but they can be aggressive and often steal items from visitors.  I also heard some good advice once which was not to smile at monkeys – they see the act of baring your teeth as a threat.

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Macaques in Khao Yai National Park

Dusky Langur Monkeys – These monkeys are fairly rare but can be seen in various places around Thailand. I have personally seen them in Khao Sok National Park, Railay beach and Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.

wild animals thailand
Dusky Langur at the beach

Thailand Animal Abuse: Be aware that monkeys should be in the wild and never pay for a photo with a ‘pet’ monkey as monkeys are treated as a tourist attraction. They often have their teeth removed, are wearing nappies and on chains. Read here for more things to avoid doing in Thailand

Wild Gibbons in Thailand

Gibbons are one of my favourite animals to spot and to hear in Thailand. You can often hear their distinct voices but catching a glimpse of these tree-top dwellers is more difficult. You can often hear gibbons calling to each other at dawn and dusk. After watching a documentary on them I discovered that when they mate for life, their mating calls develop and become more complex and have a wider range as years go by. I’ve spotted these in a few different national parks around the country such as in Khao Yai National Park and Khao Sok National Park.

Book your Khao Sok bus tickets here, discounts available for multiple bookings and tickets.

wild animals thailand
Zoomed in photo of a Gibbon in Khao Yai National Park

Marine Life in Thailand: What sea animals are there in Thailand?

Thailand is home to a huge range of marine animals and it is the best destination to learn to scuba dive because of the cheap cost of open water courses. Thailand is home to the rare pink dolphin as well as spinner dolphins, whale sharks, manta rays and passing Bryde whales in season.

Wild Animals in Thailand: Spot Wild Dolphins in the Sea

Dolphins will always remain an amazing animal to me, no matter how many times I go dolphin spotting and I love seeing them when I am not even expecting to. I was told that on boat trips to Koh Similan, dolphins were spotted on average twice a week during dry season (October-May). I have recently been to Nakhon SI Thammarat to go pink dolphin watching which was an incredible experience, read about how and where to see pink dolphins in Thailand here.

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Pink(ish) dolphins in Nakhon Si Thammart province

Wild Animals in Thailand: Go Whale Watching in Thailand

During the months of August-November, huge Bryde whales migrate to Thailand to feast on anchovies in the Gulf of Thailand. I went last year and was lucky enough to see around 5 whales including a mother and calf and they even swam around our boat while we were having lunch. I did the day trip from Bangkok with Wild Encounters who were very professional, extremely knowledgeable and answered all of my many questions about whales.

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Whale Watching in Thailand from a respectful distance

Dive and Snorkel with Sharks around Thailand

If you are a shark lover then definitely consider a shark watching trip either diving or snorkelling. Thailand is a great destination for budget dives and a high chance of seeing a variety of sharks. I have seen sharks around Koh Phi Phi and diving the Ao Nang islands near Krabi. I’ve spotted black tip reef sharks, bamboo sharks and once I was lucky enough to see a 3 metre leopard shark while diving in Koh Phi Phi. Thailand doesn’t have any dangerous sharks and some people think you have more chance of seeing them snorkelling than diving as the bubbles can scare them away. Some dive centres like the Adventure Club on Koh Phi Phi have a specific shark watching trip that I plan to try out in the future.

How to Travel to Koh Phi Phi and Krabi – book your transport here

wild animals thailand
When the shark is way too fast for you!

Travelling Thailand? Don’t forget these useful items!

    1. Gopro – essential for documenting all your adventures and underwater trips. Buy your GoPro HERO5 Black from Amazon here
    2.  Gopro Red Filter for diving – unless you want all your photos to come out extremely blue. Buy a GoPro Blue Water Filter (HERO5 Black) (GoPro Official Accessory) from Amazon
    3. A completely waterproof Dry Bag (Blue, 5l) to keep all of your things dry when jumping on and off boats, or getting caught in sudden downpours in the jungle.

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Disclaimer: some links are affiliate links. If you purchase a ticket or item I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

12 Reasons To Never Visit Thailand

Here are 12 reasons why you should never visit this awful country! The first time I visited Thailand was 4 years ago and after all these terrible activities I’m still unsure why I moved back to Thailand 3 years ago. Please avoid visiting Thailand because you may just get addicted…

  1. You will mostly likely get sunburnt while snorkelling the clear waters off of paradise islands

For more on Thailand’s best islands check out this post

reasons visit thailand
Snorkelling around coral reefs

2. You will be peer pressured drunkenly into eating scorpions on Khao San road (cue blurry photo)

For less gross things to do in Bangkok, check out these lists

Top Things to Do in Bangkok

50 Things to Do in Bangkok

reasons visit thailand
Yep, don’t remember this…but I have the photos to prove I did indeed eat a scorpion.

3. You’ll spend 7 days worth of Thai street food dinners on one cocktail at a swanky Bangkok skybar

reasons visit thailand
Cheers to Bangkok, my big bad adopted city

 

4. You will most likely vomit after drinking too many fuck-it buckets. If you don’t then I am extremely impressed with you. But your liver is doomed., especially if you go to the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan

5. You’ll get a hangover from drinking cheap Chang every evening and decide maybe a Leo beer is worth the extra 10 baht. We nickname it a ‘changover’.

For budget Thailand ideas, read this

reasons visit thailand
Beaches and sunset beers. Avoid at all costs.

6. You’ll get so used to cockroaches in Thailand you won’t feel bothered by them any more… (just me?!). The big ones that run at your feet and the small ones hanging out by your toothbrush in the (slightly) dirty hostel, you are officially a real backpacker now. For wild animals you actually want to see, check out this post

7. In rainy season you’ll stroll through puddles the height of your knees trying not to think about what might be floating around in there

8.You’ll get stuck in Bangkok traffic and wonder how 8 million people can live like that! For the best and most efficient ways to travel around Thailand click here

reasons visit thailand
View from my window. It’s awful

9. You’ll risk rabies for a cuddle with a stray puppy. Read here for other things to avoid doing in Thailand

10. You will think you can ride a motorbike and then get a rude awakening along with a trip to the doctors clinic…and a bill!

Read this for the best ways to travel around Thailand

11. You will get seasick on a boat and possibly think you are about to die,  probably on the way to Maya Bay ” The Beach” beach where there never seem to be enough life jackets for everyone… #youcanswimthoughright

For alternate paradise island destinations read here

reasons visit Thailand
Cruising along the Gulf of Thailand on boats on my way to spot some whales!

12. You will fall in love with this country and move back here one day!

Especially these stunning holiday destinations around Thailand

Travelling Thailand Essentials

For when you do decide to travel Thailand, consider these items to help deal with the above issues:

I’m a recent convert to the humble backpack as you can always fit in a bottle of water comfortably (that just never happens with my handbags!) I love this turquoise Everest Backpack from Amazon
2. Alternatively, if you might be here in rainy season (May-October) then I recommend a dry bag as you will definitely get caught in a thunderstorm at some point! I love these dry bags Dry Bag (5L) from Amazon

3.  Mosquito spray is definitely one thing I recommend buying at home before you arrive in Thailand as I have never been able to buy stronger than 15% DEET here. Try this Repel 40% DEET Pump SprayRepel Insect Repellent 40-Percent DEET from Amazon

For more Backpacking Essentials read this post full of useful and practical items for your next trip to South East Asia

Reasons Visit Thailand