“There are lots of incredible places to visit on the mainland, but a trip to Thailand would not be complete without visiting at least 1 or 2 of the islands”— Paul Ebeling
Thailand has some of the world’s best beaches, incredible snorkeling, excellent food, yoga retreats, pampering spas, and plenty of luxurious hotels. So it’s no wonder that Thailand ranked #2 of the Top 5 millennial destinations according to Virtuoso’s 2019 Luxe Report, which surveyed over 1,000 travel advisors on their experience and client requests to determine the yr’s hottest trends.
While Maya Bay made famous in the Y 2000 film The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio has been closed during the virus chaos, there are plenty of other gorgeous islands and beaches worth visiting.
Sure, some areas tend to attract backpackers, but there are ways to plan an island-hopping trip right, starting with choosing the right islands and resorts.
From developed islands like Phuket and Koh Samui to under-the-radar places like Koh Yao Noi, these are some of the most idyllic islands in Thailand.
Phuket, Thailand’s largest island has a bit of a reputation as a party destination, but it is so big you can easily find the vibe you’re looking for. If you want to experience the legendary nightlife, head to Patong Beach, where many nightclubs and go-go bars are concentrated.
For a more low-key experience, check into one of the luxury resorts on the northern side of the island.
Trisara, an award-winning, all-villa resort far removed from the hubbub boasts Phuket’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, PRU. Each villa has its own infinity pool, but one glimpse at the resort’s private beach and you’ll probably want to hang out in one of the new cabanas all day, go snorkeling off the shore, or kayak over to the pristine Banana Beach.
Be sure to spend some time exploring Phuket Town, which is characterized by picturesque Sino-Portuguese architecture housing cute restaurants, cafes, and boutiques selling porcelain, Thai silk, beachy-chic clothes, and much much more.
Koh Yao Noi is a 20-min speedboat ride from Phuket, Koh Yao Noi is a tranquil island paradise in the Andaman Sea. It’s a perfect jumping off point to visit smaller islands like Koh Lao La Ding, which has soft sand on one side and a rocky cove on the other.
The Cape Kudu Hotel—a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World—can organize a half-day longtail boat excursion that will take you to 4 or 5 islands, where you can picnic on the beach, swim, snorkel, and just relax. This chic boutique hotel is a perfect blend of Thai and Western style, with beachy-chic rooms and suites, three restaurants and bars, a luxurious spa where you can get a traditional Thai massage, and direct beach access.
Do not miss the chance to take a Thai cooking class with the property’s executive chef, who will teach you to make specialties like Tom Yum soup and Pad Thai.
Koh Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand, off the country’s eastern shores, Koh Samui is 2nd in size only to Phuket and attracts yogis, luxury-seekers, and everything in between.
There are many luxury resorts on Koh Samui, but a few of Ezon’s favorites are the Six Senses Samui, a wellness-focused resort with Robinson Crusoe-esque villas perched on dramatic cliffs; the Four Seasons Koh Samui and the W Koh Samui.
Koh Pha-Ngan: to experience Thailand’s legendary nightlife, this is the island for you. “The Full Moon Party on Ko Phangan is on every serious partygoer’s bucket list,” Ezon said.
Just 30 mins by boat from Koh Samui, the Anantara Rasananda offers a fabulous sanctuary to detox for travelers who would otherwise sleep on hammocks or hostel-level hotels.
Half-moon parties offer a slightly tamer but still fun experience, and if you do not sleep the day away, you can explore the island’s tropical forests and waterfalls.
Have a healthy Summer, enjoy traveling in Thailand, Keep the Faith!