A guide to West Coast island hopping in Thailand (2024)

Looking for a quick guide to West Coast Thailand island hopping? These are the must-visit islands that you should include on your bucket list!

West coast island hopping - thailand islands

The coastline along the Andaman Sea in Thailand has a dramatic scenery and lots of stunning islands just waiting to be explored. 

Many of them are large enough to stay at, but some are part of a national reserve so you can only visit on a day trip.

Personally, I think Thailand’s West Coast is the best place for island hopping because there are more islands to choose from, and they’re more diverse.

I’ve done island hopping in Thailand over the last 15 years, where I’ve both stayed overnight and visited on day trips. So, I’ve included your best options in this post.

Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

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How to do West Coast Thailand island hopping

There are several ways to visit the islands on the west coast of Thailand. You can do it on day trips or simply stay overnight and then move on to the next island when you want.

Do day trips

A day trip is a great way to explore smaller, isolated islands. Another benefit is that you can visit several islands in a day.

Most smaller islands don’t have accommodation or restaurants, and if they do, they’re often sparse and low quality.

I highly recommend basing yourself in Phuket or Krabi and do day trips (especially if you’re short on time). We do it every time we’re in Thailand because it’s a great way to explore more of the country.

Stay overnight

To really soak in that island vibe, you can also choose to stay overnight on the larger islands. I recommend staying overnight in Koh Lanta, Phi Phi islands and Koh Lipe.

Read next: 3 weeks in Thailand Itinerary

West Coast Thailand island hopping

How to get to Thailand’s islands

You’ll probably arrive in Bangkok. From there, you can fly to Phuket and begin island hopping straight away. 

The only way to get to the Thai islands from Phuket or Krabi is by ferry, longtail boat, large boats or speedboat.

You can either book tours online or find a tour when you’re there. The latter is cheapest, but you might want to book in advance if you’re traveling in high season (November – March).

Thailand is popular, and tours sell out.

Island hopping, Thailand
They usually don’t bite
Island hopping, Thailand

Where to stay during island hopping

Most travelers use Krabi or Phuket as a base to go island hopping.

I’ve done both, and the ideal place is a matter of which islands you want to visit. The Similan Islands, for instance, is only reachable from Phuket.

In general, Phuket is more versatile, with more beaches and a livelier vibe. Krabi is cheaper and the surrounding landscape is prettier. However, it’s easy to get between the two with minivan or private transfer if you want to visit both places.

Where to stay in Krabi

The last time I visited the west coast, we stayed in Aonang, Krabi and took a tour around four islands. The trip included lunch (Thai green curry, which was super tasty) and transportation with longtail boat and a guide.

I recommend staying at Aonang Villa Resort (⭐ 8.3)check rates and availability here.

Where to stay in Phuket

When you book a hotel in Phuket, make sure to book at one of the beaches. Phuket town is 40 km away.

We usually stay at Kata Beach, where we also got married, but we’ve also stayed in Patong many times when we backpacked. Nowadays, I prefer something more upscale and quiet, which The Shore At Katathani (⭐ 9.2) is perfect for.

These are the main beaches in Phuket:

  • Patong (party, young crowd)
  • Karon (family and snorkeling)
  • Kata (family and surfing)
  • Kamala (quiet and good for snorkeling)
  • Surin (luxury)
  • Bangtao (luxury and quiet)
  • Mai Khao (isolated)
  • Nai Harn (quiet and recommended by locals)
Island hopping, Thailand
Patong Beach
Island hopping, Thailand

10 West Coast Thailand islands you should visit

1. Similan Islands

One of the most beautiful islands in Thailand is The Similan Islands. Think white sands, clear waters, and rich marine life (great for snorkeling and diving).

Similan Islands are a bit of a journey from Phuket and can get crowded, but the beauty and diving spots make it totally worth it.

There used to be a hotel here, but not after Covid, so a day trip from Phuket is your only way of visiting.

Book here – Similan Islands Tour from Phuket (⭐ 4.5/5)

West coast island hopping - similan islands

2. Poda Island (Koh Poda)

Poda island is about a 25-min long tail boat ride from Ao Nang beach in Krabi. It’s part of a national park, and there’s not much to do on the island apart from swimming and tanning.

This, however, is enough to keep you occupied as the beach here is fabulous!

Book here – Railay and 4-Island Speedboat Cruise with Night Snorkel (⭐ 5/5)

Island hopping, Thailand

3. Chicken Island (Koh Kai)

Another great island is Chicken Island, which to me looks more like a turkey… or maybe a turtle?

Anyway, this place has a gorgeous coral reef that you can snorkel around, and it’s included in the tour below. It’s a popular day trip from Krabi.

Book here – Railay and 4-Island Speedboat Cruise with Night Snorkel (⭐ 5/5)

Island hopping, Thailand

4. Railay Beach (Rai Leh)

Railay is a destination in itself and many tourists stay at the peninsula every year, especially Scandinavians.

It’s mostly known for rock climbing, and as you can see on the pictures below, you’ll get rocks aplenty.

I tried rock climbing in Vietnam and didn’t feel the urge to test myself again, so we decided to hang out on the beach and eat some roasted corn with butter and garlic. De-licious!

Book here – Railay and 4-Island Speedboat Cruise with Night Snorkel (⭐ 5/5)

Island hopping, Thailand
Island hopping, Thailand

5. Tup Island (Koh Tup)

Only a short boat ride from Railay, you’ll find Tup island. Tup is much smaller than the other islands in the group.

Personally, I found this island to be better because it’s more remote and you can have the beach (almost) to yourself.

The water is amazing, and it’s an excellent spot for snorkeling and spotting lots of tropical fish.

Book here – Railay and 4-Island Speedboat Cruise with Night Snorkel (⭐ 5/5)

Island Hopping in Thailand
Island hopping, Thailand
The fish won’t harm you. Sometimes they nibble your feet and it tickles, but they’re harmless

6. James Bond Island (Phang Nga Bay)

Just north of Phuket, you’ll find James Bond Island, also known as Khao Phing Kan.

It’s famous for featuring in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun from 1974 and for the 20-metre tall islet, Koh Tapu, which you can see on the picture below.

James Bond island is part of the Phang Nga Bay which covers an area of 400 sq km and is home to some 100 islands.

Book here – Phang Nga Bay Sea Cave Canoeing & James Bond Island (⭐ 5/5)

Island hopping, Thailand
Island hopping, Thailand

7. Phi Phi Islands (Koh Phi Phi)

Phi Phi is probably the best known island on Thailand’s west coast. It’s a popular destination for travelers who have seen the movie or read The Beach.

There are some beautiful corals and beaches in this group of islands, but much of it is gone today due to the many boats that go there every day.

You can visit Phi Phi on a day trip from Phuket or stay overnight. If you prefer to stay longer on the island, opt for the ferry which is the cheapest way to get there and back.

Book here – Phi Phi Islands day tour from Phuket (⭐ 4.5/5)

Island hopping, Thailand
Island hopping, Thailand

8. Koh Lanta

We spent most of our honeymoon on Koh Lanta, and it’s much different from most of the other islands.

First of all, it’s more quiet. You can choose to stay on Long Beach with lots of backpackers and easily find a party, but if you’re more into privacy, you can find that as well. The waters surrounding the island is magnificent and it’s a great place to swim.

You can reach Koh Lanta from Krabi, Phi Phi or Phuket, but this island is best suited for longer stays.

Book here – 4 Islands & Emerald Cave from Koh Lanta (⭐ 4.5/5)

Island hopping, Thailand
Island hopping, Thailand

9. Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe is a hidden paradise, with its palm trees, white sands, and clear waters.

It’s a small, chill island near Langkawi in Malaysia, a bit out of the way but less crowded than spots like Krabi. Not really a party place, more laid-back.

You can bike around it in 30 minutes, and it’s all about relaxing on the beach.

Book here – Full-Day Koh Lipe 7 Islands Snorkeling with Lunch (⭐ 4.5/5)

West coast island hopping - Koh Lipe

10. Koh Kradan

If you’re after a laidback and quiet island in Thailand, Koh Kradan is your go-to. Not your typical bustling island, it’s super calm and pretty much untouched.

The snorkeling here blew me away – tons of fish everywhere, but the coral has seen better days. If you’re not into wild nights and just want to relax, this is your place.

Book here – 4 Islands (incl. Koh Kradan) from Koh Lanta (⭐ 4.5/5)

West coast island hopping - Koh Kradan

FAQ – West Coast Thailand island hopping

What is the best base for island hopping in Thailand?

For island hopping in Thailand, Krabi or Phuket are your best bets. They’ve got great connections to lots of cool islands and plenty of places to stay and things to do.

How do you travel between islands in Thailand?

In Thailand, you mostly hop between islands by ferry or speedboat. Super easy and pretty affordable too.

How do I choose a Thai island?

Choosing a Thai island on the west coast? Think about your vibe. Phuket’s bustling with nightlife, Koh Phi Phi offers a mix of party and beauty, and Koh Lanta is laid-back, perfect for relaxing. Just go with what suits your style.

Can you go island hopping from Phuket?

Yeah, absolutely. From Phuket, you can easily hop to a bunch of nearby islands like Koh Phi Phi, James Bond Island, and the Similan Islands.

Plenty of boat tours and ferries to choose from.

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  1. Thailand’s beauty is amazing. The waters looks crystal clear and what’s even more promising is to see the uniqueness of Mother Earth in having these islands. Thanks for sharing this. Oh by the way, I had the same thought of what the chicken Island supposedly like. It’s looks more like turkey to me rather than a chicken.

    1. Hi Christy, thanks so much for reading! Yes, Thailand is so incredibly amazing! Even though I prefer the East coast over the West personally, the islands along the Andaman Sea are truly something unique – especially the ones that looks like chickens or turkeys πŸ™‚

  2. Hi,
    Just curious, how did you find the tours in for 400 Baht around the island? Were you approached by tour companies or was it through your hostel/hotel?

    1. Hi Crystal,
      We booked through our hostel. This was a few years ago (2012), but I got the impression that prices were the same allover Aonang. If you buy the same tour from Phuket, the prices will be doubled or sometimes tripled so try to avoid that.

  3. What gorgeous photos! This is a great guide to these islands- really helpful for planning. I have heard that some of the best scuba diving in Thailand is in the Andaman Sea…Do you scuba? Any recommendations for favorite underwater spots?

    1. Thanks so much, Lara! I haven’t dived myself, but I’ve heard the same as you. I went snorkeling around Phi Phi island and saw great underwater life so I can only imagine the diving is even better. Whatever you choose, try to avoid buying the dive in Phuket and maybe also Phi Phi – everything’s more expensive there. Go for Krabi instead.

      1. Miriam, thanks for the great guide. I also have heard about great scuba diving in the area. I’ll definitely keep it on the radar and make sure to look at Krabi first. Thanks for posting!

    2. The diving in koh lanta east coast is meant to be amazing. I’ve only really dived koh Tao but might be out in lanta next month. Will let you know after!

  4. Very useful post and your pictures are beautiful! I hope to do some island hopping in Thailand hopefully after my time in Australia so this was great to read!

    1. Aw, thanks Laura! I hope you get to island hop – it’s a great way of exploring the beaches of Thailand. Don’t miss out on the East coast – that’s even better.

  5. Thanks for your blog post. Quick note … James Bond Island is North of Phuket, not south πŸ™‚ Certainly some of the best scenery in the area. I’ll just add that Phuket is not expensive if you don’t want it to be. Just round the corner from where I work for example is a guesthouse with 200 Baht per night dorms, local buses are cheap, you can eat cheap if you eat local food (I just had lunch, big bowl of noodles, ice tea, 70 Baht). Phuket Town has lots of inexpensive accommodation, but even Patong beach has backpackers places.


    1. Hi Jamie, thanks for pointing that out – I’ll correct it! I agree that food and accommodation can be cheap in Phuket, but when I wrote that the area was expensive, I was referring to trips and local tours from the beach area where travelers usually stay. I experienced a huge price difference between Krabi and Phuket, especially during high season.

  6. Hello, My family and I are looking to travel to Thailand in a month. Question, so you recommend getting a hotel in Krabi? We will be there for 8 days so I want to make sure to make the most of our time. Also, do you recommend booking tours before travel so that they’re not booked? We are traveling from Florida (USA).

    1. Hi Sholonda, since you will arrive at the end of high-season, I advice you to book a hotel/hostel before you go. The tours can be arranged when you get there! If you have 8 days, I’d probably split them between Krabi (and take daily island tours from there) and one of the islands (Koh Lanta or Railey). It’s very easy to get information in Thailand, and everyone speaks English well so you’ll have no problem getting local advice. Personally, I liked Koh Lanta a lot! It’s quiet and it’s easy to visit other islands as a day trip.

  7. Additionally, do you recommend staying at the same hotel the entire 8 days or changing daily. I want to island hop and honestly unsure how to book this.

    1. You shouldn’t change hotel daily – that will be too stressful. It’s better to have a base and then take daytrips from there. Book when you get there – it’s really easy and there are tons of tour providers!

  8. Hi, I’ll be traveling to Thailand in May, visiting Bangkok and Phi Phi. Would love to take a tour island hopping from Phi Phi, your pictures look beautiful. My question is regarding the safety of solo female travelers? I’ve never done this before, and am a little nervous..thanks!

    1. Hi Aida, Thailand is one of the safest places to travel alone so I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ve done it and I felt VERY safe, plus it’s easy to meet other travelers. Joining a tour is probably the best way to meet others. When visiting larger cities, I always book a nice hostel or hotel in a good area, but Phi Phi is small and overall safe. You’ll have so much fun!

    2. As a solo traveler, I stayed in a great hotel in Bangkok.. Lovely neighborhood, very safe and close to Khao San Road. Let me know if you need the info.

        1. I first stayed at Nouvo City Hotel. Second time I visited, I stayed at New World City Hotel, which is in the same building. The rooms are not as fancy, but it’s only half as the price! Both are in a lovely neigborhood with a 7eleven, AMAZING cheap massage clinic, restaurant and ATM right next door.

  9. Hi Miriam, awesome post! I’d add another less known island paradise to that list, Koh Kradan. It’s a hidden gem paradise, the best beaches I’ve ever seen in my life, yummy food, amazing snorkeling and a lot less tourists than the beaches in this post as hardly anyone knows about it! The best part of it is that it’s easy to get to. I’ve written a post about it on my blog if anyone wants to see gorgeous photos of it and how to get there: https://www.justinewharton.com/2015/03/18/koh-kradan-thailands-secret-island-paradise/

  10. Hi Miriam
    I will travelling to thailan in October for my Honeymoon for 10 days,
    I will stay in bangkok for 2 days, but I’m not really sure about at what island I will stay , can you plz help me

    1. Good to have you here, Semann, and congratulations on your wedding! Thailand is a lovely place to spend your honeymoon so I’m sure you’ll love it there! If I were you, I’d head to Koh Yao or Koh Lipe. Both islands are on the West coast and not overrun by tourists. We went to Koh Lanta for our honeymoon, but if I could do it over again, I’d choose Yao or Lipe!

  11. I am missing the Similan islands here (group of 9 islands). It’s been a few years since I’ve been there but absolutely loved it! There’s only one islands that offers accommodation and there’s not that much to do but you spend most of the day on a boat and the snorkling is fantastic! You can book a day trip or multiple days from Khao Lak and I would recommend it to anyone!

    1. Hi Dani, you’re right that the Similan islands are not featured in this post. Yet. This post only contains places that I’ve been myself, but when I do visit Similan, I will be sure to include it. Thanks for the tips!

  12. Hi Miriam, Loved your candid and picturesque insight into Thai Islands. I am planning 15 days of honey money from 24th dec till 8th of Jan ’16. Planning to split 5 nights on krabi( railay or lanta) ,5 days on koh samui (chaweng) and remaining 5 on koh chang. Bangkok not included since i am a beach guy and while living in dubai have no fascination for city life or tall buildings at all. Any suggestion/modification ? Appreciate your response.

    1. Thanks, Abbas! I’d say you have a pretty great itinerary! I’ve been to all these places and they each have something different to offer. One thing, though, is that they’re touristy and especially in the period you’re visiting. If you want pristine, blue water island, I suggest Koh Lipe, which is further south from Krabi. I haven’t been there myself YET, but I am heading there next time I’m in Thailand. It’s supposed to be amazing – quiet, but amazing.

  13. Hi Miriam,
    I love your post on island hopping. I’m currently in Thailand (Chiang Mai) but will be heading down to the island in about a week. I was wondering if you could give me an idea of where to start island hopping and which order to go in? I will have about 7-10 days for island hopping so any input would be greatly appreciated πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Kayla! You have lots of days to explore the islands, that’s great. If I were you, I’d stay in Koh Lanta, Koh Kradan and Krabi. You can take daytrips from Krabi to most other islands (it’s cheaper from there). I haven’t visited Koh Kradan myself, but have heard good things about it. Also about Similan islands (see the comment above). I hope you have fun. Let me know if you visit any other islands that you’d recommend.

  14. hi!
    ill be in phuket in december, i only have a week, do you suggest i go from phuket straight to one of the bigger islands? and then take day trips?
    or should i spend some time in phuket also?

    1. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Phuket. It’s too touristy and pricey. I’d head to Koh Lanta, Khao Yai, Koh Kradan or one of the other islands.

  15. I am actually struggling to figure out how best to do island hopping.
    Which island/islands is the best to to have as a base?

    also how do i go from chiang mai to koh lanta? any idea?thank you!

    1. Well, you can mix it up and spend a few days in Koh Lanta, then move on to Railey (more touristy), Koh Yao Yi (more secluded) or Ko Raya (more secluded). The last 2 days, you can go to Ao Nang in Krabi and do day trips from there. It’s cheaper than Phuket and you can see several islands in one day. I’ve done both and recommend doing it from Krabi!

      You can only get to Chiang Mai by plane or bus from Krabi and Phuket. You can find seriously cheap, direct plane tickets through Air Asia (search on Momondo) and it only takes 2 hours. I’m actually doing this trip in November (Krabi to Chiang Mai) – it’s much more comfortable and quick than by bus, which will take you at least 2 days.

  16. Hi Miriam

    So happy I have stumbled across your blog- stunning! (as are you)
    My partner and I are 24 and heading to Bangkok city/Vietnam and then have 6 nights at the end of our trip to relax and spend at a beautiful Island. This will be around January 12th- so I have been told the weather on the East coast is best in Jan? Where would you recommend? Koh Lanta looks quite nice- any beautiful beach recommendations?

    Thanks in advance πŸ™‚ x

    1. Aw, thanks Hannah <3

      Well, Koh Tao has my heart when it comes to Thai islands, and I personally like the East coast better. I've been to both coasts in January, and I haven't really experienced a difference in the weather. Plus, the East coast is cheaper and easier to reach if you travel by bus or train. If you'd rather visit the West coast, then Koh Lanta is a good bet. Koh Lipe and Koh Kradan get outstanding reviews as well so you could also give one of them a try. I might go there myself in November.

      Have a great trip πŸ™‚

  17. Hi Miriam, I just stumbled across your blog and think it’s amazing. Myself and my boyfriend- both 24 are planning to go island hopping in July 2016, where not really into the partying scene have you any suggestions on where to start?

    1. Hi Natalie, both the West and East side is lovely and there are many great islands. I recommend Koh Tao and Koh Pha nang (East) and Koh Lanta + day trips (West). If you have enough time (min. 2 weeks), you should visit both sides.

  18. Hi Miriam,

    Lots of great info here.
    Can you help me im heading to Thailand with my wife in November and have this as our provisionall intenary.
    Bangkok 2 Nights
    Phuket 3 Nights
    Phi Phi Islands 3 Nights
    Krabi 2 Nights
    Koh Phanghan 3 Nights (Want to see Full Moon party)
    Kos Sumai 1 Night

    I defiantly want to add another night to Koh sumai as have heard that’s stunning, ideally would like to treat this holiday as a fun/relaxing honeymoon should i remove a night from Koh Phanghan and add to Koh sumai?
    Should i remove a night from Phuket and add to Krabi?
    My wife does not snorkel (Neither do i) but we love nice beaches clear waters soft sand and ideally not overly busy.
    Do you think the schedule is to packed?
    I don’t mind doing day trips and basing my self somewhere but where would you recommend and is day trips enough?

    Where did you see the Elephants?

    Your photos are amazing πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Fahri,
      Thanks for dropping by. I think your schedule looks good. Make sure to book accommodation at Koh Pha nang early because it gets booked quickly when there’s a fullmoon party. I recommend staying at Haad Rin (the place of the party) and find lodging at the sunrise or sunset beach.

      I saw elephants at Koh Lanta, but that’s a bit far to go for a day trip. If I were you, I’d probably skip Krabi or Phuket, and go to Koh Lanta insead – it’s more relaxed, authentic and non-touristy. They have elephants in Koh Samui and Pha nang & Samui, too, but most of them are trained for tourism and not treated well. If you avoid the touristy places (especially Phuket), you should be able to find good-treated elephants.

      Have an amazing trip!

  19. Hi Miriam,

    What a helpful blog. Your pictures are stunning and makes me eager to go back this November in phuket. By the way, is it recommended to book online for island hopping in phuket or much better if we just book once we arrive in phuket?

    1. I’m glad you found it helpful! There are lots of island tours available so I recommend you book when you get there. Have fun in Thailand πŸ™‚

  20. Hi Miriam,

    Loved reading your post and the pictures look especially gorgeous, planning a trip end of November/beginning of December for about 10 days and would love some advice.

    The boyfriend and I are trying to decide if it would be better to base ourselves in Phukhet or in Krabi? We want to head to of course Phi Phi Islands and James Bond (if we can) and definitely Koh Lanta as everybody says its gorgeous. Which offers more adventure and better saving? Keep up the amazing work!!

    1. Welcome to my blog, Sara! You’ll have a great time in Thailand, I’m sure.

      I definitely recommend basing yourself in Krabi, because a) it’s cheaper, and b) it’s less crowded. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Phuket as it’s less authentic and there’s too much prostitution around Patong beach. (I think) you can take day trips from Koh Lanta to Phi Phi and James Bond island, but I’m not sure. You should stay more than a day at Lanta.

  21. Hello Miriam,
    My wife and I are heading to Thailand early December.
    We will spend a day in Bangkok and would like to
    See 1-2 islands. We would like to stay away from
    ‘The party islands’ and she loves the beach. Security
    Safety and comfort are important also. Can you recommend
    A couple islands, places to stay and how to get there?
    I am looking to keep the cost down. Thank you in advance
    For your help.


    1. Hi Tariq,
      Personally, I like the East coast better and it’s also cheaper. You could stay on Koh Samui and visit the islands of Koh Pha nang and Koh Tao. The beaches are beautiful and safety is great. You can fly directly from Bangkok to Koh Samui if you don’t want to take the train or bus.

  22. Lovely photos Miriam! We Island hopped a little reently when I was there with my daughters, aged 10 and 13. Loved it. We were on Lankawi in Malaysia too, not far away and accesible from the Thai Islands. Spent time on Phi Phi too, away from the party end though! I am enjoying your travel!

    1. Thanks, Jane. I’m really glad to see you on my blog! I’m actually hoping to visit Langkawi in February and do some island hopping to Koh Lipe, too. Have you been there?

  23. Hi Miriam,
    Great pics and very informative post. I am planning my honeymoon in February (22-27 Feb 16). As I have 6D/5N, would love your take on where I should head to first. As from reading your post and comments, Krabi is the place I should set out to first and then day tours. Last 1 or 2 Days I could visit Phuket. What do you say? Please suggest.

    1. Hi Siddarth,
      Personally I don’t like Phuket because it’s too touristy, unpersonal and crowded. If I were you, I’d spend my honeymoon on the islands – they are much more romantic and fit for newlyweds. I recommend Koh Lanta, and we loved spending our honeymoon there.

    1. Sure, Kristelle! Thailand is very safe as a solo (female) traveler and the same is Phuket πŸ™‚ If you have the time, make sure to visit some of the islands, too (Koh Lanta). They have a totally different atmosphere and it’s cheaper. Have fun.

  24. I wanted to ask what you think the cheapest way to get to Krabi is. I am looking into making the trip as cheap as possible, and would love to get an idea of what I can expect to spend on flights (which im having a hard time figuring out). So how did you get to Krabi? I cant find any airlines flying to the island. Is there a cheaper way to get there? This would be my first out of country trip, so im not the smartest when it comes to all this! Thank you so much!

    Also, where can I find some awesome tide pools?

    1. Hi Abbie,

      I think your cheapest option is to fly from Bangkok to Krabi. I just checked the route on Momondo and it’s direct. You can book flights on Momondo, Skyscanner or directly on Thai Airways or Air Asia. They often have dirt cheap tickets.

      I’m not sure about the tide pools, but try googling it. I’m sure something will show up – they seem to have everything in Thailand πŸ™‚

  25. Hi Miriam,

    We are heading to Thailand in March / April for 15 Nights.

    At the minute we have have the itinerary below and was wondering if you have any thoughts?

    2 Nights Bangkok
    3 Nights Koa Tao (Mainly for Scuba Diving)
    3 Nights Koh Samui (Is it worth diving from here to Kao Tao?)
    6 Nights between Krabi & Koa Lanta – Not sure how to split this?
    1 Night Bangkok

    Think we have tired down the areas here, 6 nights east / 6 nights west and Bangkok. Having been to Phuket prior I agree with comments about how commercial and touristy it is so trying to avoid.

    Any thoughts / suggestions would be appreciated πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Mark,
      This sounds like a good itinerary with time to explore. You should know that Krabi is more touristy than Koh Lanta, but you’ll have the benefit of taking day trips from Krabi. I guess it depends on what kind of experience you want: the island vibe and relaxed vacation (Koh Lanta)? Or the more touristy, but with the opportunity of taking day trips to many of the above islands (Krabi)? Both choices are good if you ask me.

  26. Hi Miriam, Great Info here thank you.
    My Friend and I have 5 days (March 22nd – 26th) to do some Island hoping, I cannot decide between the east or west side as both are so nice..
    I was thinking of spending 2 nights at KOH PHI PHI & using that Island as a base to visit the surrounding Islands on the west side, For the east side I am not sure for accommodation but I am keen on the full moon party at Koh Phangan march 22nd, this would mean I have to start on the East side before coming back over the the west side.

    We are coming from Pattya. Any recommendations ?
    I have a thai freind advising me in the next few days but you seem well knowledge, Also I like to try and keep away from heavily tourist areas were you find more Idiots as you mentioned above already.. Cheers

    1. Hey George, if you’re not into the whole tourist trap thing, I’d avoid Phi Phi. Instead, head to Koh Lanta, which is more laid-back! And stay clear of Phuket, too.

      Personally, I like the East coast better and the Fullmoon party is SUPER fun. The west coast is better for island hopping, so in the end it comes down to what you want most.

  27. Wow, what a fantastic travel! Your photos are beautiful.The waters look crystal clear and what’s even more promising is to see the uniqueness of Mother Earth in having these islands. When you are going through the entire city, you feel the unique experience with high soaring cliffs on both side and the rocks and the liveliness of the sunlight creates an absolute magical view to you which you have never viewed elsewhere. I am an eyewitness of each & every beauty of Thailand. Thanks to “Complete India & Asia” For giving me such a lovely joy to my life.

  28. very usefull information miriam .can u sugest any budget hotels in krabi for me.i am solo traveller to krabi .staying 6nights in march

    1. Thanks, Raju! I don’t have any suggestions for budget hotels in Krabi, but you can look at Agoda or hotels.com for ideas. That’s where I find accommodation. Have fun in Thailand.

  29. Hi I am travelling to Thailand in April and am planing on 3 days in Bangkok, 5/7 on an island then 3 more days in Bangkok. I was wondering if you know what Koh Lanta is like now? I want to avoid the biggest tourist places but still hope to take a diving course. Thanks! Great pics!

    1. Hi Rachel, it’s been 4 years since I was at Koh Lanta and it was great back then. I’m not sure about the diving, but I absolutely recommend Koh Lanta. It’s not a huge island, but it’s big enough to get some alone-time with the beaches.

  30. hello Miriam, just came across your blog and its great to see you respond in so much detail to everyone so i was wondering if i could also get your opinion, we have 2 weeks in Thailand and we were thinking of going to chiang mai for 3 nights then flying to krabi which is as far as we have got but we were thinking of doing this 7 day trip— https://www.krabikonnect.com/#!discover-krabi-2-star/c16ts which seems to includes a lot of islands i would want to visit on day trips do you think this is a good option? we did also want to head out to koh lak but wont have time if we do the 7 day trip unless we dont go to chiang mai, which would you prefer to see koh lak or chiang mai?
    hope this makes sense and thank you in advance

    1. Hey Jaime,
      I absolutely love Chiang Mai so I suggest you visit both the north and the south. Do 3 days in Chiang Mai and then go to Krabi. I think you’re just as well off doing some island hopping on your own. You can book the trips when you get there.

      Have a great trip πŸ™‚

  31. How would you recommend doing both the West and East islands? We cant decide on what side we want to stick to and only have about 2 weeks in the south.


    1. Hi Morgan, thanks for dropping by!

      Personally, I prefer the East coast where you can visit Koh Samui, Koh Phanang and Koh Tao. Also, it’s cheaper and less touristy. Trying to do both sides in two weeks is pushing the envelope a bit. It’s doable, but it’ll be stressful.

  32. Hi Miriam, thanks for putting all this together, and love all the stunning pics! Wouldn’t it be blissful to find something perfectly located, remote without being lost, and right in the middle of some of the greatest must-see spots. And we love Krabi too!

    1. You’re very welcome, Gaby! As for the perfect island you describe, I think Koh Lipe would be a good bet! I’m going there later this year so I’ll report back πŸ™‚

  33. Hey Miriam,
    I’m very glad, I found your blog, It is very interesting and answered almost all my questions. Thank you very much for that.
    I have finally decided to base in Krabi then visit the islands, I just wanted to know if it’s better to stay in Krabi town, Railay Beach or Ao Nang. And is it better to book the tours in Krabi town or Ao nang Beach through individuals or companies?
    I will only have 4 and half there, not sure which one to do yet, I really want to visit koh lanta too after the reviews, but I’m not sure if we will have enough time?
    Thank you very much for your help

    1. Hi Lynn,

      I would base myself in Ao Nang if I were you. That’s where I took the day tours from and it’s easy to find tour companies. Railey is an island and I’m not sure if they offer as many day trips as Ao Nang. You can spend 2,5 days in Koh Lanta and then 2 days in Ao Nang and do day tours, no problem πŸ™‚

  34. Hi Miriam,

    My boyfriend and I are traveling to Phuket for 5 days as part of an Asia tour in July. We were wondering if it’d be better to grab a hotel in Patong (for the party scene) and island-hop on a daily basis via tours/ferries, or land/stay in Phuket for the first few days, and finish our trip on one of the islands like Koh Lipe or Phi Phi in a bungalow-type of hotel/hostel. We are interested in staying at a nice hotel for at least part of our stay in Thailand, but also want the budget-friendly options if we love an island and don’t want to return to Phuket the same day. Please help!

    1. Hi Grace,

      You can do both. Although Koh Lipe is located by the Malaysian border so it’s not possible to island hop there. I suggest you spend a few days in Patong and do island hopping and the party scene. Then you can go to Koh Lanta or one of the other nearby islands and spend the remaining few days. Koh Lanta is quite budget friendly and has a cool vibe.

  35. Hi!! I’m going to Thailand with my boyfriend on May 28th to June 8th! We are going island hopping from June 4th to the 7th. So we don’t have a lot of time! I was wondering what tour did you book that took you to 4 different islands. We arrive in Phuket on June 3rd.

    1. Hi Suzana, I don’t know the name of the tour company I went with, because there are so many and they’re all similar. If you’re just doing day trips from Phuket, you’ll be able to see a lot of islands in 3 days, so no worries. Many island hopping trips take you to 3-6 islands in a day πŸ™‚

  36. Hi! First off, thanks so much for sharing so much helpful information. You definitely made planning my honeymoon a bit easier. Question, did you book your island-hopping tours while you were still home, when you got to thailand, or on the same day? I’m a planner so i’m hoping to schedule as much as possible ahead of time (even if that means scheduling to schedule lol)

    1. Hi Reem,
      Glad to hear that! I’m a planner too, but in Thailand you kind of have to go with the flow, if you know what I mean. You can’t prebook any of the tours (at least not any I know of). You can only book them when you get there, but no stress! There are lots of tours to choose between.

      Happy honeymoon πŸ™‚

  37. Wow you are doing great with answering questions so I might as well ask one. I will be traveling to Thailand around Christmas time and staying through New Years. We plan on having a 7 day trip. Where would you recommend going? We of course are flying into Thailand. We like the idea of going somewhere as a base to explore other islands. We enjoy non touristy areas but they are fun sometimes. We also are curious about Chiang Mai

    1. Sure, Eddie πŸ™‚

      Well, if you only have 7 days, you won’t have time for both island hopping and Chiang Mai. Anything is possible of course – you could fly to Phuket and stay there for 2-3 days, then fly to Chiang Mai and spend 2-3 days and then return to Bangkok. I wouldn’t recommend it though as it will be stressful and expensive and you don’t have time to really see or enjoy the places.

      Instead, I would recommend you stay in Krabi for 2-3 days and do some island hopping from there. It’s much cheaper than staying in Phuket, and it’s not as crowded. Then, I would go to one of the islands, like Koh Lanta. On most of the island hopping tours, you’ll see 3-5 islands per day so 7 days give you a good time frame to explore the area.

      Have fun.

  38. Excellent photos !
    You are really doing great πŸ™‚
    I will be traveling to Thailand with my wife by end of November and have planned a 6 day trip.
    We would like to make Krabi as a base to explore other islands.
    Security and safety are of utmost importance also.
    Any suggestion or recommendation of a 6 day itinerary would be of great help.

    Kind Regards,

    1. Hi Raj,

      Thailand is a safe country to visit and I only have postive experiences with Krabi and safety. From Krabi, you can visit all of the islands mentioned in my post so just take your pick.

      Have a great trip πŸ™‚

  39. Hi Miriam! This is great information! I’ll be solo traveling Thailand for the first time in late November for two weeks (and am super nervous!). I was hoping on doing some island hopping and came across your blog during my research! I’ll be dividing one week between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and was going to fly into Krabi and island hop for approx. one week.
    What do you think of this itinerary? Should I cut out anything?
    Ao Nang – one night (Sunday to Monday)
    Ko Lanta (via ferry) – two nights (Monday to Wednesday)
    Koh Yao Yai (or Noi) – one night (Wed to Thurs – and maybe spend 1/2 Thursday going to a nearby remote island), then
    Phuket – one night (Thurs to Fri)
    I’ll then be taking a red eye flight back on Friday night.

    I know I don’t have much time to see a lot, but was hoping this would be doable. Your recommendations/advice would be very much appreciated.

    1. Hi Mellissa,
      Great to see you here! Thailand is very easy and safe to visit as a solo traveler and you will meet many other solos for sure! Plus, Thais tend to take extra care of solo female travelers so you’ll be in safe hands.

      As for your itinerary, I would say that it’s possible. I haven’t personally been to Yao Yai or Noi, but the other places are good. The only thing you need to take into account is that time is perceived differently in Thailand (and the rest of Asia). Busses and trains are often late and so are ferries. Make sure to be close to Phuket (if that’s where you flying home from) at the end of the week so you won’t miss your flight. If it’s too stressful, I do highly recommend taking day tours from Ao Nang. I promise, you will see LOTS of islands on these trips, and you don’t have to move to a different hotel/hostel so often. Just a thought.

  40. HI Miriam. I really enjoy reading your blog. I’m looking to visit the west coast in February of 2017. I’ve been to Krabi. I’m researching for where to stay. My husband and I will be bringing our 4 year old with and another couple will also be visiting Thailand for the first time. Looking for advice on islands that are more suitable for us. I want to stay away from the party places of course. Where should I start? Also want to impress our two friends and show them the beauties of Thai Andaman side.

    1. Hi Addie, welcome to my blog πŸ™‚

      I recommend finding a nice hotel on Koh Lanta, which is a lovely island! You can take a day tour and do some island hopping with your friends. There are some nice options from Ao nang in Krabi where you’re shown some of the best islands on the coast line.

  41. Hi,

    This blog has both helped me out more than any other ive read yet the more i read the more confused i’m becoming! lol. So wondered if you could give me any advice? I am trying to ‘go with the flow’ and hope for an adventure but my inner planner is not liking this!

    I am going to be flying into Phuket for 7/8 days. I was orginaly planning on staying in different places but reading here having decided to split my time between Krabi and Lanta and just get a hotel as base in each.

    As i am starting and need to end in Phuket, any advice on a route to take? I want to visit Phiphi, Khao Yoi, Koh Lipe and possibly Railay but know this may be pushing it and trying to work out what order to do this in is proving harder than thought. Any suggestions on how to do this? e.g. where to start and where is easiest to do day trips from (i noticed that its 4 hours back from Lanta to Phuket!) so wanted to try to find a way to make a smooth journey between them all then back to Phuket if this is even possible?

    Any help or suggestions would be super appreciated.

    1. Hi Curtis,
      I’m glad you found your way to my blog πŸ™‚

      Ok, so if you only have 7 or 8 days, you can’t go to Koh Lipe. Well, you can, but it’s impossible to do both Lipe and Phuket, etc because of the distance. My recommendation is to begin the journey in Phuket. No need to spend any time there, just head straight to Koh Phi Phi. From there you can go to Koh Yao and Koh Lanta or Railey. Lanta is bigger and more laid-back whereas Railey is quite touristy. You’ll get a busy schedule this way, but alternatively you can base yourself in Phuket and take day tours to Railey and Phi Phi. There are lots of other beautiful day tours, e.g. to the Similan islands. Phuket and Phi Phi are pricey though.

  42. Well done Miriam, you have the best Thailand travel blog i have landed on. The descriptive information and wonderful pictures you share set you a mile apart from the others.
    My girlfriend and i are travelling to Thailand for 20 days this January and i have a few inquiries; a) How easy is it to move from the east to the west coast? b) Is there a big monetary difference between booking hotels online and checking in the same day? c) Any special spas or romantic activities you would recommend? Thanks a lot!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Phillip!

      As for getting from the east to the west coast… well, it’s doable, but it takes one full day unless you decide to fly (although I’m not sure if there are any direct flights from Phuket to Koh Samui). Otherwise, it’s by minibus from Phuket or Krabi to Surat Thani where you catch the ferry to one of the islands.

      There might be a difference in price if you book online, at least that’s what I’ve experienced. Especially in Phuket where everything is much more expensive! One time in Aonang, Krabi, we wanted to book a few extra nights at our hostel, and the manager wanted us to pay more than the online price even though we pointed it out to him. We just went online and booked it. It was so silly, but I personally always prefer to book ahead.

      Phuket, Krabi and Phi Phi are very touristy and not very romantic. If you’re looking for a more secluded place, I recommend Koh Lanta and the East coast. I don’t have a hotel name for you, but if you stay clear of the Phuket area and resorts and go for more high-end bungalows on the beach, you’ll easily find a romantic spot.

  43. Hey Miriam, I would agree with everyone else’s comments-great blog!!

    My boyfriend and I are 30 and we are traveling to Thailand in 2 weeks (Jan 20-Feb 13), which gives us 22 full days to explore. We are active (love hiking, kayaking and mountain biking). Would love some down time on beautiful less touristy beaches, no real desire to party (we’ll be in between both full moon parties, which we are good with). No desire to get our dive certificates, but would like to go diving for a day and some snorkeling in between. We’d like to do it on budget, but it’s not necessary as we can afford to splurge here and there.

    We have allotted ourselves 2 nights in Bangkok, then taking train to Kanchanaburi for 2 nights. From there we are still trying to figure our best route to Chiang Mai, where we were still debating how to spend our time in the North (how many days? Pai? Chiang Rai? Thoughts?). We would like to do a Thai cooking class and go to the elephant sanctuary, and maybe a few hikes/kayaks, although hike and kayak can also be done in the south (thoughts?). From there we plan to fly to the south. I’m on the same page about Phuket based on what I’ve heard, so I would like to try and eliminate that.

    Ideally I would love to do Koh Tao (I’m told start of Feb isn’t a great time to head to the east, thoughts?), and then make our way to the West or vice versa. Is this possible with the amount of time we have left? I’ve read all your suggestions on which islands in the West, so I think I’ve got that covered, but feel free to give any other suggestions on where to base ourselves, and which islands and how to get to an from based on our type of travel. Also, your suggestion on the best way to get back to Bangkok as we fly out the morning of Feb 13th.

    Looking forward to your reply.



    1. Hi Danielle,
      I personally love Pai, which is very laid-back and relaxed. Also, Chiang Rai is worth a visit because of the White Temple. I’d say you could spend about 5-6 days there. You can do the cooking class in Chiang Mai or in Bangkok, but to save time, do it in Bangkok while you’re there. You could then spend 1 week on the East coast (Koh Tao and Koh Pha nang) and then go West to Koh Lanta. It takes a full day to travel over land. You can take the ferry to Phuket and fly directly to Bangkok from there. You can also do it the other way around and fly from Koh Samui to Bangkok. I’ve been to the East side many times in January and February and the weather has never disappointed – quite the opposite.

      I recommend you go to Bangkok at least the day before your flight. You never know if flights or other public transportation gets delayed or cancelled.
      Oh, and make sure to check out the waterfalls when you’re in Kanchanabury!

      Have a GREAT trip! πŸ™‚

  44. Also, we like to travel like a local…. and… any beach huts to can recommend for accommodations? Yes, a little all over the map :S

    1. In that case I’d recommend trains and keep away from long-distance busses. The train is much more comfortable, especially if you travel by night.

  45. Hi Miriam,

    Thanks for the posts. Great info. Quick question. My wife and I are struggling with 3 days of our trip:
    2/19-2/21: Bangkok
    2/22-2/25: Chiang Mai
    2/25-2/28: Question
    3/1-3/4: Railey

    On 2/25 we arrive in Krabi airport at 7:50 pm. My question is should we a) stay in Krabi for a quick night and then go to Ko Yao Noi or Ko Yao Yoi for three days before going back to Railey? Or would we be better off staying in Krabi mutiple days and doing day trips to see other islands before going to Railey? Since we are arriving at 750pm I don’t think we’d be able to get to any of the islands that night, correct? We would like to be able to see multiple places we just don’t want to be wasting too much time changing hotels etc. Any insight you can provide is greatly appreciated.


    1. Hi Justin, in that case I think you’re better off staying in Krabi. It’s been a few years since I was there, but we stayed in Ao Nang and took some great day trips from town. By staying in one place and doing day trips, you have more time and energy to see the area, especially when you’re limited on time.

      Enjoy πŸ™‚

  46. Our searched the internet to find this post and thank you! This post is the post that inspired me to 2. Start my own travel blog and 2. Travel through Europe and Asia for 6 months before heading to Australia. Miriam you are awesome. Thank you so much for your posts!


  47. Thank you for posting this! Answered a lot of questions I had in mind. I would love your input about our current itinerary. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Thailand this June. We are in our mid 20s, both love hiking, snorkeling and doing fun activities. Looking forward on doing island hopping but also some time to relax as well. Not so much party goers but we don’t mind it. We are on a budget but we can afford to spend a little more if we have to and for a couple nights at a nice hotel to relax.

    June 3-5: Arrive in Bangkok, stay 2 nights
    June 5-7: Fly to Phuket and go straight to Phi Phi islands
    June 7-14: Go back to Phuket, stay somewhere by Patong (?), do some island hopping, hiking, visit elephant sanctuary and Big Buddha Temple
    June 14: Fly back to Bangkok
    June 15: Flight back to the US

    Our friend is meeting us in Phuket and she already booked her flight. After reading your blog I’m convinced we should stay in Krabi instead and do island hopping from there, however, her flight is nonrefundable and cannot be changed to Krabi, so we kind of have to stick with Phuket, for now.
    So a few questions:
    1. Do you recommend staying in Patong for our stay in Phuket? Will it be close enough for the island hopping to see James Bond Island / Phang Nga Bay and to travel to the sanctuary and temples?
    2. Do you have any recommendations for affordable hotels in Bangkok for a couple of nights?
    3. Any recommendation for mid-range priced hotel for relaxation in Phuket or Phi Phi?
    4. How much do you think is a good price (per person) for island tours?

    Your response is very much appreciated. I am a little worried about this trip since it will be our first trip to Asia. Thank you again!

    1. Hi Mari,

      First of all, don’t worry about your trip. Asia is gorgeous, and Thailand is even more gorgeous – nothing to worry about.

      Second, I don’t recommend Patong. It’s a party area with lots of prostitution and old men with young Thai girls. I’ve stayed there a couple of times many years ago, but last time I swore never to return – especially because there are much nicer areas in Phuket! Kata and Karon are also crowded, but still much nicer alternatives, and you’ll be able to book tours from there as well. I haven’t stayed in Phuket for years (except for my wedding 5 years ago) so I can’t really recommend any mid-ranged hotels. Also, the same goes for the island tours – it’s been 10 years since I did a tour from Phuket so the prices aren’t the same today. I’m guessing though that you’ll pay maybe 2000 baht per person for a day trip, but it’s only a guess. Phuket is super expensive and touristy.

      In Bangkok I usually stay at Nouvo City Hotel: https://www.hotels.com/hotel/details.html?q-check-out=2017-05-15&q-check-in=2017-05-14&WOE=1&WOD=7&q-room-0-children=0&pa=1&tab=description&hotel-id=377531&q-room-0-adults=2&YGF=14&MGT=1&ZSX=0&SYE=3 There’s a great massage place and a restaurant just across the street (the restaurant is on the corner to the right when you exit the hotel entrance). This area is my favorite because it’s very central, close to Khao San Road and the Grand Temple (a must-see in Bangkok).

      Have a great trip.

  48. Hi there ! Just came across this post ! Exactly what i needed! Great piece of information!
    Also, it is possible to know the order of visiting these islands in terms of distance (quickest) :
    Koh samui, krabi, phi phi islands, phuket & then bangkok.
    It woukd be of great help !
    Thanks πŸ™‚

    1. Hi KT,
      Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

      Koh Samui is on the east side while Phi Phi and Phuket is on the west side. To get between them, you can take a flight or go by minibus and ferry (it takes a full day). The quickest route would be to fly into Bangkok, fly to Phuket, take the ferry to Phi Phi island, take the ferry back to Phuket, fly to Koh Samui and fly from Koh Samui to Bangkok. You can do it the other way around, too. Hope this helps.

  49. Hi Miriam!
    I just read through all your posts and thanks so much for all the great information! Although I feel more educated on the islands, I’m also a bit overwhelmed. My husband and our friend are travelling to Thailand for our 30th birthdays, and are planning to hit the Southwest from Sunday January 14th- Friday January 19th. We are looking for a mild- medium party, relaxation, snorkelling, trekking and beach time. Here’s what I’m thinking after reading your post and seeking input/ approval!!

    Sunday January 14th: Fly from Chiang Mai to Phuket (arrive in AM). MAYBE stay in Phuket near Patong for ONE NIGHT only to experience the party scene…I saw above you do not recommend Patong, and we’re honestly not big partiers so I’m wondering if we should even bother.

    Monday January 15th: Ferry to Lanta. Stay until Wednesday January 17th. Do day trips to Railay and other islands while here.

    Wednesday January 17th- Friday January 19th: Ferry to Krabi: Do more island trips/beach days/ jungle treks? Stay in Ao Nang (although Lonely planet doesnt have nice things to say about it but I saw you reccomend it as a central hub!)

    Friday: Fly back to Bangkok from Krabi to catch our flight on Saturday

    Thanks so much in advance!

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Personally, I wouldn’t recommend Patong because of the (very visible) sex tourism. It’s a sad state of affair and you could have a better time parting at Koh Lanta or Bangkok.

      Ao Nang is a bit meh compared to other Thai beach towns. But if you’re planning on taking day trips then you won’t spend time there anyways. It’s a good base, but not a destination in itself. Otherwise I think you have a great itinerary!

      Have a fun trip

  50. Hi Miriam,

    Very informative post. Really loved it. I am planning 3 weeks in Thailand with my wife around new year. Our plan is like below :-
    2 days in Bangkok
    4 days in Chiang Mai
    4 days in Krabi
    5 days in Koh Lanta

    We love doing activities like diving, hiking, etc. We have our return flight from Phuket and have 4 more days to spend. What places would you recommend. Also any recommendations to spend Christmas and New Years eve?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Ankit,
      I haven’t been there myself (yet), but I’ve heard great things about Koh Yao and Koh Kradan. Maybe you could spend the last 4 days on one of those islands. As for Christmas and New Years, I would probably prefer to spend it at the beach. But that’s just me πŸ™‚

  51. Yeap, Thailand is the appropriate destination for island tourism. Any trips to Thailand is very funny regardless of going alone or travelling with friends. However, I prefer the island hopping in The Philippines more than in Thailand.

  52. Hi Miriam,
    I love your blog, it all sounds so good and I am going Thailand in December, the most expensive time too. Reading all these places has confused me even more. Initially, I was thinking Krabi, Chiang Mai and Bangkok. I really wanted to do island hopping in Krabi but flights are expensive from London. So I’m thinking Phuket instead but I really don’t want to be part of the party side or in the touristy bits, plus its more expensive. I want to island hop too but don’t want to keep on moving with all my stuff, what would you recommend. I’m only going for two weeks and wanting to finish in Bangkok for new years so I know I am wanting to do everything haha.
    Any advice will be appreciated.

    1. Hi Amz,
      My advice would be to have a base or two and do some island hopping from there. You can do day trips and see several islands in one day. For instance, find a quiet beach around Phuket (stay clear of Patong) and do tours from there and then head to Koh Lanta and relax. That’s probably what I would do.
      And PS – with two weeks you can do everything πŸ˜‰

  53. The similan islands are great, staying overnight is much nicer than doing daytrips. you can see the empty beach and have a quiet time when staying overnight. Also Surin islands is less known and more peacefull

  54. Hey Miriam! My husband and I are planning a trip to Thailand in July.. I was wondering if you could give some tips on places to visit and stay while we are there, as I am not very good at planning and coordination! Thank you

  55. Hi MIriam, Wondering if you would offer your thoughts on Christmas time on Koh Samui. We don’t mind a little rain but we want to be able to enjoy the water and the beaches. Alternatively, what island on the West (or South?) would be comparable to Koh Samui? Phi Phi? We are not budget travelers. THANK YOU!!!

    1. Hi DD, you should be able to enjoy the beach and sun in December/January. It’s the high season. I’ve been to the East coast islands several times around that time and the weather has never been an issue.

      I would never recommend anyone to visit Phi Phi. It’s simply too ruined by tourism and I think you will be disappointed. As an alternative I recommend Koh Lanta or Koh Lipe down south. They call Koh Lipe “The Maldives of Thailand” and that kind of says it all πŸ™‚

      Have a great trip!

  56. Hi ! I’m traveling solo (22 years old male) to Phuket (flying into Phuket) and really wanted to experience the islands and overall the beaches. I arrive in Phuket (2a.m) April 13th and fly out of Phuket April 20th,2019 at 3a.m. I’m not a party-er and this trip is a getaway from the hustle of bustle of living in Los Angeles, CA. I want to disconnect and enjoy being on the beaches, enjoying the sun rise/sets, and being outdoors. Question: if this way your itinerary, where would you base at? and where would you stay at (island wise like Phi Phi Don?) I was thinking of basing in Phuket and do day trips but I really want to stay elsewhere like on a different island… willing to stay somewhere NICE in Phuket and take day trips as last option. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Pedro, I recommend Koh Lanta, it’s a nice island. Otherwise you can choose Kamala, Surin or Bangtao beaches. Just make sure to find a nice hotel. Avoid Patong beach!

  57. Such great information, what airlines from west coast are best/economical? Is best to book at Travelocity or booking.com? We too are traveling to Thailand in December.

    1. Hi Kristy, I always use booking.com for accommodation and Air Asia for flights in Asia. But you should check Skyscanner for the best prices and connections.

  58. Absolute Fantastic Info and Photo’s
    Please assist : I am traveling from Namibia in February 2020. Will be in Thailand for 2 weeks .
    First time . Could you suggest something . Western part of Eastern Part . Maximum of 3 days per place
    Would love to see as much as possible , Have a blessed day

    1. Hi Mariette, if you want to see as much as possible, go to the West coast. You can fly into Phuket or Krabi and take it from there. There are lots of islands to choose from!

      Have an amazing trip!

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