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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thailand Island Hopping

Thailand Island Hopping must be one of the world's 10 top things to do. Maybe not on a scale of the 7 wonders of the world but a truly fun and happy experience. To come to Thailand for some island hopping, the land of the smiles, with a small travel bag, a list of top beaches, some ferry times and no particular itinerary feels like freedom, an authentic break with town life back home.

Phang Nga Bay island Hopping boats with the traditional Longtail boat

Thailand has two island infested seas, the Indian Ocean on the south west shore and the Gulf of Siam on the east. The islands on the west coast are dominated by Phuket , Phi Phi Island and Koh Lanta and the east coast comprises of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Koh Chang. These are the best destinations for a good selections of bungalows, hotel or resorts. Often travellers will choose either coast for their stay as it makes sense but not spend too much time in the process of travel.

Island Hopping Ferry ride to Phangan Haad Rin Full Moon Party Thailand

Here is an overview of these islands to give you a taste of what is great, a must see and what to expect. Firstly the west coast island.

Phuket island hopping.
Famous Phuket found in the 1970's by Vietnam War veterans in search of Paradise and should be on your island hopping list. The perfect beaches on the west coast of the island corralled by the Phuket Highlands that soar up 600 meters, covered with jungle and rubber plantation. The key beaches, now as major holiday destination are Patong, Bang Tao, Karon and Kata Beaches. These resort centers area great places to go and do a bit of haggling for those souvenirs and mementos for back home.
Phuket Island Hopping Thailand

On top of this the seas are a wonderful play ground for sailors, surfers and divers as long as sight seers. Phuket is also right on the doorstep of the Phang Nga Bay where James Bond island towers above the famous beach in the Man with the Golden Gun.

Phuket town is the primary center of the island and hosts the yearly Chinese Vegetarian Festival, an exciting, noisy rodeo of Chinese tradition ancient rites and a very macabre series of gory processions that attempt top route out evil and bring luck for the years ahead.

Phi Phi Island island hopping Just 45 km, 1 hour 30 minute from either Krabi or Phuket island this stunning island is perhaps the jewel of Thailand's islands. 6 mini islands and outcrops, sheer cliffs drop down into the coral filled seas teaming with fish and marine life make this a one stop island hopping paradise. Diving, snorkeling and hanging out are the main adventures by day and the night life and moon light evening make for an exceptional experience. There are no cars on this island and so you are continually hoping in and out of boats to get to all the cool beaches and over to the main bar areas in Phi Phi Don Village.

Phi Phi Island Hopping Thailand

Phi Phi Hotels are mainly on Phi Phi Don and are dominated by the 2 and 3 star resorts with the 4 and 5 star Zeavola, Holiday Inn Phi Phi Island and Phi Phi Island Village Resort and Spa being highly popular.

Island Hopping ferries in Thailand

Koh Lanta island hopping
This is a really get away island, ideal for island for hopping. Predominantly jungle mountain the island is very quiet by the standards of many islands. There are some wonderful resorts including the 2012 Top 25 resorts the Layana Resort And Spa (according to Tripadvisor). This is a great place to unwind, away from the chatter and noise of the main the large resort areas.

Koh Lanta on your island hopping tour, Thailand.

Further locations for island hopping on the west coast.Look up Koh Yao Noi in the Phang Nga bay near Phuket and Phi Phi. This exceptionally quiet island has a few great resorts. This island is flat with some great beaches but with prime position looking out onto the stellar skyline of the island filled Phang Nga Bay.

Koh Yao-island hopping Thailand

Near Krabi Island you have the famous Koh Jum which is a place back in time. Hound by the hippies in the 1980's it has a cast away feel. You can get to this island from Krabi town. Other islands to look up are Koh Kradang, Koh Mook the southerly Koh Tarutao Islands. If you go north to Khao Lak there are islands near the Burmese Boarder such as Koh Chang that are definitely worth an explore.

Koh SamuiVery different from the west coast islands, Koh Samui islanders have a very different take on life. Predominantly Chinese and Thai, (On the West coast you have Muslim Thai and Chinese) the mood is very laid back. Surrounding the main beaches of Chaweng and Lamai you have have exciting mix of of resort town, superb entertainment and night scene. This very wooded and mountainous island has lots to see and explore and the west coast beaches are remote and have timeless sunsets.

                                                                                                                  Samui Island Hopping Thailand

Koh Phangan island Hopping
Very few people get through their time in the Gulf of Thailand without hearing about the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party. Koh Phangan comes alive every full moon as every island hopper in Thailand high tails it down to Haad Rin Beach for 5 days of non stop party. This is a monthly massive event and you hear the rumour mills and the secrets traded as far a field as Khao San Road in Bangkok and Chaing Mai.

Phangan Island Hopping Thailand

Further islands of interest on the east (Gulf of Siam )
Koh Tao is the island famous for diving on the esat coast. There are many beautiful coral gardens around this island and many dive schools there to teach diving. Koh Chang in the far East near Cambodia. This island is a great favourite amongst people from Bangkok.

Koh Chang Island Hopping Thailand

Koh Lipe Island Hopping Thailand

Bamboo island island Hopping boats with speedboats


  1. We just returned from Koh Samui& Koh Phangan. Had a wonderful time! Island hopping is easy and definitely worth doing when touring Thailand.
    Thanks for sharing!

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