Why you should Island Hop in Thailand!
Updated: May 11
If you’re going to fly halfway across the world, you wanna be able to experience as much as you can. Don’t get me wrong I love a good four day vacation at a beautiful resort... Drinks being brought to you, endless delicious food, and clear blue water. But more than four days and I get a little stir crazy being confined to one place. So if you plan on taking an extended visit to Thailand, make sure you hit the mountains, cities and islands. Ferries are cheap and pretty reliable, making island hopping more feasible.
I always recommend going to both touristy and lesser known locations. Prices will vary greatly between the two in terms of dining options and items purchased at local shops, but there’s still plenty of accommodations for your price range (as long as you book in advance). For example, we stayed at a hostel that was $30 which was right on the water, and an incredible resort that was $400 a night. Figure out what you can afford and what your priorities are. Is it comfort, style, or price?
Below are the islands we chose and our experience visiting them.
Our island journey began on this pretty touristy island for one sole reason...The Infamous Full Moon Party, which takes place on the Hat Rin beach every full moon. This party includes buckets filled with vodka and sprite and some pretty awesome djs. It gets pretty wild so if you’re not okay with people peeing in the ocean (you had to pay to use the bathroom and there were people who took it upon themselves to make their own bathroom), extremely loud music, and body paint then this party is not for you. Don’t worry though, if you’ve been to a rave or festival it’s the same vibe!
We arrived to this island from Chiang Mai, Thailand. The travel day included a flight into Surat Thani’s airport, a bus (about an hour) to the ferry, and about a 2.5 hour ferry ride. Lomprayahsells joint tickets which you can purchase on arrival, or online.
We stayed at Asia Blue the Tavern Haciendaabout 25 mins away from Hat Rin, which wasn’t an issue since our hostel arranged for taxis to come every 30 mins or so. The entrance fee is 100 baht, with bucket drinks costing around 200 baht. Beside this we did some exploring around the island but we were pretty hungover and stayed by the pool for the other 2 days of our stay.
Overall this island is great if you’re into partying and love music. It was definitely an experience we will never forget.
Our next stop was to the Thailand's second largest island of Koh Samui. We took a 30 min ferry which only cost around 8 USD (240 baht) and then a taxi from the port to the hotel we stayed at which was Lamai Coconut Beach Resort. It was a really nice hotel located right on the beach with good service. Lamai is filled with amazing restaurants serving thai, american, and even italian food (which was owned by an italian american who had relocated to the island. The area near the hotel was nice to walk around filled with plenty of shops and restaurants.
Koh Samui also has many beautiful waterfalls so we hired a driver to take us to Na Muang waterfall (which our hotel was kind enough to arrange). If you love hiking then this is perfect for you. There are two waterfalls and a natural pool that sat at the highest points. But be prepared to sweat and for your legs to burn. Stay hydrated!
Koh Yao Noi
The last island was chosen for the resort that resided on its northernmost point. It was a rough ride getting there but it was worth it in the end. Paradise Koh Yaois probably the nicest resort we have ever stayed at. It has the most beautiful sunrise, amazing food, and entertainment. The island was quiet and more exclusive compared to the other islands we visited. Originally we had anticipated staying in the Treehouse Villason their property but when we arrived we learned that they hadn’t been completed yet (very disappointing) but the resort was very accomodating and refunded a partial amount to us and upgraded us to a villa right on the water with a private pool. They also offered us complimentary massages, a five course meal (which was the most delicious food and drink pairings), sunrise yoga, and a three hour kayak rental. The Treehouse villas have since been completed and we’d love to go back and check them out!
We spent the last five days of our five week Southeast Asia trip on this island and it was a perfect way to relax after constantly moving around. It is so exciting to see and do everything, but relaxing is just as important. If you plan on doing a long trip we recommend spending the last couple days enjoying the beach and curling up with a good book.
These are the three islands we decided on but there are many more you should check out such as Koh Phi Phi (a.k.a the James Bond islands), Phuket island, Koh Tao, or Koh Yao Yao. Main takeaway is ISLAND HOP! Each island has their own feel and experience so pick the islands best for you. With so many islands accessible by plane and ferry you’d be missing out by only choosing one!