The gulf of Thailand is a warm and tropical ocean idyll, but the stunning scenery, amazing street food and affordable rates mean that you’re usually sharing your corner of the beach with a few other travellers. Here is Skyscanner‘s list of lesser-known, secret islands to visit to avoid the crowds this season:
1. The best island for couples? Koh Yao Yai
Granted, the resorts and beaches of Koh Phi Phi are perfect for post-wedding bliss, but sometimes it’s nice to find your own little slice of private paradise. The Koh Yao islands sit between Phuket and Krabi, and they’re both scattered with a handful of high-end hotels that make them great for romantic getaways. Koh Yao Yai is the slightly less crowded of the two, and there’s little to do here other than sit back and relax.
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2. The best island for solo travellers? Koh Phayam
It’s said that Ko Phayam is exactly what Koh Samui was like 30 years ago, before being developed and built on. Right now, the island has very little going on (cars are not allowed on the island), which makes it a destination for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Aow Yai is the biggest beach on the island, and the bars facing the water’s edge are great places for meeting like-minded solo travellers, surfers and beach bums.
3. The best island for families? Koh Lanta Yai
Koh Lanta consists of several islands, and Koh Lanta Yai is the biggest in the group. Naturally, this island is a tropical idyll with white sandy beaches and great diving conditions too. The shallow waters and friendly locals make it an attractive option for families, with child-friendly hotels and bungalows all down the western coast. For a grand day out, head to one of the smaller islands nearby or explore the Mu Ko Lanta Marine Park.
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4. The best island for hedonists? Koh Chang
Although Koh Chang is the second largest island in Thailand, it’s the naughtier sibling islands such as Koh Phi Phi and Phangan that steal all the hedonistic limelight for their Full Moon Parties. The bars and clubs of Koh Chang make a pleasant alternative to the booze-fuelled nights on Haad Rin Bay – instead, you’ll be able to socialise and remember who you spoke to at the pool the morning after.
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5. The best island for group holidays? Pattaya islands
If you’re after a big adventure with a few of your closest friends and don’t fancy the bright lights of Koh Samui or Phangan, the islands around Pattaya could be just what you’re looking for. Instead of staying in one place, hop between Koh Phai, Koh Sak and Koh Larn on long-tail boats, camping out and staying in affordable beach bungalows too. Spend your time trekking around the islands, diving or sunbathing before ending each day with an ice-cold beer.
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6. The best island for getting away from it all? Koh Racha Yai
There are only 3 resorts on Koh Racha Yai, which tells you how little-visited this island is. It’s only a 40-minute boat ride from Phuket, and if you’re looking to get even more lost in Thailand’s islands, you can catch another boat to Racha Noi – a smaller island south of Racha Yai. Koh Racha Yai is scattered with beautiful beaches, lush forests, and palm trees that simply beg for you to string up a hammock and watch the world go by.