With Thailand’s white sand beaches and gloriously warm waters, the dreamy destination offers a luxury travel escape without breaking the bank. But why spend your Thailand travel time on crowded beaches when you have lesser-known stunners to explore?

High season begins for Thailand in November and tapers off in February. Here are some of Thailand’s best islands to travel to, whether for a day trip, overnight stay, or an extended vacation retreat: 

Koh Lipe

You can walk the full length of tiny Koh Lipe in 30 minutes (walking is the only way to get around). And given that it is L-shaped, Pattaya, Sunrise, and Sunset beaches each sit on one side, all shimmering with soft, white sand and crystal blue water. And for those who can’t sit still, the island holds a lush, green forest perfect for exploring, hiking, and taking scenic walks. It’s also ideal for a diving and snorkelling adventure.

To get to Koh Lipe, take a boat from Pak Bara (other locations are used in high season) on the mainland of Thailand for around 600 baht and it takes about 90 minutes. From Ko Lipe, you can take a boat to its neighboring islands such as Koh Rawi, Koh Adang, and Koh Tong.

Koh Lipe, Thailand

Cabanas on the beach. Photo: Koh Lipe Beach Resort via Wikimedia Commons

Koh Muk

Koh Muk or Pearl Island is located near Thailand’s western coast offering pearly beaches like Sivalai Beach, which has its own resort, and Haad Farang aka Charlie Beach named after the resort that sits on it. For travel and adventure lovers alike, Morakot (Emerald) Cave, is a naturally made passageway within mountainous rocks. Many kayak to this location and enter the water where they can wade in, play and relax. If you travel here, remember only to enter the cave during low tide.

You can travel to Koh Muk from Koh Ngai, Koh Bulon, and Lanta for 600 baht, and another ferry can be taken from Trang (a 30-minute ride). There is a village on the island, Baan Koh Mook, where some restaurants and supermarkets can be found.

Koh Muk, Thailand

Photo: McKay Savage via Wikimedia Commons

Koh Wai

Like Koh Lipe, the picturesque, virginal Koh Wai is only 2 miles long, and you can easily walk it from one end to the other in 45 minutes! There are no roads so you just follow the pathways. Koh Wai has beaches on the north side of the island with the rest being rocky cliffs and lush jungle. It is an island people spend the day at, but not for the night due to a lack of necessities for it has no electricity! There are only two resorts that have electricity all day.

From Koh Chang it takes about 20 minutes by speedboat and 45  minutes by regular boat to get to Koh Wai. Other islands you can travel to from Ko Wai are Koh Mak (30 minutes away) and Koh Kood (90 minutes away).

Koh wai thailand

Photo: Khaosaming via Wikimedia Commons

Koh Phangan

This is Thailand’s fifth biggest island and one of its main attractions is the scuba diving with 20 different dive spots for adventure lovers. Ao Thong Nai Pan beach is the place to try new food and soak in the culture. When you travel here, see the stunning Phaeng Waterfalls located in the center of the island that is a part of the Thansadej National Park. 

The best way to travel to Phangan is by flying to Koh Samui from Bangkok and then taking a ferry for 250 baht from the Bangrak Pier to the Thong Sala Pier.

Phangang, Thailand

Photo: Rubbins via Wikimedia Commons

Koh Samui

Okay, so Koh Samui is not exactly lesser known, but we couldn’t resist including this gorgeous travel destination. Samui is Thailand’s second biggest island with many waterfalls you must see, including the Na Muang Waterfalls located south-east of the Nathon Bay. Koh Samui, of course, has beautiful beaches like Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach which are great both for relaxing on land or snorkeling in the reefs. A sublime Thailand travel destination indeed! 

The best way to travel there is to fly via the Samui Airport from Bangkok.

Ko Samui , Thailand

A long boat on the shore of Koh Samui. Photo: via Amazing Thailand

Koh Tarutao

To get to Thailand’s seventh biggest island, take a speedboat from Pak Bara which is a 90 minute ride. Tarutao is among Koh Lipe and the Marine National Park so travelers can island hop using different boats for day trips – a great way to enjoy Thailand travel.

In 1975, Koh Tarutao became protected through the National Marine Park which also protects Koh Rawi, Koh Lipe, and several others. The National Park HQ is located on this island as well, sitting in the north close to the To Bu Cliff (follow a trail in the forest to reach the cliff). It has three main beaches, Ao Phante Malacca, Ao Molae, and Ao Son, known for their pretty sunsets. You can also choose to hike and explore the National Park.

Koh Tarutao thailand

Photo: Yothind via Wikimedia Commons


With such incredible Thailand travel options, why do the same old thing? These lesser known stunners are just waiting to be explored.

Also read:

13 Spots On India-Thailand Highway You’ll be Insane to Miss

World Elephant Day: My Serene Getaway with Elephants in Asia