The coast of Thailand is dotted with so many beautiful islands that it can be hard to narrow down which to visit. Along the coastline, there are lots of snorkelling and diving locations just waiting to be explored. See some of the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches and islands!
Thailand has two long coastlines – the Andaman Coast on the west side, with islands located on the outside of the Thai peninsula (near Myanmar), and the Eastern Gulf Coast on the opposite side. The best time to visit the Andaman Sea is November to April. The Gulf of Thailand is on a separate weather system and gets more sunshine from January to September.
These three Central Gulf islands, located off the East Coast, are quite close together. Ko Samui is Thailand's third-largest island. Abundant tourist resources, sandy beaches, coconut trees and coral reefs are present on the island. Enjoy luxurious comfort in Ko Samui and then head to Ko Pha-Ngan to spend the craziest night of your life at a wild Full Moon, Black Moon or Half Moon party. These all-night open air events take place on a beach in Haad Rin and in a nearby forest. Thailand's party island also has a quieter side. To enjoy peace and serenity, take a longtail boat from the Rasananda to Bottle Beach (Hat Khuat), one of the island’s most remote and unspoilt beaches.
Ko Tao is the perfect place to learn to scuba dive, as there are hardly any currents and a wide selection of dive sites. You can get there by a ferry - 1.5 h from Ko Samui or 1 h from Ko Pha Ngan. Take a bike around the island and go snorkelling in the Shark Bay. However, the best places are only accessible by foot. In the Central Gulf you can also enjoy the natural splendour of the Ang Thong Marine Park and untouched coast and beaches of Cape Pathiu in Chumphon province.
Photo credit: lkunl, Alexander Mazurkevich, think4photop - Shutterstock
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How to get there:
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Where to stay:
In Ko Samui you can stay at the top-rated 4* Banburee Resort and Spa. Nestled in a quiet corner of Laem Set Beach, this 4-star resort is a 15-minute ride from the Samui Ferry Pier. It features spa services and 2 dining options. The Curve Bar provides all-day dining at the pool side. Light meals and cocktails can be found at The Canna Restaurant. Guests can enjoy a refreshing dip at the outdoor pool or unwind in the resort’s steam rooms. The resort also provides assistance in tours and sightseeing arrangements. In addition, free parking is provided on site. The spacious rooms of Banburee have modern Thai décor and architecture. Rooms have a private balcony and enjoy panoramic scenery. Each room is also fitted with satellite TV. Banburee Resort is a 35-minute drive from Samui International Airport. It is a 30-minute drive from Chaweng Beach and a 20-mintue drive from the commercial district of Na Thon Town.
In Ko Chang we recommend you to book 4* Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway with excellent reviews. This property is 2-minute walk from the beach. Directly located on Bai Lan Bay, this luxurious 4-star hotel boasts modern Thai-style rooms, a private beach and pampering spa treatments. All come with a flat-screen TV, minibar and tea/coffee making facilities. En suite bathrooms have either hot-water showers or a bathtub. Some room types also feature a private balcony. Guests can relax by the beautiful outdoor pool. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Relaxing spa treatments include body massage, a sauna and hot tubs. Guests can enjoy a refreshing workout at the gym, or check e-mails at the business centre. There is also a children’s club and babysitting services available. The Bay Restaurant serves both international and Thai cuisines, with unrivalled views of the sea and pool. Room service is available 24 hours. Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway is 44 km from Trat Airport and a 5-hour drive from Bangkok City. Free parking is available.
What to do:
The highly recommended thing to do in Thailand is to take an island hopping tour. You will have a chance to explore some of the most breathtakingly beautiful islands, famous for sandy beaches, lagoons, limestone cliffs, hills and lush tropical vegetation.
Go swimming in the crystal clear waters, sunbathing, kayaking, or just relax and read a book.
Enjoy a lemongrass-scented spa and a relaxing oil massage on the beach.
You can also choose sailing, abseiling, cliff jumping or wake boarding.
Take a freediving course in one of various diving schools. Go scuba diving in Ko Tao to see turtles, stingrays, barracudas, lots of small fish and sharks. The island provides good diving weather nearly any time of the year except November. Average visibility is around 15-20 m, but in good conditions, it can even exceed 40 m.
You don’t have to be a certified diver to enjoy the underwater beauty of Thai islands – you only need a snorkel mask to explore the undersea life. Many sandy beaches offer easy access to shallow, wind-protected bays, that make snorkelling safe. However, some beaches don’t allow fins any more due to coral protection.
If you want to learn about coral reefs, visit one of the marine conservation zones. You can even volunteer in a project to support restoration of reefs and conserving endangered marine life.
Spend the night in one of the jungle’s huts in Khao Sok National Park. Take a day tour to the Phi Phi Islands – Thailand’s largest Marine National Park and backpacker favourite.
Try karst climbing in Railay Beach or go hiking in the unspoiled, natural tropical jungle of Ko Samui. Climb Khao Pom, the largest mountain in the island, peaking at 635 meters. Ko Chang is also great for jungle trekking and tree climbing.
Learn how to cook Thai food. The cooking courses teach how to prepare popular dishes such as spicy soup (tom yum), fried rice noodles (Pad Thai), and so on.
You can also take a basic course of Thai medical massage or practice traditional Thai yoga on a beach.
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