Oh, the Thai islands.
There is nothing better than hitting this area. Every couple of days, you're stepping off a boat and getting your first glimpse of a new paradise.
Well, for the best part anyway.
The majority of the places I hit were amazing, some not so much, but if you are stuck for time and might only be able to squeeze in two or three, then pay attention.
I obviously haven't visited all the islands but here, in order, are my recommendations on what to prioritise based on my experience:
1) Koh Phi Phi
View this post on Instagram
Koh phi phi viewpoint 💙 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ #kohphiphi #kohphiphiisland #thailand #igersthailand #insta_thailand #asia #watercolor #water #majestic #mesmerizing #beauty #earth_shotz #earth #photooftheday #photo #fotocatchers #tv_aqua #tv_sea #sea #indianocean #green #nature #trees #bluesky #bluewater
Right, I've gone all bloody in on one of the party islands to kick things off.
It was a tough decision, but I think you'll respect it. You're more than likely heading over to Thailand to let loose and Phi Phi was my favourite place to do it.
It's not a huge island but it is absolutely packed mainly with bars and clubs as well as lovely restaurants.
All you really need to know about Phi Phi is that you grab your buckets and head to the beach at night. The entire beach is covered with clubs but everyone is mainly on the sand.
The clubs double up as hostels but I recommend you don't stay there or you won't get a minute of peace.
There is an amazing viewpoint in here and Koh Phi Phi is where you get the boat to see the famous Maya Bay where The Beach was shot. Slight warning, Maya Bay ain't that great and it's jammed with tourists.
2) Koh Lipe
View this post on Instagram
Another beautiful destination in the Anandaman Sea.. Koh Lipe, nearly to the Malaysian border! #kohlipe #kohlipeisland #thailand #thailandtravel #malaysia #malaysian #penang #georgetown #langkawi #langkawi_island #drwdpandhisgirls #ichglaubichbleibhier🇵🇱 #polka #naturelovers #naturephotography #naturelovers #beach #dreams #reiki #backpacking
Lets take things down a notch or two.
Koh Lipe is actual paradise.
It's a tiny island with one little strip and two insane beaches.
The little strip contains a couple of restaurants, one of which is called Elephant where I had brekkie every morning I was there, and a bar or two.
Two beaches, Sunset Beach and Sunrise Beach, are either side of the strip and in walking distance of it.
There is little to no nightlife but it's the most relaxing island you'll find.
3) Koh Tao
I feel like this is a bit of a mix between the above two islands.
Firstly, this is the island that everyone hits for scuba diving. It has some of the best waters to dive in and there are plenty of schools around, whether you just want a fun dive or to get a PADI license.
There is definitely a scuba clique here but you just have to get involved.
Plenty of options for food and drink as well and they have a famous bar crawl.
The Koh Tao Pub Crawl is pretty loose as you play some games, attend a Cabaret show and neck some free drinks.
During the day, it is pretty chilled and although there aren't too many beaches, there are cool places to hang out including Coconut Monkey, my fave café on the island.
4) Koh Phangan
A less decent version of Phi Phi in my eyes.
Going over, I always knew that Phi Phi and Phangan are the paces to hit for the madness and Phangan was supposed to be the GOAT.
It has all the big full moon parties but I just didn't get it. The town is quite small, the bars are fine and the food is grand.
It has nothing that tops Phi Phi for me and I would be happy enough to skip it if I went again.
You're going to these islands for the sesh and Phi Phi could have a couple of thousand people all having the craic on the beach and you just won't get that in Phangan.
Well, I didn't anyway.
5) Koh Samui
View this post on Instagram
🇹🇭 CHECK OUT MY THAILAND HIGHLIGHTS (on main page) - explains how to get to this viewpoint!!! ✅✅ . . I’ve been island living lately, spending all my days on the beach or on a scooter exploring. Things that have happened since my last post: I got my scuba diving license in Koh Tao (yay!), saw my first fire show, got bitten by bed bugs on a ferry (not yay), petted A LOT of dogs, learned about BREATHARIANS (no food, no liquid, just sun rays diet - it’s a real thing) and swam in this natural infinity pool that overlooks the island of Koh Samui. I’m sure a bunch of other funny things have happened, but time goes by so quickly when you have no concept of it. . . Thank you Koh Tao & Koh Samui for the beautiful views, off to my next island 🌴 📸 @vagabondtamara
It has a pretty big town, loads of hotels, restaurants and even a massive shopping centre.
Lots of nice things but not a great vibe.
We rented out a big villa here for 10 of us which was pretty slick apart from the fact it pissed rain for our entire stay.
The town is really busy and there are constantly Thai kickboxing vans roaring promotional ads up and down the main road. It's a pain in the arse.
The nights out were fine but again, nothing on Koh Tao or Phi Phi.
Yeah I know, not an island but in the vicinity of them all - give me a break.
This is the biggest town of the lot and it's rammed with tourists.
It seems like one of the only areas where it's acceptable to bring your family so you'll have a lot of kids running around.
The nightlife is packed into this little square which reminded me of my sixth year holiday. There is a long stretch of beach but the entire place seems to be lacking a touch of class.
This is the way I would prioritise my trip if I was to pop over again: Take a look at where the islands are in relation to one another to make your trip as painless as possible.
There are so many more to visit, so if you've any recommendations, please let us know in the comments below.
Here's a little snippet on how I got on: