Thailand’s hidden islands

30/09/2014

With the explosion of the raucous full moon parties, a plethora of beautiful beaches and alcohol prices that make Wetherspoon look like the Hilton, Thailand has become a go-to destination for travellers looking for a good time.

However, there is so much more to this incredible country than glow-in-the-dark body paint and buckets of cheap spirits.

For those who want to avoid the backpacker-buzz surrounding Thailand’s more popular tourist areas, we’ve put together a list of lesser-known islands.

Koh Phayam

Located in the Andaman Sea, this little island is one of the few that can still truly boast to be ‘undiscovered’. 

Enjoy perfect beaches and clear blue seas in a place that is largely overlooked by the backpacker community.

There are two main bays: the sunset bay, Aow Yai, and the buffalo bay, Aow Khao Kwai, which are perfect for lounging, sunbathing and splashing around in the sea.

Once you’ve had your fill of beach relaxation (if that’s possible!) you can head inland on one of the various hikes that take you through the island's jungle and forest terrain.

To get here, you must take a boat from Ranong, a town in southern Thailand. It normally takes around two hours, but the journey is worth it if you’re keen to head to a quieter area of the country. November marks the start of the Thai high season when boats are available twice a day for around 150 baht.

Surin Islands

These islands are more than a bit of a challenge to get to, but what lies off their shores is well worth the effort.

Located in western Thailand, the Surin Islands are home to one of the county’s most protected national parks and some of the best diving and snorkelling areas you’re likely to find anywhere in the world.

There is no commercial boat pier to the islands and so the only way to get there is to book a tour with a diving and snorkelling company in nearby Kuraburi. It is worth arranging this with a trusted travel agent before your trip to make the journey a little easier.

Once you arrive and get into the water, you will not regret the added effort you put in. The pristine waters that surround the Surin Islands are home to vast coral reefs, endangered and rare animals - including sea turtles - and countless under-water selfie moments.

Koh Lipe

If you’re determined to avoid all but the most reclusive of tourists, then Koh Lipe could be a wonderful addition to your itinerary.

Not only is this island almost completely off the radar for most travellers, but it’s a beautiful place to spend the evening.

The area that surrounds Koh Lipe is full of smaller, uninhabited islands that are easily reachable by boat and, should you wish to really get away from it all, can be camped on for the night.

For quiet, white sandy beaches, look no further than this Thai haven which can be reached during the high season from Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh and Lanta and by ferry.

Ko Adang

Another remote beach paradise, Ko Adang is definitely a place for nature lovers.

This island is a place for activities such as hiking, snorkelling and diving, as well a few breath-taking beaches thrown in for good measure - it is Thailand after all.

There’s plenty to do on the island, including a trek to Pirate’s Falls which, as their name suggests, were once used by sea-bound raiders to stash their booty after a successful heist.

Chadoe Cliff provides sensational viewpoints of the surrounding area, making it well worth the uphill walk and a pleasant break from the beach below.

Image credits: Thinkstock

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