Ever wondered where those stunning photos of your friend who’s teaching English abroad were taken? There’s a high chance that Thailand was the destination. This country is almost synonymous with full moon parties and bar hopping on islands, which means most of the them are overrun with tourists. Having said that, Thailand also houses some of the most quiet and undisturbed islands in Southeast Asia.
Over the years, teaching English in Thailand has become the go to thing for westerners wanting to live and travel in Asia. With feedback from our team who’ve all spent time in Thailand, along with our program alumni, we take a look at 5 islands which still feel remote, quiet and relatively unspoiled.
The Similan Islands
This is an area consisting of 11 gorgeous Islands that can only be reached by boat. This makes it a lot harder for all the club kids and full moon party-goers to get to the islands. If you’re looking to get away from the noise of festivities on the mainland at Krabi and the ruckus that is Koh Phi Phi, then the Siliman islands are what you are looking for.
The Similan Islands National Park itself is one of the most visited in Thailand, but of the 11 islands, there’s still a few that are relatively untouched and quiet.
Getting to the Similan Islands:
You can get a day tour from Phuket which includes a 90 minute bus ride to Khao Lak port and then a ferry over to the island. From Khao Lak to the Similan Islands the trip can take as little as 60 minutes on speedboat up to 5 hours on larger boats or fishing vessels. The boat rides will cost anything from 1000 Baht (±$30) on a fishing boat to 2000 Baht (±$60) on a speedboat to 5500 Baht (±$170) for guided diving trips.
Staying on the Similan Islands:
There are no resorts on the islands and you’re only allowed to set foot on two of them. There are some tour options with overnight camping, or basic accommodation on the islands. Most people visit just for the day.
Koh Kradan, off the coast of Trang province in the south of Thailand, is perfect for snorkeling and swimming, with its very shallow crystal clear waters. The island also has low tide bars along the beach that add to its holiday feeling and helps make visitors feel ultra-relaxed. The fact that there’s no convenience stores or ATM’s on the island might be the reason why most tourists stay away, but it’s also what makes Koh Kradan so special.
It’s one of the few places in tourist-packed Thailand where you still feel like you’re discovering something that few people have seen before. The island gives you a sense of authentic seclusion that not many places in the world can still replicate.
Getting to Koh Kradan:
The easiest point to reach Koh Kradan is from Trang town where you can get a combination minibus+ferry package which takes you via Kuan Thung Khu Pier. It takes around around 2 hours each way. It will cost around 1200 Baht (±$36) each way using a speedboat.
Staying on Koh Kradan:
There are about 7 places to stay on the island, if you’re not just making a day-trip out of your visit, ranging from backpacker accommodation to luxury resorts.
If you’re a nostalgic person who wants to know what Thailand was like before all the tourists got there, Koh Phayam is for you. Many say it reminds them of Koh Samui during the 80s, the vibe is just free and laid back. This is one of those islands that you can tell it’s just a matter of time before all the luxury resort construction companies come bulldozing in. That is why now is the perfect time to visit.
Getting to Koh Phayam:
The easiest is from Ranong Pier in Ranong town, it costs about 350 Baht (±$10) each way and take about an hour to get there by speedboat.
Staying on Koh Phayam:
There are a bunch of places to stay on the island, due to it’s more rustic nature a lot aren’t listed on booking sites, so contact them directly for reservations. If you’re after the quietest spots, try Ao Khao Kwai in the South of the island.
Nearly 200 miles east of Bangkok and near the Cambodian border, this is probably one of the most remote islands in Thailand. It’s filled with rain forest, coconut trees and inhabitants number only about 2000 people. That being said, there’s still an array of choices for accommodation. Koh Kood itself has two beaches on opposites sides of the island, so you can watch the sunrise on one side and the sunset on the other. Heaven on Earth!
Getting to Koh Kood:
While you can get bus trips organised from Bangkok, if you get to Trat town it’s about a half an hour trip to Laem Sok pier where you’ll be able to get a ferry which takes about an hour and a half and costs between 350 Baht (±$10) and 600 Baht (±$18) depending on if you use the speedboat or not.
Staying on Koh Kood:
Koh Kood has a bunch of accommodation spread throughout the island, so you needn’t visit only for the day. It’s all relatively peaceful by Thai standards, so take your pick on what looks best for you.
Koh Bulon Lae
If you’re looking for uninhabited destinations, Koh Bulon Lae only has 150 inhabitants. Most of them live on one side of the island, that means it’s very easy to feel as if you’re completely alone on the other side. You can fish, snorkel, swim etc. This is perfect for anyone looking to get away from it all and just experience tropical paradise in its most raw form.
Getting to Koh Bulon Lae:
The easiest is from Pak Bara Pier on the mainland where there’s a ferry once per day which takes half an hour and costs about 400 Baht (±$12) each way. You can also get to the island from nearby islands, most transport only runs between late October and March.
Staying on Koh Bulon Lae:
The island is tiny, making walking around easy. So even if you pick cheaper accommodation in a less desirable location, you’ll be a few minutes walk from the pristine sands of a more upscale resort; in short there’s something for every budget and taste on the island, despite its small size.
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