We’re all familiar with Thailand’s world-famous island destinations like Phuket, Koh Samui, and Koh Phangan, where millions of eager travelers visit each year to revel in the many sights and sounds of Thailand. But what about places for those who prefer to stray off the beaten path? Although these Thai islands may be harder to find, there are indeed plenty of unspoiled tropical islands in Thailand where adventurers can enjoy the beauty and serenity of paradise in its purest form. With these largely undiscovered destinations, vacationers are able to forgo the crowds in favor of the company of untouched island nature. Here are six of our favorite islands in Thailand that are under the radar. Add them to your travel itinerary so you can feel like you’re living in your own private island paradise!
Koh Lao Liang
In an effort to protect its stunning natural wonders, the people of Koh Lao Liang have gone to great lengths to control the island’s tourism flow. Accessible only by boat, this small island holds an eco-resort status and restricts the number of visitors it allows per day. Located in the Koh Petra Marine Park, accommodations are limited to upscale camping, rather than the high-rise resorts and hotels commonly found throughout Thailand’s islands. Koh Lao Liang offers some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Thailand, with magnificent limestone cliffs, pristine sandy beaches, and an abundance of colorful coral reefs surrounding the island. Adventurers often visit this island specifically for its amazing rock-climbing and snorkeling opportunities.
Koh Bulon Lae
Home to only 150 inhabitants and a scattering of modest resort accommodations, Koh Bulon Lae is a truly a gem of nature. Located near the Malaysian border deep in Southern Thailand, this island offers a wide range of stunning white beaches that are rarely occupied by more than a few people. The island also possesses a dazzling array of coral reefs that are perfect for snorkelers, as well as a variety of pleasant hiking trails throughout the island. Ultimately, Koh Bulon Lae is for those who wish to relax in peace and quiet while surrounded by unmarked paradise.
Koh Phra Thong
Proclaimed as “one of Thailand’s last unspoiled coastal locations,” the unique island of Koh Phra Thong is home to approximately 10 miles of uninhabited white sand beaches. The fascinating landscape of this island is its main claim to fame, with its large African-like inland savannah plains, swaths of palm tree-lined coastal areas, spectacular coral reefs, and protected mangrove forests. Offering a variety of low-key accommodations for guests in charming beach hut style, the island is also home to a multitude of rare tropical bird species and sea turtles thanks to its lack of human development. Lying in the Andaman Sea off the western coast of Thailand, Koh Phra Thong is a must-visit for those looking to discover the treasures of Thailand’s nature.
Much quieter than its neighbor, Koh Phi Phi, the relaxing island of Koh Lanta is home to a number of Swedish expatriates that contribute to its distinctive overall feel. Koh Lanta is a nature explorer’s dream; it holds deserted beaches, lush rainforests, inland waterfalls, swaths of mangroves, the Mu Ko Lanta National Park at its southern tip, and even an old lighthouse. The wildlife on Koh Lanta is similarly stunning, as it plays home to macaques, sea turtles, exotic birds, and an abundance of tropical fish. The island also offers a wonderful culinary experience, with plenty of delicious seafood restaurants, traditional Thai cuisine, and even European-style cafés and restaurants.
A perfect remedy for those tired of the tourist-filled islands of Thailand, Koh Libong possesses a huge variety of wildlife and breathtaking natural scenery. Koh Libong is proudly known as one of the last places on Earth where visitors can spot the extremely rare dugong, also known as a sea cow, in its natural habitat. Other attractions on the island include its tropical forests, natural golden beaches, and stilted villages home to Muslims who live solely off the island’s fishing. Home to four environmentally-friendly resorts, the island is still largely untouched by the outside world.
Offering a more tranquil option than its noisier neighbor Koh Chang, this privately-owned island is the ideal vacation spot for families looking to spend time together in natural paradise. Koh Mak has plenty to see and to do for visitors, including three fishing communities, forests of palm trees, rubber plantations, two uninhabited beaches, and three different diving schools. With its wide selection of unassuming resorts, Koh Mak makes for the perfect getaway for both individuals and groups of all ages.