Table of Contents
- Koh Wai
- Koh Mak
- Koh Kood
- Koh Phayam
- Koh Phra Thong
- Koh Hong
- Koh Mook
- Koh Bulon Lae
Thailand is certainly the best place for beach lovers and island hoppers, with the likes of big-name vacation destinations from Koh Samui to Koh Phi Phi dominating many travel bucket lists. The result is an influx of visitors to these places, resulting in not just crowds but increasing demand for infrastructure and commercial activities. Step off the beaten tourist track and discover our list of eight amazing hidden islands in Thailand untouched by the masses, complete with pristine beaches, clear waters full of marine life, and undisturbed sunbathing spots. Read on!
Why visit Koh Wai?
Best for: Snorkeling. A nearby reef along the northern coast brings plenty of marine life to Koh Wai.
Koh Wai is a small little island in the shape of a crescent, located approximately 20 minutes by speedboat from Koh Chang in the Gulf of Thailand. Just 3.9 square kilometers, Koh Wai is a perfectly laid-back island paradise that remains unblemished by human development. You won’t find any villages, shops, roads, or vehicles here. Not even a 7-11! The main reason for its lack of development? There is no electricity on the island. This shouldn’t detract from its appeal because Koh Wai’s northern coast is home to a handful of small and incredibly beautiful white-sand beaches with unbelievably clear, shallow water just perfect for snorkeling. In fact, a coral reef runs along most of the north coast, just 40 meters from the shore!
How to get to Koh Wai
Tour boat operators bring visitors to Koh Wai during high season, either from Krom Luang Pier at Laem Ngop District on the mainland or from the popular island of Koh Chang via Bang Bao Pier.
Best for: Families with kids looking for a relaxing, secluded getaway.
Why visit Koh Mak?
A little bit south of Koh Wai is the larger, privately-owned island of Koh Mak. Koh Mak is approximately 16 square kilometers and has a population of approximately 1,500 people. Still a fairly well-kept secret for most travelers, Koh Mak makes a peaceful alternative to its neighbor Koh Chang, with a handful of family-friendly accommodation options — from beach bungalows to small boutique hotels — that cater to visitors traveling with children. Even better, the Koh Mak community has kickstarted sustainable tourism activities that visitors are encouraged to take part in, in order to protect the island’s environment and help minimize the carbon footprint of their stay!
How to get to Koh Mak
Boats that stop at Koh Wai tend to also stop at Koh Mak. Your best bet is to depart from Krom Luang Pier at Laem Ngop District on Thailand’s mainland, or from Bang Bao Pier on the island of Koh Chang.
Best for: Explorers who want more than just pretty beaches.
Why visit Koh Kood?
As the second-largest island in the Koh Chang Archipelago, coming in at 111.3 square kilometers, Koh Kood is not just home to incredible palm tree-lined beaches and perfect snorkeling spots. Koh Kood boasts scenic inland waterfalls, coconut plantations, mountainous jungle-covered terrain, and the fishing village of Ao Salat located in the northeast. Of course, being a fairly remote island, public transport is non-existent here, but you can certainly rent a motorcycle or hire a songthaew (covered pick-up truck) to get around. That said, you will still be able to find some high-end accommodation options here, alongside some restaurants and bars in the main area, Klong Chao.
How to get to Koh Kood
You can catch a boat from the mainland at Laem Sok Pier, or, as with the other Koh Chang satellite islands of Koh Wai and Koh Mak, you can get to Koh Kood via speedboat from Koh Chang’s Bang Bao Pier.
Best for: An awesome tropical island atmosphere that rivals Koh Samui, just not as crowded!
Why visit Koh Phayam?
Koh Phayam is a 45-square-kilometer island off the coast of Ranong Province, located near the Myanmar border. Sitting in the Andaman Sea, the island is home to all of the quintessential tropical island must-haves: long white-sand beaches, clear blue waters, coral reefs, dense rainforests, and a wonderful vibe that many say is very similar to what Koh Samui had been in the 1980s, before it became a major tourist hub. Fun fact: Koh Phayam is also famous for cashew nuts, which are grown on the island!
How to get to Koh Phayam
Koh Phayam is located 33 kilometers from Ranong. You can catch a boat from Ranong Pier and the journey will take you approximately two hours.
Koh Phra Thong
Best for: Interesting landscapes, most notably its African-like savannah!
Why visit Koh Phra Thong?
Literally meaning “Golden Buddha Island”, Koh Phra Thong is known for its incredible landscapes, from dense mangrove forests to rocky outcroppings near the beach. What’s really interesting is the vast expanses of African-like savannah fields that dominate the inland area of the island, which you won’t find on any of the other islands on this list. The 88-square-kilometer island is separated from the mainland by a seven-meter-deep canal to the east. The northwestern shore faces the nearby islands of Koh Rang Nok and Koh Pho Ta, both accessible by kayak.
How to get to Koh Phra Thong
The easiest way to get to Koh Phra Thong is to hire a long-tail boat from Khuraburi. The journey usually takes around an hour and you will be treated to some lovely mangrove scenery along the way.
Best for: Getting away from the crowds at Krabi.
Why visit Koh Hong?
The Hong Islands lie just a short boat ride away from Krabi. They center around the uninhabited Koh Hong. Crowned “The Emerald of Krabi’s Sea” due to its incredible scenery and crystal clear waters, the picture-perfect island is surrounded by coral reefs. For a real treat to make you feel like you’re on a truly hidden island in Thailand, catch a boat or kayak to the Lagoon of Hong Island. With just a single one-way entrance about 10 meters wide, the lagoon looks just like a massive natural pool enclosed by astonishing cliffs.
How to get to Koh Hong
Koh Hong is very accessible from Phuket, Phang Nga, and Krabi’s Ao Nang Beach. You can reach the island in under an hour via speedboat or long-tail boat.
Best for: Adventurers looking to explore a magical cave.
Why visit Koh Mook?
Koh Mook is an incredibly tranquil and secluded island that has a few special gems of its own. While it is tiny — just 5.5 square kilometers — it makes the perfect day trip destination if you’re going island hopping. Check out the fascinating Emerald Cave, which hides a secret lagoon that is only accessible if you swim through a 100-meter-long tunnel. Still an insider’s hidden gem, Koh Mook is a quiet paradise that has remained obscure and off the tourist radar.
How to get to Koh Mook
You can easily get to Koh Mook via boat from Trang (30-minute journey, departing from Khuan Tung Ku Pier) and Koh Lanta (one-hour journey, departing from Ban Saladan Pier).
Koh Bulon Lae
Best for: Deserted beaches and real solitude.
Why visit Koh Bulon Lae?
Koh Bulon Lae is a small, scenic island in the Satun Province near Tarutao National Marine Park. It is known for its golden-sand beaches, bungalows, and untouched natural beauty. With almost no development on the island, you’ll discover a diverse landscape here, from ancient pine forests to shimmering seaside rock pools. Chill out along the stretch of sand known as School Beach, where the bungalows are, or visit the small and charming restaurants scattered around the island. The best thing is, it only takes roughly 20 minutes to navigate the island on foot!
How to get to Koh Bulon Lae
You can get to Koh Bulon Lae via speedboat from Pakbara Pier, where most boats depart for the popular destinations of Koh Lipe and Koh Tarutao. Pakbara Pier itself is located about a half-hour minibus journey from the town of Satun. Boats to Koh Bulon Lae only run during the high season.
Looking to explore more magical hidden islands? Read our Philippines island hopping guide: 5 Hidden gems for the perfect getaway. We guarantee you’ll find something new!
Be sure to refer to our handy resource, The Ultimate Guide to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, to remain up to date with regulations around the world.