Never a Dull Moment in the Thai Islands

koh tao

The Thai islands have been a hugely popular destination with British tourists in recent times. Easily accessible from the Thai capital Bangkok, they continue to enchant their visitors with a captivating combination of beautiful scenery, wild night life and adventure activities. The marked difference in atmosphere between the various islands is perfectly illustrated by three islands in the Gulf of Thailand, just off Thailand’s east coast: Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan.

koh samui airport

Koh Samui

The main access point of the islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is served by daily flights from Bangkok. New arrivals are taken to the miniscule terminal (pictured) in buggies normally more at home on a golf course. Koh Samui is a lively island and a great place to let your hair down upon arrival. Chaweng has a host of bars and clubs to keep tourists entertained with Green Mango, Mint Bar and The Islander Pub always lively options.

Samui Football Golf is a short taxi ride from Chaweng and is a good way to work off a hangover. As the name suggests, it’s just like regular golf but with footballs instead of golf balls and no clubs involved. Be warned though: the course is on a steep hill and misjudging a chip can leave you back at square (or in this case hole) one.

For a more relaxed time in Koh Samui, Mae Nam is less developed than other parts of the island and is still predominantly a backpacker beach. Alternatively, take a speed boat over to the pristine beaches of Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park which inspired the novel and then film The Beach.

diving in koh tao
thai islands

Koh Tao

A calmer alternative to other more hedonistic Thai islands, tiny Koh Tao is free from large hotel resorts and is ideal for recharging the batteries after a full moon party. Its name in Thai means Turtle Island, although it was given this name because of its shape rather than its marine life. Nevertheless, Koh Tao is an important nesting point for Hawksbill and Green Turtles and draws diving enthusiasts from around the world.

Koh Tao remained relatively untouched by tourism until the 1980s. There are still only three main settlements on Koh Tao: Haad Sairee, Ban Mae Haad and Chalok Ban Kao. You will find several diving schools on Koh Tao, many of which offer accommodation along with diving excursions and courses. There are also regular whale watching trips out to sea and plenty of colourful fish to see even just snorkelling. There’s plenty to do on the land too, including rock jumping and jungle hiking.

koh tao

Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan’s Full Moon parties have now become almost a rite of passage amongst young backpackers and are now legendary. Held on Haad Rin beach once a month whenever the moon is at its fullest, Full Moon parties draw an estimated 20,000-30,000 people each month and offer a truly cosmopolitan experience with revellers from all four corners of the globe. Giant fire skipping ropes and drinks served in buckets are the norm; UV paint is the dress code.

Accommodation can be thin on the ground on the night itself so it’s a good idea to book in advance. Likewise, ferries from Koh Samui are usually very busy immediately before a Full Moon party so try and get tickets in advance.  

There are no direct flights from the UK to the aforementioned Thai islands. Globehunters provide a variety of different flights to Koh Samui via Bangkok. Speak to one of our expert travel guides on 020 3384 6000 to make your trip to the Thai islands a reality.

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