Koh Samet is one of Thailand’s most popular islands for both locals and tourists alike. Koh Samet is easily reached from both Pattaya and Bangkok. Expect crystal clear waters, delicious seafood, lazy beach days and party nights. The island can be easily explored by renting a motorbike or taxi. Accommodation options range from cheap beachside bungalows to exclusive resorts, catering for all types of travellers. In the evening check out Ploy Bar which has magical fire shows and buckets (literally) of alcohol for reasonable prices.
Koh Larn (Coral Island)
Koh Larn, otherwise known as Coral Island, is a beautiful island with picture-perfect beaches. Like many Thai islands, certain nationalities are drawn to each island, Koh Larn is particularly popular with Russian tourists and workers from Pattaya. The mountainous island offers stunning landscapes with plenty activities on offer from parasailing, jet skiing, hiking, fishing, diving and more. The main village has a local market, school, medical clinic and more. Check out the evening seafood stalls by the pier for mouthwatering fresh seafood straight off the grill.
Koh Chang is one of the biggest and most frequented islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Chang’s diverse landscape includes crescent white sand beaches, lush rainforests and cascading waterfalls. Lonely Beach is the most famous beach for backpackers and offers cheap accommodation and food. Koh Chang has Cambodian influences due to its close proximity to the Cambodian border. If you’re in Pattaya and do not want to trek to Thailand’s southern islands, Koh Chang is a great option to experience island life without needing to make any compromises.
Koh Phai (Bamboo Island)
Koh Plai, also known as Bamboo Island, is located in a small island archipelago. The island is under the watchful eye of the Royal Thai Navy and no permanent facilities are permitted, nor can one stay on the island overnight. Koh Plai has idyllic snorkelling opportunities on coral reefs teeming with vibrant marine life. Diving is also an option for those who want a little more adventure. Alternatively sunbathing on the beach with a good book is the perfect way to while away the time. The island is best reached by speedboat from Bali Hai Pier.
Koh Sak is the perfect day trip from Pattaya and is a mere 10 kilometres offshore. The horseshoe-shaped island is an unspoilt tropical beach escape with white sand beaches, turquoise waters and no permanent settlements. Visitors to the island can buy refreshments and delicious Thai dishes from the small local restaurant. Explore the islands fascinating history as you walk to the other side of the island. Koh Sak was formerly a highly exclusive destination for the worlds rich and famous including Neil Armstrong, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Shah Reza Palahvi of Iran, former Presidents of the United States and the late King of Thailand. Along the walk, you can see the hand and footprints of these exclusive guests marked on the concrete path.