These Are the Best Quiet Islands in Thailand

Thailand has hundreds of islands that let you escape the tourist traps and enjoy nature untouched
Thailand has hundreds of islands that let you escape the tourist traps and enjoy nature untouched | © Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy
Photo of Siobhan Grogan
2 September 2021

Want to get away from it all? Thailand has hundreds of islands for you. Steer clear of the better-known destinations and seek out tranquillity on one of these idyllic options in the Andaman Sea or Gulf of Thailand.

If you’re in search of the Thai island life that trades flashy resorts and rowdy nightclubs for empty beaches, jungle-cloaked hills and kaleidoscopic reefs, then join Culture Trip’s specially curated 10-day tour of Southern Thailand – led by locals for maximum authenticity.

Koh Lanta

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Beach Pubs at Klong Nin Beach, Koh Lanta Island, Thailand 2BKCWTB
© travelbild-asia / Alamy

Koh Lanta was once a closely guarded backpacker’s secret, but it now appeals to families and beach lovers looking for a quiet escape with plenty to do. The island is just 30km (18mi) long and has nine sweeping beaches, a sprinkling of restaurants and bars, and a dense forest with mysterious caves to explore. There’s also a well-paved network of roads, so it’s a great idea to rent a motorbike and zip around for a memorable tour in the tropical sun.

Koh Kradan

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Beautiful white sand beach on Koh Kradan island, Trang Province, Thailand - R7Y7TY
© kevin hellon / Alamy

While away lazy days gazing at the blue sea from Koh Kradan, a remote paradise off Trang in the Andaman Sea. Feeling active? You can kayak around the entire island in just three hours to take in the views. This island is just 4km (2.5mi) long and almost entirely protected for conservation, with a bone-white stretch of sand on the east side of the island.

Koh Yao Noi

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Palm grove, bBungalow in the garden of Lom Lae Resort, Koh Yao Noi island, Phang Nga, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Asia
© Otto Stadler / Alamy

If you’re not quite ready to ditch all signs of tourism, Koh Yao Noi is the ideal compromise. This island, in the Phang Nga Bay within easy reach of Phuket and Krabi, is a dream for anyone needing some serious R&R. It’s home to 4,000 residents and is just 12km (7.5mi) long, so days are spent swimming, boating and snorkelling. Alternatively, try trekking through the untouched forests to reach deserted waterfalls. There are a handful of cafes, diving shops and small resorts to provide some home comforts.

Hong Island

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Aerial view of view point of Hong island, Thailand
© Jackyenjoyphotography

Easily accessible from Krabi (just 15 minutes by speedboat or 40 minutes by longtail boat), Hong Island is actually an archipelago comprising several small, uninhabited islands in the Than Bok Khorani National Park, characterised by white sandy beaches, towering limestone cliffs and a secluded turquoise lagoon. On a day tour here, you can swim, snorkel and kayak among shoals of colourful fish in the calm, shallow water or follow the nature trail through the jungle, keeping a close eye out for white-faced gibbons and monitor lizards.

Visit Hong Island with Culture Trip as part of our 10-day Southern Thailand trip.

Koh Mak

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Wooden boat pier in sea and hut with clear day sky in Koh Mak at Trat, Thailand 2BTW6WK
© Prasit Rodphan / Alamy

Fancy a real desert island experience? Sleepy Koh Mak is 40km (25mi) from the mainland and well away from the tourist trail. So, it’s a haven if you’re looking to soak up sun, sea and silence. There’s almost no nightlife on this island, but you will be in the company of 10,000 palm trees, a Buddhist temple, plenty of winding bicycle tracks and a diving school to make the most of those gin-clear waters.

Koh Bulon Lae

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In Bulon Lae Island, bungalows at Pansand resort in the Ko Phetra maritime national Park (Thailand)Ile de Bulon Lae (Thailande)
© M@rcel / Alamy

Love nature? Seafood? Getting back to basics? Then, you’ll feel right at home in tiny Koh Bulon Lae, 23km (14mi) west of Pak Bara. A glorious speck in the Andaman Sea, it has one main white-sand beach, no cars, a scattering of simple beach huts and a friendly fishing village. It couldn’t be simpler to explore either; it’ll take just 20 minutes for you to walk from one end to the other.

Koh Lipe

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snorkel diving at Koh Lipe, Thailand
© Noppasin Wongchum / Alamy

The ideal mix of deserted tropical beaches, laidback bars and relaxed restaurants, Koh Lipe is a peaceful alternative to the big-name islands with all of the amenities. The island, on the edge of the Tarutao National Marine Park, is best known for a spectacular coral reef and jaw-dropping white beaches that make it a dream for divers. At night, unwind at seafront reggae bars to enjoy full-moon parties, live bands and cocktails underneath an endless starry sky.

Koh Kood

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View on Khlong Chao Waterfall on Koh Kood island - Thailand M92Y38
© Ulf Huebner / Alamy

Bring a sense of adventure to Koh Kood and explore this wild, unspoilt island of waterfalls, mangroves and rainforest. The beaches are as beautiful as you’d expect but the real thrill comes from whizzing down dirt tracks on a scooter, hiking through the steamy jungle and kayaking in brilliantly turquoise waters. If you’d rather spend days lolling on a hammock underneath a palm tree though, you couldn’t pick a better spot.

Koh Mook

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The hidden Emerald Cave (Tham Morakot) on Koh Mook island in Thailand
© dave stamboulis / Alamy

Serene Koh Mook, in the Andaman Sea, is all about the picture-perfect beaches. If you can drag yourself away, there are a handful of Thai restaurants and street-food stalls, winding jungle roads and local villages, but the renowned Emerald Cave should not be missed. This hidden beach is reached only by swimming through a dark mountain tunnel; go early to get it all to yourself.

Koh Jum

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Palm beach, Golden Pearl Beach, Ko Jum or Koh Pu island, Krabi, Thailand, Southeast Asia
© Otto Stadler / Alamy

Yearning to do nothing? Beautiful Koh Jum, on the western coast of Thailand, is made for unwinding. It’s got nothing more than a handful of secluded beaches, bath-warm water for snorkelling, and the occasional low-key bar. If you need a little more activity, cycle the length of the island in around an hour or head to the mountainous north, which has excellent hiking trails, including a route up Koh Pu Mountain.

These recommendations were updated on September 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Siobhan Grogan

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