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
29 March 2021

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

If you’re in search of the Thai island life that exchanges flashy resorts and rowdy nightclubs for plenty of empty, white-sand beaches, jungle-cloaked hills, sleepy fishing villages and kaleidoscopic reefs you’re likely to have all to yourself, then follow our Culture Trip guide to the best.

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 blinding blue sea from Koh Kradan, a remote paradise off Trang in the Andaman Sea. This island is just 4km (2.5 miles) long and almost entirely protected for conservation, with a bone-white stretch of sand on the east side of the island. Snooze under a tree to the sound of lapping waves or kayak around the entire island in just three hours to take in the views.

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 (7.5 miles) long, so days are spent swimming, boating and snorkelling or 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.

Koh Lanta

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Beach Pubs at Klong Nin Beach, Koh Lanta Island, Thailand 2BKCWTB
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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 (18 miles) long and has nine sweeping beaches, a healthy sprinkling of restaurants and bars, and miles of dense forest and 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 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 (25 miles) from the mainland and well away from the tourist trail, a haven for travellers looking to soak up sun, sea and silence. There is almost no nightlife on this island, in the National Marine Park in eastern Thailand, 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

Nature lovers, seafood fans and anyone wanting to get back to basics will feel right at home in tiny Koh Bulon Lae, 23km (14 miles) west of Pak Bara. A glorious speck in the waters of the Andaman Sea, the island 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, taking just 20 minutes 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, laid-back bars and relaxed restaurants, Koh Lipe is a peaceful alternative to the big-name islands but with all their amenities. The island, on the edge of the Tarutao National Marine park, is best-known for its 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 water. If you’d rather spend the 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, with nothing more than a handful of secluded beaches, bath-warm water for snorkelling and the occasional low-key bar for drinks with your toes planted in the sand. 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.

Ko Tarutao

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Ko Tarutao Marine National Park, Satun Province, Southern Thailand
© Igor Prahin / Alamy

As the largest island in the Ko Tarutao National Park archipelago, Ko Turato offers an assortment of natural wonders you won’t want to share with anyone else. Think smooth vanilla beaches curved round an impossibly clear sea, mountains blanketed in ancient rainforest, limestone caves and cooling waterfalls. Take it all in by hiking up the rugged Toe-Boo Cliff for dramatic views over this island wonderland.

These recommendations were updated on March 29, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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