At the turn of the millennium, director Danny Boyle’s hit movie The Beach inspired a generation to pack their bags and set off in search of paradise. Whilst it may have featured Leonardo DiCaprio, the undoubted star of the show was Koh Phi Phi, and its famous Maya Bay.
An extremely small island with no cars or motorbikes to dodge on its paths, Koh Phi Phi is well known as a nightlife and natural beauty hotspot. The aforementioned Maya Bay is stunning, surrounded by white sand and sheer limestone cliffs. However, the bay is just one of many beautiful features of the island. With a range of other beaches, bays and trails to explore, there’s little wonder why it has been a top destination for travelers for years. When you’re done exploring, its plentiful bars, nightclubs, restaurants and beach parties provide enough entertainment to keep even the biggest party animals occupied, but there’s also luxury hotels far from the raucous crowds for those who want to relax in this idyllic paradise. Truly the gem in Krabi’s crown.
Long talked up as Thailand’s “next big thing”, thankfully Koh Lanta has resisted the plight of over-development that has affected other islands like Koh Samui. That’s not to say it hasn’t changed. Sure, there are more places to stay and eat compared to ten years ago, but the lack of garish condos and multi-story mega-hotels and presence of cute, traditional bungalows on the beachfront means Lanta has retained its charm and doubled its convenience.
A large island, complete with several beaches, waterfalls and a national park, its sleepy and laid-back nature has proved a hit with travelers, who come here in numbers but keep a lower profile compared to the Phi Phi revelers. Its beaches are spacious, peaceful and pleasing to the eye, but there’s more to the island than sunbathing on the sand. Districts such as Sala Dan and the Old Town contain a number of teakwood shop houses on stilts over the water that not only host cafes and souvenir stores, but offer a glimpse into what life was like here in the past. Days can become weeks here, but you wouldn’t complain about it.
We know what goes on tour stays on tour, but sometimes the places you visit have secrets of their own — and that’s certainly the case with Koh Hong. Fortunately for you, Hong’s isn’t very well kept.
From the outside, Koh Hong looks like the usual, run of the mill paradisal Thai island, with its limestone cliffs and soft, sandy shores. However, on closer inspection, you’ll find that it’s much, much more, and the clue is in the name. Hong translates to “room” in Thai, which refers to the large chamber in the centre of the island. Enclosed on all sides by tall cliffs, it’s home to a gorgeous blue lagoon that’s perfect for swimming or kayaking in. A feature of breathtaking beauty, a visit to Koh Hong is one you won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
It might not have the bars of Koh Phi Phi, or the rustic shop houses of Koh Lanta, but tiny Bamboo Island is proof if ever it were needed that size isn’t everything.
Perhaps Krabi’s most postcard-perfect island, Bamboo Island boasts some of the softest, whitest sand in the land that’s every bit as beautiful as pictures on the Internet make out. If that isn’t enough, it’s also surrounded by turquoise-coloured water that’s ideal for snorkeling or swimming in. There might not be much else to do here, but we’re sure you won’t mind taking a load off in these beautiful surroundings.
If it’s fair to describe Koh Lanta as underdeveloped, then by comparison, Koh Jum is practically undiscovered.
With little more than wooden beachfront bungalows to stay in on the island, Koh Jum is a thrownback as far as Thai islands are concerned, and is one of those islands that you’ll want to visit before they become wildly popular in the next few years. With practically-deserted beaches that are relaxing, calm and beautiful in equal measure, it’s the perfect place for beach bums and nature lovers alike to call home for a few days. Throw in a number of small restaurants serving authentic local dishes, as well as the odd few beachfront shacks well stocked in cold beers, and you just might not want to go home.