Top 6 most pristine islands in Thailand & best quiet islands in Thailand for this summer
If you are bored of crowds in popular tourist sites such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, the six beautiful islands listed below will captivate tourists. Let’s have a look at the top 6 most pristine islands in Thailand.
Ranong Province’s Koh Phayam is the second biggest island in the Andaman Sea. This island is renowned as “heaven on Earth” because of its white beach, turquoise water, sunlight, and palm trees, which are bordered by green palm and pine forests. Koh Phayam island, in particular, is still relatively abandoned by people nowadays.
There aren’t many beautiful coral reefs for snorkeling on Koh Phayam to attract visitors. However, diving into the crystal blue waters of the sea or hiring a motorbike to explore the island’s rubber plantations and lovely tiny eateries is also a highly gratifying experience worth attempting.
Beaches on Koh Phayam
Long Beach (Haad Yai) in the west is the longest and best beach for sunsets and enjoying beach life. There is a lot of space for a lonesome spot under a tree or for jogging on the wide beach during low tide. There is nothing much to do but relaxing, reading books, or having a drink in a beach bar or restaurant. Wifi is available in some places. And at nighttime, a few bars are open for pool billiard and music.
Buffalo bay (Ao Khwai) is a flat sandy bay in the north of Phayam. During low tides the water disappears from half of the bay, but at high tide it is like a big bath tube with warm and calm bright blue water. The beach is divided into two areas, where the small beach resorts are located. It is a place to be for people who are seeking silence and a very relaxing atmosphere.
On the eastern side of Koh Phayam, close the piers and the hamlet, there are several short beaches, such as Ao Mae Mai. These locations are suitable for those who are not interested in beach life but wish to participate in other activities.
Things to do
A few Ko Phayam resorts provide boat tours for fishing, snorkeling, or diving. The greatest spots are not on the island itself, but a little further south in the Andaman Sea. If the weather and sea conditions are favorable, day excursions to Ko Surin national park or the smaller islands of Ko Kam may be beneficial. Trips to Myanmar’s Mergui archipelago, which has hundreds of pristine islands, will be feasible in the future.
Exploring the small island is an option using a rental motorbike or a bicycle. In about one hour nearly every spot reachable by roads can be visited.
How to get to Koh Phayam
- Ko Phayam is usually accessed from Ko Phayam Pier in Ranong town on the mainland; see the Ranong travel section for details on getting there and to the pier.
- If you prefer to book your travel in advance, you can book ferry tickets to Ko Phayam online with Ranong Ferry who can arrange both slow boat and speed boat ticketing.
- In high season, slow boats depart for Phayam from Ranong at 09:30, 10:00 and 14:00 for 200 baht and take two hours. Speedboats depart at least once every two hours from 09:30 to 16:30 for 350 baht and take 45 minutes, with hourly departures in peak season. In low season, one slow boat departs at 09:30, weather permitting.
- From the main village pier on Ko Phayam, slow boats return to Ranong in high season at 08:30, 14:00 and 15:00. Speedboats return hourly in peak season from 07:00 to 17:00, with fewer departures during the shoulder months.
- Two of the Ranong-bound speedboats departing from Phayam can usually stop at the New Pier on the east coast of Ko Chang Noi for 350 baht; times depend on tides so ask a travel agent. A private longtail boat costs around 2,500 baht, per boat not per person, and can drop you at any of the west-coast resorts on Chang.
- If you’re heading to Ao Siad on the south coast of Ko Chang Noi, take the 14:00 slow boat from Phayam and call one of the bungalow joints to request a pick up by longtail, and be sure to tell the slow boat crew what you’re up to.
- Nokair offers two flights daily (early morning and afternoon) from Bangkok Don Mueang to Ranong. Minibus shuttles drive from the airport to the town or pier for 200 Baht p.p. If taking the flight in the afternoon, an overnight stay is necessary in Ranong.
- Overland buses are reaching Ranong from Bangkok (8-9 hours) or Phuket/Khao Lak (4/2 hours).
- Walking is not a great way to get around Ko Phayam due to the relatively long distances between beaches. Motorbike taxis hang out near the pier and charge 70 to 100 baht to take you any place on the island. Resorts can call them to pick you up whenever you need.
- Phayam’s narrow lanes are great for bicycling along the mostly flat or rolling terrain. Quality mountain bikes can be rented at Took’s Place in the village for 100 baht per day. Several resorts rent out bicycles as well.
- Motorbikes can be rented for around 200 baht per day at several places in the village and most resorts. Travellers are occasionally overcharged for minor bumps and scratches at certain shops; we had a good experience at Oak & Amy on the immediate right after leaving the pier, and some expats suggested Popeye, located a little further up from the pier on the left.
- There are no cars or trucks on Phayam, just the motorbikes and a few tractors and ATVs. Be careful when riding, as deep ruts and patches of slippery sand often appear without warning on the not-so-well-maintained lanes.
Weather and climate
The climate of Ko Phayam is tropical, with a lengthy rainy season lasting from May to the end of November with plenty of rain and storms from the Indian Ocean. From December through April, the weather is pleasant and quiet, with plenty of sunshine and clear blue skies. The temperature throughout the day runs from 28 to 33 degrees Celsius, and the water temperature is approximately 28 degrees. The peak season lasts from December through March.
Where to stay in Koh Phayam
There are many small bungalow resorts along the beaches and in the middle of the island. They are all family owned with a very friendly but simple atmosphere. The prices are still quite low. If you decide to live along the small road that leads thru the island, you will be part of the daily life on Ko Phayam. While being on the beach will mean relaxing and hiding away from life a bit. An interesting location to sleep is Lamai Resort in the center of the island on a hill top with wonderful views and a panoramic restaurant. The best beach resorts is probably the Blue Sky Resort on the east side, but the beach is not the best. On Buffalo Bay we recommend The Buffalo Bay Vacation Club and the Heaven Beach Resort. On Long Beach Phayam Lodge is a good choice, if you like higher quality bungalows.
See more Koh Phayam images
Although Kho Yao Noi is near to Phuket, the island is less well-known among tourists. As a result, Koh Yao Noi has become an excellent holiday destination for visitors who enjoy the rustic, calm, and solitude, as well as those who enjoy exploring and experiencing romantic intimate moments.
You may explore the island by renting a mountain bike and pedaling around the paths that circle the island. You may also tour rubber plantations, learn about the beautiful lives of the people, and sample native specialties like banana smoothies and coconut curries…
Things to do in Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Noi does not have any special landmarks or breathtaking views; but, driving about, you will discover a region that has changed very little in 20 years, except from a few extra motorbikes and a new 7-Eleven. A trip along its calm lanes reveals to the tourist a location of real serenity and simplicity.
The natural attractions of this modest island include wooden cottages all along the roads, buffalos enjoying mud baths in the rice paddies, cool, shaded roads passing through the various rubber plantations, and the splendor of the mangrove with its trees standing in the middle of the sea.
The laid-back feeling of the island is contagious, time slows down and nothing seems to pressure the inhabitants who spend a lot of time chatting in small groups, lounging in the afternoon under salas or in hammocks.
You will find few restaurants and few bars along the coastline with only a small village near the pier with small local shops and all the government buildings including a school, hospital, police station, and electricity and post offices. Another small concentration can be found at the Tha Krao Pier to Krabi on the east coast.
To get around, motorbikes (200 Baht for a half day) and tuk-tuks are available for hire.
Some local shops have sea kayaks for rent, but your hotel or bungalow will certainly offer these, as well as day trips to the amazing “Koh Hong” – the stunning rocks facing the island. See Kayaking tours (from Phuket) for more information.
How to get to Koh Yao Noi
You may take a cab from the airport to the island, which will transport you to the dock in 25 minutes. Long-tail boat ferries run daily from Bang Rong Pier on Phuket’s east coast to Yao Noi. The one-hour voyage costs 80 Baht, with daily departures from Phuket at 9.30 a.m., 12 noon, and 5 p.m. The boat will make a brief stop on Koh Yao Yai before crossing to Koh Yao Noi, which is only 8 minutes distant. Long-tail boats may be be rented at the Ao Po dock for trips to Koh Yao.
The island is located between the Thai islands of Phuket, Krabi, and Phang-Nga Bay. It is located 42 kilometers south of Phang-Nga Province’s mainland. The bay covers an area of 141,067 square kilometers and is made up of 44 islands. Koh Yao Noi (Little Long Island) and Koh Yao Yai are the two most important of these islands (Big Long Island).
Long-tail boat ferries run daily from Bang Rong Pier on Phuket’s east coast to Yao Noi. A cab from the airport will take you to the dock in 25 minutes. To get to the pier, follow Route 4027 east from the Heroines’ Monument, then turn right at the sign for Bang Rong (or Bangrong) and continue for a few kilometers.
The fare is 50 Baht for the one-hour journey, with daily departures from Phuket at 9.30 am, 12 noon and 5 pm. The boat will make a short stop on Koh Yao Yai, then cross to Koh Yao Noi, only 8 minutes away. Long-tail boats can also be hired at Ao Po pier for charter to Koh Yao.
Transportation from Phuket Island to Kohyao Noi/Yai
The public boats (longtail and speed boats) are becoming more reliable and thus more popular with our adventurous or travel-savvy guests. This is public transportation though and comfort levels may not meet your expectations.
- Take a taxi from the Airport / hotel on Phuket to Bang Rong Pier
- Longtail boat or speed boat transfer from Bang Rong Pier to Manoh Pier Koh Yao Noi
- Take Tuk Tuk (taxi) from Manoh Pier to Hotel /Bungalow/Resort
Weather of Koh Yao Noi
The island is located at Latitude 8 degrees north and has a tropical environment with year-round high temperatures and very little rainfall due to its location. Monsoon breezes freshen the island with nighttime gusts that see the palm palms swing and the occasional shower throughout the months of May-July and again in September-October. Because the weather is generally pleasant, the best advise is to stock up on sunscreen.
The island is located at Latitude 8 degrees north and has a tropical environment with year-round high temperatures and very little rainfall due to its location. Monsoon breezes freshen the island with nighttime gusts that see the palm palms swing and the occasional shower throughout the months of May-July and again in September-October.
Where to stay in Koh Yao Noi
Pasai Beach, a family favorite with a decent variety of accommodation, stretches to meet the upmarket Lom Lae Beach at the island’s southeastern point. Head along the east coast to the beautiful Klong Jark beach, which has a few high-end resorts as well as some flashpacker choices. Tha Khao Beach on the southwest coast is better suited to backpackers. Nawik and Laem Sai, which are closer to the fishing boats, have a more authentic feel.
Ko Yao Noi boasts an excellent selection of accommodations for a less-developed island on the Andaman coast. Yao Noi offers it everything, from a 500 baht bamboo hut to a 50,000 baht pool mansion. We looked at almost every bungalow and resort option on the island and were pleasantly surprised by the quality and value of the choices.
Most establishments are tiny and family-run, and where they lack cool efficiency, they generally make up for it with a kind and helpful attitude. There’s not much in the rock-bottom budget pricing category, but for somewhat inexpensive to flashpacker budgets, Yao Noi has a lot of good options. If you’re looking for mid-range accommodation with air conditioning and swimming pools, you’ll find a greater selection on adjacent Ko Yao Yai or Ko Lanta.
Pasai Cottage, located across the road from Pasai beach in a cluster of bungalow resorts, is one of our favorite budget options. Its ten fan bungalows are vibrantly colored and full of character, and the staff is kind and welcoming. The adjoining café has sea views and is an excellent meeting place with a traveller’s atmosphere. Nam Tok guesthouse, just up the road from Tha Khao beach, is another welcoming location where visitors will meet excellent company. Though the cheaper huts in Nam Tok might need some TLC, the hospitable owner and shared kitchen and bar area add to its attractiveness, especially for those traveling alone.
Those visiting Yao Noi and looking for a place to stay in the 800-1,500 baht bracket have a lot of options, and we had a hard time picking the best. However, three flashpacker-friendly cottages stood out for us. Suntisook Resort, a collection of fan and air-con bungalows located across the road from Tha Khao beach, impressed us with its bright design elements and relaxing, family-friendly garden setting. The restaurant is also good, and it is handled with care by a pleasant mother-daughter duo.
Another nice choice is the neighboring Baan Tha Khao Bungalow, which has an amazing beachfront location and a decent selection of options for travelers, ranging from tiny beach huts for two to a family-sized bungalow with two double beds to concrete bungalows with air-con. If you don’t need to be on the beach, try Hill House, which is located in a shady rubber-tree plantation up a steep hill from Tha Khao beach. Its wooden fan cottages offer spacious balconies where you’ll most likely spend a lot of time admiring the stunning sea and dawn views.
At the top of the spectrum, the Six Senses Yao Noi resort is not just the greatest on Ko Yao Noi, but also one of the best in the world – it isn’t on the Living Nomads accommodation list for the island since we didn’t personally examine it. On my to-do list! But if you have money to spend and are seeking for a romantic, catered trip, we’re confident you won’t be disappointed.
Koh Kradan is an island with a relatively small area (about 4 km long and 1000 m wide) in Trang province. Because of the size of the island is quite small to visit the island, visitors only take about 3 hours kayaking.
The lyrical space, the waves murmuring, and the cold winds carrying the salty flavor of the sea make Koh Kradan a perfect location for couples in love. When you visit Koh Kradan, you will experience truly peaceful moments in untouched natural space and quiet.
How to get to Koh Kradan
By private boats from Koh Mook or Koh Libong or Koh Ngai or from the pier at Trang coast. Day trip boats from Koh Lanta stop at Koh Kradan as well as speedboats. During the rainy season, Koh Kradan can not be visited on a regular basis.
Whether from the mainland or other islands, all boats pick up and drop off in front of Kradan Beach Resort towards the south end of the main beach.
To/from the mainland
Trang town is the major departure point for Ko Kradan, with travel agents near the train station offering combination minibus/longtail boat excursions for 450 baht departing at 11:00 and 16:00 in peak season. When you arrive at Kuan Thung Khu Pier on the mainland, board the boat for the one-hour trip to Kradan. At 08:30 and 13:30, the boats return to Kuan Thung Khu, where a waiting minivan transports passengers to Trang. For information on getting there and continuing transportation, see the Trang transit section.
There are no shared boats to/from Kradan in low season. A private transfer will run 2,200 baht all up from Trang—per group, not per person—and will depend on weather conditions.
From around November 1 to March 31, speedboats and ferries connect Ko Kradan directly to a number of other islands. Tickets can be booked through any resort on Ko Kradan; whoever sells you the ticket will need to call the boat so it’s best to give them prior notice.
Heading north, the Satun Pakbara speedboat picks up on Kradan at 10:45 and reaches Ko Muk at 11:00 for 300 baht; Ko Ngai at 11:30 for 400 baht; Ko Lanta at 12:00 for 1,150 baht; Ko Phi Phi at 13:30 for 1,850 baht; and Phuket at 14:30 for 2,650 baht. This boat is usually late so don’t count on making a 16:00 flight out of Phuket.
The cheaper and slower Petpailin ferry also runs to Kradan, picking up at 09:30 and running north to Ko Ngai for 300 baht and Ko Lanta for 400 baht. Another ferry stops at Kradan at 13:00 and runs up to Ko Phi for 450 baht and Phuket for 800 baht, arriving there at 16:30.
Heading south, the speedboat picks up on Kradan at 11:40 and reaches Ko Bulon Lae at 12:30 for 900 baht; and Ko Lipe at 13:30 for 1,400 baht.
Speedboats to Ko Kradan depart from Phuket at 08:30; Ko Lipe at 09:00; Ko Phi at 09:30; Ko Bulon Lae at 10:00; Ko Lanta at 10:30; Ko Kradan at 11:00; and Ko Muk at 11:30.
The Tigerline high-speed ferry also connects Kradan directly to Ko Phi Phi, Phuket, Hat Yao pier in Trang, and Langkawi Island in Malaysia, plus all of the other islands listed above except Ko Bulon Lae. The southbound boat departs Phuket at 08:00 and picks up on Ko Kradan at 11:30, while the northbound boat departs Langkawi at 09:00 and stops on Kradan at 13:30.
You can also take a private longtail boat to Ko Muk or Ko Ngai for 800 to 1,200 baht. Ko Libong can be reached by private longtail for around 2,500 baht; you could save cash by heading back to Trang and transferring to a local minibus bound for the Libong ferry pier at Hat Yao.