Over the years, you have developed a strong affinity for Thailand. Its friendly people, delicious food, and outstanding value for money have kept you coming back year after year. Nothing however sticks in your mind quite like the quality of its beaches; from silky white sand beauties that offer the latest and greatest in tourist services, to tiny, isolated getaways that grant you little more than a thatched roof bungalow and the ability to create fruity tropical drinks for your thirsty palate, you’ve become addicted to this place.
After so long though, you’ve become too comfortable with your favourite haunts, so you are now looking for an adventure to shake things up. Upon examining a map of Thailand, you see something that catches your eye – the sheer amount of islands lying offshore of this nation’s Andaman coast. After a few minutes, you know you want to embark on a tour of these multiple gems, but you aren’t sure where to begin.
Fortunately, we’ve sifted through these numerous isles, and have come up with an itinerary that will enable you to travel from cay to cay via ferry boat, enabling you to have the island hopping trip that you’ve always dreamed about having on Thailand’s Andaman coast. Let’s take a look at what this trip will look like detailed in the paragraphs below…
Whether you happen to be coming from Malaysia or heading towards it will affect the way you read this guide; for the purposes of this article, we are moving north from the Thai border port town of Satun, near Malaysia. Take a ferry from this sleepy burg to the much lauded island of Ko Lipe, where its shimmering aquamarine waters and sugar white sand has drawn people from a plethora of countries around the world, many of whom stay here for much of the Northern Hemisphere winter. Diving and snorkelling are popular extracurricular activities (apart from baking on the beach, of course), and the walking street offers many opportunities for nightlife once the sun goes down. There are no ATM’s here though (and there are certainly none on the other isles as well), so take enough cash before you set out on this adventure.
Next up on your hedonistic hit list is Ko Ngai, an upmarket island where those starving for a luxury break from the budget accommodations that you may have been staying at prior to this will have their appetite wheted. Here, the beach has some excellent views of limestone karsts that jut up into the sky towards the mainland in the distance, so lingering here with a banana shake is not only understandable, but highly recommended. Those who get stir-crazy from laying around too much will be happy to know that there are some excellent hiking trails that cover the hilly and forested southern portion of the island, providing some excellent exercise opportunities to begin or end your day in paradise.
Finally, Ko Muk will round out our trip through the Andaman Islands of Southern Thailand, and it is a particularly alluring last stop, as it offers the best combination of the white sand beach experience with a local Thai community that offers cultural authenticity that is sorely missing in many beach resort islands in Thailand. Apart from the usual lounging around, the Emerald Cave is a popular draw, which is entered by visitors through a small underwater tunnel. Inside, the roof of the cave has collapsed, allowing sunlight to enter, and jungle plants to grow inside. Unless you are experienced with this sort of activity, it is highly recommended that you hire a local guide to lead the way, so that you can experience this special place safely.
After this, you can take a ferry back to the mainland, which will arrive in the town of Trang. Hopefully, this guide will prove very useful to you in your Andaman Sea island-hopping ambitions.