Getting there: Start with Phuket
Mainland but not mainstream: Krabi
- Rai Leh: beautiful sunsets, one of my favorite restaurants in Southern Thailand, and the added charm of long tail boats bobbing in the ocean to make any photo insta-ready.
- Ton Sai: The rockier sister beach of Rai Leh, this rugged spot is ideal for rock climbers, or for anyone who can’t quite swing the resort prices next door.
- Hong Island: Less known than some other day trips from Ao Nang, this island retains the emerald lagoon beauty the region is known for… without being destroyed by tour groups.
And a few other Andaman island favorites:
If you’d prefer to get straight into the island hopping, it’s easy to catch a ferry or speedboat south and make for another island. I’d recommend picking a larger one as your central point, and then day-tripping out to the deserted tiny beaches nearby.
- Koh Lanta: Actually comprised of two main islands (and lots of tiny ones), this area is easy to reach from both Krabi and Phuket. It’s getting more popular, so you won’t be alone on the beaches, but it’s still more relaxed than other nearby islands (looking at you, Phi Phi).
- Koh Phi Phi: If Phuket didn’t manage to party you out, Koh Phi Phi is for you. Super popular with backpackers, these islands are equally well known for their stunningly gorgeous landscapes and all-night parties.
- Koh Lipe: Sweet, sweet escape. Just you, white sandy beaches, and all of the vacation reading your Kindle can handle.
… Have you booked your flight yet?