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Your guide to Island hopping in Koh Samui and Phuket

With surf, sunshine, and tropical breezes, Thailand’s beauty is legendary, and you want to see as much of it as possible. You aren’t content to just stay in one place; no, you want to sail the ocean blue, taking in the sights and getting to know the locals. Whether you’re diving into a teeming coral reef in the Andaman Sea or ferrying your way around the Gulf of Thailand, your island-hopping adventures will seem like they never have to end. Check out this guide from Expedia Australia to find out which spots you should definitely put on your Thai island to-do list.

Island-Hopping Around Phuket

Phuket Boats

The moment you arrive in Phuket, a stop at one of the local markets is a necessity. Purchase handmade arts and crafts, delicious street food ranging from noodle stalls to incredibly fresh seafood, and everything in between. In between your daily jaunts to the beach and the markets, you can take a cooking class or let your cares slip away with a spa trip. Thailand is famed for its wellness opportunities, and you can find excellent spas in many Phuket hotels. Enjoy a rejuvenating body scrub, let a skilled masseuse rub your cares away, or sit back for a sweet-scented facial treatment.

Speedboat

You’ll find natural wonders galore along the western shores of Thailand, and nowhere is this more evident than Koh Yao Noi. Nestled smack-dab in the middle of the Andaman Sea, Koh Yao Noi is just a speedboat ride away from Phuket. It’s that remote island paradise you’ve seen in your dreams—or in some well-known, beach-centric movies—full of towering rock formations and emerald rainforests. You’ve come here to fish, to think, and to be at peace with the world and yourself. There’s no hustle and bustle, no rush to do anything. Hike through copses of mangroves, or take some pictures of the sun-dappled waves.

Don’t forget to round out your island-hopping with a stop at Koh Yao Yai, located directly to the south of Koh Yao Noi. Relish its quiet beauty and watch fishing boats coast by on turquoise waters. This truly is the life.

Island-Hopping Around Koh Samui

To the northeast of Phuket is the lively island of Koh Samui. Dance the night away at one of the venues in Chaweng Beach, get to know the local wildlife at the Na Muang Safari Park, and get in touch with Thailand’s spiritual heritage at the Big Buddha shrine. This gleaming figurine is 12 metres high!

Big Buddha

You can find plenty of restaurants and shopping around Koh Samui hotels, but don’t get too comfortable—you have more islands to explore! Hop over to Koh Pha Ngan, just to the north of Koh Samui. This island is famed for its Full Moon Parties, but there are also plenty of family-friendly adventures to be had. Plunge through the Challenge Phangan—a water-based obstacle course— then relax after your success by watching the sunset from the beach. The next day, make your way to Koh Tao to the northwest; this small island, whose name means “turtle”, is a fine place for backpacking, bicycling, and diving.

Thailand has long been referred to as the “Land of Smiles”, and there’s no better way to explore its beauty than by hopping around its various islands. You’re sure to leave with a smile of your own!

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