Culture  One Week Island Hopping in Thailand’s Andaman Sea
01/05/201900:00 Josh Shepard

The Thai islands are stunning. White sandy beaches, colourful coral reefs, and some of the clearest water you’ve ever seen. You could plan an entire trip around hopping between the islands.

You do a bit of research and find out there are hundreds of Thai islands. So where do you start?

I’ve made those decisions a bit easier. This simple guide takes you to three islands in the Andaman Sea, off Thailand’s west coast. Each island will give you a different experience, so if you have at least a week on your trip, then I suggest visiting them all!

Koh Lipe – 3 days

Kick off the island-hopping adventure by catching a plane from Bangkok to Hat Yai, followed by a van to Pak Bara Pier, and finally a 2-hour speedboat which quickly cover 70 kilometers of the Andaman Sea to Koh Lipe. All-in, the journey takes about 6 hours, but totally worth it once you arrive.

This tiny island is only 3 kilometers long, but I’ll tell you now, it’s one of the most stunning islands you’ll visit in Southeast Asia.
Koh Lipe is part of the Tarutao National Park which means that the coral reefs are protected and therefore the snorkeling in incredible.



You don’t have to go far from the beach to explore the marine life. There are colorful reefs within swimming distance from both Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach. You’ll be surprised at how many fish and soft corals are about. If you’re not a strong swimmer, you can hire a kayak from one of the beachfront resorts on Sunrise Beach instead.

Back on the land, there are a few relaxed beach bars to hang out at. Don’t expect big parties on Koh Lipe, they don’t exist. Instead, you can lay back on the sand listening to mellow reggae or deep house tunes with a cool drink in hand. Try visiting the Happy Vibe Bar at Salisa Resort, or Castaway’s own Beachfront Bar.

Be sure to pop over to Sunset Beach at some time during your stay too. This side of the beach is less developed than Sunrise Beach, and as the name suggests, the sunsets are simply stunning. It’s a 10-minute motorbike taxi ride across the island which costs just 100 THB (USD 3).



Koh Adang – 1 day

Koh Adang is that huge mountainous island across the water from Koh Lipe. If you want to visit an island where you can totally escape it all, then this is it. This island has seen hardly any development except for one resort, a small restaurant, and a few basic national park bungalows. In fact, there is only electricity for a couple of hours per day.

The best way to explore
Koh Adang is by chartering a private longtail boat for the whole day from Koh Lipe. The driver will be able to take you across to the island, drop you off at a few different locations, and wait for you to do your thing each time.

On the southern end of Koh Adang, you will find the national park headquarters and a small restaurant, open from breakfast through to late lunch. Be sure to climb the viewpoint trail starting just behind the restaurant. There is a lookout at the top with an impressive view looking over Koh Lipe. On a clear day, you can even see Langkawi, Malaysia!

Up the west coast, there are a few remote sandy beaches with stunning coral reefs. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the west coast, so expect to pay the driver up to 1,500 THB (USD 50) for the full day. Once here you will be able to lay back on what is effectively a private beach, just for you.



If you want to spend one night on Koh Adang you can try the bungalows or rent a tent from the national park. Camping in the forest, by the beach, on a remote island, is about as good as it gets. It is an experience unlikely to be outdone quickly. However, take my advice and don’t camp in the monsoon season, that would be a terrible move.

Koh Mook – 3 days

For your third island, hop on a speed boat direct from Koh Lipe to Koh Mook. The trip takes about 2 hours and passes by a number of other islands in the Andaman Sea like Koh Bulon Le and Koh Libong. The ride is scenic and you almost won't realize where the time went.

Koh Mook has yet again, a completely different vibe than Koh Lipe or Adang. Tourism here hasn’t really kicked off yet, so you will find only a handful of guesthouses and resorts. The main fishing village on the island still has a laid-back authentic vibe. Again, this is not a party island, this is a place where you come to chill.

Ao Kham, commonly known as Sivalai Beach, is one of the most
amazing beaches in Southeast Asia. The long white sandy peninsula is effectively two beaches rolled into one with a flashy resort in the middle. You could spend an entire day lazing back on the sand here and forget about the rest of the world.



Be sure to venture across the island to the far west where you will find the almost deserted Charlie Beach. There was once a resort here, but it was closed a few years ago. Today you there is just one spot up on the mountain called Charlie Bar where you can watch the epic sunsets over the Andaman Sea.

So, there you are, three Thai islands in the Andaman Sea visited in one week. Each island has its own unique vibe to experience, yet they’re all close enough to each other that you get far more beach time than travel time.


What’s your favourite Thai island? Let me know in the comments section below!

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Josh Shephard is an intrepid traveler, blogger, and photographer on The Lost Passport. He spends his time exploring off-the-beaten-track destinations throughout Asia and the South Pacific. One day you will find him trekking through the jungle to a hidden waterfall, the next he'll be kayaking around some remote island you've never heard of. Why? To bring these amazing destinations to you!

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