Looking for the best way to travel around the islands in Thailand? I got you covered with 5 different itineraries around the country to see the best islands. In this Thailand travel blog you will find island hopping itineraries from Phuket, island hopping itineraries around Krabi and around Koh Samui. Find 1-week Thailand island hopping itineraries as well as 2-week Thailand island hopping itineraries!
Keep on reading for a special itinerary... island hopping from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok! :)
To make it easier for you I created 5 different itineraries:
- Itinerary for 1-week island hopping in Phuket
- Itinerary for 1-week island hopping in Krabi
- Itinerary for 1-week island hopping in Koh Samui
- Itinerary for 2-week island hopping
- Island hopping in Thailand for 1 month
No need to book Thailand island hopping tours
Let me first start to tell you that there is no need at all to sign up for one of the Thailand Island hopping tours. Traveling in Thailand is the easiest thing on earth and therefore one of the best countries to backpack. In this article I will give you a lot of route suggestions for a 1-week to a 4-week itinerary. If you want more island hopping Thailand tips then also check out this article about getting around and here is an article about finding domestic flights deals in Thailand.
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How to island hop in Thailand in 2021?
The after covid travel era has slowly started, luckily island hopping in Thailand mainly stays the same. Of course you will have to wear a mask when using public transport and so you will have to when taking ferry boats in Thailand. Prices are a little more expensive as boats are not allowed to use their full capacity.
But hey the good news is that we can travel to Thailand again, right!? :)
To get to the islands use for example bus-boat combo tickets like the one from Bangkok to Koh Tao. Within about 8 hours traveling you are on the islands down south. Save the hassle and book your tickets online!
Fly to the Thai islands
There are always cheap flight from Bangkok to Phuket or Krabi. Flying to Koh Samui is always more expensive to fly to, because of the monopoly that Bangkok Airways has for flights to Koh Samui.
In 2021 you can find super cheap flight deals in Thailand. What about Bangkok to Krabi?
- Air Asia: $35.
- Nok Air: $32.
- Thai Airways: $41.
Try it yourself below!
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Where to stay when island hopping in Thailand
Every Thailand island hopping itinerary below comes with recommended places to stay. There is a wide range of accommodation options available. Hotels, hostels, guesthouses, apartments, villas, Airbnbs and more. Great thing is that there is accommodation for every budget.
Don't forget to look at Airbnb and find your dream apartment for just a couple bucks. A penthouse apartment in Bangkok for $80 per night? Yes that is possible. However booking websites like Booking and Agoda also have great last minute deals.
Every island in Thailand offers a wide range of accommodation. There are many backpacker places and even more affordable mid range hotels. Almost all hotels that have a review score of 8+ on sites like booking are reliable. All the hotels, hostels and villas I recommend in this article are worth spending your money on!
Free Airbnb credit!
Both you and your travel buddy create an Airbnb account through this link and get $30 off your first booking! Already have an account registered? Don't worry just sign up with a new email address and get your $30 travel credit in 2 minutes. What are you waiting for?
Thailand Island Hopping Itineraries
In other Thailand blogs I explained that you need at least a couple weeks for the best places to visit in Thailand, but I also understand that not everyone has a month to go island hopping!
Therefore I will give you 5 different Thailand island hopping itineraries to choose from. Three itineraries for 1 week, one for 2 weeks and one for 4 weeks.
If you are interested in seeing more of the Thai culture and nature in the North as well then check out more of my itineraries for Thailand, including Chiang Mai, The Golden Triangle and even an itinerary from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok.
1. Itinerary for Island hopping in Phuket
2 nights Phuket
Fly to Phuket and stay 2 nights in Patong, the touristy heart of Phuket Island. Party in Bangla Road and go on a scooter adventure around the island and discover stunning beaches. If you feel like staying around for longer then check this 5 day Phuket itinerary for families.
2 nights Koh Phi Phi
Take a boat to Koh Phi Phi and stay here 2 nights. Sign up for a tour to see the famous beach of Koh Phi Phi Leh , snorkel or dive in the clear waters, party hard during the night and climb up to the viewpoint for stunning views over the island.
Looking for something extraordinary to do in Koh Samui? Read about getting a traditional Bamboo Tattoo in Koh Phi Phi.
2 nights Koh Yao Yai
Take a boat to Koh Yao Yai and stay here 2 nights as well. Rent a scooter and discover a totally different side of Thailand. No parties, but deserted and stunning beaches. From here sign up for an island tour to one of the many picture perfect beaches around like James Bond Island or Hong Island. I stayed at Glow Elixir, click on the link to read my review.
1 night Phuket
Go back to Phuket and splurge your last night in one of Thailand’s affordable luxury hotels and have a sunset drink in Babe Nest, see the picture below. Click on the picture to find out where this is.
Where to stay in Phuket:
- Sri Panwa Phuket, Samsara Phuket, Como Point Yamu, The Ratcha Phuket (luxury),
- Lub D Patong (mid range),
- Lupta Hostel Patong, Aspery Hotel (budget).
Best way to get to and from Phuket:
- Bus from Bangkok to Phuket: 13 hours, 650 - 1,000 THB.
- Boat from Phuket to Koh Lanta: 3-4 hours, 1,000 - 1,500 THB.
- Boat from Phuket to Krabi: 4 hours, 1,000 THB.
- Boat from Phuket to Koh Lipe: 4-6 hours, 2,400 THB.
2. Island hopping itinerary for Krabi
Although Krabi is not an island, definitely consider exploring this stunning region with its fantastic limestone cliff islands and tiny islands. Fly into Krabi airport but leave straight away for Ao Nang and start your island hopping adventure form there.
2 nights Ao Nang
Stay 2 nights in the charming town of Ao Nang. Sign up for a tour to Hong Island one day and climb up to Tab Kak Hang Nak (one of the best island hopping Thailand tips I ever got) and the Tiger Temple the other day for exquisite views over Krabi and its outer islands.
Get yourself a scooter and drive for about 30-40 minutes North along the coast to get to the start of the trek. Click on the link to find all your answers and tips about renting a motorbike in Thailand.
1 night Railay Beach
Head over to Railay Beach and stay here for 1 night. This ultra peaceful bay is surrounded by limestone cliffs and only accessible over water, for me one of the best places to stay in Thailand and among the best beaches in Krabi. Read this article for some great things to do in Railay Beach.
When staying on Railay Beach also make sure you visit the nearby Tonsai Beach. From Railay Beach it is only a 10 minute walk.
How to get to and from Krabi:
- Bus from Krabi to any hotel in Koh Lanta: 3 hours, 360 THB.
- Boat from Krabi to any hotel in Phuket: 5 hours, 1,400 THB.
- Boat from Krabi/Ao Nang to Koh Phi Phi: 1,5 hours, 450 THB.
- Boat from Krabi/Ao Nang to Koh Lipe: 7 hours, 1,000 THB.
2 nights Koh Phi Phi
No one wants to miss Koh Phi Phi neither on a Thailand island Hopping adventure around Krabi. Discover the beauty of this island and party until the early morning on the beach.
2 nights Koh Lanta
Don’t miss this laid-back island which is totally different from the others. Not the typical party island, not the utterly beautiful picture perfect beaches, but everything in and between. End your week in peace and completely rejuvenate in this peaceful paradise. Drive your scooter around the island and find your perfect spot to read a book and watch fantastic sunsets while sipping a beer before you head back to the airport.
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3. Island hopping itinerary for Koh Samui
Spending a week on the East Coast in Thailand is totally different than its West Coast, no limestone cliffs, just three major hotspots and mostly on everyone’s agenda when planning a Thailand island hopping itinerary: Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan.
As you can see on the map above there are three arrival options. The budget traveler may want to arrive at the airports of either Surat Thani or Chumphon as budget airliners fly here directly from Bangkok and even Phuket.
Flying directly to Koh Samui is the most convenient option but more expensive. Your island hopping route comes down to where you enter and where you want to leave from. Just like I said before there is no need to book island hopping tours here either. Ferries to and from the islands go multiple times a day and you can secure a ticket on every street corner.
A suggested Thailand island hopping itinerary for the West coast would be as follow:
3 nights Koh Samui
The biggest and most popular island where you will easily find the holiday vibe. Discover great beaches, viewpoints and waterfalls by scooter, drink a sundowner at Air Bar, party on the beach at Ark Bar, hang out in Fisherman’s Village, hit the nightlife in Chaweng, drive to Silver Beach and book a day tour to Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Traveling on a budget? Check this budget guide to visiting Koh Samui.
2 nights Koh Phangan
Make sure you are here as one of the famous Koh Phangan parties kicks off. Its notorious full moon, half moon, and jungle parties are one of the reasons loads of travelers find its way to this island. But Koh Phangan is not only about the parties. What you wont find in many Thailand island hopping guides are the deserted beaches and stunning bays in the North but definitely worth it, or navigate your scooter over the green hills in the center of the island. Scuba divers should definitely go diving at Sail Rock, one of the best dive sites in Thailand.
Click here to reserve your boat tickets from island hopping from Koh Samui:
- Boat from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan: 30 minutes, 300 THB.
- Boat from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao: 1 - 1,5 hours, 350 - 500 THB.
- Boat from Koh Tao to Koh Samui Airport: 3 hours, 750 THB.
- Boat and bus from Koh Tao to Bangkok: 10 hours, 1,100 THB.
- Boat from Koh Samui to Surat Thani: 2 - 4 hous, 250 - 600 THB.
- Boat from Koh Samui to Chumphon: 5 - 6 hours, 900 - 1,200 THB.
3 nights Koh Tao
To me this is one of the best places to stay in Thailand. Go and feel the real island vibe you are looking for and enjoy the uncomplicated lifestyle on this tranquil island. Hike up to a new Koh Tao viewpoint every day, dance all night long in beach bars, explore unspoiled bays, go scuba diving, and end your days with a cocktail in your hand watching the sunset on vibrant Sairee Beach.
Read more about the best things to do in Koh Tao in 2021.
4. Island hopping itinerary for 2 weeks: Andaman Coast and the Gulf of Thailand
If you have longer than one week you can combine the above suggested routes for island hopping in Thailand.
Here is what an island hopping Thailand itinerary for 2 weeks would look like:
- Fly into Phuket and go island hopping in the Andaman Coast
- Make your way from Phuket to Krabi through the Phi Phi islands
- Enjoy the amazing beaches and deserted islands in Krabi
- Travel from Krabi to Koh Samui (click here for the best way to get there)
- Party in Koh Phangan
- Relax in Koh Tao
- Make your way back to the International Airport of Koh Samui and fly out
Transportation from the East coast to the West coast will take about 10 hours including ferries and will cost you about $30. For example the trip from Koh Tao to Koh Lanta is 10 hours and cost $40, it involves a ferry, a bus and the last stretch is done by boat again. Check the up to date prices and schedules as per 2021 below.
If you want to explore the Thai islands for two weeks and just wanna stick to one side of the country then I recommend you to travel to the West Coast of Thailand instead of the East coast. On the Indian ocean side there are more islands to discover with some being of the most amazing places to visit in Thailand. However check what is the best time to travel to Thailand in my article with 65 things to know before you travel to Thailand.
Combine my itinerary for island hopping in Phuket with my route for island hopping in Krabi!
Also if you have time consider a detour to one of the best islands in Thailand: Similan islands or even further down South, the gorgeous islands of Koh Lipe.
5. Itinerary for 1 month island hopping in Thailand
Route suggestion number 5 is to combine all the one week itineraries and go island hopping for 1 month. Most definitely add the gorgeous islands around Koh Lipe to your Thailand itinerary, with some of the best beaches in the country. Once you are down South then also consider to hop over to Malaysia and visit Langkawi. The boat from Koh Lipe to Langkawi is a little more expensive, but totally worth the trip!
Boat from Koh Lipe to Langkawi: 1,5 hour - $32. Click here to book it online and save the hassle.
Is it safe to go on a Thailand island hopping trip?
Just like in every other country Thailand has its issues, but generally spoken these just include scams and will only hurt your wallet! If you are responsible and don't get yourself into shit by doing drugs or disrespecting the Thai culture you are 100% going to have a wicked time in this lovely country.
I dedicated a complete article on Is Thailand Safe Right Now, click on the link to learn more about traveling in Thailand with all the things to avoid, scams and safety issues.
I have been multiple times to the land of smiles and never anything happened, but I also want you to know the truth about for examples the Koh Tao Murders. They took place on my birthday in 2014 when I was living in Koh Tao. Although Koh Tao is called the Murder Island I have never felt uncomfortable!
Traveling to Thailand became such a passion that I also wrote the article: 18 Reasons To Travel To Thailand.
Island Hopping Thailand Tips
Sohow much does island hopping int Thailand cost? I have the answer for you in this article about up to date prices of how much cost a trip to Thailand in 2021? In the article I break down the prices for transport, alcohol, parties, transportation, accommodation and so on. Need more help planning a trip to Thailand? Read my article to get help from someone who has visited 17 times. :)
Looking to rent a complete apartment? There are amazing Thailand accommodation option available on Airbnb and I offer you $30 off your first booking! Open a new account through the link. Try it, it only takes 1 minute to register!
Living an island life is such an uncomplicated lifestyle and if you are looking for a break from a rushed corporate life then a trip to Thailand could be the exact escape you are looking for. I have also been island hopping in the Philippines a lot, but sincerely Thailand is my favorite. Have a look at my article about traveling in Thailand vs. Philippines. Different destinations but both amazing island vibes.
Want to stay online during your trip to Thailand then I would advice you buying a sim card in Thailand. I did the research for you and checked out what is the best sim card for tourists in Thailand.
If this article was helpful for you would you mind pinning it on Pinterest or share it in a Facebook group? It would mean a lot to me, thank you so much! A tweet on Twitter is also nice! :)
Enjoy your trip to Thailand!