Long tail boat and high palm trees, Krabi Thailand

Thailand is famous for tropical dreamy islands, lush jungle, white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and striking ocean rock formations– and it’s fair to say that the country definitely has some of the best beaches in the world!

For the first timer, there is no better starting point than the chain of popular, beautiful, cheap and easily accessible Ko Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Tao. But which island should you head to, with thousands to choose from- each enticingly unique to the next?

Ko Samui: For luxury

This is the largest and most established of the three, and a firm favorite with honey-mooners! This is the island to come to for indulgent spa breaks, lavish retreats, and high-end beach dining; however certain pockets of the island do cater for smaller budgets too.

Ko Samui is very developed for tourism, so there is huge array of adventurous activities to do once you’ve had your spa fill! Snorkeling, boat trips, cliff jumping, jungle treks and scooter rides are all popular things to enjoy. Alternatively, you could just enjoy those pristine beaches and opulent facilities of your lavish resort, sip on a coconut, and enjoy an endless stream of massages.

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Ko Pha-Ngan: For partying

There is so much more to Ko Pha-Ngan that partying- think stunning waterfalls, incredible beaches, lush jungle and temple hopping– but overall, if you want to party, then this is the island for you! The island is famous the world over for its neon-infused full moon parties, and by all accounts it’s a once in a lifetime experience. The beaches are lined with bars, the streets with young backpackers, and the entire area of Had-Rin is usually bursting with action.

For many people, however, it’s all too much, and so there is the option to escape to quieter corners of the island. Away from the full moon madness, there are some incredibly beautiful spots boasting paradise beaches and more wholesome pursuits such as panoramic hiking, jungle trekking, yoga, meditation and luxurious spa treatments.

Tropical Sunset ko Pha Ngan

Ko Tao: For diving

The yoga and hiking are phenomenal here, too, but Ko Tao is most famous for its incredible diving. The waters are warm, shallow, and teaming with life; while the island offers an almost endless choice of dive schools all very competitively priced and reputable.

Free-diving is another sport that is very popular here; as well as snorkeling, trekking, adventuring on a scooter and yoga. The island has an unmistakable hippy, laidback, vibe; and whilst there is a thriving party scene, there is also a robust health and well-ness focus too. Just wait for the peace to wash over you from any of the scenic lookouts, as you sip on a coconut and take in Ko Tao’s mesmerizing beauty!

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Created by Melissa Elderfield