Island Hopping Thailand - Koh Samui - Koh Phangan - Koh Tao

The three islands - Koh Samui - Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand are each worthwhile experiencing.

If you have enough time, island hopping between them is recommendable. In which order you travel really depends on whether you start out full of energy or if you are rather in need of some rest. 

Koh Tao

Definitely your fist stop if you are looking for a relaxing holiday. Koh Tao offers by far the best snorkling and diving opportunities this side of the Thailand mainland.

Koh Phangan

some peacefull places, loads of partys and elefants...

Koh Samui

does still have some remote places - but is really the island for some serious shopping and some interessting sightseeing...


Let's assume you still have some energy to spare and start your holidays with Koh Samui.

You travel from Bangkok to Sura Thani and take the ferry to one of Koh Samuis harbours.

As the island is for most parts quite safe for motorbikes - it is recommendable to rent one directly on your arrival.

Around the "citys" Chaweng and Lamai on the eastcoast of Koh Samui you find ample opportunity for shopping. Staying there can be a bit of a challenge.

A nice alternative are the Cactus Bungalows on the Bo Phut Beach in the north. It is a small resort with nice and clean rooms, a good restaurant and the massage ladys right at the beach. 

If you stay there, do take a walk to the nearby Fischermans Village - which is really nice and has a big street market which is open till late in the evening.

Bo Phut is a good starting point for visits to the Big Buddha or to Chaweng and Lamai.

If you want to see the less commercial parts of the island, you can ride along the westcoast and do not hesitate to try some of the byroads.

Depending on how much shopping you want to do a 3-4 day stay is sufficient to get a good taste of the Koh Samui.

If you have time take the oportunity to book a daytrip to the Ang Thong National Park. This group of 42 small islands is stunning experience of natures beauty.

Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is famous for its Full Moon Partys in the south of the island. If you cannot make it at the right time - don't worry - there are also Half Moon, Black Moon, New Moon and other partys.

But - before you go anywhere after your arrival in Thongsala Village, the best thing you can do is go to Nira's Home Bakery - very good coffee, delicious cakes and rolls and a nice atmosphere. When you walk from the harbour turn right at the first road and you finde Nira's Home Bakery on the left hand side.

If you travel mostly along the westcoast of Koh Phangan you are quite save on a motorbike - as for other routes - well they offer good medical care on the island.

If you are not too keen on spending your whole time in the party-areas - then the beaches Haad Salad and Haad Mae Haad are recommendable. In Haad Mae Haad you find for example a small resort right at the end of the beach (left side down if facing the sea). It is fairly simple but quiet and you are still close to other restaurants, massage huts and a diving school along the beach. Connected to this beach you find the tiny island of Koh Ma.

On the left hand side of Koh Ma you can find some unique corals for you snorkeling expedtion. You have to swim for a while - but then you can enter what I call the English Garden. These corals have some haunted and ghostly atmosphere around them. You might not want to swim there alone, but it is worthwhile the experience.

Haad Salad is a more crowded but you get the best massage on the island here.

If you go on tour with a motorbike you can visit the Elefant-Tours, many temples and coconut farms. The inland road is nicer than the westcoast road. Also recommendable are boat tours along the coast to remoter parts of the island - for example from Chaloklum Pier to Bottle Beach.

Depending on your time and disposition a 4-5 day stay is the minimum recommendation for Koh Phangan.


Ready to rest and to explore some of the best snorkling and diving places?

Well - welcome to Koh Tao.

Koh Tao is the smallest and most relaxed islands of the three.

While Koh Tao offers many breathtaking panoramas on its mountains - it also offers a unique underalter world.

Contrary to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan here you just dip into the clear water and start right away with dicovering this quiet and colourfull world.

Snorkling is great on Koh Tao, but you can also visit one of the many diving schools, which offer courses and tours on very good rates.

Sunset Bungalows is a place that offers all the good things Koh Tao has to offer. It is a place with few people, family-run, with a peacefull atmosphere, a restraurant, a nice exclusive bay with beautyfull snorkling opportunities, a nearby shop and a beautyfull sunset. Chalok Bay is close with more restaurants, bars, diving schools, little shops and the village monkey...

Recommended stay: as long as you can make it.

You can of course "hopp" the other way around or do an extra loop - meaning you can go back to Koh Samui before leaving Thailand to make sure you don't bring back home any of your travelling savings :-) . 

Whichever way you decide to take - you will always find a warm welcome at Sunset Bungalows on Koh Tao.