Thailand Island Hopping: Krabi to Koh Lipe (Route & Tips)
Island hopping in Thailand is becoming increasingly popular. Numerous travelers and backpackers from all over the world come every year to explore the beautiful islands in South Thailand. An itinerary for an island hopping in Thailand trip can be easily put together by yourself and is a great choice to explore the most beautiful places of the countries islands world. The accommodations are good and cheap, and the transport from one island to another is easy to organize. Especially popular are the amazing islands of the Andaman Sea, with the tour from Krabi to Koh Lipe being one of the most spectacular. But what are the best highlights for Thailand island hopping, what are the insider tips, and which islands are a must on any itinerary?
In this travel guide you will find all the important information about island hopping in Thailand. We give you plenty of tips to plan your itinerary, great recommendations and show you one of the absolutely best routes for your individual tour.
Thailand Island Hopping: Your Perfect Itinerary
Island hopping in Thailand gives you the opportunity to experience some of the absolute most beautiful highlights and beaches of the country. Here you virtually hop from one tropical island pearl to the next, and you will get the chance to visit real dream islands off the typical routes. Here you will find a recommendation for a perfect island-hopping route through the Andaman Sea.
Krabi Province is one of the most scenic areas in southern Thailand and Krabi Town is the ideal starting point for island hopping tours to the breathtaking island world. Also we suggest starting your itinerary from Krabi. Krabi Town does not have beaches, but the night market, the nearby Tiger Cave Temple and the Emerald Pool are definitely worth a visit. Moreover, this small town is located only 13 kilometers from Krabi airport and 4 kilometers from the ferry. Another point why you should start your island hopping trip here.
Tip: In Krabi Town, we can recommend the beautiful Family Tree Hotel. This affordable design hotel is centrally located and also offers a delicious breakfast.
Railay Beach is a peninsula, but since the bay is separated from the mainland by deep jungle and can only be reached by longtail boat from Krabi town or Ao Nang, you immediately get a real island feeling. In addition, many small offshore islands await you here, which you can reach via a short trip with the longtail boat on a 4 Island Tour. The gigantic limestone rocks, the jungle, the breathtaking Phra Nang Beach and the beautiful Railay Beach offer an unbeatable ambience. A real paradise for beach lovers, but also for climbers!
Tip: Really ingenious is the Bhu Nga Thani Resort & Spa. It is located very romantically, directly on the sea and the modern pool area is an absolute highlight.
Koh Jum (Koh Pu)
Koh Jum is, still, one of the absolute insider tips among backpackers and individual travelers, and moreover, a real highlight of any Thailand island-hopping itinerary. This island is located on the west coast of Thailand, and it is still really tranquil, the locals are extremely hospitable, and the beaches are wonderful for swimming. If you like it very quiet, and you enjoy being part of local life, then you should definitely put Koh Jum on your Thailand Island Hopping list.
The island of Koh Lanta has always inspired and is in any case a place that you must have seen and experienced when going on an island hopping trip in Thailand. You can explore the sights of the island best with a scooter, which you can borrow at every corner. Beautiful quiet beaches in Koh Lanta can be found everywhere along the coast, up to the end of the national park. Really great are the quaint hippie bars, which give this island a really chill flair and from where you can enjoy probably the most beautiful sunsets in Thailand.
Koh Ngai (Ko Hai)
Koh Ngai is one of those dream islands where you would like to be stranded. The white, fine sandy beach lined with palm trees and the crystal clear water are simply breathtakingly beautiful. There are no roads, no stores, no noisy tuk-tuks, only peace and relaxation. The island is absolutely paradise and therefore a real insider tip of every island hopping route. Backpackers stay here best and cheapest in a tent hotel, directly on the beach. Of course, you will also find some more luxury hotels with pools and restaurants on this island.
Tip: Really recommendable is the Thanya Beach Resort, which convinces with dreamlike bungalows, pool and excellent location on the most beautiful beach section of the island.
Koh Mook is an island that shouldn’t be missed on any island route through South Thailand. Much of this island pearl consists of deep jungle and intact nature, but you will also find small, charming villages and beaches that are lined with palm trees. In addition, you will find here probably the most famous sight of the Trang region! A real highlight is the Emerald Cave, a sea cave that leads to a pirate bay. Beautiful and another celebrity is the Sivalai Beach, most likely one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
Koh Kradan is a true dream island and a must when Thailand island hopping! The turquoise blue sea and velvety soft light sandy beach conjure a tropical backdrop like from a picture book. If you like snorkeling, Koh Kradan is the right place for you. At the offshore reef, you have the opportunity to explore a colorful underwater world. You can definitely spend a few relaxing days on this island pearl as well. If you don’t have that much time, the best way to visit this beautiful place is to take a longtail boat trip from the neighboring islands of Koh Mook or Koh Ngai.
Tip: Koh Kradan has only a few accommodations, these should be booked in advance. Especially recommended is the fantastic The Reef Resort with its house reef!
Koh Bulon is probably one of the most stunning islands in Thailand and for many travelers an absolute highlight on every island hopping route. The mini island is undoubtedly still a real insider tip, and you can expect a postcard idyll at its best. Absolutely spectacular are the gorgeous white beaches, the turquoise blue sea and the breathtakingly quiet flair that surrounds Koh Bulon. In addition, the island is tiny, and so you walk from one end of the island to the other just 20 minutes. Many people skip this beautiful paradise on their way to Koh Lipe. Actually, it’s a pity, this island should definitely be seen.
The famous island of Koh Lipe, with its beautiful white sandy beaches and the still intact coral reefs, attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year. Despite the many vacationers, you should absolutely have seen this island jewel once. Especially when diving and snorkeling, you get your money’s worth! Koh Lipe is the last stop on this island hopping route. If you still haven’t had enough, you can travel on to Malaysia/Langkawi or head for the great islands on the east coast.
The more comfortable way back is by speedboat to Pak Bara Pier in Satun on the mainland, and further by minibus to Krabi.
Tip: A unique stay guarantees the Ten Moons Lipe Resort, which is a really popular place to stay and therefore often fully booked.
Thailand Island Hopping Tips:
- Travel Time: The best travel time for island hopping on the west coast of southern Thailand is from November to mid-April. During this time, the rainy season should be over, but it can rain occasionally from time to time. In the rainy season, like in Mai, July, August and September, you have to expect limited ferry connections and plenty of hotels and restaurants will be closed! On the other hand, you will find some amazingly cheap hotel deals. More about the best travel times in SEA check out here – best time to travel to Southeast Asia.
- How long: For a complete tour, we suggested planning at least 3 weeks, better even 4 weeks’ time. If you only have 2 weeks for island hopping, then just think about which island in the south of Thailand you really want to see and skip some other islands. For one week of island hopping, we would recommend visiting the islands Koh Mook, Koh Ngai and Koh Kradan.
- Cost: Prices for Island Hopping can be very varied depending on if you are traveling on a budget or if you prefer luxury travel. Plan for your trip as a backpacker with a budget of a minimum of 45 euros per day. Of course, for luxury also in Thailand, there are no price limits. Generally, the food in Thailand is quite cheap. For local dishes such as Phat Thai, Green Curry or Fried Rice, you can count on about 1.00-3.00 Euro per dish. Simple beach huts are available from around 500 baht.
- Where to stay: Generally, you will find on each island mentioned above a selection of different accommodation in every price range. The prices vary depending on the season, and you often get cheap bargains in the low season. Higher prices will be charged around Christmastime and holidays. Best to compare the hotel ratings and rates on booking.com.
- Rent scooters: Exploring an island by scooter is a fantastic way to see all the amazing beaches and small villages. We did that on Koh Lanta and Koh Jum, and it was a great adventure.
- Getting around: On each of the islands described above, you will find hotels and agencies that will be more than happy to organize your onward transport. If you want to organize your transport ticket in advance, you should use 12go.asia. You usually travel between the islands by speed boat, ferry or longtail boat. Comparing the prices before booking is always a good idea because there are a variety of providers and variants.
Find the best accommodation in South Thailand:
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