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 really 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 we tell you all the important information about island hopping in Thailand. We give you lots of tips to plan your trip, great recommendations and show you one of the absolutely best routes for your individual tour.

Good to know!

The best time for island hopping in the Andaman Sea is from the beginning of December to the end of April. Then the rainy season is over and you can enjoy a lot of sun and hardly any rain!

2 weeks of island hopping is just enough to explore some of the most beautiful islands in Thailand. However, if you want to enjoy the time and see a bit more, 3 weeks or 4 weeks is the perfect amount of time.

Getting between the islands is uncomplicated by speedboat, ferry or longtail boat. Tickets are available locally, but also online, for example very easy on 12go.asia.

Under “Packing list Thailand” you will find also a practical packing list for island hopping! Especially a waterproof backpack is really practical to protect your most important valuables from moisture and splashing water.

 

Thailand Island Hopping 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

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

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 on top of that a real highlight of any Thailand island-hopping route. 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.

Tip: On Koh Jum you can still find the typical beach huts and bungalows directly by the sea! Really lovely is the inexpensive Sun Smile Beach but also the luxurious Koh Jum Beach Villas are a great choice.

Koh Lanta

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.

Tip: If you are looking for really great places for where to stay in Koh Lanta, we recommend taking a look at the unique and yet quite affordable Lanta Casa Blanca!

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 there, no stores, no tuk-tuks. The island is simply paradise and therefore a highlight of any island hopping itinerary. 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 on this island. 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.

Tip: More about the island of Koh Ngai can be found here: Koh Ngai – The Paradise Island Travel Guide

Koh Mook

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, probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

Tip: For a very special trip we recommend the Sivalai Beach Resort, a dreamlike hotel at the tip of the dream beach. For backpackers, however, we can recommend the inexpensive Mook Montra.

Koh Kradan

Koh Kradan is a true dream island! Turquoise blue waters and fine white beach – for sure one of the best islands to relax on. Also those who like to snorkel will be more than happy on Koh Kradan. If you don’t have so much time, you can easily visit this beautiful place with a trip by longtail boat from the neighboring islands Koh Mook or Koh Ngai. Also those who like snorkeling will find their personal paradise on Koh Kradan. At the offshore reef you have the opportunity to explore a colorful underwater world.

Tip: Koh Kradan has only a few accommodations, these should be booked in advance. Especially recommended is the fantastic The Reef Resort with its own house reef!

Koh Bulon

With a postcard idyll at its best, Koh Bulon is probably one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand and is for many travelers an absolute highlight on any island hopping route. Yes, this tropical mini island with the dreamlike beaches, the turquoise blue sea and the breathtaking flair is an absolute insider tip! Many leave out this paradise on their way to Koh Lipe. Actually, it’s a pity, this island should definitely be seen.

Tip: If you want to read more about the heavenly beautiful island Koh Bulon, check out the article: Koh Bulon Lae travel guide: Thailand`s island paradise

Koh Lipe

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 definitely 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 lots 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 suggest 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 Christmas time 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 of 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.

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13 Comments

  1. Thanks for a detailed post on some of the best islands in Thailand. I have been to some of these islands – Krabi, Phuket and Phi Phi and they were gorgeous. We also did 4-islands tour from Krabi and that took us to Railey and some other beautiful beaches. Thailand is so amazing, isn’t it? Your post makes me want to go back.

    • Thanks for your nice words Medha!
      Oh yes Thailand is really amazing, I always love to come back there, it never gets boring 🙂

      Have a nice day
      Martina

  2. Wow, beautiful spread of photos! The beaches look so clean and perfect. This is my dream vacation right here.

    • Thanks Melanie,
      Thailand is really amazing, we would love to go back there soon.
      Have a lovely day,

      Martina and Jürgen

  3. What a fantastically useful blog post! I am one of the very few keen travellers who has not been to Thailand (shock horror, I know), but would absolutely love to one day, and a guide like this what I need. The photos sure do confirm it as an idyllic paradise. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Thanks Joe,
      we are so happy that we inspired you to travel to Thailand. If you need any further informations just let us know!
      Have a nice day,
      Martina and Jürgen

  4. ur pictures are just incredible and so good to see a post with all the info compact in it..luved reading it…have bookmarked it for my future travel..thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Ritika,

      we are so glad you liked it 🙂 – have a wonderful day

      Martina and Jürgen

  5. WOW what beautiful pictures and so well organized, I have been to Thailand a number of times, though never did visit any islands, next time I am there will try Island Hopping in South, thanks to your post!!

    • Hi Arvin,

      thank you so much for your great words. We are happy that we cold give you some more Thailand inspirations – Where have you been to Thailand before?

      Have a nice day
      Martina and Jürgen

    • hahaha – yes there are so many places to explore in Thailand. We will go back one day to travel some more Islands – thats for sure 😉

      have a nice day
      Martina and Jürgen

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