‘Ko’ or ‘Koh’ means island in Thai, which should give you an idea of the size of the places. But what they lack in size, they definitely make up for in beauty – and this is the reason why the trio of islands, part of the Samui Archipelago, off the south-east coast of Thailand continue to be among the most visited. Ko Tao (turtle island) provides beautiful diving sites, Ko Phangan is the site of the epic Thailand full moon party, and Ko Samui has beautiful beaches.
South-East Thailand Island To Do List
- Learn how to scuba dive in Ko Tao.
- Party all night long in Ko Phangan.
- Fall in love with the beaches of Ko Samui.
Getting Around the Samui Archipelago
Of the 3 islands, only one has an airport (Ko Samui – USM), but flights are generally relatively expensive to fly in and out of. Those on a budget tend to either fly down to Surat Thani and then get a ferry across, or even longer, take a bus down from Bangkok to Surat Thani. Once on Ko Samui there are daily high speed ferries to Ko Tao and Ko Phangan.
On the islands themselves, there are no reliable public transport methods, so visitors will need to rely on getting taxis or renting a scooter. Most places will rent a basic scooter for about 100-150฿ per day (2.22 GBP–3.34 GBP/2.88 USD–4.32 USD).
What to do On Ko Samui, Ko Tao & Ko Phangan
You’ll feel disapointed when you see this list is relatively short, but the idea of island life is to do exactly that – very little – sit back and relax.
Eating On the Thai Islands
Thai food is one of the most exciting cuisines in Asia, if you haven’t already, check out my blog post on The Top Thai Dishes. Although the food on the Samui islands can be relatively more expensive than it’s mainland neighbours, and also often quite hit or miss – there are still some top restaurants on the islands.
Where to Stay on Ko Samui, Ko Tao and Ko Phangan
The quality of accommodation varies greatly from island to island.
Hostels & Hotels on Ko Samui
Ko Samui is the largest of the 3 islands, and people tend to visit for a shorter length of time. As a result the hotel standards can be quite high as hotels fight for the custom they get.
- Smile Society Botique Hostel
Rooms start at just per night.
- Nap Park Hostel
If you’re intent on staying in Khao San Road, then Nap Park is your best bet. One of the cleanest and.
- Lub D, Siam Square
Recommended by multiple travel bloggers, and for a good reason, this good value hostel is in an excellent location.
Hostels & Hotels when diving on Ko Tao
Ko Tao tends to see visitors come for a few weeks at a time, and normally because they have come to dive. Most diving courses will include budget accommodation in the price, but for those that don’t, or those that want to ‘upgrade’ their digs, the top places to stay on the Ko Tao island are:
Hostels & Hotels when partying at the full moon party on Ko Phangan
Finding a place to crash on Ko Phangan can be hard, and full moon party hotels can shoot up in price on the night of the party (remember it only happens once a month). Some people book somewhere on a nearby island, come across for the party itself, and then get the first ferry home in the morning. Others realise that once the party has died down, Ko Phangan is a very beautiful place to visit and spend some time, and stay on the island a couple more days. If you do plan to stay on the island, either book in advance online, or head to the island a few days before the party, to make sure you have a decent choice of accommodation as the better places do tend to sell out.