Best Non-Touristy Islands in Thailand

As a major tourist destination in Southeast Asia in term of natural beauty, Thailand has about 300 islands and islets, where you can find your own paradise. Some of the islands are less visited by tourists but are definitely worth seeing up close. Check the list of the best non-touristy islands in Thailand.

If the first thing that comes to your mind when planning a trip to Thailand is to find yourself on a fabulous beach with white sands and clear waters but without mass tourism, we will introduce you some of the best islands that should suite you the best. While non-touristy nowadays doesn’t mean that you will be the only tourist on the island, these Thailand islands are by far less visited by tourists than Phuket or Koh Samui.

Koh Phayam

Koh Phayam is by far the most favorite destination for us. It is a wonderful little island on the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea in Ranong Province. The island is only 10 km long and 5 km wide with a population of about 500 people. Visiting Koh Phayam will give you an idea of what some Thailand islands looked like in the past. Here are only a few roads and only motorcycles and bicycles ride on the island. There are only a small number of hotels and restaurants around the island. You won't find many luxury resorts or famous 7-Eleven supermarkets.

Best Non-Touristy Islands in Thailand

Koh Phayam has two main beaches, Ao Yai (Long Bay) in the southwest, which is perfect for a romantic sunset, and Ao Khao Kwai (Buffalo Bay) in the northeast. You can explore the small island on foot, or you can join a boat trip and snorkel or dive in crystal clear waters with beautiful coral reefs.

There are few tourists on the island but a significant number of foreigners choose to spend on Koh Phayam longer time than usual for a regular holiday.

Where to stay in Koh Phayam?

Phayamas Private Beach Resort

Sabai Sabai Beach Bungalows

Heaven Beach Resort & Art

How to get to Koh Phayam?

To get here you have to take a boat from Ranong on the mainland. The slow boat from Ranong to Koh Phayam leaves every day at 09:30, 14:00 and 16:00. It takes about 2 hours and costs 200 THB. There are different companies providing speedboat service leaving Ranong from 9:00 to 16:30. The speedboat trip takes about 40 minutes and the ticket costs 350 THB. For more details on getting there please check Best Way to Travel from Bangkok to Koh Phayam.

Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe is located in an archipelago on the border with Malaysia and is part of the Koh Tarutao National Marine Park, in the south of the country. It is a small island, which can be covered on foot in a few hours. The main activities of the island include snorkeling, diving and excursions to the surrounding islands, where you can enjoy a relaxing holiday without large crowds of tourists. The sea around the island is beautiful with clear waters and beautiful long white sand beaches.

Best Non-Touristy Islands in Thailand

Koh Lipe Island has three main beaches. Pattaya Beach, a beautiful shallow beach where you can find good accommodation, great restaurants, beach bars and Thai massage parlors. A beautiful Sunrise Beach is completely different from Pattaya Beach as it is calm and idyllic, making this place ideal for snorkeling, kayaking and relaxation. Sunset Beach is a smaller and quieter beach in the northwest of the island and, of course, this is an ideal place for an unmissable sunset. The center of Koh Lipe is intersected by a Walking Street which is full of shops, restaurants, bars, services and massage parlors.

Koh Lipe has far fewer tourists than Phuket or Samui, but it does not lack perfect beaches and accommodation from simple bamboo huts to large luxury hotels. This is an ideal place for couples, families and those of you who want to relax on the beach.

Where to stay in Koh Lipe?

Chareena Hill Beach Resort

Idyllic Concept Resort

Wapi Resort

How to get to Koh Lipe?

Koh Lipe can be reached year-round from Pak Bara pier in Satun Province of Thailand. If you are traveling by air, the nearest airports to Koh Lipe are in Hat Yai and in Trang. From here you can catch a bus or taxi to Pak Bara pier, and then take a ferry or speedboat to Koh Lipe.

In high season speedboats also run to Langkawi of Malaysia, Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and several surrounding islands in the Andaman Sea. To book ferry tickets to Koh Lipe click here

Koh Tarutao

Koh Tarutao is one of Thailand's most pristine islands and not crowded with tourists at all. The largest of the islands in Tarutao National Marine Park is located in Satun Province, just outside Malaysia's borders. This island served as a political prison in the last century. Most of the island is covered by rainforests.

The best beaches are Ao Molae and Ao Son. Bird watching, mussel collecting, hiking and snorkeling are the most common activities the island has to offer. Here you can stay in bungalows in the north of the island, and the island has a few simple restaurants you can eat at. If you want a simple Island life and a real getaway, the island of Koh Tarutao is an ideal destination.

Where to stay in Koh Tarutao?

As the main island belongs to Tarutao National Marine Park, you can only rent a bungalow or tent, or bring your own tent with you to the island. To book accommodation in advance, you need to contact the National Park.

How to get to Koh Tarutao?

In the high season, you can get here by boat from the neighboring Koh Lipe. Out of season (June-October) you need to take a boat from Pak Bara pier, which can be reached by bus from Hat Yai or Trang.

Similan Islands

The Similan archipelago consists of several small islands and is located in the Andaman Sea about 70 kilometers from the mainland. If you are an advanced diver and want to know the best of diving in Thailand, do not hesitate to come to Similan Islands. Within the area, there are about 20 different dive sites that you can explore, all with a wide variety of creatures. During the day a lot of tourists come here, so if you want to experience the islands, you have to come here early.

Where to stay on Similan Islands?

No accommodation on Similan Islands.

How to get to Similan Islands?

The cheapest way to visit Similan Islands is by boat trip from Thap Lamu Pier in Phang Nga. Boat trips take about three hours and the cost can vary a lot. The more common way is to take a day trip to Similan Islands from Phuket or Khao Lak. It is important to note that the islands are open only from November to the end of April.

Koh Kood

Koh Kood (sometimes called Ko Kut or Ko Kud) is the fourth largest island in Thailand but with low numbers of tourists. The island is a relatively new beach tourist destination. Koh Kood is well known for its white sand and extremely clear turquoise water, especially along the west coast. There are several resorts and simple bungalows, made of natural materials and equipped with everything you need, just a few meters from the beach. You will not find luxury hotels here.

Best Non-Touristy Islands in Thailand

Where to stay in Koh Kood?

Rest Sea Resort Koh Kood

Medee Resort

Shantaa Koh Kood

How to get to Koh Kood?

Speedboats run by 4 different companies leave from the Laem Sok pier on the mainland. If you are traveling from Koh Chang, boats to Koh Kood depart from Bang Bao pier.

Koh Mak

Koh Mak is located 35 km off the coast of Trat Province, in the east of the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Mak has an area of only 16 square kilometers and is dominated by coconut and rubber plantations. Koh Mak is ideal for visitors who want a relaxed atmosphere with white sand, palm trees, wonderful beaches and mangrove forests. On the island, there is a temple, 3 fishing villages, rubber plantations, a school, a market and few shops.

Best Non-Touristy Islands in Thailand

The most popular activities on the islands are snorkeling and kayaking. At low tide you can walk to the small island of Koh Kham, located a kilometer northwest of Koh Mak. Despite its recent development in tourism, the island of Koh Mak is still unspoiled by mass tourism.

Where to stay in Koh Mak?

Koh Mak Ao Kao White Sand Beach

Koh Mak Resort

Banana Sunset - Bar & Bungalows

How to get to Koh Mak?

Boats to Koh Mak leave from two mainland piers, Krom Luang pier near Laem Ngop and Laem Sok pier. Four companies run daily services from 10:30 to 17:00 in high season.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao, also known as "Turtle Island", is located in southern Thailand. Koh Tao is located only about 60 kilometers north of the famous Koh Samui, where you can land by plane and in an hour and a half by boat you can reach Koh Tao, making it more touristy than most of the islands listed above. The nature on the island is dramatic and special, with beaches, cliffs and lush, green jungle. The most famous beaches are Sairee Beach and Mae Hat Beach on the west coast of the island. Our favorite beach is Freedom Beach, as it is a little bit like Thailand was 30 years ago. It offers a relaxed atmosphere without any package tourism. Walking though the steep, rocky path, brings you to one of the best viewpoints in Koh Tao, which is 500 meters above Freedom Beach.


Koh Tao is one of the top diving destinations in Thailand and attracts a decent number of divers. If you are attracted to diving, take advantage of really cheap diving course offers. If you don't feel like exploring marine life in depth, at least try snorkeling. You will see colorful fish around white corals and you can also see turtles, the symbol of the island. You can also go on boat trips around the island to visit Koh Nang Yuan.

Where to stay in Koh Tao?

The Fisherman's Villas

Koh Tao Heights Boutique Villas

The Miracle Guesthouse & Diving

How to get to Koh Tao?

Boats run daily from the neighboring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan to Koh Tao. You can also get to the island from the port of Chumpon, where a train station, bus station and small airport are located. For more details about getting to Koh Tao please check: How to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao Island.