If you ever happen to fly in an aircraft above the Andaman Sea, look outside your window and notice the stunning blue sea, speckled with hundreds of tropical islands resembling small brown-green patches on the surface of the ocean. When that’s the view outside, you know what you ought to do – island-hop!
If there’s one country that offers some of the best opportunities for island-hopping in Asia, it has got to be Thailand! This is not only because the country has close to 1,500 islands, but also because of how well connected the islands are with each other and to mainland Thailand.
Koh Lanta in the Andaman Sea is one such island that makes for the perfect base to go on an island-hopping adventure in the region. Thanks to its location, you can make it to at least five gorgeous islands from Koh Lanta in just 2-3 hours either by taking a sea route or a land route. Just bring along your sense of adventure and we promise it’ll be a fun ride!
Witness 50 shades of blue at Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi shot to fame when it appeared in the famous movie, The Beach, and there has been no looking back since then. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular islands in Thailand, which makes it very convenient to get here from anywhere in the country. Known for the brilliant blue water surrounding the edge of the island, almost every tourist that visits Thailand also comes here.
Koh Lanta is also well connected to Koh Phi Phi via three types of ferry transport – standard ferry, tourist ferry, and speedboat ferry. The speedboat is the fastest way to travel between Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi, taking only 30 minutes to cover the distance, while the other two ferries take about an hour.
There is no other way to reach Koh Phi Phi from Koh Lanta apart from taking a ferry, but it’s a ride you’re definitely going to enjoy. The Andaman Sea puts up a real show on this route which is a treat for the eyes! Despite the differing speeds, all ferries originating in Koh Lanta depart from the Saladan Pier and drop passengers off at the Tonsai Pier on Koh Phi Phi.
Get away from the madding crowd in Koh Lipe
Located close to the edge of the Thailand-Malaysia sea border, Koh Lipe is as exotic and remote as Thai islands can get! Offering some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities in the region, Koh Lipe is the perfect destination for a rejuvenating getaway.
Given the distance to be covered to travel from Koh Lanta to Koh Lipe, there are only two types of ferries available on this route – high speed ferry and speedboat ferry. While the former takes only 2 hours to reach Koh Lipe, the latter takes about 3 hours. Despite the difference in travel time, they cost almost the same, around USD 54-56 per person.
Another important difference to note here while purchasing your ticket is the final drop off point. The speedboats will drop you directly on one of the beaches in Koh Lipe, but the high speed ferry stops at a floating pier away from the shore from where passengers have to take another boat to reach the island. This is an additional cost you need to keep in mind if opting for the high speed ferry.
Check off your adventure bucket list in Phuket
Lying in the Andaman Sea to the northwest of Koh Lanta, Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, in addition to being one of the most visited destinations in the country. Shop, eat, relax by the beach or participate in adventure activities – if you were looking for one Thai island that has it all, Phuket is probably your answer.
Moreover, unlike most other islands of Thailand, Phuket can be reached both by land and sea, making it easily accessible from several places. The different modes of transportation available between Koh Lanta and Phuket are – ferry, car/minivan, and a combination of bus and ferry.
Taking the ferry is fairly straightforward and they take anywhere between 1.5 to 3.5 hours to complete the journey from Koh Lanta to Phuket. The high speed ferries take the least amount of time, while the standard tourist ferries take much longer.
While the ferry is the most common mode of transport here, cars or minivans are perfect for a private transfer. However, do keep in mind that the land route to Phuket from Koh Lanta is much longer than the sea route and cars can easily take up to 6 hours.
Another transport option on this route is a mix of bus and ferry whereby the first part of your journey involves taking a ferry to Krabi on the mainland and then hopping on to a bus that’ll take you to Phuket Airport. This route takes 5 hours in total but costs only USD 22 per person so it’s a great option for someone looking to get to the international airport directly.
Live your island dreams in Koh Yao Yai
Located further north from Koh Lanta, somewhere in between Phuket and Krabi lies another picturesque island – Koh Yao Yai. It is definitely lesser visited by tourist groups and still retains its original charm of being a remote, untouched island. If that’s the kind of experience you’re looking for, Koh Yao Yai is an ideal destination.
The island’s relative lack of popularity also means that transportation options to Koh Yao Yai from Koh Lanta are not many. There is only one highspeed ferry that runs between the two islands operated by Tigerline. The cost is slightly steep at USD 53 but the travel duration is only 1 hour 45 minutes and it is absolutely worth a trip!
Go back to the simple life in Koh Libong
Another off-beat, laidback island on this list, Koh Libong also remains fairly unexplored by most tourists, which makes it even more attractive. Home to rich flora and fauna, lush mangrove forests as well as some of the best beaches in Thailand, Koh Libong will surely bring you closer to nature.
Getting here from Koh Lanta is easy-breezy just like most islands in Thailand. Hop on a highspeed ferry from Koh Lanta’s Saladan Pier to take you to Koh Libong in a little more than 2.5 hours. Unfortunately, there are no alternative travel options on this route, but the ferry is a perfectly reliable and comfortable way to get to your destination in this part of the country.
With so many islands to choose from, you can be assured that your trip to Koh Lanta will be anything but boring! Excellent connectivity between Koh Lanta and its neighboring islands coupled with ease of travel in this part of Thailand will turn your island-hopping dreams to reality. Whizz through the stunning Andaman Sea and live the idyllic island life you’ve been craving for!