With hundreds of breathtaking tropical islands, Thailand is one of the world's most popular destinations for island hopping holidays. Yacht charter is the best way to discover Thai islands, as their unparalleled landscapes and unique historic attractions are best explored on a flexible schedule. To see some of the most visited places in Thailand, one needs at least two weeks because sailing distances between the largest islands are not short. Longer itineraries are needed to properly explore more of the country's cultural and natural landmarks.
Thailand sailing itineraries are divided between the Andaman Coast and the Gulf of Thailand. The two sailing regions are separated by the Malay Peninsula and each contains a number of stunning islands with diverse landscapes, wildlife and culture. The best destinations along the Andaman Coast are Phuket, Koh Lanta and the Phi Phi Islands, while the most popular places in the Gulf of Thailand are the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan.
Phuket is Thailand’s top yachting destination, with a rich variety of historic buildings, Buddhist temples and fantastic beaches welcoming crowds of tourists every day. It is also the most developed destination along the Andaman coast, offering visitors a range of options for water sports, entertainment and sightseeing tours of the region.
Koh Yao Yai, a large island between Phuket and the mainland, is a popular destination for sailing trips from Phuket. The island is a quiet oasis with many amazing, deserted beaches and offers easy access to Hong Island and James Bond Island, also known for their spectacular scenery. The smaller sister island of Koh Yao Noi is more developed, but still relatively untouched compared to some of the other sailing hotspots in Thailand. A group of smaller islands in the vicinity testify to the region's long history, with numerous paintings, some 2,000 years old, that can be found hidden in their caves.
Krabi is an excellent base for exploring a number of Thai islands and islets that impress with their dramatic limestone cliffs and lush scenery. Hong Island, Koh Lanta, Koh Jum, and the Phi Phi Islands are the most popular stops.
Koh Hong (Hong Island), a paradise island just off the coast of Krabi, is part of the Than Bok Khorani National Park, known for its lush landscapes with waterfalls, limestone mountains and underground caves. The secret lagoon in the centre of the island is an excellent destination for kayaking, while the island's beautiful beaches offer shelter and genuine tranquility to anyone looking for a relaxing day trip from the mainland.
Koh Lanta is home to some of Thailand's best diving sites, with a complex system of islets, reefs, underwater caves and a vibrant underwater life. The nine long sandy beaches, a lush forest and more than 70 small islands in the vicinity make the island a hotspot for tourists looking for a quieter holiday.
Koh Jum, a small island between Krabi Town and Koh Lanta, also attracts a more mature crowd and young families. Those looking for an active day trip typically hike to the top of Mount Pu to enjoy the majestic view of the nearby islands and the Andaman Sea.
The Phi Phi Islands, a scenic archipelago of six islands 40 km southeast of Phuket, are among the top yacht charter destinations in Thailand. The islands are known for their limestone cliffs, caves, and long white sandy beaches. They are part of the Hat Nopparat Thara-Ko Phi Phi National Park, which harbours an abundance of coral reefs and a rich marine life. The largest islands in the group are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Lee.
Those setting sail from Phuket typically visit Koh Phi Phi to swim and snorkel on the famous Koh Phi Phi Leh beach, go scuba diving or kayaking, explore the island's vibrant night life, and enjoy the panoramic views of the island from one of the viewpoints.
Koh Samui is the largest and most popular island in the Gulf of Thailand, offering a versatile range of options for family holidays, romantic getaways and group trips that make for a memorable sailing experience, with many spectacular beaches, waterfalls and panoramic views along the way.
Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park, a marine national park in the Surat Thani Province that stretches across an area of 102 square kilometres and covers 42 scenic islands, is a top destination for trips from Koh Samui, harbouring a rich variety of exotic wildlife and pristine landscapes. The archipelago is ideal for kayaking, diving and hiking.
Koh Phangan is notorious for its full moon parties, but also an excellent place for nature lovers. The island's green hills, deserted beaches, quiet bays on the northern shore, and Sail Rock, one of the best diving spots in Thailand, draw a diverse crowd of visitors each year.
Koh Tao is perfect for those looking to explore the island's simple, authentic lifestyle and spend their days swimming and scuba diving on tranquil beaches, hiking to discover new vantage points, and dancing in beach bars every night. Koh Nang Yuan, a small island connected to Koh Tao by a strip of sand, is one of the region's most beautiful and unique sceneries.
Thai islands are accessible during high season, which lasts from November to May, but rough seas during the monsoon season can make them difficult to reach. Koh Samui and the islands along the south-east coast are the exception, as they have the rainy season from November to February. The best time to plan an island hopping cruise in this area is from May to October.