How to choose an island – Koh Samui, Koh Pha-Ngan or Koh Tao
Which will it be?
Everyone’s idea of a perfect Thai island is different, just like everyone’s idea of a travel destination is different, and what makes up that image of perfection varies from person to person. It’s a difficult thing to pinpoint where you should head when you’re trying to choose between three of Thailand’s most famous Gulf Coast islands, but if you were choosing between them, which would you go for?
For me, I would head to Koh Tao. Why? Because I like the up and coming vibe of the island, and because it’s not quite reached the fame of Koh Samui yet, it has a secretive, almost special feel about it, which I find relaxing and totally chilled out. Of course, you might not agree, but in order to help you pick your ideal island getaway, let me run through a few pointers.
Now, I mentioned Koh Samui as being quite commercial, and this is true. Koh Samui is probably the first island you will hear about, and has long been a popular choice amongst travellers, backpackers, and those seeking island paradise. Beaches here are probably what you would call ‘stunning’, that’s the word I would choose; you’ll find long stretches of white sand, brilliant blue sea, and clear, cloudless skies in the main.
On top of this, there are restaurants, nightlife, and spa facilities for everyone. What I think is great about Koh Samui however, is that you only have to venture away from the tourist streets just a little to find authentic Thai life going on, which I believe you should certainly be exploring! Head to the south or west for the best in the way of authentic life, with small temples and villages nestled amongst beautiful countryside.
In comparison to Koh Samui, I’m going to talk about Koh Pha-Ngan. Now, this is where you will find the famous Full Moon Party that goes on every month, and although there are other similar parties happening all over the country at this time, in various places, this is where you will find a huge one. Because of that, countless tourists and backpackers head here for this particular event, however once the full moon has abated, what is left behind is what I believe to be quite special indeed.
You might not associate Koh Pha-Ngan with being family friendly, but overall it is, especially on the west coast, where I would recommend a holiday for those wanting rest and relaxation. The bays and beaches are private and tranquil, and for a break away from it all, I don’t think you could find a better island.
Now we come to my favourite island, Koh Tao. In comparison to the other two, Koh Tao isn’t as commercial or as big, but it is very popular for other reasons. The thing which calls out to me most is the natural aspect of the island, with jungle overgrowth and scenery, perfect for those who want to get their hiking boots on. Another plus point is the diving. Yes, you can easily access countless types of marine-life and corals just off the coast, easy to get to, and with plenty of opportunities and trips to do so.
For me, this is what makes Koh Tao different – it’s laid back, fun, but it’s also totally natural in other ways, meaning it’s more authentic as a result.
The choice is now yours!
Photo Credit: ilya
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