5 Best Islands Near Bangkok

Bangkok’s Best Island Getaways

    These beautiful islands near Bangkok are all within a few hours’ drive (and quick boat trip) from the Thai capital, offering a convenient tropical escape for when you just want to get away from it all but still want to be within touching distance of the big city.

    While Thailand is famous for its white sandy beaches and tropical paradises, most of the more famous islands are further down south, and the only way to get there is by flying or spending a full day on the road. Even so, with our handpicked selection of the best islands near Bangkok, you’re never too far away from that picture-postcard beach (as well as one slightly more unusual option we've included).

    1

    Koh Samed

    220 km, 4.5 hours

    Famous among Thais for being THE place for teenagers and students to party on the weekends, Koh Samed – or Koh Samet – is by far the most fun-filled island near Bangkok. Even so, it does take a little more time and effort getting there, meaning it’s probably doesn’t fall into the day trip category.

    Aside from young, single Thais in the mood to party, the island boasts plenty of white-sanded beaches – nowhere near as spectacular as the islands in Southern Thailand, but then again you’re only a few hours away from Bangkok. Koh Samed is also statistically the driest island in the whole country, enjoying its own microclimate that escapes prolonged periods of rain even during the wet season. Expect Koh Samet's hotels, bars and clubs to fill up on weekends.

    Getting there: take a bus from Ekkamai or Victory Monument in Bangkok to Ban Phe Pier in Rayong (3.5 hours). A speedboat (20 minutes) or ferry departs every hour (1 hour) and will take you right to the beach.

    Stay: accommodations choices on Koh Samed range from 2-star bungalows to 5-star resorts.

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    2

    Koh Larn

    140 km, 3 hours

    Many travelers to Bangkok find themselves making a beeline for Pattaya in search of sun, sea and sand. But they’re often left disappointed by the lack of pristine white sands in the main town center. The best solution, if you want a taste of tropical paradise, is to jump on a boat to nearby Koh Larn. Often referred to as Coral Island, this is probably the best island near Bangkok in terms of offering soft white-sanded beaches and amenities, such as restaurants and watersports.

    Koh Larn is quick and easy to reach, and you could even make it a day trip from Bangkok if you get up early enough. Seafood restaurants hug the picturesque coastline on the eastern side, and you can always grab a songthaew taxi to the quieter (and prettier) western coast for a respite from the crowds on the weekend.

    Getting there: take a bus from Ekkamai or Victory Monument to Pattaya. Regular ferries depart from Pattaya’s Bali Hai Pier to Koh Larn and the journey takes about 50 minutes. Speedboats are available and take half the time.

    Stay: Koh Larn is small and not very developed, yet there are 2 quality places to stay near the beach at Xanadu Beach Resort and Lareena Resort By The Sea.

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    3

    Koh Si Chang

    110 km, 2.5 hours

    Koh Si Chang, or Sichang, is the nearest island to Bangkok. It gets its fair share of local and foreign visitors who mostly make the day trip or weekend outing from Bangkok or nearby Pattaya.

    Beach fanatics might not be overwhelmed by the quality of the sand on Koh Si Chang, but what it lacks in sandy beaches, it certainly makes up for with its quaint fishing-village vibe, as well as plenty of small temple visits, secluded jungle pathways, a lively port area and snorkeling opportunities. Eating options here are cheap and delicious, with the choice dish, of course, being barbequed fish or squid.

    Getting there: take a bus from Bangkok’s Ekkamai Bus Station to Sri Racha (2 hours). The ferry leaves Sri Racha’s main pier every hour (40 minutes). Alternately – and more conveniently – explore Koh Si Chang with a day trip from Pattaya.

    Stay: accommodations options on the island are very basic. Most come here for the day while staying in one of the more luxurious hotels in Pattaya.

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    photo by Ruslik0 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    Koh Kret

    10 km, 45 mins

    The small islet of Koh Kret sits in the Chao Phraya River. Measuring 2 km by 1 km, it's famous for the Mon Tribes who have inhabited this island since it was created in the 18th century during the construction of a canal.

    You won’t find pristine beaches and turquoise water gently lapping at the shore, but the islet still does present a worthwhile day trip to escape the capital. Just 20 km outside the city center, the landlocked Koh Kret offers a glimpse of what Bangkok used to look like, with an abundance of greenery, makeshift pathways, and precarious wooden housing.

    Getting there: take a taxi to Koh Kret Pier and get a boat across (a minute or so). Another way of exploring this hidden island near Bangkok is with a bike tour, where you‘re picked up from your hotel and guided around the island on 2 wheels.

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    photo by Preecha.MJ (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    5

    Koh Khram Yai

    170 km, 3.5 hours

    Though only a few km off the Pattaya coastline, arriving on the almost-deserted Koh Khram Yai feels like being washed up from a shipwreck. No hotels, no restaurants and no bars; this really is about as secluded as it gets. The geography of the place has prevented any development, as most of the island is covered in sharp rocks and cliffs.

    The intrepid travelers that do make it to this little-known spot can enjoy the small, clean and picturesque beaches all to themselves. Do bring your own food and drinks. Note that access is prohibited during certain times due to an ongoing turtle breeding program.

    Getting there: head to Satttahip (Chon Buri) from Bangkok’s Ekkamai Bus Terminal. There are no ferries to the island, but there are many tour operators in Sattahip that will take you to Koh Khram Yai for the day.

    Stay: Unless you’re Robinson Crusoe, stay at the nearby Buritara Resort & Spa on the mainland.

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