The best islands near Koh Samui are the top choices for island-hopping adventures in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s quite a popular activity in Samui as this tourist hot spot features a good range of other islands lying a reasonable distance off its shore. Situated one hour by speedboat northwest of Koh Samui, the simply stunning Ang Thong National Marine Park is an archipelago that comprises 42 pristine islands. Two of them figure on our list.

    Two large islands, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, respectively located 12 km and 60 km north of Samui, also offer an extremely pleasant getaway for the day or longer stays. Discover the best island-hopping destinations around Koh Samui below. They offer you great opportunities for sightseeing and action-packed outings during your island vacation.

    1

    Koh Wua Talap

    Ang Thong National Marine Park's HQ

    Koh Wua Talap ("Sleeping Cow Island" in Thai), is home to the headquarters of Ang Thong National Marine Park. The island is the second-largest in the archipelago. It features basic infrastructures including bungalows, an information desk, a restaurant, a first aid center, and a sea kayak rental desk.

    Koh Wua Talap is on the circuit of most of the day trips in the marine park. Along with a lovely, clean beach, the island has a stunning coconut tree grove, lush vegetation, stunning viewpoints, and a nature trail to the Hua Boke cave under a mountain.

    Location: Ang Thong, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand

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    2

    Koh Phangan

    A party island

    Koh Phangan is Thailand’s 5th largest island that's located just 12 km north of Koh Samui and is still barely developed. Ferries from the mainland and Samui are at hand to get there, leaving frequently throughout the morning and early afternoon. It features a hilly, lush tropical jungle interior, many idyllic, long white-sand beaches and over 20 nearby dive sites. 

    Featuring a good choice of accommodations options for all budget types, Koh Phangan’s main claim to fame is largely due to its many full-moon, black moon and half-moon parties held on the beach of Haad Rin. The rugged, mountainous interior is also more dramatic than many other islands in Thailand.

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    Location: Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand

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    3

    Koh Tao

    The "turtle island"

    Koh Tao (“Turtle Island” in Thai) lives up to its name, being one of the greatest scuba diving destinations in southern Thailand. The perfect white-sand beaches which ring the hilly 21-sq-km island are surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

    The compact island is about 60 km to the north of Samui and was only really “discovered” in the early 1980s, but now supports a varied selection of hotels, from budget guesthouses and beach bungalows up to 5-star luxury resorts. So far from civilization and while still being relatively easily reached, it is the idyllic tropical island paradise.

    Location: Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand

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    4

    Koh Mae Koh

    Discover its emerald lagoon

    Koh Mae Koh (Mother Island) is situated just a kilometer north of Koh Wua Talap and is the second most-visited island in Angthong Marine National Park. It is especially famous for its 2 stunning viewpoints – most of the panoramic photos you see of the park are taken from them, and for its emerald lagoon named Talay Nai in Thai.

    Talay Nai is a vivid green ‘small sea’ that contains seawater surrounded by limestone cliffs. It is connected to the sea by underground tunnels. The island features a cool beach bar, and kayaks are available for rent.

    Location: Ang Thong, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand

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    5

    Koh Taen

    A short boat ride from Samui

    Koh Taen, a short 5 km boat ride from Samui's south coast, is often part of snorkeling and fishing day trips departing from Thong Krut. This small island of 7.5 sq km offers bungalow accommodations at hand, a couple of restaurants and a wooden walkway through a mangrove swamp.

    The Koh Taen Conservation Society has erected helpful blue signs identifying plants and buildings of historical interest. Most of the day trips to Koh Taen also include neighboring Koh Mudsum in their itineraries. It's also an interesting island to visit or stay on and it hosts 2 hotels.

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    Location: Taling Ngam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand

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    6

    Ang Thong National Marine Park

    A jewel in the Gulf of Thailand

    Ang Thong National Marine Park is a pristine archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand. The islands feature towering limestone mountains, thick jungle, white-sand beaches, fertile mangroves, waterfalls and hidden coves and lakes to explore.

    Within sight of Koh Samui, Ang Thong is a protected area of more than 100 sq km of land and sea and home to a rich variety of exotic wildlife and sea creatures. Snorkeling, hiking, sea kayaking, diving, sailing and simply relaxing on one of its idyllic beaches are the main activities to enjoy on Ang Thong.

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    Location: Ang Thong, Koh Samuih, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand

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    7

    Koh Mudsum

    An island hop from Samui's south coast

    Koh Mudsum and Koh Taen are small islands that often come together as a package, a short boat ride from Samui's south coast. Fishing or snorkeling are usually thrown in as part of the boat tour package, offered as a day trip by local tour companies and individuals. 

    Koh Mudsum is basically one long beach that is unfortunately rather unkempt in places. There's also a dead reef directly offshore, which makes bathing tricky, and a pearl farm that's open to visitors.

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    Location: Taling Ngam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand

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    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveler

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