Beach at Ko Lanta

Ko Lanta

Sandwiched between party-happy Ko Phi-Phi and laid-back Krabi, Ko Lanta is a tiny little drop of beach-fringed greenery in the middle of Thailand’s famous turquoise seas. If you’re looking for a low-key island retreat, far from the backpacker chaos that has come to define so many beaches in the region, this is it.

Still, it’s not what you’d call “undiscovered”: think chilled-out luxury resorts rather than bamboo shacks on the sand. While the west coast is the most developed, the south of the island is sheer, unspoilt beauty, with some of the best beaches in all of Thailand (and that’s saying something). You’ll have to travel to get to them, since this part of the island is a national park and consequently undeveloped, but boy — if those idyllic sands aren’t worth it!

After spending your days enjoying the seclusion of the south, or perhaps boat tripping to some of the many dive sites tucked away in the surrounding islands, return to one of Lanta’s luxurious resorts to indulge in cutting-edge spa treatments and fine fusion cuisine. The local culture is a rich mix of Muslim, Chinese, Thai and indigenous influences, and the island’s community has worked to keep it quiet — so don’t expect any noisy jetskis, beach parties or rowdy strips of bars. You’re more likely to hear the plaintive sound of a muezzin prayer drifting across the sands in the evening than thumping bass. All this means there’s little to disturb your relaxation (besides a few monkeys and the occasional passing goat, of course).

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Krabi’s coastline is the stuff travel dreams are made of. Emerald vegetation clings to dramatic, gravity-defying cliffs, towering limestone pinnacles teeter precariously over the sea, and hundreds of little islands lie waiting to be explored.


The largest and most popular of the Thai Islands has as many different personalities as it has beaches — and that’s quite a few! Pay no heed to those who say Phuket is past its prime: there are pockets of paradise here to compete with anywhere in the world.

Ko Yao Noi

Known for its low-key tourist scene, ultra-luxurious resorts, and peace-loving Muslim culture, Ko Yao Noi is an island idyll hidden among the famous party islands and backpacker beach towns of the Andaman Sea.