What to do and Where to stay in
South East Thailand

The Islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand have undergone a transformation since the fond memories of heady backpacking days. You’ll return to find the same stunning beaches, palm trees, azure-blue waters and top dive spots but swap the shack on the beach for a selection of some of the best destination hotels in Asia. Happily for the UK, the east coast is a perfect summer holiday destination, boasting a hot dry climate in our summer months and with an international airport on Samui and regular ferry connections between the islands, they are easily accessible.

Itineraries you might like

Experiences in South East Thailand

With palm fringed shorelines and lush rainforest interior Koh Samui is the original paradise isle. For those after luxury hotels, fine restaurants and destinations spas, Koh Samui is your island. Honeymooners are spoilt for choice, whilst families have some of the world’s top class family friendly hotels to choose from – ideal for both the tiny tots through to the teens. Hop from a relaxing sanctuary to a lively bar in minutes, via a plethora of different, flour-soft beaches. Famous Chaweng is the place to go to see and be seen and for those early birds, is blessed with the most beautiful sunrise. Coco Tam in Fisherman’s village is relaxed and a great stop for sundowner cocktails while Mae Nam is for glimmering sunsets; pick your spot under a coconut tree and enjoy.

Just a short ferry ride away (or speedboat for those wishing to up the ante) is Koh Phangan, Koh Samui’s quieter and less touristy little sister. Traditionally seen as the undeveloped backpacker island this is now the place to discover before everyone else does. The beauty of this island is that it remains authentic and untouched, think long white beaches and hilly jungle roads. However, a few gems of luxury hotels have emerged on Koh Phangan well away from any party scene and the setting is truly paradise. Even the Full Moon parties (for which is it renowned) are tucked away on one side of the island so you can avoid – or party! – as you please. We suggest you hail a long tail boat to visit a spectacular remote beach for an exquisite traditional Thai lunch, it’s a heavenly way to spend an afternoon.

Whilst in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan we also recommend exploring the untouched islands of the Ang Thong Marine Park. Once a home to pirates, the Ang Thong Islands rise from the sea as dramatic walls of rock. Day trips abound; discover the hidden blonde beaches amongst the 40 plus jagged jungle islands, covered in forests and home to abundant bird and animal life – excellent for hiking. A plethora of sea life make their home in the crystal waters surrounding the islands and the kayaking, diving and snorkelling is world renowned.

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