Luxtripper Travel Editor
Nestling in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is one of the largest islands belonging to Thailand. It's diverse landscape is a big draw as you have everything from glorious palm fringed beaches to dense coconut groves, and to top it all off a mountainous rain forest. What it offers visitors is hugely diverse; apart from the luxury resorts and opulent spas, it also has a very rowdy nightlife, which is particularly popular within the backpacking fraternity. However, visitors to the resorts have no worries about their peace and serenity being infiltrated by these party goers as the resorts are completely self-contained. One of the big photographic opportunities on Koh Samui is the 12m statue of the Golden Buddha at Wat Phra Yai, something no visitor to the island should ever miss.
Where to stay: Six Senses Samui.
Probably the most famous of all the Thai islands, Phuket sits in the Andaman Sea and also has the heady mix of some of the world's best beaches against the backdrop of a stunning rain forest. The beaches along the western shore have to be seen to be believed, especially when it comes to the crystal-clear waters. Everything on Phuket is high end, from the resorts to the spas and restaurants. However, around the principal town of Patong the vibe is a lot more laid back and chilled with a really cool nightlife, boasting numerous bars and nightclubs. Tourists from across the globe travel to Phuket and the diversity of these different ethnicities gives it a unique atmosphere, even in the luxurious resorts which certainly adds a special something to your time here.
Where to stay: The Shore at Katathani Phuket.
The island of Koh Phi Phi off Thailand’s Andaman coast became famous when it was devastated by the tsunami of 2004. The island's infrastructure was practically destroyed, but over a decade later the vast majority is better than it ever was. The tired resorts have been replaced by some so luxurious they well warrant the multitude of awards they have won. The beaches and surrounding landscape have their beauty protected due to being given National Park status and if you want to escape from it all but be spoilt at the same time this is the perfect island for you. The long white beaches and superb diving which are synonymous with the islands of Thailand are all present and correct here, and romantic moonlit walks along the shore are the stuff dreams are made of.
Where to stay: Zeavola Resort
The Koh Yao Islands are between Phuket and Krabi, and while they may not as well-known as other Thai islands, the resorts here are to die for. Designed to blend in seamlessly with the natural beauty of the surroundings some of the best resorts in Asia are found on both Koh Yao Noi, the smaller island, and Koh Yao Yai, the larger one. Small enough to offer an intimacy that makes it the perfect setting for a honeymoon in Thailand yet large enough to offer visitors plenty to see and do, Koh Yao Noi is an island that really should be on everyone's bucket-list. It serves as an excellent base to visit the surrounding islands as well - that is, if you can bring yourself to leave your luxury resort.
Where to stay: Six Senses Yao Noi
Koh Lanta is actually an area made up of 4 separate islands, the largest 2 of which are Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai. As the latter has the most to offer its visitors it is that one we are concentrating on for this overview. Koh Lanta Yai is one of the largest Thai island at over 30km long and 6km wide. There are 9 beaches in total which run from north to south down the sunset coast. The landscape is beautiful and serene with the customary white sand beaches and lush forests of Thailand and a stunning vista taking in over 70 other islands dotted along the island and way more than its fair share of coral reefs for diving enthusiasts.
If you want a relaxing and luxurious holiday far from the madding crowds then this is the island to head to. There is no raucous nightlife on Koh Lanta Yai, just an ambiance of luxury and tranquillity which makes you feel at peace with the world. This island also suffered the effects of the tsunami in 2004 and has worked tirelessly to restore the island to its former beauty, but with the inclusion of several superior resorts and hotels which now offer their visitors the last word in luxury.
Where to stay: Layana Resort & Spa