A quiet little island sheltered in the southeastern reaches of Thailand, Koh Phangan is the first biggest island in Thailand, spanning an area of 167 square kilometres! Accessible from Koh Samui by ferries, Koh Phangan is famous for the iconic Full Moon Parties it hosts every month.
Composed majority of granite, the island’s white-sandy beaches are towered by lush green hills that also guard a beautiful, dense jungle. If you’re seeking a less-crowded getaway, do not plan your trip to Koh Phangan around the full moon days.
While those parties are sensational, there’s much more to Koh Phangan than just that. Embrace the soothing quietude of the beaches by going for a dive into the waters, or wandering through the beautiful forests.
- Late night parties
- Sun bathing
- Scuba diving
Location: Koh Phangan District, Surat Thani, Thailand
Distance from Koh Samui: 115 km
Koh Tao can be translated to mean ‘Turtle Island’, which it does justice to, considering it is home to a great number of turtles. It is also the scuba diving hotspot in Thailand. Fenced by pristine white-sand beaches, Koh Tao is littered with a number of beautiful corals home to a rich range of marine life, including turtles, as the name suggests.
Koh Tao is a relatively new discovery, having been recognised in the early 1980s, and remains easily accessible. Lined with a vast variety of guesthouses, hotels, and beach bungalows, catering to all budget types, Koh Tao has quickly become one of the most visited islands near Koh Samui. Distance yourself from the buzzing city streets and escape into a tropical wonderland!
- Scuba diving
- Cliff jumping
- Mountain biking
Location: Ko Pha-ngan District, Surat Thani, Thailand
Distance from Koh Samui: 68 km
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Another secret little island forming part of the Samui Archipelago, Koh Taen is an ever quite neighbour of Koh Madsum. Nestled along the southern end of Samui, the island is a perfect respite for adventure enthusiasts who wish for solitude amidst nature.
The idyllic white-sand beaches guarded by lush greenery are also home to plenty of vibrant coral reefs nurturing a great variety of marine life. While snorkelling is almost a given when visiting Koh Taen, you cannot miss hiking through the verdant mangrove forests here. One of the most delightful islands near Koh Samui, especially if you enjoy solitude.
- Hiking through a mangrove forest
Location: Taling Ngam, Ko Samui District, Surat Thani, Thailand
Distance from Koh Samui: Approximately 18 km
A picturesque tropical paradise, Koh Madsum is one of the smaller islands around Koh Samui. Belonging to the Samui Archipelago, Koh Madsum lies hidden off the southern coast of Koh Samui. This secret little beauty is an ideal retreat for those looking for some peace and privacy.
Home to beaches bordered by beautiful sandy stretches, Koh Madsum shelters a quiet restaurant by the bay where you can head to treat your taste buds after a breathtaking kayak ride.
The island is not very popular, which means you can escape the crowd easily and spend some priceless moments amidst nature. While Koh Samui might offer you tonnes of adventure, Koh Mudsum is the place to be if you wish to just relax and unwind, away from the crowd.
Location: Koh Madsum, Taling Ngam, Ko Samui District, Surat Thani, Thailand
Distance from Koh Samui: Approximately 22 km
Ang Thong National Marine Park
A stunning archipelago consisting of 42 islands, Ang Thong National Marine Park is lined with lofty limestone mountains, verdant forests harbouring waterfalls and coves, lakes, and pristine white-sand beaches. Spanning an area of over 100 square kilometres, the archipelago is home to a beautiful land and marine biodiversity.
Whether you’re hoping to spend some quiet, peaceful moments amidst nature, or want to dive into the world of marine adventures, Ang Thong is the place to be. Do try to take time for snorkelling, kayaking, or hiking when travelling here. It is one of the most visited islands near Koh Samui.
Location: Thongsala Koh Phangan, Surat Thani, Thailand
Distance from Koh Samui: Approximately 40 km
Koh Nang Yuan
A blissful detour from the tropical bounds of Koh Tao will bring you to the small island of Koh Nang Yuan, famous amongst the many islands around Koh Samui . A thrilling haven marked by clear blue-water beaches bordered by white sandy stretches, the island looks like something out of a movie! Its proximity to travel hotspots like Koh Tao and Koh Samui has led to a steady rise in footfall.
There is a beautiful resort by the beach where you can stay to avoid the crowds of Koh Samui; it is the only mode of accommodation there.
- Scuba diving
Location: Koh Nang Yuan is located near Koh Tao
Distance from Koh Samui: Approximately 70 km
Note: The island stays open only until 05:00 PM, after which only those travellers staying at the beach resort are allowed.
Koh Wua Talap
Headquarters of the Ang Thong Marine National Park, Koh Wua Talap is one of the most secluded islands near Koh Samui. While most travellers opt for a one-day trip to the island from Koh Samui, you might want to consider staying overnight, given that it is much less crowded compared to the latter.
There are around six odd beach bungalows on this island, along with camping tents for those who wish to live a truly tropical fantasy. If you find yourself bogged down a little by the swarm of travellers in Koh Samui, the little heaven of Koh Wua Talap promises to relieve you of that! Dip your toes in the world of water sports, or just lie down, soaking up that radiant sun.
- Scuba diving
Location: Ang Thong Marine National Park
Distance from Koh Samui: Approximately 39.0 km
Koh Mae Koh
Koh Mae Koh is a sleepy little island nestled in Mu Koh National Marine Park. Marked by emerald-green waters of the Talay Nai sea in the laps of towering limestone mountains, Koh Mae Koh is one of the most exotic-looking islands near Koh Samui.
The island is a beautiful cluster of powdery beaches, mountains, and secret caves harbouring stalactites and stalagmites. Far away from the busting coasts of other islands, Koh Mae Koh also nurtures a beautiful diversity of marine and wildlife. Besides the quiet beauty of the island, it is also known for a world of marine adventures that the beaches offer.
- Sea kayaking
- Scuba diving
Location: The island sits inside Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Distance from Koh Samui: Approximately 36.1km