Phi Phi and Phuket are a couple of the more well-known islands in Thailand, but there are other islands that are just as large and just as beautiful. Remote beaches with jungle paradises for animal lovers, small cute towns for a taste of a normal life in a beautiful place, and resort expanses with luxury hotels, sparkling pools, and gourmet restaurants are the highlights of some of the islands.

1. Phuket 

Phuket  is the largest island in Thailand. Take flights there to the main airport the Phuket International Airport. Tickets from Atlanta ranged from about $1,700 to just over $2,000 round-trip (January 4, 2015). When you get there, a couple of must-sees, aside, from the beaches, include watching the FantaSea show, a Las Vegas style stage show with elephants as the stars, and a visit to the Old Town to shop for souvenirs. There are plenty of luxury hotels in Phuket, but if you would like to stay in an award-winning hotel on this Thailand island, the Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa earned the 2014 Traveler’s Choice Award, and it is considered a top-tier hotel.


2. Ko Chang Island

Go to Ko Chang for encounters with elephants. The Kong Plu waterfall and the Mo Ko Chang National Park are picturesque places to visit. Ko Chang is a late blooming Thailand island as far as the tourism industry is concerned, but there is a selection of luxury hotels on Ko Chang, like the Sea View Resort and Spa, Emerald Cove Koh Chang, and the Panviman Resort Koh Chang.


3. Ko Samui Island

Ko Samui is home of Bo Phut and the Big Buddah Temple, a popular icon to visit to see a bit more of Thai culture. So, take a break  from the sea and sand; drag yourself away from the beach. Speaking of beaches, the Ang Thong National Marine Park is nearby, for idyllic frolicking on the white sandy beaches which are on the edge of lush jungles.  As far as places to stay are concerned, Koh Samui has some old favorites like the W Hotel Retreats and a Four Seasons hotel.


4. Ko Tarutao National Park

Ko Tarutao is one of the islands in the archipelago operated by the Tarutao National Park. This beach is for people who truly want a romantic retreat, but be forewarned that there’s not much on the island except for the thick jungle and turtles, and other wild life.


5. Koh Tao

Are you trying to learn how to swim or how to dive? Koh Tao has gentle currents that are conducive to newbie swimmers and divers. This peaceful island is also a getaway from the crowds of Phi Phi and Phuket.  Luxurious accommodations on Koh Tao include the Haad Tien Beach Resort, the Jamahkiri Resort & Spa, and the Thipwimarn Resort.


6. Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is the place to be for full moon parties.  Beer, dancing, and wild partying are the most anticipating activities. This is the island to get turned up. The Buri Rasa Phangan Resort and Spa, Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort & Spa and the Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villa Resort & Spa are a few of your options for luxury hotel accommodations.


7. Ko Samet

As beautiful as it is, Koh Samet is relatively easy to reach from Bangkok via bus. Take a bus from the Bangkok bus station to Ban Phe. According to Wiki Travel, the ride is about 2 hours long. You’ll then take a ferry to Koh Samet. If you are planning to have a day trip, be sure to check the bus schedule before you go. This will assist you in making sure that you can get back when you want to.  This beach is close and so easily accessible from Bangkok that it’s not as peaceful as some of the other islands, especially on the weekends. It’s extremely developed and some say that it is noisy. Others might say that it’s exciting. Nevertheless, tourists who plan to stay the night on this Thailand island, should consider staying at the Paradee Resort and Spa.


8. Pier at Koh Tapu/Kao Ping Kan 

Koh Tapu is a 66-foot tall island that was used in a 1974 James Bond film. It’s widely Kao Phing Tan is a forested island with a pier and gift shops. This island is on the list, merely because it’s popular with tourists, but it’s reportedly extremely crowded. Go for a photo opportunity if you have time to kill, but don’t plan on spending too much time here.


9. Similan Islands

The Similan Islands are archipelagos that consist of another national park, which are popular sites for diving to see coral, sea life, and rocks. Ko Similan is the largest island of all of  the group of nine islands that comprise the Similan Island archipelagos.


Feaure photo of a dive site in the Andaman Sea, near Ko Lanta by Thomas Quine, CC