These 5 islands near Bangkok are all within a few hours’ drive (and quick boat trip) from the Thai capital, offering a convenient tropical escape for when you just want to get away from it all, but still want to be within touching distance of the big city.
Whilst Thailand is famous for its white sandy beaches and tropical paradises, most of the more famous islands are found way down south, and the only way to get the is by flying or spending a full day on the road. However, with our handpicked selection of the best islands near Bangkok, you’re never too far away from that picture-postcard beach (as well as one slightly more unusual option we've included).
Koh Larn (140km, 3 hours)
Many visitors to Bangkok find themselves making a beeline for Pattaya in search of sun, sea and sand but are left disappointed by the lack of pristine white sands in the main town centre. The best solution, if you want a taste of tropical paradise, is to jump on a boat to nearby Koh Larn. Often referred to as Coral Island, this is probably the best island near Bangkok in terms of offering soft white-sanded beaches and amenities, such as restaurants and watersports. Koh Larn is quick and easy to reach, and you could even make it a daytrip from Bangkok if you get up early enough. Seafood restaurants hug the picturesque coastline on the eastern side, and you can always grab a songtheaw taxi to the quieter (and prettier) western coast for a respite from the crowds on the weekend.
- How to get there: Bus from Ekkamai or Victory Monument (150 baht) to Pattaya. Regular ferries depart from Pattaya’s Bali Hai Pier to Koh Larn and the journey takes about 50 minutes (50 baht). Speed boats are available for around 300 baht per person and take half the time.
Koh Si Chang (110km, 2.5 hours)
As the nearest island to Bangkok, Koh Si Chang – or Sichang - gets its fair share of local and foreign visitors, many who make the day trip or weekend outing from Bangkok or nearby Pattaya. Beach fanatics might not be overwhelmed by the quality of the sand on Koh Si Chang, but what it lacks in sandy beaches, it certainly makes up for with its quaint fishing-village vibe, as well as plenty of small temple visits, secluded jungle pathways, a lively port area and snorkelling opportunities. Eating options here are cheap and delicious, with the choice dish, of course, being barbequed fish or squid.
Stay: Accommodation options on the island are very basic. Most come here for the day whilst staying in one of the more luxurious hotels in Pattaya.
- How to get there: Take a bus from Bangkok’s Ekkamai Bus Station to Sri Racha (100 baht, 2 hours). The ferry leaves Sri Racha’s main pier every hour can cost 50 baht (40 mins) for one way. Alternatively – and more conveniently – explore Koh Si Chang with a day trip from Pattaya here.
Famous among Thais for being THE place for teenagers and students to party on the weekends, Koh Samed – or ‘Samet’ – is by far the most fun-filled island near Bangkok. However, it does take a little more time and effort getting there, meaning it’s probably doesn’t fall into the daytrip category. Aside from young, single Thais in the mood to party, the island boasts plenty of white-sanded beaches - nowhere near as spectacular as the islands in Southern Thailand, but then again you’re only a few hours away from Bangkok. Koh Samed is also statistically the driest island in the whole country, enjoying its own mini-weather-climate that escapes prolonged periods of rain even during wet season. Expect the hotels, bars and clubs to fill up on weekends.
- How to get there: Bus from Ekkamai or Victory Monument in Bangkok to Ban Phe Pier in Rayong (250 baht, 3.5 hours). Speedboat (20 mins) or ferry every hour (200 baht, 1 hour) will take you right to the beach.
Ok, we admit it. The small islet of Koh Kret isn’t your typical Thai island. Measuring 2 km by 1 km, this small patch of land sits in Chao Phraya River and is famous for the Mon Tribes who have habited this island since it was created in the 18th century during the construction of a canal.
You won’t find pristine beaches and turquoise water gently lapping at the shore here; however, it is still does present a worthwhile daytrip to escape the capital. Just a few kilometres outside the city centre, the landlocked Koh Kret offers a glimpse of what Bangkok used to look like, with an abundance of greenery, makeshift pathways and precarious wooden housing. Read More...
- How to get there: Take a taxi to Koh Kret Pier and getboat across (a minute or so). Another way of exploring this hidden island near Bangkok is with a bike tour, where you‘re picked up from your hotel and guided around the island on two wheels.
Koh Khram Yai (170km, 3.5 hours)
Although only a few kilometres off the Pattaya coastline, arriving on the almost-deserted Koh Khram Yai feels like being washed up from a shipwreck. No hotels, no restaurants and no bars; this really is about as secluded as it gets. The geography of the place has prevented any development, as most of the island is covered in sharp rocks and cliffs. The intrepid travellers that do make it to this little-known spot can enjoy the small, clean and picturesque beaches all to themselves. Do bring your own food and drink and note that access is prohibited during certain times due to an ongoing turtle breeding program.
Stay: Unless you’re Robinson Crusoe, stay at the nearby Buritara Resort & Spa on the mainland.
- How to get there: Head to Satttahip (Chon Buri) from Bangkok’s Ekkamai Bus Terminal. There are no ferries to the island, but there are many tour operators in Sattahip that will take you to Koh Khram Yai for the day (1,000 baht pax).