Island Hopping in the Andaman Sea

Two weeks of island hopping across some of Thailand's Andaman Sea islands in December 2018

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By Johannes Wienke

Two years ago, we went on an island hopping trip around the Andaman Sea in Thailand. This photo series summarizes our journey and the experiences we had on some of the beautiful islands to be discovered there.

Phuket

Our trip started at the airport in Phuket and a hotel in the city center.

At Phuket's city center

We only spent one night there an had a brief look at the slightly chaotic city before heading towards Ko Lanta, the only destination we booked in advanced. Going to Ko Lanta was our first trip with one of those crazy speed boats, which are advertised by the number of engines.

Speed boat engines in front of an island silhouette
Our first speed boat trip from Phuket towards Ko Lanta with a brief stop at Ko Phi Phi.

Ko Lanta

In contrast to many of the more popular islands in the Andaman Sea, Ko Lanta is one of the slightly lesser known ones. It is a quite large island without the distinctive karst formations the surrounding islands are known for. This results in a low density of tourists and a very relaxed feel to the island. We spent our time on Ko Lanta in Klong Khong and immediately extended the planned time there just because the atmosphere was so much relaxing.

The beach at Klong Khong, Ko Lanta with its bars.
The beach at Klong Khong, Ko Lanta, which its bars.

You can spend some nice time at Klong Khong’s beach bars while watching the sunset.

Sunset time at Klong Khong's beach

One of the interesting things we did on Ko Lanta was renting a boat with a guide for a day to visit some of the smaller islands surrounding Ko Lanta.

Some of the distinctive smaller islands surrounding Ko Lanta

While Klong Khong beach is nice for relaxing at one of the bars, swimming is not easy due to many rocks. Of course, we also visited other beaches better suited for swimming. At the occasion below, a thunderstorm moved in.

A thunderstorm moving in at a beach on Ko Lanta island
Thunderstorm moving in

After bringing a lot of rain, the thunderstorm also brought a wonderful sunset for our last evening at the island.

A wonderful sunset after the thunderstorm
A fishing boat at sunset
Our last evening at Ko Lanta

Ko Phi Phi

After the relaxing Ko Lanta, we decided to head over towards Ko Phi Phi for two nights. Despite knowing that this place is extremely touristy and overrun, the distinctive karst formations of this island group are what makes it that interesting and we somehow accepted the amount of tourists to get an impression of the nature there.

Maya bay at Ko Phi Phi islands
The well known and completely overrun Maya Bay known from the movie The Beach. The bay was locked for visitors to give nature some time to recover.
Impressions from Ko Phi Phi islands

In the end, we probably wouldn’t visit Ko Phi Phi again. The village is just a huge number of shops, bars, and drunk tourists and the nature really struggles with the amount of tourism.

Decorated fishing boats at Ko Phi Phi
Decorated fishing boats at Ko Phi Phi

Ko Lipe

After the extremely crowded Ko Phi Phi we headed towards Ko Lipe. Despite being well established as a tourist destination, Ko Lipe has more space and you can still find quiet spots on this island. The speed boat ride there takes some hours.

A colorful sunset framed by trees and a wooden roof
A sunset seen from our hotel balcony

We spent the time on Ko Lipe in the relaxing Pitiusas Beach Resort with just a handful of bungalows at the sunset beach side of the island. The hotel as has a nice little beach, which gives direct access to the huge coral reef of the island.

Sunset time at Ko Lipe

Like on the other islands, many of the beach bars try to attract visitors with fire spinning shows.

Fire spinning on the beach
Night time at Pattaya beach

Slowly heading back to Germany

Before heading back to Germany, we spent two more nights on the very calm island Ko Yao Yai, mainly for relaxing. This was well deserved after the long, shaky, cold, and wet speed boat ride back from Ko Lipe. No fancy photos to show from this island apart from the hotel pool 😉.

Hotel pool on Ko Yao Yai island
Relaxing at the pool

Before entering the airplane back to Germany, a wonderful sunset at a beach close to Phuket airport finalized our Thailand trip.

Sunset at Nai Yang beach