Lesser-known islands near Thailand

Thailand is known for its beautiful beaches and islands that are constantly visited by both local and international tourists all-year round. However, due to frequent footfall, many of these locations have closed to allow nature to recuperate.

Amid closed islands, COVID-19, and cancelled travel plans, things are starting to look up with travel restrictions slowly being lifted internationally. So for Thais looking to get out of the country for a beach getaway, here are some gorgeous islands near us to escape to for future vacations.

1. Pink Beach, Komodo Island – Indonesia

Image credit: @karina20160827

Komodo Island is not unheard of, being one of Indonesia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites – but known to little it that the island is home to a secret pink beach.

Pink Beach is a real natural wonder, with small pieces of coral giving the otherwise white sand a pretty, pastel pink hue. And thanks to crystal clear turquoise waters, this beach looks like an IG-filter comes to life. 

Image credit: Loveandroad

Besides Pink Beach, the island’s landscape looks breathtaking and untouched.

Keep a lookout for the island’s resident komodo dragons. Be careful though, these critters are basically mini dinos. Learn more about them and the island via a local ranger, who can bring you around too.

Image credit: Independent

The entrance fee is $11 for working days and $18 for holidays and the ranger fee is $5.30 according to Beborneo.

2. Nyaung Oo Phee Island – Myanmar

Image credit: Avengo

Nyaung Oo Phee is a peaceful island in Myanmar, within the deep blue Andaman Sea. This is definitely your go-to island if you’re seeking some solitude and peace of mind for your next holiday. 

Without hordes of visitors, the beach is still super clean with a crystal clear ocean to boot. The best part is that you’ll get to swim without having to fight for space with anyone else. 

Image credit: @nawin_m

To get here, travellers can easily find a boat from Ranong province in Thailand, which will take around 2 hours. 

There’s also a day trip package (from ฿3,900, ~USD125), including hotel transfers, snorkelling, immigration papers, breakfast, and lunch for your convenience.  

3. Mabul Island – Malaysia

Let’s face it, we all want a fancy holiday in the Maldives but our savings beg to differ. Luckily, Malaysia’s Mabul Island is a much more affordable alternative option for us all. 

Resorts here are lined up along the bright blue waters with wooden bridges linking all the bungalows together. 

Image credit: @loonloon12345

By the looks of it, the view is almost identical to the famous shots of the Maldives or Bora Bora we often see on the internet. Your friends on IG wouldn’t have guessed that you’re just an hour away, off the Malaysian coast. 

Mabul Water Bungalows – contact the property for room rates here
Image credit: Mabul Water Bungalows

Thanks to the rich natural sights around the island, this place has turned into a diver’s paradise. You can even take your diving course here as there are many diving agencies to choose from, just head to your hotel’s reception for more details. 

If you’re not keen on diving, paddle around on a see-through kayak instead
Image credit: @k3ny_lee

4. Hidden Lagoons, Wediombo Beach – Indonesia

While this beach is not well-known to many visitors, it’s a popular place among locals
Image credit: Made Balinese

Just 2 hours from Yogyakarta, you’ll find yourself standing before the secret lagoons of Wediombo Beach

Here’s where you can spend time dipping in some cool water with your friends away from the city or walking around the beach for the coolest IG-worthy backdrops.  

After big waves bring in water, rocks will shield it from getting out, creating these picturesque lagoons
Image credit: @byuuaji

Charming lagoons aside, some surfers also come here to ride big waves. So avid surfers, better have your surfboards handy you’re looking to get an adrenaline rush while at sea.

It is also said that the road from the city to the beach offers quite a scenic view. Make sure to start your journey early in the morning, somewhere around 5am, to get the best views of the sunrise. 

5. Horse Shoe and Cock’s Comb Island – Myanmar

Horse Shoe Island
Image credit: @masteredthemark

Horse Shoe Island in Myanmar gives us similar vibes of the famous Maya Bay with its lush rocky mountains and blue sea. The best part is we won’t have to deal with a bunch of tourists for sure.

Image credit: @boat604

While here, you can also hop to Cock’s Comb Island where travellers can swim underneath the rocky mountains to get to the heart-shaped lagoon inside.

Book a 1-day island-hopping package (from ฿3,900, ~USD125) from Ranong province to see both islands.

6. Koh Rong – Cambodia

Koh Rong is a small Cambodian island that offers travellers an ultimate getaway with a lot of activities to do. It’s also much less cramped when compared to similar settings like Koh Samui or Phuket in Thailand. 

Image credit: @m.ollii

After sunbathing on fine sand on Long Beach, satisfy your adventurous side with a zip-lining session ($30/person) along with the local monkeys while admiring a sea view from the treetops. 

Image credit: High Point Koh Rong Adventure Park

The best part of Koh Rong is beachgoers can get a chance to see glowing plankton at night for free, just ask your hotel’s receptionist for the direction and details. These bioluminescent beaches are definitely a sight not to be missed.

Image credit: Go Cambodia

You can also spend $5 to get a tour guide, with services popularly advertised all around the island.

7. Phu Quoc Island – Vietnam

Image credit: Musement

Forget about Ha Long Bay for your next Vietnam trip and set Phu Quoc Island as your new destination.

Besides swimming and snorkelling, travellers can also admire the island in the most striking way on a 15-minute Hon Thom cable car ride, running from the south to the north. From here, you’ll get an aerial view, as well as 360 ° degrees of the sea and the island. 

Image credit: @leolazaro

You can find the station in the south of the island. We recommend getting there via taxi or rental motorbike as public transport is not very common around the island.

A two-way ticket costs 150,000 VND/adult (~USD7) and 100,000 VND (~USD4.5) for kids under 1.4 metres. Children under 1 metre can get in for free.

Exploring islands near Thailand

With some of us ready to book a holiday for 2021 and beyond, keep these islands in your bookmark list. Relaxing aside, visiting these lesser-known islands near Thailand will also give you a chance to explore places you may never have known existed – all without breaking the bank.

Featured images adapted from: @karina20160827, PADI Travel, Zafigo, @masteredthemark

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