The Gulf of Thailand refers to the sea to the southeast of Thailand which starts from the coast of Bangkok to the border of Narathiwat in the south and from Bangkok to Trat in the east. It boasts the endless charms of the emerald green underwater world and the beautiful coral reefs. Many islands along the gulf coast have attracted a large number of beach lovers and divers each year. During the monsoon season (June – October) of the Andaman Sea, the Gulf of Thailand is still calm which allows visitors to comfortably relax on beaches or enjoy water sports. Following are some amazing attractions in six coastal provinces.
1. Islands around Pattaya (147 km. from Bangkok)
Pattaya is the most popular attraction that can be easily reached from Bangkok within 2 hours. Apart from several nice beaches, there are numerous islands near Pattaya that offer a relaxing vacation on pristine sandy beaches as well as snorkeling and diving. Pattaya also offers some of the best wreck diving in Thailand. Below are some popular islands around Pattaya:
Ko Lan (Coral Island) is a large island situated only 7.5 km. to the west of Pattaya. Lan island offers the tourists with beautiful sandy beaches, clear water, breathtaking landscape and stunning sunset. Ko Sak & Ko Khrok, located not far from Ko Lan, offer plenty of hard corals and fish species and are great for diving and snorkeling. Ko Si Chang, a small island, is a haven of tranquility not far from the hustle and bustle of Pattaya. It features lovely beaches, a number of historical sites, temples, and lots of natural beauty. Ko Samae San features two beaches where you can swim and dive - Haad Tien and Luk Lom Beach. Samae San is well known for the famous World War II shipwreck named the Hardeep, which is great for experienced divers. Ko Phai (Bamboo Island) is the biggest of a small island chain. The coral reefs around these islands and the nearby wreck of the HTMS Khram are among the best scuba diving sites in the area. Ko Rin is one of the popular shallow dive sites in the area due to its plentiful marine life and a reef slope with foliaceous corals.
For more information, please contact Tourism Authority of Thailand, Pattaya Office.
Tel: +66 (0) 3842 7667, (0) 3842 8750
2. Beaches & Islands in Rayong (179 km. from Bangkok)
The group of islands in the Rayong sea is composed of Ko Samet, Ko Kudi, Ko Thalu, Ko Man Nok, Ko Man Nai and other small islands. Besides, Rayong also boasts many beautiful beaches such as Suan Son, Mae Ramphueng, and Laem Mae Phim. The sea and islands off Rayong’s coast are popular among holiday makers due to its short travelling time.
Ko Samet is a large island which is part of Khao Laem Ya Mu Ko Samet National Park with many beautiful beaches such as Sai Kaew, Ao Phai, Ao Thapthim, Ao Nuan, and Ao Wong Duean. Accommodations and restaurants are available at every beach.
Ko Man Island Group comprises three islands: Ko Man Nai, Ko Man Klang and Ko Man Nok. These tiny islands remain pristine and have excellent coral reefs. Ko Man Nai is home to the Sea Turtle Conservation Centre.
For more information, please contact Tourism Authority of Thailand, Rayong Office.
Tel: +66 (0) 3864 5510-1
3. Islands in Trat (315 km. from Bangkok)
Trat’s island groups consist of more than 40 islands altogether. The largest one is Ko Chang which is the third largest in the country Other smaller islands excellent for making a visit are such as Ko Mak, Ko Kut, Ko Rang, Ko Raet, Ko Laoya, Ko Wai, Ko Kradat and Ko Kham.
Ko Chang (Elephant Island) is Thailand’s third largest island after Phuket and Samui. The most popular beaches are White Sand Beach, Khlong Phrao, Kai Bae and Lonely Beach. All are located on the western side. White Sand Beach is the main hub of tourism on the island. Ko Mak, a tranquil island about an hour from Ko Chang by speedboat, offers white sandy beaches and is an excellent base for dive trips. Ko Kut, located to the south of Ko Mak, is a small island featuring scenic white-sand beaches shaded by rows of coconut trees. Ko Rang, lying on the west of Ko Mak, is popular with divers thanks to clear turquoise water, coral reefs and lots of tropical fish.
For more information, please contact Tourism Authority of Thailand, Trat Office.
Tel: +66 (0) 3959 7259-60
4. Beaches & Islands in Prachuap Khiri Khan (281 km. from Bangkok)
Prachuap Khiri Khan sea and beaches are the earliest recreational beaches of Thailand. The sea off Prachuap Khiri Khan starts from Cha-am and passes Hua Hin, Pran Buri, Ao Prachuap, Ao Manao, Wanakon Beach, Mae Ramphueng Beach, Ao Bang Saphan and Ao Bangboet. Accommodations and restaurants dot almost every beach.
Hua Hin Beach is a 5-km white sandy beach offering great opportunities for swimming and relaxing in peace as well as the special activity of horse riding. Apart from a great number of accommodations and restaurants, Hua Hin offers a wide variety of beach activities. Pran Buri Beach is a quiet long beach located 30 km. south of Hua Hin. The beach is becoming popular with those who are looking for relaxation in a tranquil surrounding.
Ao Manao is a beautiful curved bay with white sand and crystal-clear waters. The bay was once a battlefield between the Thai and Japanese armies during the Second World War. Ko Talu is a private island with a beautiful resort located on the main beach. The water around Ko Talu is abundant with colourful shallow-water corals.
For more information, please contact Tourism Authority of Thailand, Prachuap Khiri Khan Office.
Tel: +66 (0) 3251 3885, (0) 3251 3854
5. Beaches & Islands in Chumphon (463 km from Bangkok)
Covering more than 200 km of coastline, Chumphon offers plenty of beaches and islands that are infrequently visited by tourists. It makes a perfect destination for those seeking relaxation in a peaceful atmosphere. Some beautiful beaches and islands are as follows:
Thung Wua Laen Beach, the most famous one, features a broad stretch of powdery white sand backed by towering coconut trees. Tham Thong – Bang Boet Beach features unusual shaped limestone rocks, seaside villages and a long line of pine trees. Sai Ri Beach is one of the favourites among the locals. Nearby is the monument of Prince Chumphon, the founder of the Royal Thai Navy.
Ko Phithak is a small island located only 1 kilometer from the coast. The villagers on the island manage the tourism there in an ecological home-stay style. Ko Langka Jew, a mid-sized island, is an area for the bird’s nest concession. The island is a historical place, as King Rama V observed the bird’s nest collection here and carved the abbreviation of his name into the cave wall. Ko Lawa, Ko Khai and Ko Mattra are famous snorkeling spots with their shallow water corals, colorful fish and sea anemones.
For more information, please contact Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chumphon Office.
Tel: +66 (0) 7750 1831-2
6. Islands in Surat Thani (644 km. from Bangkok)
Surat Thani, which means “City of Good People”, is the largest province of southern Thailand. It attracts most of its visitors due to the close proximity to the popular islands of Thailand’s Gulf Coast -- Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao.
Ko Samui is the most famous island in the Gulf of Thailand and has several beautiful beaches attracting holiday makers. It offers a wide range of activities and facilities for visitors. Chaweng and Lamai beaches are the most popular with a bountiful supply of accommodations and restaurants.
Ko Pha-ngan is well known for its full-moon party on Haad Rin Beach which is crowded with young backpackers. The island features many idyllic, long whitesand beaches and about 20 dive sites. Snorkeling and other water sports can be enjoyed at almost any beach along the western and northern coasts.
Ko Tao is 45 km. to the north of Ko Pha-ngan, offering a large number of diving schools. It has many great spots for snorkeling and diving due to the perfect visibility and the rich aquatic life. Ko Nang Yuan, located close to Ko Tao, is a group of three small islands connected by a sandbank. A stunning scenery has made it one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand.
Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park boasts 42 islands lining in the emerald sea such as Ko Thai Phlao, Wua Ta Lap, Sam Sao and Ko Mae Ko. These islands feature limestone mountains, thick jungle, white-sand beaches, and hidden coves and lakes.
For more information, please contact Tourism Authority of Thailand, Surat Thani Office.
Tel: +66 (0) 7728 8817-9
Remark: If you are interested to spend your holiday at any of these islands, you can contact any travel agency to arrange a tour programme for you, or contact Alex Holiday Co., Ltd.