Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Wed February 17 2016

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  • Shannon Wolf | February 17, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Thailand’s Islands on the Andaman Sea: A Backpacker’s Take

    Thailand’s Islands on the Andaman Sea: A Backpacker’s Take

    PHOTO: Every day, we watched the beautiful sunset over Long Beach, steps away from our bungalow in Koh Lanta. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    Is it worth it? Point blank: YES. But if I could do it over again, I would have done my research to check out the best season to go (Note: It’s still rainy in early November) and to find out which islands should be skipped entirely.

    Below is a breakdown of the islands on the Andaman Sea and a final verdict:

    Krabi: Boring Port Town

    Cheapest accommodation: Thaksin Grand Homestay (200 baht a dorm).

    Things to do:

    • Head to the night market for the cheapest deals on food: Thai Style Papaya Salad (40 Baht), Tom Yum Soup (35 baht).

    • Rent a scooter and explore the island (200 baht).

    • Workout your leg muscles and climb Tiger Cave Temple.

    PHOTO: Nang Beach is the most exciting thing to see in Krabi, but there’s far better islands to explore.

    READ MORE: How Destinations From Phuket to Pago Pago Are Courting Cruise Ships


    • Ao Nang Beach

    • Fossil Beach (100 baht entrance fee)

    • Day trip to Railay Beach

    Koh Phi Phi: Party Island

    Koh Phi Phi is expensive, a tad overrated and touristy but can still be fun for a night or two if you know what you’re in for. Travelers on a tight budget and coming from Krabi, should load up on produce before making the trip.

    Look for accommodation when you arrive — prices are always cheaper on the island than online. The cheapest accommodation: Oasis (300 baht a room with ensuite bathroom).

    Cheapest place to eat: 7-11 for Instant Noodle or Harmony Restaurant (Pad Thai = 50 baht). P.P. Burger has incredible samosas and worth the 50 baht.

    PHOTO: Although Phi Phi is an overpriced party town, nothing beats its stunning viewpoint.

    Things to Do:

    • Dance the night away at 4Play located right on the beach.

    • Watch or participate in a Muy Thai fight at Reggae Bar and get a free bucket of booze.

    • Check out the viewpoint overlooking the island at sunset for stunning views you can’t beat! (30 baht entrance fee.)

    Koh Lanta: Chilled Out Sunsets

    The most happening area in Koh Lanta is a hippie-esque area called Pra Ae Beach; also known as “Long Beach.” You can stay at a bungalow less than 300 feet from the beach, full of great little hippie watering holes, such as Treehouse Bar!

    Cheapest/Best Accommodation: Easy Huts Bungalow

    We stumbled upon this accommodation accidently and it ended up being one of the best places we’ve stayed on the islands.

    • Private room with shared bathroom (100 baht a night).

    • Full bungalow with comfy double bed, mosquito net, fan, ensuite bathroom, plus terrace and hammock (250 baht a night).

    • Wi-Fi

    • Wonderful friendly and helpful owners.

    • Short walk to the beach with stunning sunsets!

    • Steps to everything — bars, restaurants, cafes, convenience store, etc.

    Things to Do:

    • Explore the island on a scooter (200 baht).

    • Check out the many stunning beaches. Besides Pra Ae, our favorite was a little hidden beach called Nui Bay.

    • Visit the waterfall for free (parking costs 20 baht).

    • Spend time at the market trying local food and buying cheap clothing!

    • Hike through Lanta National Park’s 2km nature trail while stopping off at the sand beach, lighthouse and rock beach.

    • If money isn’t an issue, for a unique accommodation, stay at Lanta Sangkhaao Resort’s treehouse.

    Koh Lipe: Expensive Paradise

    Koh Lipe is said to have one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Thailand. It’s more remote than its fellow islands, but higher in cost as well.

    READ MORE: 'Thai-ness' Hotels

    Things to Do:

    • Explore the island on foot.

    • Hang at Pattaya Beach — One of the busiest stretches of sand, and where you will find the nightlife.

    • Get some alone time at Sunset Beach — the quietest and most secluded.

    • Snorkeling, diving and tours of nearby islets are readily available for a cost.


    If you’re looking for an island as “authentic” as possible, do yourself a favor and head to Koh Lipe (If budget is no issue) or my favorite island on the Andaman Sea: Koh Lanta. The rest is worth skipping.

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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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