Phuket, Koh Samui and even tiny Koh Lipe all deliver postcard-perfect beaches and lush jungle. But they also share one common downside: other tourists. Luckily, there are 1,430 islands dotting Thailand’s waters, and plenty of them have yet to be discovered by vacationing crowds. What makes these tiny islets great is everything they lack. Most of them have no ATMs or 7-Elevens, and you can forget about blaring beach clubs and luxury mega-resorts. In fact, some of these Thai islands don’t even have roads, just mile after mile of palm-fringed beach. Itching for an away-from-it-all escape? Here are our favorite off-the-tourist-map tiny islands across Thailand to plot on your itinerary.
1. Koh Ngai
Technically part of Krabi, but easier to reach via its neighbouring islands in the Trang archipelago, Koh Ngai looks almost Photoshopped. The water is a surreal shade of aquamarine, the sand honey-blonde, and any sign of urban infrastructure seems neatly airbrushed out of sight (because, well, there isn’t any). Aside from lolling on the almost 2km-long beach and snorkelling in the coral-rich waters just offshore, there isn’t much to do, but that’s what makes this tiny islet so seductive. There are no ATMs and its remote location results in above-average hotel rates and restaurant prices, so be sure to bring plenty of baht.
2. Koh Mak
Sandwiched between the more popular Koh Chang and Koh Kood in the Gulf of Thailand, little Koh Mak is an oft-overlooked gem. It’s haloed by long beaches tufted with skinny palms, while most of its inland is bedecked in a patchwork of coconut groves and rubber plantations. In-the-know tourists have been coming here for years, so there’s plenty to choose from in terms of accommodation — from simple bamboo bungalows to villas with infinity pools — as well as restaurants, and even a smidge of nightlife. You can easily fill a few days cycling the flat roads to Buddhist temples, hidden coves and an overgrown sculpture park by local artist Khun Somchai. Got some more time on your hands? Venture out to the surrounding islets on an island-hopping trip by long-tail boat.