Best Islands on The East Coast of Thailand

By: Moonoi

The east coast resorts and islands attract a mixed crowd of weekending Bangkokians, pleasure-seeking expats and budget-conscious backpackers. 

Highway 3 extends almost the entire length of the east coast beginning in Bangkok as Thanon Sukhumvit all the way to Trat.

4 Best Islands on The East Coast of Thailand 

1. Scintillating Town of Si Racha
The first worthwhile stop comes 100km east of Bangkok at the less than scintillating town of Si Racha. 

  • Ko Si Chang Island
    This tiny, barely touristed island with craggy coastlines and appealingly laidback ambience. It is a beautiful island but not very accessible. It's dramatically rugged coastlines and low-key atmosphere make it a restful haven.

2. Pattaya
Moving further down (half and hour later) is Pattaya. Thailand's number-one package-tour destination, its customers predominantly middle-aged Western and Chinese males enticed by the resort's sex-market reputation and undeterred by its notoriety as the country's most polluted beach.

  • Ko Laan Island
    Away from the girlie bars and high-rise hotels, there's rewarding year-round wreck and reef diving nearby.

3. Ban Phe
After pattaya, the coast veers sharply eastwards towards Ban Phe, revealing the island of Ko Samet, the prettiest of all the beach resorts within comfortable bus-ride range of Bangkok.

  • Ko Samet Island
    Pretty and popular little island fringed with dazzlingly soft white sand beaches. It is a National Marine Park.

4. Trat
East of Ban Phe, the landscape starts to get more lush and hilly as the coastal highway nears Chanthaburi, the dynamo of Thailand's gem trade and one of only two provincial capitals in the region worth visiting. 68km further down from Ban Phe is Trat, an important departure point for

  • Ko Chang Island
    A huge forested island with long, fine beaches, plentiful accommodation and a host of smaller, less developed islets off its coasts. 

Buses from Bangkok's Eastern (Ekamai) Bus Terminal serve all the provincial capitals and tourist spots. 

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