ISLAND HOPPING in THAILAND: Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Jum

Reportedly, there are about 1430 islands in Thailand – obviously not all of them inhabited, but sadly, many of them crowded. Charmingly, some of the Thai islands come in clusters and are therefore easily accessible when island hopping.

Andaman Sea in Thailand

The most idyllic way of island hopping is done by the traditional longtail boats.

While formerly, most of Thailand’s islands were uninhabited, more and more have been developed for tourism. However, since the most famous and popular ones are not automatically those that have the most beauty and serenity in store, with a little research – and a tip from me – you can still find your tropical paradise far from the party crowds.







Here we might get into a generation conflict. There are flocks of young people coming to Ko Phi Phi to hang out on the beach and to party. While I can relate to the beach part, the party part bugs me a bit – mainly for the shitty music.

Having booked myself accidentally at the wrong end of a long half-moon shaped beach on the West coast, my bed was vibrating till the party was over in the wee hours. The worst part is, that the music was less loud at places much closer to the party beach – it was some interesting yet unnerving physical effect that carried the noise straight into my room. And since also the place itself was quite a shabby mess, I by far wasn’t as happy as the rest of the travellers’ pack.

Although the owner was a sweet heart, I really recommend that you don’t rent the cheapest place in Ko Phi Phi. If you don’t go there to party all night long, anyway, don’t book more than one night beforehand and check how the acoustic is in your room.

As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t recommend Ko Phi Phi at all, because these masses of party people are getting on my nerves. I’m simply not travelling to party. I can party anywhere in the world, so e. g. in Thailand I rather enjoy what I cannot have anywhere else, but that’s of course absolutely my private opinion, and if you wanna go to Ko Phi Phi, you’ve got my blessings.


The second night I listened to Michelle’s “if you can’t beat them, join them” – drinking whatever with a long straw from a bucket.

Actually the beaches on Ko Phi Phi – even the smaller bays towards the South East – are much nicer and less crowded than those around Krabi on the mainland.


Ko Phi Phi can be really relaxing; I’m afraid very few tourists are aware of that.

Not bad at all was a half-day boat trip to the Viking Cave including some nice snorkeling and then to Maya Bay where supposedly “The Beach” was shot. When we got there, there was a Russian tourist group shooting pictures of each other; that made the place a teeny bit less dreamy than Di Caprio and Tilda Swinton getting it on.


Mango Bay
Following Leo’s tracks.



After Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta was a treat. It’s much less party, but still pretty standard touristy. Long beaches, restaurants, bars, bike rentals, tour operators – everything the good tourist wants and needs. Not bad, but nothing special.
Here I cannot stretch the point enough that when you pre-book in Thailand, you’ll probably pay higher prices. On the ferry from Ko Phi Phi to Ko Lanta people offered accommodations at a fraction of the price I paid. And my hotel really wasn’t that good (although the owner is very nice).

Ko Lanta

Besides hanging out on Ko Lanta’s long sandy beaches, you can book many different diving and snorkel trips. I’ve heard that a trip to Ko Rok Nai and Ko Rok Nok is recommendable since it’s a national park and hence protected so that the marine life is not as destroyed as on the closer touristic islands and the mainland for the time being. I wonder how long this will last since you’re getting there by speed boat and where there are people, there is trash such as plastic and tin foil – my experience. Anyway, if I should go to Ko Lanta again, I would definitely go on that trip and spend the night camping.

I did the ‘Four Island Tour’ which is not much different from any other four island tour I did elsewhere. The destinations on this day trip were much less crowded than those on the day trips from Ao Nang and Ko Phi Phi. And there is the swimming into the Emerald Cave, where you swim 80 meters through a tunnel emerging into a lagoon in the center of the island. The lagoon is surrounded by pristine jungle and cliffs nearly 100 meters high. That gave this otherwise average trip a really special twist.

And that was it for Ko Lanta. The next day I continued my travels to Ko Jum.



Ko Jum – now we’re talking! This is a remote, secluded island – near paradise. Did you ever perceive that paradise is always associated with tranquility, serenity, quiet? You never hear somebody say: “Man, I got wasted on my spring break at Cancun, music pumping, chicks winning wet t-shirt contests – it was like paradise.” This scenario is rather connected to the alternative afterworld – they don’t call it a “hell of a party” for now reason.

So back to Ko Jum where there is…nothing. Wonderful nothing. They don’t even have a boat bridge. You take a ferry from Ko Lanta that takes you to a spot within sight of Ko Jum and then a fleet of boats join it, disembarking leaving guests and taking arriving guests to the respective hotels. This procedure is only possible under certain (weather) conditions and only during high season.


Ko Jum
Boats approaching the ferry to drop the leaving guests off and pick the new ones up.
Ko Jum
If yours comes last, you have to climb over several boats to get to the ferry.
“Golden Pearl” waited for me.

Therefore only comparatively few tourists make it to Ko Jum, thus you are quite depending on your hosts since there are hardly stores or restaurants and they even don’t have an ATM so make sure to bring cash. The hotel – a conglomeration of wooden huts on steels – does take credit cards, though.
And there is hardly anything closer to paradise than having a sundowner at the hotel’s own beach bar.

Ko Jum
At last a beach for myself.

One more thing: I took the ferry both ways, i. e. from Ko Lanta and then to the harbor of Krabi. It’s very comfortable, but much more expensive than a ship going from the other side of Ko Jum to Krabi town (which is mostly much more convenient since the docking point is much closer to the city center). The only problem is that the hotel staff is not very helpful in finding your way to this ship since they are selling tickets for the ferry and do not want to relinquish their provision. You have to be quite persistent to get info and means to get to the other ship.

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