With white sand beaches set against lush mountainous interiors, Thailand's southern islands are the perfect place to get away and relax. This 10-day customizable itinerary covers three islands in the Gulf of Thailand—Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui—with opportunities for hiking, biking, snorkeling, feeding elephants, visiting Buddhist temples, and gorging on delicious Thai food. Travel by catamaran and speedboat, and even kayak in Angthong Marine Park, for the ultimate island adventure.


  • Explore a lesser-known side of Koh Phangan on two wheels 
  • Go snorkeling and kayaking in Angthong Marine Park on a VIP tour
  • Spend a morning hanging out with elephants at a sanctuary on Koh Samui 
  • Enjoy plenty of free time to relax on some of Thailand's best beaches

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Chumphon  Chumphon
Day 2 Transfer to Koh Tao by Public Catamaran Koh Tao
Day 3 Free Day in Koh Tao Koh Tao
Day 4 Transfer to Koh Phangan by Public Catamaran Koh Phangan
Day 5 Half-Day Cycling Tour in Phangan Koh Phangan
Day 6 Transfer to Koh Samui by Shared Speedboat Koh Samui
Day 7 Morning Elephant Sanctuary Experience Koh Samui
Day 8 Kayaking & Snorkeling Adventure by VIP Boat Koh Samui
Day 9 Free Day in Koh Samui Koh Samui
Day 10 Depart Koh Samui  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Chumphon

Spend a night in Chumphon city on the mainland before heading to the islands

Welcome to southern Thailand! Upon arrival at Chumphon airport, a private driver will greet you and transfer you to your hotel in Chumpon's city center. This is the jumping-off point for your island adventure in the Gulf of Thailand.

Take the rest of the day to catch up on rest after the journey, or walk to a city beach or viewpoint for your first glimpse of the sea. Have dinner at your hotel or head to the Chumphon Night Market near the train station—a good place to explore. Here you'll find a number of street stalls offering a variety of local street foods and refreshments. 

Day 2: Transfer to Koh Tao by Public Catamaran

Start your island adventure in Koh Tao, one of the lesser-developed islands on the archipelago

This morning you'll have free time to enjoy a relaxed breakfast at your hotel. At noon, you'll travel to the pier to take the public catamaran to Koh Tao, one of the smaller and lesser-developed islands in the Chumphol archipelago. The catamaran ride takes less than two hours and arrives at Koh Tao around 2:45 PM.

Upon arrival, you'll be picked up at the island's pier by a hotel representative for a quick transfer to the hotel. Check into your room and then hit the sand—after all, laid-back Koh Tao is known for having some of the best beaches in Thailand!

Day 3: Free Day in Koh Tao

Spend a free day swimming and snorkeling while looking for sea turtles

Today is a free day to enjoy your beach hotel! Perhaps you want to start your day with a morning hike on the island's rugged jungle trails for stunning views of Koh Tao and the sea. Make sure to wear solid shoes and bring plenty of drinking water. 

Then, spend the rest of the day at the beach with easy access to swimming or snorkeling while looking for colorful fish and sea turtles. Koh Tao actually translates to 'Turtle Island' and is a popular feeding and nesting ground for sea turtles. Visitors interested in scuba diving are also in good company as Koh Tao is one of the best places on the archipelago to see coral reefs and whale sharks.

Another option is to head to Sairee Beach and hire a long-tail boat to get to the tiny twin islands of Koh Nang Yuan. The journey only takes about 15 minutes, and you can swim and sunbathe on the sandbar connecting the islands. You can also take a short hike to the top on paved steps where you’ll get incredible panoramic views.

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Day 4: Transfer to Koh Phangan by Public Catamaran

Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan's northern side is more peaceful than the southern side

It's time to continue the island adventure! After breakfast at your hotel Koh Tao, and then head to the pier to catch a 9:30 AM public catamaran for your trip to Koh Phangan, one of the bigger islands on the archipelago. Arrive in Koh Phangan at 10:45 AM and meet your hotel representative who will transfer you to the hotel.

From here, you'll spend the afternoon exploring on your own and return to the hotel in time for dinner. For reference, the southern part of Koh Phangan is known for its backpacker scene, especially on Hat Rin—a peninsula with popular bars and hedonistic full-moon parties. Meanwhile, the northern side of the island offers peaceful beaches and bays that are waiting to be explored.

Day 5: Half-Day Cycling Tour in Phangan

Explore the island's lesser-known interior on today's bike tour

Koh Phangan's white sands, plentiful sunshine, and clear emerald waters make the island popular with visitors. However, today is your chance to head off the beaten track and discover a lesser-known side of the island during a cycling tour. First, your guide will help select the best bike for you, and then he or she will lead the way as you explore the jungle. 

This is the perfect activity is for travelers who want to see a more authentic side of Thai culture. During this unique tour, you'll stop by family-owned businesses, bike down quiet countryside roads, and explore tourist-free areas. You'll even head to a mountaintop viewpoint for photos. After the tour ends, head back to the hotel where you'll have free time to hit the beach. 

Day 6: Transfer to Koh Samui by Shared Speedboat

Take a speedboat ride to one of Thailand's most popular island destinations

Today you'll have time to enjoy breakfast and free time on Koh Phangan. Later in the day, you'll take a shared speedboat to nearby Koh Samui. Upon arrival, you'll be picked up by a hotel representative and transferred to your hotel for an evening of relaxation.

Koh Samui is one of the biggest and most popular islands in Thailand with travelers of all styles and budgets, but it's big enough to find your own slice of paradise. The island is also chock-full of great places to eat with a mix of seaside romantic restaurants, food markets, and local eateries serving southern Thai-style curries. 

Day 7: Morning Elephant Sanctuary Experience

Elephant Sanctuary
Spend the morning meeting gentle giants at an elephant sanctuary in Koh Samui

Today starts with an early breakfast at your hotel because you'll be picked up for an 8:30 AM transfer to an elephant sanctuary! The tour begins with a welcome session where you'll learn more about the sanctuary and its mission. Then dive right into preparing food for the elephants, and head out to meet and feed the gentle giants! 

Spend the morning walking with the elephants in the jungle observing them in their natural habitat as they eat, bathe in the pool, and play in the mud pit. This natural encounter with the elephants allows the animals to interact with people on their own terms, while still roaming naturally and freely. 

A delicious vegetarian Thai buffet is the perfect way to end the busy morning. You'll then have time to rest, relax, and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the sanctuary. In the early afternoon, bid your new friends goodbye and transfer back to the hotel for some relaxed beach time.

Day 8: Kayaking & Snorkeling Adventure by VIP Boat 

Angthong Marine Park offers more than 40 islands in the Gulf of Thailand

Get ready for a full-day VIP adventure in Angthong National Marine Park, a stunning area of more than 40 limestone islands spread over approximately 97 square miles (251 sq km). After a 9:00 AM pickup, take a boat to Koh Wao where you'll spend the morning swimming and snorkeling in the clear tropical waters. Stop at a scenic lookout point on the island for panoramic views and then enjoy a traditional Thai lunch at Koh Pha Luay

In the afternoon, cruise toward the 'mini James Bond Island' for an afternoon of swimming and snorkeling. There's even an option to head out for a short guided kayaking tour of the park before departing back to the hotel. 

Day 9: Free Day in Koh Samui

Kick back on Koh Samui's beaches today or head out and explore

Today is a free day to enjoy Koh Samui in any way you wish! This is your last full day of the trip, so perhaps you want to spend the day swimming and soaking in the sunshine at your hotel.

You can also go for a guided hike, or sign up for an excursion like a six-hour Jeep Safari and explore the interior. There are also cultural attractions on the island, like Wat Plai Laem, a modern Buddhist Temple with elements of Chinese and Thai traditions. Another site worth mentioning is the Secret Buddha Garden, a private sculpture park that is found at the top of Pom Mountain, one of the highest peaks on the island. Here you can hike through several statues of Buddha, as well as tropical plants and waterfalls.

Day 10: Depart Koh Samui

Fit in one more sunrise beach walk and swim before departure

It's time to depart Thailand! Enjoy your last morning in paradise before transferring to Koh Samui airport for your connecting flight back to Bangkok, where you can connect to your international flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Thailand Island Hopping - 10 Days
Map of Thailand Island Hopping - 10 Days
Written by Ha Thu, updated Mar 8, 2023