The Best Island In Thailand: On A Budget

Couple in the clear blue water of Tarutao Island in Thailand

Would you like to experience tranquil, crystal waters, pristine sandy beaches, and sunsets out of this world that the best island in Thailand has to offer?

Are you on a tight budget? Don’t worry my friend, island life just became affordable!

Now, it is important to mention that this option or solution we are about to offer does come with some conditions.

We do promise a cheap island getaway including two days of snorkelling in some of the best waters in the world, your very own private beach, a personal taxi boat, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but we do not promise the comforts of a 5-star luxury hotel.

Our methods work if you are willing to try them out!

Okay, so what is the best island in Thailand?

It’s Koh Adang

Byron and Tammy standing at a lookout point.

In the following guide, we are going to describe to you, in detail, how to experience (what is in our opinion) the best island in Thailand. From leaving your home country to getting to Koh Adang, from trips to Koh Lipe to your speedboat back home.

Are you ready for the secrets to your best Thailand experience EVER?

Getting To Thailand

Before you go island-hopping, you need to make your way to Thailand.

Flight: The most expensive part of this trip will be your flight costs. Unfortunately, we cannot dismiss this fact but we can suggest using Traveloka or Skyscanner as an effective method for finding and comparing the cheapest flights for you.

We suggest you fly into Hat Yai International Airport as it’s one of the closest airports to Pak Bara Pier in Satun (where you need to go).

Getting From Hat Yai To Pak Bara Pier

To get from Hat Yai International Airport to Pak Bara pier you can hire a taxi or minibus. Some companies like Sea@Holiday On Tour offer both a minibus transfer and boat ferry tickets as a combination.

However, we recommend looking at 12GoAsia. Their user interface is a lot easier to use and their service is impeccable.

Powered by 12Go Asia system

Book your ticket from Hat Yai International Airport to Pak Bara Pier here.

12Go Asia also offers many different transportation methods across Thailand and Southeast Asia, so you can book ahead online and make all your experiences far less stressful.

You Are At Pak Bara Pier – Now What?

If you don’t already have tickets you can visit one of the many speedboat companies at the pier to purchase your tickets. We used Sea@Holiday On Tour and paid 450 baht per ticket, each direction.

Again, you could use 12Go Asia and book your tickets beforehand. You’ll need to book your tickets to get from Pak Bara Pier to Koh Lipe.

Now you are at the pier and have your speedboat tickets in hand you can enter into the waiting area.

You will be asked to purchase a Tarutao National Park ticket. This will cost 200 baht a person, but it gives you access to all of the islands, so make sure you carry it with you. Really, carry it with you! I have seen tourists get turned away from the islands while snorkelling because they didn’t have the ticket with them.

Then all that’s left is for you to get on your boat and embrace the ride. Our company took us on a tour of two different island attractions before we made it to our first important stop: Koh Lipe.

The whole group on the Ferry.

The Boat From Koh Lipe To Koh Adang

What is Koh Lipe? Koh Lipe is an amazing & beautiful island that hosts many great accommodations, resorts, bars, restaurants, and activities. A great island if you are looking for a combination of both the relaxing island life and the party nightlife scene.

Want to stop right there and stay on Koh Lipe? We understand and wish you a merry island vacation! However, our journey continues on to Koh Adang (the island we deem as the best in Thailand), Koh Lipe’s neighbouring island.

If you have prearranged your stay on Koh Adang, your personal longtail boat driver will meet you at Koh Lipe and take you on over to Koh Adang.

If you need to arrange transport still, there are a few different taxi boat stands on Koh Lipe’s Sunrise Beach. Shared longtail boats travel to Koh Adang for 100 baht a person.

Long Tail boats lined up on the shore.

Accommodation On Koh Adang

Having dinner while camping on Koh Adang

Koh Adang is a more tranquil, peaceful and quiet island, but also more of an adventurer’s paradise. There is not as much to do in terms of nightlife here. It focuses more on nature and relaxation. They have 3 beautiful viewpoints and several waterfalls to explore.

Camp it up: Listen up, this is where we really managed to save our money! We camped! That’s right, we brought our own tents and food with us and set up camp right on the beachfront. It cost us 30 baht p.p. a night! That is insane! That’s R15 or $2!

Rent a tent: Now, I know what your thinking, umm, we don’t have tents, we flew here… Well, they also rent out tents for 200 baht a night!

Another option, if you are looking for something cheaper and have the time, would be to purchase a tent from Big C for 300 baht and then sell it again when you leave. This can be done in a day on the Facebook marketplace! (Recommended for ESL Teachers)

Camping on what often is your own private island, with unrealistically beautiful water a few meters in front of you is really a bucket list worthy experience.

Bungalow living: If the idea of sleeping under the stars to the sound of crashing waves doesn’t entice you, then they also offer bungalows for 600 baht a night. Very basic, but does the job. These have also been tried, tested and approved by us.

The Bungalows on Koh Adang

I don’t mind some luxury: Don’t mind splurging a little more on luxury accommodation. You can check out Adang Island Resort, a 3-star resort, the only commercial resort on the island.

What To Do On Koh Adang

Friends on a long tail boat.

As mentioned previously, Koh Adang is more of an adventurers paradise. You can hike up to its viewpoint or explore its different waterfalls. The island has only one restaurant that is open in the evening and no shops, so, you must come prepared.

The Secret Pirate Waterfall Hike on Koh Adang

Snorkelling: You can also do snorkelling trips, which we did for two days in a row! We hired a private longtail boat and our guide took us out to explore different islands and pristine, clear, turquoise water. This was one of the best experiences we have ever had! We kept splashing the water like little kids as if we were double checking that the water was real.

Byron sitting on the boats edge with a snorkelling mask on.

The water is warm and there are so many fish, so much coral and so many islands to explore! You have to do this…

Simply ask someone about it at the restaurant or island office when you arrive.

Byron & Tammy swimming in crystal clear water.

Sunset Heaven: Koh Adang also offers some of the best sunsets in my opinion. The best way to end the evening was to sit near the jetty, watch the sunset, read, swim and chat away with our friends.

Byron and Tammy share a kiss during sunset.

Again, if you want a little more of the nightlife buzz, take a taxi ferry to Koh Lipe for the evening. Make sure to check out the walking street! They have some great restaurants, bars and fire dancers!

We highly recommend doing this on New Year’s Eve as we did! They have fantastic fireworks shows and you can even participate yourself!

Sitting on the beach watching the fireworks alongside a fire with a cocktail in your hand is incomparable.

Let’s Breakdown Those Costs

Transport Ferry (Two-Way Return)900 baht p.p
Tarutao National Park Cost200 baht p.p
Accommodation30 baht p.p / p.n
Snorkelling (2000 per boat, split by max. 8 people)250 baht
Lunch while snorkelling100 baht p.p
Total in BAHT (excluding food)1480 baht p.p
Total in ZAR (excluding food)±R650
Total in USD (excluding food)±$46
Costs accurate as of April 2019

The above breakdown is for one night, obviously the longer you stay the more worthwhile it becomes.

The ferry and national park are costs you pay for only once and you can also do a cheaper snorkelling trip for 1500 baht.

The snorkelling is not only cheaper, but also a lot more fun with friends or family; bring them along! We stayed for 4 days, 3 nights.

I have excluded food as it is heavily personally-preferenced and up to your discretion. We opted for homemade, bring-our-own and even simple jam and bread. Perhaps a succulent lobster on a beachfront restaurant is more your style.

Tammy sitting on a swing overlooking the blue crystal water.

I Need Help Planning!

If you need some help planning or some help speaking Thai you can contact our very good friend P’May. She offers some great tours and is a lovely tour guide who is always excited to help out and participate.

She can plan this entire trip for you with ease (and possibly some discounts too!)

You can get a hold of her on Line or email. (Line is a messaging app)

P’May’s Line ID – may_yipsee


Take a look at our Tarutao video for a little more insight and clarity – or just to build the hype!

P.S. If you like it, please consider subscribing!

Koh Adang feels like our little secret. Please let us know if you ever make the trip there! We really want to hear about your experiences! Did you love it too? Share with us below!

If you visit the best island in Thailand, Koh Adang, please share your travel stories with us! Tag us and use #DearTravallure!


The Best Island - Koh Adang - Pinterest Image


  1. Sylvia Colville
    May 16, 2019 / 6:50 pm

    Super informative!

    • DearTravallure
      May 17, 2019 / 7:40 am

      Thank you!

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