The main draw to the East of Thailand are the islands to be found offshore, with some stunning white sand beaches, ranging from popular backpacker party beaches to some truly secluded laid-back paradises. If you’re looking for some hidden gems, here is a good place to look, and all easily accessible from Bangkok.
Ko Samet with it’s fine white sand beaches and cheap accomodation is just a few hours from Bangkok, making it a great weekday getaway from the capital (it’s busy at the weekends). Ko Chang, also an island with white sand beaches has a flourishing backpacker scene. Ko Chang’s three smaller siblings to the south of it, Ko Wai, Ko Mak and Ko Kut, offer some wonderful places to get away from it all and feel more off the beaten track. Ko Mak is a tiny unspoilt island with its coconut palm trees lining white sand beaches and is one of our top Thai islands, if you get the opportunity you should check it out! Ko Wai is an even smaller island with many stunning beaches and a very low-key tourist activity. It's the place to go if you want to completely drop off the grid. Ko Kut is almost as big as Ko Chang but has a largely undeveloped tourist industry with only a fraction of the visitors as its 'big brother' nearby. The fishing port of Si Racha still retains some old world charm, and is the setting off point for the historic island of Ko Si Chang, once home to Thailand's royalty. Chanthaburi, once part of French Indochina, has a quaint old-town with some attractive waterfalls and a national park nearby. It's also a world centre for gemstone trading, which you can wander through on a weekend.
The eastern region has the nearest beaches to Bangkok, so on weekends and holidays, Bangkokians (locals as well as expats), stream out of the Thai capital to enjoy long weekends at Bang Saen and Pattaya, which are just 90 minutes' drive down the coastal motorway.
South West Coast GuideKo Mak
Ko Mak's most popular but not busy paradise beach Ao Kao & backpacker Laem Tookkata
in East Thailand