Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Hidden Destinations for Your Next Holiday in Thailand

Thailand is one of the major holiday destinations for travelers. It is inexpensive, has welcoming people, amazing food, a rich culture and an amazing variety of sites to visit. You can let go on amazing beaches, hike large mountains, dive spectacular coral reefs, discover ancient historical sites, explore great caves, and hang out in wild and fast paced cities. Most tourists come here for the beaches and, these beaches and islands are the best reason to come to Thailand. However, Thailand has lots of tropical islands to choose from. Most tourists stick to a few popular Thai islands and with good reason. They wouldn't be popular if they weren't good. However, despite Thailand being firmly on the tourist trail, there are still many undiscovered islands in Thailand. Here are some tropical Thai islands that are relatively not very touristy:

Ko Lipe is a small island located in the southern Thai province of Satun and is situated in the Andaman Sea. The island is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park. The name "Ko Lipe" means paper island in the local Sea Gypsy language. Though this island is gradually becoming more touristy, it is still a relatively hidden place for now. There are coral reefs right off the island for diving, white sand beaches, inexpensive food, and very friendly people. Most places only have electricity until midnight, giving you a place to watch the stars at night. Avoid the holiday season when the crowds peak.

Ko Tarutao National Marine Park consists of 51 islands located in the Andaman Sea. Ko Tarutao is the main island and is where the park headquarters is situated. There are no lodges, resorts, restaurants, or bars on the island. There is just the park's canteen and a small store that is only open until 8pm. Accommodation here is simply cheap bungalows or tents. For those looking for a cheap and rustic island in Thailand, this place is it.

The island of Ko Chang is a tropical marine national park. Situated in the east near the Cambodian border, it's Thailand's second largest island after Phuket. Recently, with the surge in development and popularity, Ko Chang is Thailand's new popular tourist destination. With its chain of white sandy coves and beaches, pristine rain forests, abundant wildlife, coral reefs, high mountain peaks, waterfalls, and great nightlife, Ko Chang is one of Thailand's most sought after holiday destinations. If you stick to the east side of the island, there is very little development and you can still enjoy a holiday away from the crowds.

Surin National Park is found some 60 km off the west coast of Phang Nga province. The excellent diving, snorkeling, hiking and game fishing are what most visitors come for, and those hoping to find a quiet refuge from the tourist traps will be delighted with the lack of "development." Surin Nuea is also home to a community of around 150 Moken, or "sea gypsies", who have settled there on a semi-permanent basis for several decades. The islands are protected and can only be visited by organized tours, which helps keep the diving good and the crowds thin.

The Similan Islands are composed of nine granite islands washed by a clear blue tropical ocean and blessed with some of the world's finest beaches. Despite a rough start, the Similians and all its reefs have recovered from earlier calamities and overuse. Boats entering the Similan Islands have to follow strict rules imposed and controlled by the national park officials, have to use the moorings prepared by the national park and use closed waste water systems to avoid any pollution.

Ko Lanta is popular with tourists seeking a holiday away from the parties. It's popular with a more relaxed crowd than nearby Ko Phi Phi: more walking on the beach and watching the sunset than drinking and dancing. And even when the island is at its fullest, there will be a quiet place for you to relax - the beaches are never full.

Ko Mak is one of Thailand's best kept treasures. It is an ideal destination for visitors who want a tranquil environment unspoiled by mass tourism. Amongst 10,000 palm trees, there's a temple, three fishing community villages, rubber plantations, and two uninhabited beaches. Hardly anyone comes here, except couples and divers. Koh Mak is the perfect place to relax, explore, calm your mind and soothe your senses.

Journeys to these great destinations will give you serenity, quiet, empty beaches, clear warm water, and not a lot of people. Let's keep this secret between us though so it stays that way for as long as possible, otherwise these islands will be ruined at a lighting pace.

About The Author:
Matt loves tropical beaches and has spent years in Thailand exploring the tropical beaches and island in the country. Check out these links for more information on tropical islands and the island of Ko Lipe.