The air inside Thailand’s Surat Thani airport had its own gravity, weighed down by an imminent rainstorm, a smoldering humidity, a tropical feeling I’ve learned to embrace. Even still, those sodden temperatures drive me wild on occasion. Luckily, the southeastern islands offer more ways than I can count to beat the heat, other than just the usual lounging under a palm tree drinking fresh coconut water.
Here’s some thoughts on how to keep it cool:
Koh Tao, the smallest of the three islands, is a haven for would-be scuba divers. Competition between dive shops is actually so fierce that the island is one of the cheapest places in the world to get your certification. Not ready to take the plunge? Snorkeling gear is easy to come across and also cheap. I loved Tanote Bay, which is where that giant rock featured in the video is located for daring jumpers.
Believe it or not, Koh Phangan has a more mild side than its Full Moon Party reputation conveys. At the center of the action, Hat Rin beach exudes an air of confidence in its stunning sands, for good reason. The water couldn’t be more clear and the atmosphere more laid back during the day. Many vendors here rent jet skis by the hour if you’re keen to splash around. Along the shore, a row of pubs and restaurants beckon you to pop in for a cold drink. Looking for a quieter, family and couples-orientated atmosphere? Wander to the island’s northeastern beaches like Haad Salad and Cholok Lam.
Finally on to Koh Samui, this large island boasts more beaches than you’ll know what to do with. Ditch relaxation mode to try flyboarding at Samui Chaweng Beach, kayak around Ang Thong National Park, or trek to the refreshing Koh Samui waterfalls. Still apt to lounge? Koh Samui is home to hundreds of luxe resorts with infinity pools.
If you hear the call of Koh Tao or one of the other islands, book a trip with My Adventure Store. Their eastern island hopper package will get you across all three spots.