If you’re finding yourself with a lot of time on your hands (like me) then this could be the perfect time to research your next trip. So I’ve adapted one of my most popular articles about the 3 best backpacker islands in Thailand.

In addition to the backpacker and traveller this article is also useful for anyone planning a workcation. Something I am considering more and more these days. Being a “digital nomad” is becoming increasingly popular, and Thailand has possibly one of the best digital nomad communities of anywhere I’ve visited. So let me explain why.

Thailand has one of the top reputations for its paradise islands, so whether you’re looking for luxury, budget backpackers or an affordable workcation, you’ll find what you want here.

My focus is to give you my 3 favourite islands. I’ve spent about 3 months in Thailand on separate visits, and saw a fair amount. Sure, there will be islands I didn’t see, and some my budget wouldn’t stretch to. But if you’re a backpacker or looking for a workcation, my 3 best backpacker islands in Thailand should be top of your list.

And as always if you think I’ve missed one, or want to suggest something, drop me a comment at the end and I’ll make sure I visit next time.

3 Best Backpacker Islands in Thailand

Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe doesn’t feature on everyone’s Thailand itinerary, which is a shame as when I was there it was almost unspoilt. Although it’s slowly becoming more and more developed, it still has a very untouched feel to it.

I came across Koh Lipe by accident, I was making my way down to Singapore through Malaysia and chose to avoid the Thailand mainland. Koh Lipe was the perfect stepping stone between Ko Lanta and Langkawi (Malaysia), both of which are also amazing islands. Ko Lanta very nearly made this list!

Lipe is suitable for everyone at any budget. It’s a small, peaceful island with local restaurants and some great day trips around the surrounding islands. Because it’s one of the most Southern islands, not many people make it here.

If you’re heading to Malaysia after Thailand, I fully recommend island hopping your way down and spending at least a couple of days here.

Where to Stay in Koh Lipe for Backpackers

There are dozens of accommodation options in Lipe, and here below are the best ones for backpackers.

Nest Hostel Lipe

Nest Hostel Lipe in Ko Lipe is a great spot, super close to Pattaya Beach, just 300 meters away. They have comfy non-smoking rooms and a shared lounge where you can chill out.

Plus, there’s free WiFi and a nice terrace to hang out on. They can help you plan fun tours, too! You’ll be near cool spots like Sunrise (Chao Ley) and Sunset (Pramong) Beaches.

Sangchan Hostel

Sangchan Hostel in Ko Lipe is a basic yet spotless place in the heart of Koh Lipe, just a short walk from Sunrise Beach (500 meters) and really close to Pattaya Beach (200 meters). They have a cool shared lounge and someone at the front desk 24/7 to help you out.

The hostel is smoke-free, keeping things fresh. Sunset Beach is also nearby, less than 1 km away!

Bayview Hill Resort

Bayview Hill Resort is a lovely place right on the beach, offering cozy chalets with amazing sea views from your own balcony. They’ve got free WiFi in the public areas for staying connected.

If you need it, they offer extra services like laundry and shuttle rides. Each chalet has its own bathroom for privacy.

And when you’re hungry, there’s a restaurant right there where you can enjoy tasty local dishes and drinks. It’s a great spot for a relaxing beach getaway!

Best Tours in Koh Lipe

Koh Phi Phi

My first island is probably the most popular, I haven’t met too many people that have been to Thailand and not visited Phi Phi. It’s a tiny island with one of those ‘no traffic’ feels to it, a vibe I’ve banged on about before in my posts about the Gili Islands and Railay.

There’s just a relaxed vibe in the air here, everyone’s friendly and you feel at home right away. There’s a perfect cross section of budget and luxury, and even on my small budget I shared a room that had use of an infinity pool with a swim up bar! Perfect.

In my opinion you can’t visit here without taking a trip to Koh Phi Phi Leh or going scuba diving. Koh Phi Phi Leh is famous for Maya Bay (featured in The Beach). That film is now over 20 years old would you believe?

I cannot recommend scuba diving here enough, on one dive we saw 8 Giant Sea Turtles and on another we spotted 3 Reef Sharks. If you don’t have your scuba diving license then consider taking it at Koh Tao, below.

Where to Stay in Koh Phi Phi for Backpackers

There are dozens of accommodation options in Phi Phi, and here below are the best ones for backpackers.

Phi Phi Sand Sea View Resort

Phi Phi Sand Sea View Resort, located by the gorgeous Ton Sai Bay, offers beachfront rooms at great prices. You’ll get a balcony with an amazing bay view.

Choose from rooms with a fan or air conditioning, all equipped with a safe, satellite TV, and minibar. Plus, each room has its own bathroom with a shower.

It’s just a 7-minute walk from Cabana Pier and about 8 minutes by car to the town center. A perfect place for a beach adventure!

Phi Phi Dream Guest House

Phi Phi Dream Guest House is a sustainable place in Phi Phi Don, near beautiful beaches like Loh Dalum, Ton Sai, and Laem Hin. This cozy 1-star guest house offers handy facilities like an ATM, a little minimarket, and free WiFi. They’ve got a tour desk too, ready to help you plan fun days out.

You’ll have a safe in your room for your valuables and a private bathroom for comfort.

Magic Hostel

Magic Hostel in Phi Phi Don is just steps away from Loh Dalum Beach, offering air-conditioned rooms and a shared lounge for guests. You’ll have free WiFi and access to a tour desk for exploring the area.

The rooms are comfy, each with a kettle, and you’ll share a bathroom equipped with a shower and hairdryer. It’s a great spot for hikers and beach lovers.

Ton Sai Beach is only 800 meters away, and Laem Hin Beach is also less than 1 km from the hostel. A cool place for a fun stay!

Best Tours in Koh Phi Phi

Koh Tao

Throughout my travels I’d been told Koh Tao was the place to get your Open Water Diving Certification. Personally I didn’t particularly like Koh Samui and Ko Pha Ngan was incredibly busy during Full Moon Party. I’d love to go back and experience the island properly.

There are plenty of dive schools to choose from and I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference between them. Expect to pay around 10-11,000 baht (Approx £240 – £270) and try to get as much thrown in as possible in terms of food and accommodation. There is always room for bartering in Thailand! The course lasts around 3 days and includes some of the best dive sites in Thailand. And once you’ve qualified you’ll be able to dive any where in the world.

I haven’t even started with the Koh Tao sunsets

Where to Stay in Koh Tao for Backpackers

There are dozens of accommodation options in Koh Tao, and here below are the best ones for backpackers.

Nadapa Resort

Nadapa Resort, just a short 300 meters from Mae Had Beach, offers a comfortable stay with free Wi-Fi and private parking. It’s conveniently close to Sairee Beach and Ko Tao Pier, both only 150 meters away. The rooms come with a TV, fridge, balcony, and wardrobe, and some even have air conditioning.

You’ll have a private bathroom with shower, and the rooms are cleaned daily. Plus, you’ll find dining options just 20 meters from the hotel, making it a great spot for convenience and comfort.

Chandra Hostel Koh Tao

Chandra Hostel Koh Tao in Koh Tao is a cozy place, only 800 meters from Chalok Baan Kao Beach. It offers lovely accommodation with a garden, free private parking, a terrace, and even a BBQ.

The hostel is well-located, being 3.5 km from Sunken Ship, 7.4 km from Ao Muong, and 1.8 km from Shark Island. Guests can enjoy free WiFi and a shared kitchen.

Each room in the hostel boasts a balcony with a beautiful mountain view, ensuring a pleasant stay, even on a budget.

Tiki Tribe Bar & Hostel

Tiki Tribe Bar & Hostel offers a great mix of amenities including a shared lounge, free private parking, and a bar, making it a fun and convenient place to stay.

It’s situated just 1.2 km from Jansom Bay Beach and is also 4.3 km from Sunken Ship, providing easy access to local attractions.

You can enjoy comfortable rooms that come with air conditioning and a private bathroom, ensuring a pleasant and relaxing stay.

Best Tours in Koh Tao


What was your favourite island in Thailand? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.

This article was supported by Fan Club Thailand but as always, the opinions and photos in the article are all my own.

3 thoughts on “3 of the Best Backpacker Islands in Thailand

  1. Ronnie says:

    I liked Ko Samet, part of which is a national Park where there is accommodation. There are also affordable round island boat tours. Silver Sands beach bar was fun.

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