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The Best Islands Near Pattaya

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The Best Islands Near Pattaya

Most visitors looking for the best islands in Thailand are heading to the South, where the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao attract thousands of visitors every year. But the truth is that Thailand is a tropical paradise no matter where you land and Pattaya is no exception.

The best islands near Pattaya offer an idyllic escape from the busy coastal city. Most are uninhabited and ringed with beautiful sandy beaches and clear water. You’ll also find some great spots for snorkelling and diving, as well as seaside relaxation.

It's quite easy to reach the islands around Pattaya. Ferries, speedboats, and island-hopping cruises depart from Bali Hai Pier or Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Na Jomtien. Check out our guide to the most beautiful islands to visit around Pattaya.

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Ko Samet 

Koh Samet is a small island off Rayong, about an hour’s drive south of Pattaya. It has sheer cliffs along the west coast and gorgeous beaches along the east. The main town has an active nightlife scene, making it a favourite weekend retreat for Bangkok and Pattaya residents. An annual Thai pop and rock music festival takes place on the island, too.

Koh Samet has a good selection of hotels, ranging from very basic bungalows to 5-star resorts. The beautiful blue water around the shore is great for swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. Koh Samet is regularly serviced by ferry from Ban Phe Pier in Rayong. As with all Pattaya islands, you can also get there by chartering a speedboat, which takes about 20 minutes.

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Koh Sak

Koh Sak is a U-shaped island with 2 beautiful beaches connected by a path. The northern beach, on the inside of the crescent of land, is about 250 metres long. It's a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming. Diving tours regularly visit nearby coral reefs and an artificial shipwreck.

You can walk along the path through the middle of Koh Sak to reach the beach on the other side. Check out footprints left in the concrete by famous celebs, including Neil Armstrong. The only way to reach Koh Sak is by speedboat charter from Bali Hai Pier.

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Koh Krok

Koh Krok is one of the smallest islands near Pattaya. At just 100 metres in length, it has a sandy beach along the eastern coast and a rocky shore to the west. The beach has several dining options, sun loungers, jet skis, and banana boats.

Corals surrounding the island are great for snorkelling and diving. Speedboat charter is the only way to reach the small pier on Koh Krok.

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Koh Phai 

Koh Phai is part of an island chain that includes Koh Klung Badan, Koh Luam, Koh Luam Noi and Koh Man Wichai. It's about 23 km or 2 hours from Pattaya, earning it the name of the Far Islands (being further from Pattaya than the Near Islands). Koh Phai is under the supervision of the Royal Thai Navy, meaning that there are no permanent facilities. Visitors are not permitted to stay overnight.

You can sunbathe on the pristine beach or swim and snorkel around the excellent coral reefs here. The nearby wreck of HTMS Khram is one of the best scuba diving sites around Pattaya. There is no ferry service to Koh Phai, so you can only reach it via speedboat charter from Bali Hai Pier or on a snorkelling/diving tour.

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Koh Rin 

Koh Rin is a tiny islet with pristine beaches, clear blue water, and beautiful coral reefs. The sea around the island is part of a Royal Thai Navy gunnery range, so you might spot a spent dummy shell if you go on a diving trip here. Given that the tiny island also has a spectacular reef system around it, diving trips here are recommended.

Also known as Gnat Island, this spot is typically included in the itinerary of island cruises that sail out of the Ocean Marina Yacht Club. You can also reach the island via speedboat charter.

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Koh Si Chang

Koh Si Chang is one of the closest islands to Bangkok, being just off the coast of Sri Racha. Haad Tham Phang (Collapsed Cave Beach) is a popular stretch of sand on the island. Other attractions include swimming or kayaking between practically deserted coves and walking or cycling around Buddhist pagodas and temples. A must-visit is the remarkable Yellow Buddha of Wat Tham Chakrabongse.

Koh Si Chang has a range of excellent local restaurants and several accommodation options. There is a regular ferry service between Sri Racha and Koh Si Chang, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes each way.

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Koh Khram

Koh Khram is one of the most beautiful Pattaya islands. However, it's owned by the Royal Thai Navy and is largely off-limits. Boat charter services from Ocean Marina Yacht Club sometimes make a short stop on the pristine beaches, but visitors can only stay for 1 hour.

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Koh Larn

Coral Island is the largest inhabited island near Pattaya. There are a few small hotels in the local village and around the island’s main beaches. The Samae, Tien and Tawaen beaches have accommodation, while the Naul, Tonglang and Tayaiy beaches have at least 1 restaurant, jet ski rentals, and banana boat rides.

Coral Island has a small network of paved roads, with plenty of songtaews and motorbike taxis. There is a regular ferry between Bali Hai Pier and Na Ban, which takes about 35 minutes. You can charter a speedboat to any of the island's beaches.

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Monkey Island

The actual name of Monkey Island is Koh Klet Kaew, though it's sometimes called Koh Ped. The small jungle-covered island has a large resident population of crab-eating macaques. 

Thanks to regular visits by charter boats and cruises, these monkeys are well accustomed to interacting with humans. They will come running at the first sound of engines to get fruit brought over by visitors. In fact, the island's population is effectively dependent on these visits since a study found that there is not enough food on the island to support that many monkeys.

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