There’s endless paradise islands to explore in Southeast Asia from the party hotspot of Koh Phangnan in Thailand to the unspoilt beauty of Koh Rong Sanloem in Cambodia. Island hopping in Southeast Asia is an experience you’ll never forget. As with any other trip, it helps to know what you’re getting yourself in for, right?
So, we’ve rounded up the top tips you need to know for navigating the islands here. There’s an island for all types of travellers here, whether you want peace and quiet or to sip on Changs until the sun comes up…
Island Hopping In Southeast Asia
1. You’ll Cover More Ground with Local Airlines
Thai Air and Bangkok Airlines cover Thai islands such as Koh Samui and Phuket, and you can also easily fly between islands in Indonesia and some in the Philippines, so check out airport locations when planning your route. Sure, there are ferries between the main islands, but flying is almost always the faster option.
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Out Smaller Islands
Southeast Asia is a popular tourist destination with plenty of up-and-coming smaller islands that are well worth a visit. Love snorkelling but can’t handle the crowds of Phuket, Thailand? Try the Similan Islands for some of the best snorkel and diving sites in the region. You’ll just have to be flexible with your schedule as many of the transport options for small islands can be subject to delays.
3. Choose Which Islands To Visit In Advance
Do you want to hit up party spots, go diving or simply chill on the beach? The good news is there’s the perfect island for all tastes. Our advice is to plan out your route as much as possible in advance. You will need to be a bit flexible, but it helps to know the general direction you want to travel in.
4. When’s The Best Time to Visit?
Generally, the best time for island hopping in Southeast Asia is between April and October. With a tropical climate, there’s mainly two seasons here – Wet (November – March) and Dry (April – October).
5. Plan Your Route Around Your Scuba Dives
Did you know that the U.S. Air Force says you should wait 24 hours after scuba diving before flying on an airplane? This is to avoid getting the bends. You should space out any planned flights (even at lower altitudes) with a day between the last dive and the flight departure.
6. Make Sure You Carry Cash
In more remote places away from the main tourist areas and mainland, you might struggle to find ATMs. Keep plenty of small notes for local markets and bartering with!
7. What You Should Pack For Island Hopping in Southeast Asia
- Reusable water containers and utensils to reduce plastic waste
- Toilet paper!
- A Dry Bag for transporting any valuables on boats
- Waterproof phone cover
- A reliable PowerBank
- An underwater/waterproof camera
- Travel Insurance