There are several islands close to Pattaya, which you can visit for a day, or even several days if you like. You can take half day and full day island tours, including island hopping tours inclusive of hotel transfer and arranged activities like snorkeling and para sailing. Or you can take the opportunity to experience the pristine beaches and idyllic beauty of some of Thailand’s most treasured islands.
Including an excursion to the islands near Pattaya for a day trip, or a few days “mini vacation” from Pattaya is easy to arrange, and something you certainly will not regret.
Which is the Best Island Close to Pattaya
Realistically, it depends how much time you have – how much time you want to spend – and what you want to do. If all the islands were an equal distance from Pattaya, the undoubted king of the islands would be Koh Chang. But let’s have a look at the options, and see which island near Pattaya is the best for your purpose.
Distance and driving time to Koh Chang from Pattaya: The total distance including the ferry crossing is approximately 260 kilometers, and you should allow 5 to 6 hours from leaving Pattaya to arriving on Koh Chang.
Things to do on Koh Chang: Koh Chang is the 2nd largest island in Thailand, it is around 30 kilometers long, and averages 10 kilometers wide. The terrain is hilly, with the highest point being approximately 740 meters, and much of inland Koh Chang is covered by forest and jungle. The natural terrain – size of the island – and beautiful beaches means there is lots to do on Koh Chang.
Activities include jungle trekking – kayaking – zip-lining – elephant trekking – scuba diving – snorkeling – ATV touring. There’s some breath-taking scenery on Koh Chang which is best seen by hiring a motorcycle and taking off to explore, but be warned some of the roads are very steep and winding. At night time most resorts and restaurants on White Sand Beach arrange tables and seating on the beach, and you can watch the very popular fire shows while you dine.
How long to stay on Koh Chang: There’s many things to do on koh Chang, including just chilling out. You could spend 4 days doing various activities – a day or 2 chilling on the beach – and a day exploring. That means you could stay on Koh Chang for a week or more without getting bored.
Getting to Koh Chang: Read this how to get to Koh Chang guide.
Here’s a little more about things to see and do on Koh Chang.
Distance and driving time from Pattaya to Koh Samet: Total distance to the Koh Samet, including the ferry crossing is approximately 95 kilometers. Driving time is a maximum 90 minutes to the ferry piers at Ban Phe, and then a 40 minute ferry ride to the island.
Things to do on Koh Samet: Most people got to Koh Samet simply to chill out on the beach, with or without a pina colada. Koh Samet is a laid back island, the only traffic on the island is public taxis (songthaews) – motorcycles and service vehicles, although you can hire bicycles – motorcycles and ATV’s. What activities there are mainly limited to water activities such as jet skiing – snorkeling and sea kayaking. You can also dine on the beach at night time and watch a fire show, just like you can on Koh Chang, especially if you stay on Sai Kaew Beach.
How long to stay on Koh Samet: Depends how many books you take with you. It’s only a short hop from Pattaya, so it’s an ideal place to just go and chill on the beach for a couple of days, any time you feel like it.
How to get to Koh Samet: The best and most convenient way to get to Koh Samet from Pattaya is by taxi or shared transfer. To view more options, including getting to Koh Samet from Bangkok, read this handy getting to Koh samet guide.
koh Lahn (larn)
Koh Lahn is just 7.5 kilometers off the coast off Pattaya, a ferry boat ride from Bali Hai pier takes about 45 minutes. So it’s definitely the easiest and most convenient island to visit from Pattaya.
Things to do on Koh Lahn: Being so close to Pattaya, Koh Lahn is a popular location for day-trippers, and they go by the coach load. Koh Lahn is also a popular weekend escape for folk from Bangkok, so if you are going to go it’s probably best to go on a weekday. And if you want to avoid the biggest crowds head for Samae Beach rather than Tawaen. Activities include snorkeling – jet skiing – banana boat rides – para sailing, but most people go just to chill out on the beach and eat.
How long to stay on Koh Lahn: For most people, Koh Lahn is just a day trip. It has the nicest beaches close to Pattaya, and most people go just to spend a day on the beach. There is accommodation, even a nice beach-front hotel, so well worth a nights stay if you are looking for a quick break from Pattaya.
How to get to Koh Lahn: There are ferries costing around 30 baht, departing from Bali Hai pier approximately every hour to Koh Lahn. You can also charter – or take a shared ride in a speedboat.
There’s more information on Koh Lahn in this post about Tawaen Baeach koh Lahn.
Koh Sichang is situated approximately 8 kilometers off the coast of Sri Racha. So it’s about a half hour drive from Pattaya, and then a 40 – 50 minute ferry crossing to Koh Sichang.
Things to do on Koh Sichang: More of an retreat come sightseeing destination. There are beaches on Koh Sichang, but it’s not the best place to go if all you want is just a relaxing beach holiday. In other words, go to Koh Samet or Koh Chang if you want a beach holiday. Koh sichang is more suited to those who want to explore, and it does have quite a few historical and religious sights worth visiting.
How long to stay on Koh Sichang: A day exploring and sightseeing and an overnight stay would be long enough, but perhaps another day just to soak up the peace and quiet.
For more information on getting to Koh Sichang, where to stay and things to see and do on Koh Sichang, visit Kohsichang.net.
The Small Uninhabited Islands Near Pattaya
There are several small islands off the coast of Pattaya. They are Koh Krok and Koh Sak which are situated close to Koh lahn. Approximate 9 kilometers west of Koh lahn (20 kilometers east of Pattaya) is Koh Phai and the neighboring islands of Koh Luam – Koh Klungbadan and Koh Manwichai. Further south, closer to Sattahip is Koh Rin and Koh Khram, and a little further south again there is Samae San and a cluster of smaller islands which would be about half way between Pattaya and Koh samet by boat.
Most of the small islands close to Pattaya are completely uninhabited and very much unspoiled. They are actually protected by the Royal Thai Navy. Overnight stays are not allowed and there are some restrictions – which have a positive effect towards maintaining the pristine beaches and crystal clear waters on and around the islands.
How to get to the islands: There’s two options – charter a speedboat – or take a scheduled island hopping cruise. You can charter a speedboat from Bali Hai Pier. As for the price – you will just have to barter the best rate you can get. When you consider the price of a speedboat charter to Koh Lah costs 2000 – 3,500 baht depending on the size of the boat – chartering a speedboat to Koh Pai, which is twice as far would most likely cost twice as much.
Pattaya island hopping and activity cruises: There are two very popular 1 day Pattaya island hopping cruises, including food and drink and activities such as snorkeling – swimming – fishing – or just chilling out on the beaches. You can find them, plus day trips to Koh Lahn and many more tours and activities in Pattaya on Klook.
How long to stay on the islands: There are no overnight stays allowed, so it’s a full day island hopping cruise or however long you want to charter a speedboat for.