My Top 5 Favorite Islands
During my years of backpacking I have been to a handful of islands. While most islands may look the same they all have a different feel to them. Here is a list of my top 5 islands in order of great to greatest:
5. Caye Caulker, Belize
This gorgeous, tiny island is located in Belize. Its by far the smallest island i’ve been on but dont let that stop you from visiting it. It has a great feel to it as there are no cars allowed on it and
the streets are all dirt roads. The vibe here is very relaxed and calm. The locals are friendly and helpful and will point you in the right direction to some very cool local spots. The is so small that you can walk from end to end in a couple hours easily. The only bad thing that i can say about Caye Caulker is that there is not really any place to swim. there is no “beach” if you will. The only place that i found to swim was on the east side of the island and it was a little place in front of a bar that you could relax at. No waves just cool calm relaxing water. I planned on only staying here for a couple days but
ended up staying for 8. This is one of those places that just sucks you in and makes you never want to leave. Although there is not much to do on the island the relaxed chilled out vibe is welcoming and there’s always snorkeling and other excursions you can pay to do so this place is a must stop for any island lover!
4. Koh Tao, Thailand
I’ve only been to Kho Tao one time. When I was there it rained and thunder stormed the
entire time. It was always wet and overcast and dark. So why did I like this island so guess its because of how the island made me feel. Its just very relaxing there. Its a rather small
island but large enough to where you need a to rent a motor bike to get around. The center of town is very welcoming and lots of good bars with good live music and decent food. While I was there they had the annual “Save Koh Tao” festival. It featured many local bands and food and of course, beer. This island is most known around the backpacking community to be a great place for scuba diving. Although I did not do any diving on this island I did have a couple buddies who dove here and they absolutely loved it. With a large number of different dives shops offering certifications and rooms, this is a great place to relax from your travels and go diving for a few days.
3. Koh Phangan, Thailand
This small island on the eastern side of the peninsula is home to the most famous full moon party in the world. Each month the beach of Haad Rin gets filled with thousands
and thousands of backpackers eager to get drunk and party the full moon away. Ive been to the Full Moon Party twice now and each time I can only recall certain parts of it. It gets crazy and is a must stop for anyone backpacking Thailand. Aside from hosting one of the craziest party in the world, Koh Phangan offers much much more. My favorite thing to do here is rent a motor bike and take to the crazy, windy roads on the islands. The best time to do this dusk. Find that perfect spot and pull over and watch one of the best sunsets you will ever see. This is much more enjoyable with a cold Chang beer in hand. This island will provide you with a time you will never forget.
2. Phuket, Thailand
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and for most backpackers is the starting point for hitting the other islands around. It is really easy to get to from Bangkok or Chiang Mai as it has an airport that both those other cities fly into for relatively cheap. Phuket, pronounced “poo-ket”, is filled with a mixture of old, rich people as well as the younger backpacker crowd. The beaches are lined with giant corporate hotels and small guesthouses. The water is absolutely gorgeous. There is every water activity you can think of available here from jet ski rentals to paragliding over the turquoise water. The night life in Phuket is probably the craziest of all the islands. Because it is so big and there are so many people who come to this island, there are many many bars to grab a drink at. The main street where the bars are is called Bangla Road. Here you will find anything you are looking for and even things you wish you never would have seen.
1. Koh Phi Phi
I remember the first time I stepped off the ferry and onto this tiny island. The only thing I knew about it was that the movie “The Beach” was filmed here. I had planned on staying here for 3 nights and then moving on to the next place but something about Koh Phi Phi made me not want to leave. This island is tiny.There are no cars on the roads, heck there aren’t even really any “roads”. Just dirt paths winding across the island in between shops selling the usual tourist traps and amazing food. The beach isnt really that great. Giant rocks line the ocean floor for as far out as you can see and the its really shallow too. There are no waves so the water just sits there, still as can be baking under the 100 degree sun all day. At night, there are a lot of bars for you to wander to and many things to do. Its a quite island but there’s something mysterious about it that caught my heart and made me not want to leave and also made me go back 3 years later. This island was completely destroyed during the tsunami of 2004. It has since been rebuilt bigger and better than ever. There is a memorial set up on the view point up in the mountains. The trek to this view point is very steep and tiring but when you get there and you over look the entire island it makes it all worth it. I planned on staying for 3 nights but ended up staying here for 17 nights. This, by far, is my favorite island that I have been to.