Koh Phangan is located about half an hour North by ferry from Koh Samui and is widely tipped to become the next big Thai holiday destination. As Samui developed into a full-scale international resort location, Koh Phangan took over as the budget travelers' alternative. Nowadays it is catching up with its big sister and already boasts a number of upscale resorts, although the roads and infrastructure remain basic. The monthly full moon party attracts an average of five thousand revelers, many arriving several days beforehand on Haad Rin beach to build up to the big event.
Beyond the party beaches, it's still possible to find a more secluded island feeling on Koh Phangan, with swathes of untouched sand and some isolated natural attractions. It's also possible to travel by boat from Samui in the morning, have a look around and return in the evening. Most of the boat operators are based on Big Buddha beach, which also has the main pier for Koh Phangan, but travel agents in Chaweng can also arrange tickets and pick ups.
Koh Tao was once a small fishing community, but is now one of South East Asia's most popular dive destinations. Trips can be arranged from Samui to visit the many spectacular dive sites around the island. Koh Tao still has a few secluded bays and beaches, but the main attraction is definitely under the water with snorkeling also a fabulous experience for those without a dive certificate. Various resorts, restaurants, and bars cater for the large numbers of divers who now visit Koh Tao, and there is some quite sophisticated nightlife on offer in the main port town of Mae-had.
Koh Nangyuan is located about an hour and a half north of Samui just off Koh Tao. This fabulous strip of white sand beach is actually out at sea, connected to two small offshore islets. With just one holiday resort on the island it's a beautiful secluded spot for a day spent swimming, snorkeling and eating.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
The Ang Thong National Marine Park is a protected reserve spreads along the Thai coast and is located just under one hour's speedboat ride away betweenn Koh Samui and the mainland. Day trips generally include snorkeling and some time to swim or laze on one of the pristine beaches. You can also venture off in kayaks into shallow caves and follow trails to visit the famous "Emerald Lake".