Koh Adang and Tarutao islands in Thailand: which is best?

Koh Adang and Tarutao islands in Thailand: which is best?

During our island hopping adventures in Thailand we partied a lot in Koh Lipe and Koh Tao, but after a whilst were craving a remote island experience, cut off from it all.

As we were at the time based in Koh Lipe, we looked around for options and discovered the less frequented islands of Koh Adang and Koh Tarutao. We ended up visiting both islands to compare and write about which Thai island Koh Adang or Tarutao is better to visit:

Where are they?

Koh Adang and Tarutao islands are in Southwestern Thailand in the Andaman Sea, just before the Malaysian border. They form part of the “Tarutao National Marine Park”, so are therefore protected and very remote.

Koh Adang: the ideal day trip

Koh Adang is a large island right next to touristy Koh Lipe. It forms part of the Adang Archipelago group of islands. It’s the largest and the most remote. Very few people come here and as a result it’s the ideal day trip to escape the busy crowds on Koh Lipe island.

Adang or Tarutao map Adang Archipelago


Transport to Koh Adang

Koh Adang is reachable by tail boat from Koh Lipe, which can be found everywhere. We paid 100 bahts (£2/$$3) per person each way. For the return, there are always a few tail boats hanging around waiting to take you back, but you should check this before leaving as it will depend on how strong the tide is.

Adang or Tarutao tailboat

Taking the tail boat to Koh Adang from Lipe (100 bahts per person each way)

Entrance fee to Koh Adang

There is a 200 bahts (£4/$6) National Park fee to pay, valid for 5 days on all the Tarutao National Marine Park islands.

Accommodation on Koh Adang

There are only a handful of commercial hotels Koh Adang, which is part of the beauty of this remote island. Most accommodation is through the National Park and is mainly bungalows or renting a space to camp on.

Bungalows can be rented from 600 bahts (£12/$18) a night or you can rent a tent for 200 bahts (£4/$6) a night. They come with mats and mosquito nets. You can also pitch your own tent for 30 bahts a day. To book accommodation in advance you can do it online or call the National Park on: 074783597 or 074783485.

Facilities on Koh Adang

There is a large communal bathroom and toilet area with showers, as well as a restaurant. Or, you can just take a tail boat over to Koh Lipe to stock up on supplies and come back again.

Hiking on Koh Adang

Due to its vastness, Koh Adang is ideal for hiking. Just remember to wear plenty of sunblock cream! There is a viewpoint in the mainland jungle which is an easy hike and offers some incredible views across the archipelago.

Snorkelling on Koh Adang

We loved snorkelling here and found it to be some of the best in the Thailand, rivalling Thoddoo island in the Maldives because of the large variety of wildlife. We rented masks, snorkels and fins from a dive shop in Koh Lipe for around 250 bahts (around £4/$6.55) each and brought it with us on our day trip.

Adang or Tarutao snorkelling

Snorkelling with Nemo in Koh Adang

Koh Tarutao: the ultimate adventure getaway

Koh Tarutao is the largest island in the Tarutao National Marine Park and a former concentration camp for political prisoners. Like Koh Adang, it’s very remote and well protected by the Thai government with limited facilities. It offers more in terms of activities and is more a place you base yourself for a few days rather than visiting as a day trip.

Transport to Tarutao

We went to Tarutao from Koh Lipe by speed boat, which takes around 1 hour. We paid 450 bahts (£9/$14) each. Otherwise you can reach it from the mainland from Pakbara, which is 1 hour away and also costs 450 bahts pp. The entry point is Ao Phante Malacca in the north of the island:

Koh Tarutao map

Map of Koh Tarutao island

Entrance fee to Ko Adang

Entrance fee costs 200 bahts (£4/$6) and is  valid for 5 days across all the Tarutao National Marine Park islands. Tip: if you have a student card, you pay the half price “children’s fee”.

Accommodation on Koh Tarutao

You can either rent a bungalow or tent space. We stayed in one of the bungalows huts for 2 nights, which costs 600 bahts (£12/$18). You can rent a tent for 200 bahts (£4/$6) a night. They come with mats and mosquito nets. You can also pitch your own tent for 30 bahts a day. To book accommodation in advance you can do it online or call the National Park on: 074783597 or 074783485.

Facilities on Koh Tarutao

There is a decent restaurant at Ao Talo Phante Malacca and an even better one at Ao San, around 6km from the headquarters.

The camping areas at Ao Talo Phante, Ao San and Ao Molee each have clean public bathrooms with shower facilities.

Beaches of Koh Tarutao

There are many beautiful and remote beaches on Koh Tarutao. Our favourite was the beach at Ao Son. Although it’s far from the bungalows/camping ground area at Ao Talo Phante Malacca, it’s definitely worth the journey, and you’ll most likely have it all to yourself. The sunsets here are stunning and the water is everything you dream.

Adang or Tarutao Ao Son beach

The beautiful and secluded beach at Ao Son on Koh Tarutao

Snorkelling on Koh Tarutao

Snorkelling is possible on the Northeast side of the island, but you have to rent a tail boat to take you. However, we were told it is not worthwhile if you’ve been to Koh Adang or Lipe.

Mountain biking on Koh Tarutao

You can rent excellent sturdy mountain bikes for 250 bahts (£5/$8) for 1 day and go from Ao Talo Phante Malacca to the more remote and pretty Ao Son, around 6km away. The trail goes through the Tarutao mainland jungle and took us around 40 minutes each way, which included a few stopovers for photos.

Adang or Tarutao biking

Biking through the mainland jungle of Koh Tarutao

Hiking in Koh Tarutao

There are some excellent trails on Koh Tarutao, which take you through the vast thick jungle inland. The most famous is the trek to the Lu Du Waterfall near Ao Son as well as the hike up to the 400m Tob-Bob cliff at Ao Talo Phante Malacca.

Kayaking on Koh Tarutao

Our favourite activity on Koh Tarutao was renting a kayak and paddling through a mangrove forest to a crocodile cave towards Ao Rusi in the northeast side of the island. This is a really fun day trip, a work out, gorgeous natural environments and a unique cave experience all in one. Just remember to bring head torches for the dark crocodile cave!

We rented paddle boats from the National Park head office, which cost 500 bahts (£10/$15) for the whole day.

Adang or Tarutao activities kayaking

Kayaking through the mangrove forest to the crocodile cave

Koh Tarutao or Koh Adang?

We loved both islands and definitely recommend each to adventure travellers. If you are looking to base yourself in one place for a full-on adventure holiday, then head to Koh Tarutao. If you prefer a mix of remoteness with civilisation and party, then we recommend Koh Adang, which you can reach from busy Koh Lipe on a day trip.

For more inspiration planning your trip, check out this awesome 3 weeks Thailand itinerary.

Watch more from our island hopping in our Thailand travel video:



  1. Why not you choose Koh Lanta? The most common way to get to Koh Lanta is by boarding a ferry from nearby islands. And I personally know a ferry service who offer quality services and their ferries are well maintained to ensure safety.

    • Agreed! Koh Lanta is beautiful and definitely worth visiting 🙂

  2. Hi, do you know if its possible to get to koh Adang straight from Pakpara? I’ve only got one weekend, so I need to choose between the 2. However, most info i see regarding transport to Adang is from Lipe.

    • We never went to Pakpara so not sure, sorry 🙁

  3. Im really happy I found this post, its so helpful! I’m going to Thailand in March and also want to explore Koh Tarutao,Koh Adang and Koh Lipe.Can you tell me about the beaches on Koh Tarutao? Are they as pretty as on Koh Adang or Koh Lipe? Im thinking of going for 1 night to Tarutao, 2 nights on Adang and 3 nights on Lipe 🙂

    • Dear Maja,

      We’re so glad you’re going there. In our opinion, these are the most beautiful islands in Thailand. Koh Tarutao is more of an adventure island, where you go for kayaking, trekking, biking, snorkelling etc but it is not so much of a beach destination. Koh lipe (make sure you stay on sunrise beach) and Koh Adang have the most beautiful beaches. We think 6 nights is great to explore those 3 islands. And Koh Tarutao is kind of mid way between Koh lipe and the mainland so it makes an easy overnight stop. Enjoy your time there, it will be unforgettable!

      • Thank you so much for your quick answear, it really help me with my itinerary, now i know i make good decisions 🙂 Best wishes!

  4. thank you so much for a great advice. We are off in 2017 and will now defently do these area. Great pictures and really put up nice. Wish I can do this well coming back. Thanks again and many wishes for your next trips. Regards Berit and family Denmark

    • Our pleasure guys, thanks for reading 🙂

  5. Early helpful guide both, and came in great time, heading to koh lipe tomorrow morning, looking forward to following in your footsteps!

    • Thanks Dommy xx

      • Is there a decent place to stay at tarotao? is there atm’s there?

        • It’s quite basic but the huts are decent enough, lots of space and comfortable beds. No ATMs on Tarutao when we were there.


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