Pros: long beautiful beaches, softest sand, 200 baht scooter rentals.
Cons: worst/most reckless scooter driving tourists, pushiest touts directly off the ferry boat, least interesting island interior.
All three islands had tiny crabs that made designs out of tiny balls of sand, many looked like palm trees, but this crab wins for the most creative design.
North and south view of Bamboo bay beach, the least developed beach we visited on Koh Lanta.
Pros: most peaceful island (ever), least developed, most isolated beaches, good food, most authentic feeling, friendly locals.
Cons: limited access with only one boat from Krabi Town and one boat from Koh Lanta each day, most unreliable wifi, limited electricity.
Koh Jum attracted the most relaxed crowd, and was our favorite. Many visitors we spoke to returned year after year for tranquility not found on places like Koh Phi Phi seen in the distance.
We stayed at Koh Pu Valley, on the North side of the island, where electricity is still only available by generator in the evenings. An employee hosted wifi from a hotspot on his phone, only when he was around, and reminded to turn it on.
A general look for a beach on Koh Jum. Deserted with clear water and extremely fine sand, with just enough small pebbles to need to watch your step.
In the south of the Island, Coco's Bar is ten minutes from Koh Jum village. Reachable by scooter down a dirt path, it is the most chilled out bar we have ever been to. While crowded, people sat silently watching the sun go down.
Pros: best street food, mountainous jungle interior, 200 baht scooter rental.
Cons: overcrowded seemingly unsafe ferry ride, long and late ferry, most developed, difficult public access to beaches, coarse sand beaches.
This photo was taken on our ride to Koh Samui, on the return trip, offloading of passengers onto the stairs was absolutely chaotic due to rough seas.
Samui is the most urban. Those that gravitate towards cities should visit. Both Samui and Lanta had a lot of bars and many advertised parties, a pro or a con depending on your opinion. We saw signs for full moon, half moon, and black moon parties on the same signs.
Admittedly we spent very little time in the water while on Samui. The water was very rough, which made us curious of the island's appeal. Later we learned the rough seas were the beginning of storms in the Gulf of Thailand, causing floods which began New years day, claiming the lives of at least thirty people at the time of this writing.