Once sleepy and undeveloped, the locals made a living from coconut farming and fishing until it was discovered by backpackers in the 1980s. It now has both budget and luxury resorts and a thriving tourist industry.
Surrounded by 80 smaller islands, this Thai gem is a hugely popular cruise destination with many operators, with Holland America Line, Viking Ocean Cruises and Costa including it in their itineraries.
Cruise ships put in at Nathon, the island’s old commercial centre and ferry port, and due to its size, most require tenders. For a relaxed local visit from the ship, you can spend an afternoon wandering around and see the old Chinese shophouses, restaurants and shops, and maybe try some Thai Massage to get the visit off to a relaxing start.
Further afield, there are plenty more intriguing and interesting sights to see.