Nangyuan Island Dive Resort
What to Expect: Near Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand, three small lush islands linked by white sandbar beaches make for a great dive—and resort—setting. All 56 guest rooms have simple wooden furniture, refrigerators, and porches for gazing at clear waters, but the most luxurious accommodations (read: with air-conditioning) are on the Southern Island. More secluded cottages are located on the Northern Island, but there the terrain is rougher and the stairs more difficult to navigate. In the center of it all—on the Middle Island—are reception and a barefoot-casual restaurant with sea views.
What to Do: Snorkel or dive. If you’re not certified, take the PADI dive shop’s five-minute diving test to find out what it’s like to breathe underwater. If you’re intrigued, choose from a variety of courses and explore one of the 15 dive sites located nearby; keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles and whale sharks.
Getting There: High-speed catamaran ferries regularly depart from Bangkok, Koh Samui, and several other islands.
Insider Tip: Rooms on the flatter Middle Island are the best option for families with small children and visitors with restricted mobility.