Relax. You’re on island time.

Welcome to Thai Island Times, an independent, reader-supported newsletter sharing the beauty, challenges and distinctive identities of Thai islands and coastal areas.

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You’re reading the first and only publication devoted exclusively to ALL of the islands and coastal areas of Thailand. Stick with me for a while, and I promise to introduce you to every Thai island. Yep, all 826 of them, by my latest count.

Pulling up to Ko Gai in Krabi.

*Temporary hiatus*

Please note, as of March 2022, I am taking a hiatus from the newsletter to rebuild following a brutal couple of years for the travel industry. You are welcome to sign up and start receiving the newsletter when I return.

Meet your host

I’m David Luekens, and I launched Thai Island Times during Thailand’s nationwide coronavirus-related ‘lockdown’ in April 2020.

Having spent most of the last decade covering coastal Thailand for Travelfish, and contributing island-related stories to CNN Travel, Business Traveller, Horizon Guides and other outlets, I’ve been lucky to explore, research, photograph and write about more than 80 islands and most of the mainland coastal areas in Thailand.

Now I’m on a quest to visit every island in the country, and Thai Island Times is my way to share that journey with you. I also do freelance writing and travel consulting; check out some of my clips and feel free to contact me at

Hi. I’m Dave. I like islands.

This e-newsletter…

  • virtually transports you to Thai islands and coastal areas, often focusing on smaller and lesser-known islands and beaches;

  • peels back the layers by revealing insights related to geography, environment, conservation, terminology and natural and social history, among other ways;

  • contributes occasional reported articles on, for example, indigenous rights and Thailand’s pandemic struggles;

  • and reflects on my journey encompassing more than a decade of almost non-stop travel in Thailand.

To see examples of the content you’ll find here, check out the table of contents for links to all ‘evergreen’ articles ever published on Thai Island Times.

Ko Kradat. Expect the unexpected.

What is the point?

  • To be an enjoyable, useful resource for anyone interested in Thai islands and mainland coastal areas.

  • To keep you up to date on what’s happening in this part of the world.

  • To chronicle environmental issues that often receive little attention.

  • To cultivate a sense of community across coastal Thailand.

  • To introduce you to Thai islands and coastal areas that you may not know about.

  • To promote responsible travel, environmentally and socially, and to give small businesses a boost. In doing so I engage in no PR writing, comps or ‘pay for play’ in which companies or authorities provide freebies, such as rooms and flights, in exchange for positive publicity that often ignores realities. Thai Island Times is genuine independent travel media, 100%.

What is the point? THIS. Earning the view on Ko Adang.

How much does it cost?

Important note, March 2022: I’m on a hiatus from the newsletter and paid subscriptions are suspended at the moment. I’m planning to return to Thai Island Times later in 2022 — and I will notify all subscribers at that time. For now, you are welcome to sign up as a free subscriber.

Otherwise, both a free and paid version of the newsletter is available. When paid subscriptions resume, paying subscribers will get access to several additional articles each month for $6 monthly or $60 annually. Once that happens, you can upgrade through this link or any ‘subscribe’ button. (It’s usually simple, but do get in touch if you have any problems with the process.)

Which places are covered?

All of coastal Thailand is in play, from Ko Kood in the eastern Gulf of Thailand all the way down to Ko Yara Tot in the lower Andaman Sea.

Specifically, coverage includes all 24 of Thailand’s coastal provinces: Trat, Chanthaburi, Rayong, Chonburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Kahn, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Narathiwat, Satun, Trang, Krabi, Phuket, Phang Nga, Ranong, and the five small provinces that touch the upper Gulf in the vicinity of metro Bangkok.

Is this only a newsletter?

Nope. You’ll find me discussing coastal Thailand over on Twitter as well.

Photos and words

are original and copyrighted to David Luekens unless otherwise noted. (Travelfish Pty. Ltd. holds rights to some photos as well.) All photos and text in this newsletter may not be copied or repurposed without permission. Plagiarism is theft. I offer non-exclusive rights to most of my photos at reasonable rates, so don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re interested in a single photo or a whole article.

What now?

Sit back, relax and enjoy some islands in your inbox.


Something going on that you’d like to see covered on Thai Island Times, from news stories to events? Or maybe you simply want to have a yarn with another island nerd?
Get in touch with me at


To Stuart McDonald, co-founder of Travelfish, for help with promoting Thai Island Times. If you haven’t yet, do check that site out along with his two fantastic newsletters: Couchfish and the classic Travelfish Weekly. To learn about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack. 🌴

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