This is the Thailand paradise you’ve always dreamed about! White sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and colourful long tail boats bobbing on translucent turquoise waters, Thailand has more than it’s fair share of gorgeous tropical islands. Both the Gulf of Thailand on the East coast and the Andaman coast on the West offer amazing snorkeling & diving, activities from Muay Thai boxing to jungle trekking and a plethora of great restaurants, bars and crazy nightlife.
On the West Coast…
You’ll be faced with the effects of the original Thai tourism boom with the most over developed and largest island of Phuket – however, you can still find beautiful quieter areas if you hire a motorbike and take the time to explore. A bit higher up, you’ll find Khao Lak, located in Phang Nga province. Khao Lak is a National Park and a jumping off point for the Similan and Surin Islands, a divers paradise for live-aboard adventures amongst the pristine reefs.
Backpackers go dewy eyed at the gorgeous island gem, Koh Phi Phi, where you can take a long tail boat to explore The Beach made famous by Leonardo Di Caprio in the film of the same name. Nearby Railay and Ton Sai beaches located on the main land yet inaccessible by road, are popular amongst the rock climbing crew and die-hard Bob Marley fans. Chilled out Koh Lanta is an underrated castaway island which is fantastic to explore by scooter making a stop at beautiful beach after beach.
The East Coast…
Famous for full moon parties, diving and stag parties. Flashpackers and holiday makers will delight in Koh Samui’s abundance of restaurants, activities and nightlife, whereas Koh Phangan lures thousands of backpackers each month to experience what is probably the best beach party in the world – the Full Moon Party. In nearby Koh Tao, diving is the order of the day and many backpackers get their underwater licence by taking a PADI course. Make sure you take a trip to the incredible Ang Thong Marine Park while you’re in the area! Further south you’ll find tropical paradise Koh Lipe which remains for now a tranquil haven, far removed from some of the busier islands – make sure you visit now before it’s too late!
In between the skinny strip of land that separates the two coast lines you’ll find Khao Sok National Park, one of the oldest rain-forests in the world, home to many wild beasts such as the Malayan Tapir, the Asian Elephant, Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Pig Tailed Macaque, White Handed Gibbon and even bears and tigers! Chumphon, on the mainland is also a neglected spot as people jump on the morning ferry to Koh Tao and fail to explore the deserted beaches and rainforests of the area.
Destination Guide to South Thailand:
Check out our Trips in South Thailand!