Best places to visit in SOUTHERN THAILAND
Planning a trip to Thailand, and wondering what are the best places to visit in Southern Thailand?
Home to a number of islands and beautiful beaches, Southern Thailand is the perfect destination for sun and sea. Islands and beaches are not the only things Southern Thailand is famous for, however. National parks with spectacular natural beauty, dense jungles, hiking trails and mangroves are among other natural wonders in Southern Thailand.
Southern Thailand, just like the rest of Thailand, offers high quality infrastructure, it is developed, kid-friendly and fun. There is something for everyone in Thailand. That’s why it attracts all sorts of travellers, from backpackers to families.
So, check out our article to find out what are the best things to do in Southern Thailand!
7 best places to visit in Southern Thailand
Why visit Krabi Province: easy to get to & abundance of interesting places to visit
Krabi is one of the provinces in the south of Thailand.
It’s famous for its beautiful beaches and its many little islands (more than 100). There are plenty of places to visit in Krabi province. Here are some of our most favourite things to do Krabi:
- Soak in Krabi Emerald pool and visit the hot spring waterfall.
- Go on an island hopping tour.
- Visit Railay. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in Krabi province, and it’s easy to reach. Just take a boat from Krabi town pier or Ao Nang. There are also numerous hotels and restaurants on the Railay peninsula, so you can even stay the night there.
- Visit Ao Nang. It is a perfect place for a quick beach getaway. Located just 15 km from Krabi town, it boasts nice beaches, has lots of restaurants and numerous shops. The close proximity to Krabi town makes Ao Nang top beach destination in Krabi Province.
- Relax on Klong Muang beach. It is another beautiful beach not far from Krabi. Unfortunately, it’s not reachable by public transport. Rent a motorbike or take a taxi to get there.
- Go for a hike. There are several trails in the surrounding hills. Dragon Crest and Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail are especially scenic.
Khao Sok National Park
Why visit Khao Sok National Park: jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery and lush rainforest
Khao Sok National Park is one of the best national parks in Thailand.
The national park contains lush, dense jungle which is considered the oldest rainforest on Earth. Khao Sok National Park is considered the wettest spot in Thailand. It is the only place in Thailand where Rafflesia kerrii, one of the world’s largest flowers, grows.
The park’s central feature is Cheow Lan Lake with beautiful, towering karst islets. It is an artificial lake with an area of 185-square-kilometres. Around the lake, there’s a primary tropical rainforest which is inhabited by a range of mammals and exotic birds. The park offers multi-day rainforest nature safari and jungle lake safari tours with activities like canoeing, jungle trekking, mangrove tours and elephant encounters.
Ao Phang Nga National Park
Why visit Phang Nha Bay: jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery and lush rainforest
One of top national parks in Thailand, famous for James Bond Island.
Known for its bay with numerous limestone tower karst islands, dramatic limestone cliffs and gorgeous beaches, Ao Phang Nga National Park is one of the best places to visit in Southern Thailand. The park has one of the largest and best-preserved mangrove forests in Thailand.
The most popular islet in the national park, Ko Ta Pu, is often called “James Bond island”, because one of the James Bond movies was filmed here (“The Man With the Golden Gun”). It is a 20-metre-tall single limestone pinnacle located some 40 m from the shores of Khao Phing Kan island. Travel agents offer boat tours to this part of the national park from Phuket, Krabi and Ao Nang.
Floating Muslim village, Koh Panyee, is another popular destination for travellers visiting Ao Phang Nga National Park. It is a fishing village built on stilts by Malay fishermen. With a backdrop of limestone cliffs, the fishing village is an interesting and unique place to visit.
Why visit Phuket: has an airport, is very developed, plenty of great hotels
The largest island in Thailand offers a wide variety of fun things to do.
It is easy to get to Phuket Island, as it has an airport and is connected to the mainland with a bridge. This, and the fact that Phuket is very developed and offers a wide range of attractions, is the reason Phuket attracts all types of tourists, including families with small children.
Phuket offers a wide range of activities and plenty of interesting things to do. Its pretty historical town (Old Phuket Town) attracts tourists with its colourful Sino-Portuguese shophouses.
Khao Rang is one of Phuket’s most popular viewpoints. It boasts sweeping views of the island, offers dining options and has a Buddhist temple. Karon Viewpoint (Three Beaches Hill) has amazing views of Phuket’s most famous beaches.
If you’d like to see cheeky monkeys, head to Monkey Hill Viewpoint. There are plenty of them!
Phuket has an abundance of beautiful beaches. Many of them are pretty crowded, since the island is one of top beach destinations in the country. But some are still underdeveloped and are less crowded.
Do not miss Phuket Big Buddha — a large seated Maravija Buddha statue situated atop Nakkerd Hill.
Why visit Ko Samui: has an airport, and is family friendly
Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand.
Just like Phuket, it has an airport and it’s easy to get to. This is especially important if you are travelling with small children.
Just like Phuket, Koh Samui is very developed and offers a wide range of activities. There are both family friendly and lively beaches known for their nightlife and entertainment options. The island boasts lookout points with gorgeous views over the island.
If you are visiting Koh Samui, do not miss Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park. It is one of the most famous national parks in Thailand, and one of the best places to visit in Southern Thailand.
If you’d like to attend a fun party, travel to Koh Phangan for a Full Moon Party or Half Moon Festival. These are iconic all-night beach parties that are famous world-wide.
If you like snorkelling or want to try diving, head to Koh Tao which is located close to Samui.
Why go to Koh Tao: rich marine life, diving paradise & great for snorkelling, too
Koh Tao is a small island located off the Central Gulf Coast of Thailand.
It is popular for scuba diving and snorkelling. There are approximately 70 or 80 dive shops on this small island! So, as you can see, the offer is very wide. And, as you can imagine, this is why the island is often called “The Paradise for Divers”. Koh Tao is the best place for getting your scuba diving certification in Thailand. It’s inexpensive, the water is warm, and, most of the year, crystal clear. However, do your research first to make sure you are choosing a good dive school with all the needed licenses and the highest safety standards.
If you don’t dive, don’t be discouraged! You can still visit the island and have great fun there. Go swimming with reef sharks and thousands of colourful tropical fish among colourful coral reefs. When snorkelling, you will spot all sorts of colourful fish, including large parrot fish and triggerfish with huge teeth (just like the ones of a human!).
Diving with whale sharks is also possible in Koh Tao. In fact, it is one of the best places to visit in Southern Thailand.
Why visit Koh Lipe: good for lazy beach time, beautiful beaches and crystal clear water
Spend some lazy time in the Maldives of Thailand!
This tiny island is the southernmost island in all of Thailand. Ko Lipe is also regarded by many as the most beautiful island in Thailand, and is even called Maldives of Thailand.
Even though it is off the main tourist path, don’t give it a miss, especially if you are travelling to Southern Thailand.
There are several nice snorkelling spots on the island.
Southern Thailand travel tips
- You don’t need a visa to travel to Thailand. Citizens of most European Union countries are entitled to visa-free entry – for up to 30 days when entering Thailand by air, and up to 15 days when travelling by land.
- It’s easy to get around in Thailand. The roads are good, and the transport system is well organised. There are five intercity train lines in Thailand, and a well-developed government bus system. Buses are a very popular mode of transport in Thailand. They’re in good condition, and the bus rides are inexpensive. Minibuses are the best option for short (2-3 hour) distances. Prices of domestic flights are very affordable, too. For instance, a plane ticket from Bangkok to Krabi costs starting at 16 EUR. So, to save time travel by air.
- Bring mosquito repellent as mosquito illnesses, such as dengue and malaria, exist there. It’s rare but there are occasional reports of travellers getting dengue. Malaria is very rare, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get it.
- Bring sunscreen, as it’s quite expensive in Thailand. The sun is strong in Thailand, so use high-factor sunscreen (SPF 50).
- Apply water-resistant sunscreen to prevent sunburn while swimming and snorkelling.
- You can get sunburned even when snorkelling! So, do not forget about that. Wear a long-sleeve T-shirt and shorts that cover your bum and thighs when snorkelling.
- Don’t pet, feed and play with the monkeys! They might look cute and friendly but they are not. They are wild animals that can bite and act aggressively. Also hide all your shiny stuff in your bag. Everything that glistens and shimmers, and rustles. The sneaky monkeys can steal these things from you.
- People in Thailand are extremely friendly and kind but there still are a few scams you should know about when travelling to Thailand.