All the Islands, Beaches and Attractions
in a Picture Perfect Piece of Paradise
Khao Sok National Park
Tropical Islands and Beaches
The narrow peninsula of Southern Thailand stretches from the
province of Ranong near the Burmese border all the way to Malaysia. The
region also covers a vast area in and around the Gulf of Thailand as
well as the Andaman Sea. It is as unique in spectacular scenery as it is
rich in multicultural heritage.
Expect to see majestic forested
mountains, rubber and coconut plantations and lush green jungle trails
along much of the interior while mangrove forests, rocky out-crops,
countless tropical islands, colourful coral reefs and the most beautiful
soft white sandy beaches which extend along much of the hinterland.
Some of the best diving sites can be found along the southern coastal shores of the Andaman islands while the popular beach resorts of Phuket, Krabi and Don Phi Phi draw the most tourists. Koh Samui is world famous for its beaches, Koh Pha Ngan is world famous for its parties and Koh Tao, all of which lie in the Gulf of Thailand, is the destination of choice for superb offshore diving.
The deep south may have more in common with Malaysia than with the Thai heartland further north, but it may also be worth visiting simply to experience the region's unique culture, dialects and their delicious Indian, Malaysian and Chinese cuisine.
Equally alluring are the spectacular mountainous scenery of the interior, the unspoiled beaches and islands on the west coast and the historic, cultural sites like those found at Nakon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung and Songkhla.
Rawai Beach in Phuket
Southern Thailand - The West Coast
Phuket is a magnificent tropical island resort in southern Thailand and one of
the top beach resorts in the country with Patong and Karon beach
possibly being the most popular. There is much to do and see on the
island, some of which include numerous water sports, boat trips to
nearby islands as well as amusement parks, zoos and
aquariums which the whole family is sure to enjoy.
There are also temples, Thai villages, shopping markets and a whole host of
to make your holiday here most enjoyable. And don't forget about the vibrant nightlife either. It's a crazy kaleidoscope of friendly folk, fabulous food and extraordinary lively entertainment.
can be spent relaxing on the beach, leisurely shopping or visiting
places of interest. Nights can be spent wandering around the streets,
stopping for a bite to eat at local and international
restaurants. Later on you could pop over to one or other local pub or
club and sip on your favourite cocktail or cold beer while listening to
rock music and chatting with some new found friends.
As an added bonus, should you be lucky enough to arrive during any number of the
Phuket festivals, then why would you not want to join in with all these fun social activities.
Caves and Beaches of Krabi
Southern Thailand - The West Coast
The western shores of Southern Thailand incorporating the upper
Andaman coast contain some of the most inviting beach scenery in the
whole of Southeast Asia.
The towering limestone stacks of
Phang Nga Bay
can easily be explored in a day and until recently boat tours of the bay took in all the best known sights such as the
Ko Panyi Fishing Village
where Muslim families live, work and play in homes built on stilts
above the waterline in the shadow of a giant limestone mountain.
A major attraction is James Bond Island made famous as the location where part of the 1974 James Bond movie "The Man with the Golden Gun"
was filmed. Technically it's not an island as it forms part of the
mainland, but nevertheless it is a popular day excursion from Phuket
though there are no facilities to stay over.
Towering Limestone outcrops are a symbol of Krabi and they stand proud like sentinels at each end of the river. Mangrove swamps can be toured by renting a long tail boat from the pier in the center of town, as are daily excursions to a few islands such as Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi to the south and southwest respectfully and Koh Nang to the west and Koh Yao to the northwest.
Another excursion from Phuket includes the Khao Lak Coast, comprising of long stretches of rocky and sandy beaches. Off the coast is Koh Similan with its massive boulders and underwater grottoes offering some of the best diving sites in the world.
And nearby is the Khao Sok National Park forming the largest and most dramatic tract of virgin forest in Southern Thailand.
The Governor's Residence in Phattalung
Southern Thailand -The Deep South
Unofficially the first town you'd come across in the deep south is
Nakhon Si Thammarat
though it's seldom featured on any tourist itinerary. It is however
the most historic town in this region and its lively center has several
attractions worth visiting.
From a historical standpoint Nakhon Si
Thammarat was an important city of the Srivijaya Empire when it
became a religious center bringing with it many Indian traders. Hindu
shrines are a big feature here as are the shadow puppet plays and
intricately etched nielloware.
One of the few rice growing areas and the next big town as you travel further into the deep south is Phatthalung. Though the town earned its reputation and income from rice crops, it's now best known as the place where shadow puppetry was first performed in Thailand.
So much so that the name Nang Talung is said to have been derived from the name of the town. Phatthalung lies between two picturesque peaks and one of the largest wetland sanctuaries in the country.
Further south is the town of Songkhla once known as Singora the Lion City. This town grew to prominence during the Srivijaya period. In the past it had a reputation for being a base for pirates, but now days, its traders are mainly a mixture of Muslim, Indian, Chinese and Khmer descendants. So much so that the cuisine, culture and language here reflex a multicultural heritage.
Shark Fin Soup Restaurant in Hat Yai
Southern Thailand - Deep South Continues
Though the southern commercial and transport capital of Thailand known as Hat Yai won't win any major prizes for its beauty. And coupled with the fact
that there are few cultural attractions here, most visitors tend to
spend their daylight hours either shopping or dining at the reasonably
priced restaurants. There is another side to Hat Yai but that normally
begins after the sun goes down and it's mainly for men.
real cultural attraction can be found at Wat Hat Yai Nai in the form of a
reclining Buddha, said to be the third largest of its kind in the
world. Other than that, there are some friendly markets and a few
shark fin soup restaurants.
Rubber, palm oil and fishing are the main economic ingredients of
as tourism has yet to cause a major impact here. However the many
islands in this region off the coast of the Andaman Sea have begun to
show imminent signs of intense development, leaving little doubt as to
Trang has a strong Chinese characteristic
with its equally excellent Chinese restaurants to boot. Attractions
around here include cave exploring, beautiful beaches and cascading
waterfalls while sporting activities include snorkelling and scuba
James Bond Island
Southern Thailand - Gulf of Thailand
Koh Samui is the second largest island in southern Thailand and has become an
international resort destination of choice. The island comprises of
forested hills, coconut plantations, palm-fringed beaches and quiet
coves. You'll also find a modern airport, abundant transportation,
luxury hotels and resorts as well as a magnificent array of water
sports. It is one of the best islands for a stay over.
Koh Pha Ngan
is just seven kilometres from Koh Samui though less developed for
tourism due mainly to its bad road system. The island is however better
known for its lively party atmosphere than for its tropical
combination of powdery beaches, accessible coral reefs and rugged
forested interior. Koh Pha Ngan is a favourite haven for backpackers who
flock to the island to revel in a bohemian lifestyle while staying in
rattan huts or simply sleeping on the beaches and especially at Hat Rin Beach where the full moon parties are held.
is located 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Koh Pha Ngan. It might be the
smallest island in the Samui archipelago, but it sure is one of the
prettiest. The main attraction here is the wide range of superb
offshore diving sites where not only is there excellent visibility, but
also a rich variety of marine life, making it one of the most rewarding
diving spots in the whole country. The island itself is rather rugged
with a dense forested interior, but the quiet coves and fine sweep of
sandy beach on the west side, makes it all the more worth while.
Phi Phi Don Island
Southern Thailand - The Andaman Sea
Phi Phi Don
is arguably one of the most sort after islands in southern Thailand
with its crystal clear turquoise waters and dazzling white beaches.
Spend your day swimming, snorkeling or just lazing on the beach. This
has got to be one of the very best southern Thailand islands for quality
time and absolute relaxation.
Hat Chalathat Beach at Songkhla
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