The south of Thailand is a very popular and touristy place for a good reason. You can spent your days relaxing at the beach, snorkeling/ diving or exploring an island in the south.
Southern Thailand has so much to offer, that I only picked one area, I wanted to explore. I had about two weeks in the south and I probably went to the most popular places.
Starting in Phuket, I took the ferry to Koh Phi Phi then Koh Lanta, Ao Nang and Krabi as my last stop.
Compared to the north, southern Thailand is way more touristy. Many people come here for a beach holiday or to get a diving license.
Taking the night bus from Bangkok, I arrived at around midday in Phuket. I was staying at Patong Beach, but to be honest, I didn’t like it that much. It was really crowded and also very expensive compared to the north.
BUT, there was a nice nightmarket and I took a trip to the famous Big Buddha. It’s on a hill, so you get a nice view too. Phuket is also a good place to start island hopping. It is an island too, but to get to Phuket you can just drive over a bridge.
2.Stop: Phi Phi Islands
From Phuket I took the ferry to the famous Phi Phi Islands. The ride is about 2 hours. Koh Phi Phi is a really small island and you’re able to walk everywhere.
The island looks like the capital letter H with the beach in the middle. It’s very touristy as well, but it really looks like paradise.
On one day I did a traditional longtail boat trip, which included many stops around the islands. Special stops were for example famous Maya Bay from the movie “the Beach”, Bamboo Island or Monkey Beach.
We had a couple spots for snorkeling as well and the underwater life is amazing!
After watching the sunset, my favorite thing of the whole day trip happened. We waited until it was completely dark and then went for a swim in the dark water again.
At first you can’t see anything, but when you move there is luminescent plankton all around you! Such an amazing experience!
Other things to do
Koh Phi Phi is really good for partying too. There are many bars at the beach and you just dance barefoot on the beach or even in the ocean.
Another great activity to do, is to climb up to a viewpoint and watch the sunset. The view is breathtaking and you can actually see how small the island is. Be aware of monkeys though.
3.Stop: Koh Lanta
The ferry to Koh Lanta takes about two hours. The island is bigger and not that developed and touristy as the other places in the south. There’s a nice relaxing atmosphere just to hang out for a couple of days.
You should definitely rent a scooter and explore the island on your own. There’s not much traffic, so it’s not a problem if you’re not an experienced driver.
Where to go on the island
There is Old Town, a nice little town on the east coast to grab a meal or do some shopping. In the south you can visit the Nationalpark with a lighthouse.
The west coast is probably the busiest place on Koh Lanta, because there are all the beaches. The most popular one is Long Beach in the north, which is really nice to watch the sunset.
You can also drive to the northern island Lanta Noi, which is connected through a bridge.
There is only one main road in Koh Lanta, which goes along the coast all around the island. Two other roads are connecting both sides, so as you can see, it’s really not that big.
In the middle of the island you can explore some caves or you can visit the animal welfare center on the west coast. There are rescued cats and dogs and you can play with them or walk the dogs.
4.Stop: Ao Nang
To get to Ao Nang you can either take the ferry or the bus, because the islands are connected through a bridge.
I chose the ferry and it took about two or three hours to get to Ao Nang, which is located on the mainland.
The beach is really nice to watch the sunset or to go for a swim.
One day we rented a kayak to explore the beaches next to Ao Nang. I really recommend it, because you are independent and can have a stop wherever you want.
You paddle along the famous rocks and get to Tonsai Bay, famous Railay Beach and Ao Phra Nang Beach. On the last one you can find the Phra Nang Cave Shrine with lots of wooden penises inside. I don’t really know why, but it looks really funny.
If you’re more adventurous, then you can climb to the Princess Cave right next to the Beach.
5.Stop: Krabi Town
My last stop was Krabi Town. To get there from Ao Nang, the cheapest option is to take the local bus. It costs 45 Baht and takes about one hour.
Krabi Town has not that much to offer and I really recommend to go there on a weekend.
Every weekend they build up the Walking Street. It is a night market with lots of different kinds of food and souvenir stalls. There are some shows too and karaoke.
There is another night market next to the river too and a night market close to the walking street. As you can see, you won’t get bored about food in Krabi Town.
But besides the markets there is not that much to do, so it’s the best to book a day trip.
Emerald Pool and Hot Springs
One day I went to the rainforest to see the Emerald Pool and the Blue Pool. Both are springwater lakes located in the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, but you are only allowed to swim in the Emerald Pool.
A trip to the lakes would not be complete without a trip to the nearby natural hot springs. The water comes from thermal springs under the ground and it is really hot. You can cool down in the river below.