South of Thailand, discover the most beautiful islands
Southern Thailand is known for its breathtaking tropical bounty of islands, sun-drenched beaches, and beautiful natural parks. Anyone who has seen ‘The Beach’ undoubtedly knows which beach we are talking about. Koh Phi Phi is just one of the islands we will visit during this tour in southern Thailand.
Anyone who enjoys snorkeling, diving, and trips through the jungle in search of waterfalls has come to the right place. And then there are the beautiful Buddhist temples and the delicious Thai food.
In this article with all the information you need to make an itinerary of southern Thailand, we share useful tips about the different destinations, accommodations, transport, etc… We have also put together a 3 to 4-week itinerary in Thailand. Then you also visit the north of Thailand with the beautiful temples in Chiang Mai and Sukhothai.
BANGKOK to KRABI
Chances are you will land in Bangkok. You can choose to explore here for one day or travel straight to Krabi. Optionally, you can also land in Phuket and from there take the ferry to Krabi. There are several ways to travel to Krabi from Bangkok.
There are several direct flights daily from Bangkok to Krabi, the flight duration is approximately one and a half hours. There are some low-cost airlines such as Air Asia where you can get cheap tickets.
If you’re travelling with kids you should check our Road Trip Activity pack for kids for Thailand.
Alternatively, there is also the option to travel to Krabi by bus or train. The train ride takes about 8-10 hours and departs from Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok to Surat Thani, where you can take a bus to Krabi.
The total travel time is approximately 12-15 hours. We recently started using 12Go.Asia and are very satisfied with it. You can book buses and trains in advance. Do you have more time in Bangkok? Then be sure to check out our article on what you can do in Bangkok.
Once you arrive in Krabi, the adventure really begins. Krabi is the perfect base for exploring the beautiful limestone cliffs, tropical islands, and beaches. Some of the highlights in Krabi include:
Railay Beach: One of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, only accessible by boat. You will find impressive cliffs (which you can climb) and crystal-clear waters for swimming and snorkeling.
Ao Nang: Ao Nang is a popular beach town where you can find most accommodations, restaurants, and bars. It is an excellent base for exploring the area.
Phang Nga Bay: a beautiful bay where you can take beautiful boat trips
Ao Phra Nang Beach: a beautiful beach with a very special cave
The Tiger Cave Temple: from here you have a beautiful view of the surroundings
Hiking to the Khao Ngon Nak Viewpoint
Day trip to the Hong Islands (the 4 islands tour): Snorkeling, swimming, and enjoying the beautiful islands.
From Krabi, you can take the ferry to Koh Pipi. One of the most beautiful islands in the world.
Sleeping in Krabi
Activities in Krabi
KOH PHI PHI
The most famous beach on Koh Phi Phi is undoubtedly Maya Beach (made famous by the film ‘The Beach’ in the famous Maya Bay. Unfortunately, it is so well known that it is currently closed again because it is simply too busy. Nature needs some time to recover. You can see the beach from the water, but you can no longer go on land.
A day trip from Koh Phi Phi is the most popular activity you can do. Along the way, you will stop at various places where you can swim and snorkel.
Another recommendation is a visit to the viewpoints of Koh Phi Phi, such as Viewpoint 1 and Viewpoint 2, where you can admire beautiful panoramic views of the island and the ocean.
TIP: Make sure you have enough water with you because the climb to the viewpoints is steep. Depending on what season you are there, it can also be very humid.
Spend the night at Koh Phi Phi
There are many accommodation options at Koh Phi Phi, and you can find something for every budget. There are simple hostels where you can spend the night for an affordable price, but also luxurious resorts with all the bells and whistles.
How to get to Koh Phi Phi
From Krabi and Phuket, there are daily ferry services that take you to the island. The crossing takes about one and a half to two hours, depending on the weather conditions. Once you arrive on the island, most sights and beaches are within walking distance.
Longtail boats and organized excursions are available to explore the surrounding islands. You can arrange this on-site in the main street or through your hotel. You can also book this in advance via, for example, GetYourGuide or Viator.
After Koh Ph Phi we continue south. The next island we visit is Koh Lanta. We also think this is the most child-friendly island, which is also perfect if you are planning a longer beach holiday in Thailand.
There are plenty of activities you can do on Koh Lanta, including visiting the Mu Koh Lanta National Park. From Koh Lanta, you can also explore the islands around Koh Lanta by boat, such as Koh Muuk or Koh Ngai. There are several boat trips available, where you can visit the pristine beaches of nearby islands.
The most famous trip is probably the 4-Island Tour from Koh Lanta to Koh Bu Bu, Koh Ngai, Koh Talabeng, and Koh Pu.
Spending the night in Koh Lanta
Accommodation at Koh Lanta is no problem. You really will find something for everyone. For the budget traveler, there are numerous hostels and simple bungalow complexes available. For a slightly more luxurious experience, you can opt for a boutique hotel or resort on the beach. The further you go to the south of the island, the cheaper it becomes.
In the north you have Ban Saladan with all the shops and restaurants, there you will also find the resorts, etc… For families, there are also a number of child-friendly options available, such as resorts with family rooms and swimming pools.
You can reach Koh Lanta from Krabi and Koh Phi Phi. On the island itself, the main transport options are scooters, taxis and tuk-tuks. But make sure you drive safely and wear a helmet if you rent a scooter. You can also book many tours if you prefer not to drive the scooter yourself.
KOH LIPE / KOH MUK
After Koh Lanta, we continue towards Koh Lipe and Koh Muk. These are both beautiful islands in the south of Thailand. You can take the ferry or book a private speedboat to reach Koh Lipe.
What to do in Koh Lipe
- Koh Lipe is part of the Tarutao National Park. You will therefore have to pay an entrance fee at the pier to enter the island. is known first and foremost for its beautiful beaches and clear blue waters. Here you can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
The most famous beach is Sunrise Beach. This is also where most of the resorts and restaurants are and of course a beautiful sunrise. On the other beach, Sunset Beach, the beach itself is slightly less beautiful, but the sunset is really fantastic.
Pattaya Beach is the beach if you feel like stretching your legs. From 6 p.m. the bustling Walking Street is closed and you can go to shops, bars, and restaurants. You can get from Pattaya Beach to Sunrise Beach in 15 minutes.
- Kayaking to Kla Island: rent a kayak and explore the beautiful and uninhabited Kla Island. In the north of the island, you will find a beautiful white sandy beach. Be sure to bring your snorkel!
- Chill out in one of the many beach bars such as the Sea La Vie Bar or Zodiac Sea Sun Beach (ideal at sunset).
- Some nice restaurants include Madame Yoohoo, Elephant, Bloom Café (breakfast), and the restaurant of the Castaway resort. Do you fancy pasta? Then you can go to La Luna.
Spending the night in Koh Lipe
If you want, you can continue from Ko Lipe by boat to Langkawi (Malaysia) or back on land in Thailand in Pak Bara. Or further to beautiful Koh Muk.
What to do in Koh Muk
The main highlight of Koh Muk is the Emerald Cave, a beautiful cave with crystal clear water and a small beach. You can also enjoy other beaches on the island such as Sivalai Beach and Farang Beach.
Koh Muk is accessible by boat from Pak Bara, Trang, and Koh Lanta.
From Koh Lipe or Koh Muk, we take the ferry back to the mainland. Via Trang, we return north to Surat Thani. There we can take the ferry back to Koh Samui, the next bounty island on our program.
There are several options to travel from Trang to Koh Samui.
You can choose to travel by bus. Allow 4 to 5 hours for this journey. Or you can also go by train from Trang station. There you have a connection with Surat Thani (5 to 7 am). Be sure to check the timetable in advance and try to book your ticket in advance if possible.
You can already book your ticket via 12GO.Asia
Finally, you can also consider a private transfer, where you arrange a car and driver for the entire journey. The fastest but also the most expensive way.
Koh Samui is one of the most beautiful islands during your tour of southern Thailand. It is also known for its white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and beautiful natural beauty.
What to do in Koh Samui
- Visit the iconic Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Ya), an impressive 12-meter-high statue that overlooks the island.
- Hike to the beautiful Na Muang Waterfalls and enjoy a refreshing dip in the clear water.
- Take a snorkeling or diving trip to nearby islands such as Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan
- Discover the lively night markets of Koh Samui, such as the one in Fisherman’s Village where you can enjoy delicious food.
Spend the night in one of the nice beach huts on Koh Samui
There are plenty of guesthouses in Koh Samui. Look here for the nicest addresses.
Search hostels in Koh Samui
There is also no shortage of resorts on Koh Samui. You can find nice addresses just on the beach for a decent price.
After Koh Samui, we will party on Koh Phangan. This is especially known for the Full Moon parties. But there is much more to do in Koh Phangan.
What to do in Koh Phangan
- Feesten op Haad Rin: Dit is het beroemdste strand op Koh Phangan, waar de legendarische Full Moon Party plaatsvindt. Overdag kan je ontspannen op het witte zandstrand en ’s nachts kan je feesten tijdens dit wereldberoemde strandfeest. Toen wij er waren was er net een Halve Moon Party, ook leuk en iets minder druk. Let wel goed op je spullen als je gaat feesten.
- Watervallen: Er zijn verschillende indrukwekkende watervallen op het eiland, zoals de Than Sadet waterval en de Phaeng waterval.
- Op het water: Op Koh Phangan kan je voor de rest snorkelen, duiken en kajakken. Er zijn tal van duikscholen op het eiland waar je een cursus kan volgen of een dagtrip kan boeken. Je kan hier o.a. je Padi (duikersbrevet) behalen.
- Partying at Haad Rin: This is the most famous beach on Koh Phangan, where the legendary Full Moon Party takes place. During the day you can relax on the white sandy beach and at night you can party during this world-famous beach party. When we were there there was just a Half Moon Party, also fun and a little less busy. Pay close attention to your belongings when you go partying.
- Waterfalls: There are several impressive waterfalls on the island, such as the Than Sadet Waterfall and the Phaeng Waterfall.
- On the water: On Koh Phangan, you can also snorkel, dive and kayak. There are numerous diving schools on the island where you can take a course or book a day trip. Here you can, among other things, obtain your Padi (diver’s certificate).
Wij behaalden ons duikersbrevet op Koh Tao, dit ligt niet ver van Kog Phangan en Koh Samui. Er zijn heel wat duikscholen die hierin gespecialiseerd zijn. Met dit brevet kan je overal ter wereld gaan duiken. Je moet wel enkele dagen voorzien voor de theoretische en praktische lessen.
We obtained our diver’s license in Koh Tao, which is not far from Kog Phangan and Koh Samui. There are many diving schools that specialize in this. With this certification, you can go diving anywhere in the world. You must provide a few days for theoretical and practical lessons.
Spend the night in Koh Phangan
There are many options to spend the night on Koh Phangan during your tour of southern Thailand.
Mid-Range: There are plenty of mid-range hotels on the island, such as the Vannee Golden Sands Beachfront Resort and the Sanctuary Resort, which offer beautiful beachfront rooms.
Luxury: If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, you can opt for villas like Panviman Resort or Anantara Rasananda Resort, with top-notch amenities and stunning ocean views.
SURAT THANI to BANGKOK
Unfortunately, this tour through southern Thailand also comes to an end. You can choose to fly back from Surat Thani or Koh Samui. Or you can return by train (9 am to 12 pm).
Another option, the longest, is to take the bus back to Bangkok. We hope that this provides you with sufficient information to further plan your next tour in southern Thailand.
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park is a beautiful national park in Thailand known for its lush rainforests, limestone cliffs, and crystal-clear lakes. You can possibly add this park to your tour in southern Thailand.
In the park you can do beautiful hikes, kayaking, looking for elephants, hornbills, monkeys, etc… and you can spend the night on the water. A unique way to spend your nights in Khao Sok.
Koh Tao National Park
Koh Tao National Park is a beautiful national park on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand. The park is known for its crystal clear waters, colorful coral reefs, and beautiful beaches. We already mentioned that this is the ideal place to get your diver’s license (PADI).