Southern Thailand is a beach paradise featuring captivating coastlines and stunning islands on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Some spots have been made famous after appearing in Hollywood films, including the James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay featured in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) and Maya Bay as the location for The Beach (2000).
There is more to the south than just the scenic spots you have seen in films. Thailand’s southern islands and archipelago are spectacular, with more than 125 miles of coastline. The warm temperature makes the region the preferred destination among international tourists, particularly during November to February, as some run away from the winter in the western hemisphere. Sun, sea, and sand are the perfect combination and selling point capable of luring millions of overseas travelers to return year after year.
With COVID-19 causing no full-scale tourism traffic since late 2019 and most of the marine national parks in the south given time for rehabilitation, the southern paradise has re-emerged fertile and refreshed, awaiting visitors to embrace the renowned wonders of the region once again.
How To Get There
Most of the main cities in the regions, including Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Phang Nga, are easily accessible, each with an international airport with direct flights from locations such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Samui has long been a typical destination where international tourists outnumber those locals during the high season, with flights from Bangkok and regional aviation hubs.
Airlines which travel to the region include Thai Airways, Nok Air, Bangkok Airways, and Thai Smile, to name a few.
‘The Pearl of Andaman’ has long been the star of the South. It has both convenience as an international city and charisma as a tropical island to please every type of vacationer. From luxurious accommodations to mid-range hotels, inland activities to sea-based adventures, Phuket has it all as it ensures that both those nightclub goers and sunset watchers will have the time of their lives on the island.
Krabi & Phang Nga
These two neighboring provinces have enjoyed a tourism boom in the last two decades, benefitting from being close to Phuket. Once tourists started to find out the hidden gems in Krabi and Phang Nga, the cities established themselves as travel destinations in their own right.
Located in the heart of Thailand’s South, Krabi enjoys the western coastline and the warm Andaman Sea. Whether you are looking for a local cultural experience, a relaxing beach vacation, a pampering spa, street food, fine dining, or adventurous getaways, Krabi has it all for everyone from families and young couples to seniors and solo travelers.
The tropical beach vacation spent in Phang Nga always finds its way onto everyone’s bucket list. Phang Nga has many stunning tropical beaches to fulfill your dream vacation. There, you can enjoy lying on the beach, basking in the sun, swimming in the ocean, and having a glass (or maybe two) of sundown cocktails to salute the sunset.
Ko Lipe, Satun
Peacefully seated at the southern end of Thailand’s west coast, Lipe Island offers visitors a great sense of island escape. A long, thin stretch of icing-sugar sand and crystalline water makes it one of the top island beaches in the Andaman Sea. Part of Adang-Rawi Archipelago, Lipe is a promising scuba diving destination – where warm and crystal blue water is home to whales, dolphins, sharks, Manta Rays, and mesmerizing underwater scenery.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Samui Island was once famed for its sweet and creamy coconuts, drawing backpackers to its sun-drenched beaches, lines of swaying coconut plants, budget stilt huts, and beach parties. Ko Samui has grown up to be an increasingly sophisticated world-class luxurious island holiday destination, ideal for those who want the joy of a tropical island beach holiday in modern style.
- Ko Pha Ngan + Ko Tao + Ko Nang Yuan, Surat Thani
While Samui Island always draws well-to-do travelers for a holiday in the lap of luxury, Ko Tao, Ko Nang Yuan, and Ko Pha Ngan – Samui’s three sister islands – lure young travelers for hammock-lazing, all-night partying, and underwater adventure.
Ko Tao – or “Turtle Island” – is dotted with small coconut-swaying coves, calm stretches of white-sand beach, rustic-chic restaurants, and dive shops. The island is also one of the world’s top places to enter into an underwater wonderland.
A small island within a short boat ride from Ko Tao, Nang Yuan Island is one of the country’s best-snorkeling sites. The squeaky soft beaches and sandbars are idyllic spots for a barefoot stroll.
The Full Moon Party’s birthplace, Pha Ngan Island has more than an all-night party to share with its visitors. With secret beaches (like Bottle Beach) that are far from the crowd, Pha Ngan Island offers plenty of spas to soothe your soul and body.
Nakhon Si Thammarat
While most southern provinces have their seashores as selling points, Nakhon Si Thammarat has relies upon its historical and cultural charms to successfully draw visitors. In addition, Khiriwong Village has emerged as one of the top destinations vacationers long to visit to test ‘the best ozone’ in Thailand.