If you are in the market for a dose of sun, sea and sand then the South of Thailand is a destination that you’ll love. Its paradisiacal southern islands offer something for all types of travellers, whether you want to push the boat out with a luxury escape or you are looking to keep things cheap and cheerful, you are well covered.
You may well recognise Maya Bay from the throwback movie, The Beach. I really love that film and I have to admit that it was one of the things that heavily inspired my desire to want to travel to far-flung destinations. Although visiting Thailand hardly qualifies as intrepid these days, I have The Beach to thank for my decision to embark on my first ever solo backpacking trip and a lot of that is down to the impossibly-perfect scenes of Maya Bay, where the movie was largely filmed.
Characterised by its towering limestone rocks, powder white sand and crystal waters, Maya Bay really is as impressive in the flesh as it was depicted in the film (at least it was in my opinion). The bay had been closed for a number of years to allow natural habitats to recover from the overwhelming numbers of visitors but it recently reopened again at the start of this year.
Located on Phi Phi island, Monkey Beach is a popular stop on many of the island hopping tours. As its name suggests, it is home to a gaggle of cheeky monkeys, most of whom are very friendly. Providing you keep your distance!
Speaking or island hopping, regardless of which island you choose to base yourself during your travels in South Thailand, I would recommend doing a bit of island hopping so you can fully explore the area. The best way to do this is via long-tail boats. The narrow wooden boats may not provide the most luxurious means of transport but they are all part of the experience and can take you from island to island in good time for a reasonable price.
Koh Phi Phi viewpoint
One of my personal favourite things to do in South Thailand is to take in the stunning scenery and perhaps the best place to do just that is Koh Phi Phi viewpoint. Located on Koh Phi Phi, it is well worth the hike as you will be rewarded with the most stunning sprawling views across the island. I would particularly recommend heading up in the evening so you can watch the sun set. It really is such an incredible experience.
Although I am very much past my party days, if you are looking to let your hair down and dance the night away then you will be spoilt for choice for places to do just that in South Thailand. From Phuket (pictured below) to Koh Phangan (home to the famous Full Moon party), South Thailand is famous for its pumping nightlife scene. Expect fire dancing on the sand, boozy buckets and tie-dye-clad partygoers aplenty.
The Full Moon Party – Koh Phangan
The Full Moon Party is a rite of passage for any student backpacker in Thailand. I did it back in 2014 and I have to say that I loved it and thought it was great fun. Although you do have to keep your wits about you and go in with a common sense approach to what you should and should not do (read: take drugs, accept drinks from strangers etc) it’s an occasion where you can really let your hair down and party the night away until sunrise. It’s not what I would typically enjoy on a night out by any stretch of the imagination but I wouldn’t actually be against doing it again in the future.
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