Southern Thailand tourist and travel guide

Arguably the prettiest and most sought after part of Thailand is its southern region with the magnificent Andaman coast and lovely Gulf islands. Tourists flock to the stunning beaches of Phuket and Krabi, or head to the eastern side islands of Samui, Koh Phan Ngan and Koh Tao. But there are plenty more gems waiting to be discovered.

Phuket is the centre of activity in the south and has the best developed infrastructure as well as offering the most luxurious resort areas. It is also a good base to get to other attractions of the region, but Krabi offers a quieter alternative and boasts more dramatic scenery.

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Phuket
The ‘jewel of the Andaman’ offers the most for holidaymakers with exceptional hospitality, loads of activities and a nice central location for daytrips with plenty of hotel bargains…more
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Krabi
As seen on the brochures, Krabi has Thailand’s most stunning scenery with its karst seascapes and stunning islands and beaches, from Railay to lively Ao Nang with fun pubs and bars…more
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Phi Phi
World famous for its azure waters, karst cliffs, dreamy beaches and extraordinary nightlife, these islands have played a starring role in Hollywood blockbusters and it’s easy to see why…more
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Koh Lanta
The quieter side of the Andaman with its family friendly atmosphere and true island character where your resort empties straight out on to the beachfront. An island with a Thai atmosphere…more
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Koh Samui
‘Boutique’ is the word on this island with its lovely beaches, upmarket residential villas and relaxed alternative to the Andaman coast. Samui is the fit-all Thai resort island for everyone…more
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Koh Pha Ngan
The Full Moon Party island with a cool bohemian atmosphere, preserved natural environment, and cheap bungalows – a backpacker favourite with pristine forests and beaches…more

Southern Thailand guide – island beaches and resorts

Visitors can also fly directly to Samui, the self-styled boutique island of Thailand, while backpackers move on to the famous full moon parties on adjacent Koh Phan Ngan, and divers make a beeline for Koh Tao. There are plenty smaller islands on the Andaman side, including the world famous Koh Phi Phi, but inland the character of the South is also charming.

While most visitors head straight for the popular centres, you’re unlikely to see the real Southern Thailand this way. The southern islands may be popular for a reason, but you can still experience a great tropical beach environment in plenty of other places in the South. Here are just a few alternative islands.

The South itself has its own distinct character, dominated by Moslem Thais, and intrepid travellers shouldn’t overlook the centres of Hat Yai, Nakorn Sri Thammarat and Surat Thani, or some of the smaller towns along the isthmus coast. Unfortunately the areas where you can truly escape any signs of tourism are off-limits due to a violent insurgency that has plagued the southernmost of the provinces. More on the South.