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Your ultimate guide to Southern Thailand

By Localiiz Branded | 4 June 2024

Header image courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand

Summertime in Hong Kong sees the weather going from raining heavily on the weekend to bright and sunny during the workweek. With pictures of sun-filled trips to locales far and near creeping onto our social media feeds too, most of us are itching to hop on a flight that will take us to a beach sooner rather than later.

We can count our blessings, then, that quick and direct flights out of the city will get us to quite a few destinations, with Thailand being a top contender among Hongkongers’ favourite destinations for a beach holiday. Only where in Thailand? The whole land seems to be made up of turquoise-blue waters and picturesque sunset viewpoints.

Options are numerous, but there is a good case to be made for Southern Thailand. The paradise-like region has lots to offer, from white sandy beaches to wondrous caves. We’ve done the research to help you plan your trip, so here is your ultimate guide to Southern Thailand through three of its best destinations: Phuket, Phang Na, and Krabi.

Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand

Things to do and see in Phuket

Phuket, the largest island in Thailand, makes travel easy; there’s an international airport with multiple direct flights leaving from Hong Kong on a daily basis. While this does mean that Phuket gets its fair share of foot traffic, it is nonetheless worth it for a holiday, especially if you’re looking to party and enjoy a welcoming atmosphere. And, if you really want to steer clear of the crowds, you can easily follow a non-touristy itinerary.

The beaches in Phuket will render you speechless and in awe of their beauty, as well as keep you occupied all trip long, since the main beaches offer plenty of things to do, from food and drinks to water sports—think diving, snorkelling, wind surfing, and even sailing. The south coast is highly popular, with beaches such as Rawai, Karon, Nai Harn, or Kata Noi ticking all the boxes of what a paradise beach should be.

The northern beaches, such as Mai Khao and Hat Sai Kaeo, are more tranquil. There is also a range of beaches on the western coast, from Kamala to Patong, from which you can view the sunset. Although, if you’re staying closer to the south of the island, you might want to make the journey to Laem Phromthep’s lookout point, which humbly holds the honour of being the best spot from which to see the sunset in Thailand. Once the sun is gone, Phuket also offers a vibrant nightlife for you to enjoy.

We could talk about its mesmerising landscapes for a while, but Phuket also offers cultural entertainment one shouldn’t miss out on when travelling there. Everyone needs a break from the beach (or the sun) once in a while, right? When you reach that point during your trip, head over to the Phuket Big Buddha and Phuket Old Town, both located southeast of the island. The old town is famous for its multicultural influence, colourful classical architecture inherited from settlers, busy markets, and good food.

Things to do and see in Phang Nga

Looking at pictures of the sheltered Phang Nga Bay is kind of like dreaming. You won’t truly believe your eyes until you’re there, kayaking and snorkelling in the middle of the iconic limestone-cliff-like islets. Phang Nga is a geological wonder, with caves also being a big attraction here; paths have been built so you can move around the stalactites and stalagmites of the Ruesi Sawan and Luk Suea caves, both located within the Somdet Phra Sri Nakarin Park, south of the province.

For an island-hopping adventure, you might want to venture to the Similan Islands for the day. A part of the Phang Nga province, this nine-isle archipelago has everything you could wish for in a beach holiday: crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and lush greenery. For those who would like to squeeze in a bit of diving, the Similan Islands are recognised around the world for its beautiful coral reefs and rich marine life. If you’re interested in visiting Phang Nga, you can find more inspiration here.

Things to do and see in Krabi

The last province on this list is Krabi. Also known for its limestone rocks, Krabi has many outlying islands to visit, too. Among the islands’ marvels, the Ko Phi Phi archipelago is a natural wonder with plenty of facilities for tourists, and the tiny Thale Waek has sand dunes that connect to other islands when the tide is low. Krabi is renowned for being a beautiful diving and snorkelling spot, with many visible coral growths by the coast.

Inland, the Than Bok Khorani National Park is a must-visit for nature lovers—its jungle-like greenery comprises limestone mountains, mangrove, and rich marine life around its islets. If you’re looking for more day-trip inspiration to guide you into the wild, visit Namtok Ron for the chance to bathe in natural ponds, hot springs, and waterfalls. For thrill-seekers, Krabi is also an excellent place to go rock-climbing! From entry to expert levels, there are thousands of bolted routes to try out.

Most travellers settle in Ao Nang when in Krabi, and you can read more about popular places to visit in Krabi here. For those looking for a different experience, the province has developed an emerging type of travelling: eco-tourism. Local communities, such as the Ban Tham Sua, are offering community-based tourism. Visitors get to witness and learn about the local culture and ways of life, with activities including mud-bathing and local long-tailed boating, among others.

If you’re feeling FOMO and can’t decide, the proximity of the three above-mentioned provinces makes it easy to hop from one to another and take in as much as possible. And if you’re still looking for holiday inspiration for Thailand, you can learn more here.

Tourism Authority of Thailand

As the leader in driving Thailand towards experience-based and sustainable tourism, the Tourism Authority of Thailand delivers high-quality tourism products and services to better tourism in the country. Under the slogan “Amazing Thailand,” it promotes exciting events and discovery itineraries.