Southern Thailand is a long narrow peninsula bordered on the west by The Andaman Sea.
The beaches on the west of the peninsula are world famous for their beauty, crystal clear water and marine caves.
Phuket Island is connected to mainland Thailand by a bridge, so reaching hotels in this region is convenient and hassle-free. The Aleenta in Phang Nga, for example, and the wonderful Sarojin Hotel in Khao Lak, are both accessible from Phuket Airport. Travelling around the Phang Nga Bay coast by road, Krabi can be reached in about three hours. However, Krabi does have its own airport with regular flights to and from Bangkok. The Islands (Koh means island) of Koh Phi Phi and Koh Yao are all reached by boat from either Phuket or Krabi. Koh Lanta is best accessed by boat from Krabi.
Phuket has many options for shopping and eating and a great choice of truly superb hotels and resorts. It is often associated with colourful nightlife, which in reality is centred around Patong area. Our customers are frequently surprised to learn that Phuket has wonderfully peaceful retreats. These include the gloriously indulgent Trisara and Amanpuri resorts and just off the coast, the tiny island hideaway, The Racha. Numerous sailing, snorkelling and diving trips are available from Phuket, as are visits to outlying islands and kayaking around beautiful marine parks.
In Phang Nga Bay, halfway by boat between Krabi and Phuket, is the well-kept secret of Koh Yao. The Paradise Koh Yao is a great place to scuba dive and rock climb with stunning views of Phang Nga Bay. This small, idyllic and relaxed island is free of crowds or nightlife, ideal for those after peace and tranquillity.
Phang Nga Bay is full of beautiful limestone cliffs. These jut majestically from the emerald waters which fringe the coast down to Krabi. The Krabi coastline covers a much smaller area than Phuket with excellent accommodation options scattered along. Most hotels and resorts are within walking distance of Ao Nang Beach which has street stalls, bars and restaurants and day trips similar to those offered from Phuket. This coastline veers off the beaten track to some wonderful boutique properties including the nature-oriented Tubkaak, a beautiful resort getaway.
From Krabi, it is a one to two-hour journey to Koh Lanta by boat. Much less developed and crowded than other areas, Ko Lanta has a laid-back feel. We are big fans and highly recommend The Pimalai Resort and Spa, a magnificent place on Kantieng Beach carefully crafted within the surrounding rainforest. Along the beach, there are one or two local bars playing music and serving Thai food and beer in the evenings.
Koh Phi Phi was made famous by the film adaptation of the novel “The Beach”. The film was made on the uninhabited Koh Phi Phi Leh, reached by day trip from Koh Phi Phi Don. Emerald waters, white sands and palm trees as well as superb diving and snorkelling opportunities draw visitors. If staying on Phi Phi we highly recommend the excellent boutique Zeavola.
One further island, which is a firm favourite with Experience Travel staff heading to Thailand on their own holidays, is Koh Yao Noi (and it's smaller sister Koh Yao Yai). It's a short boat ride from Phuket but a world away in so far as it is quiet, peaceful relaxed and lovely. There are some low key places to eat and a small town, but the incomparable Koyao Island Resort is our favourite by far.
Talk to one of our travel consultants to held decide which beach and resort will best suit your holiday in Thailand.
Classic Thailand Holiday Ideas:
Classic Thailand with a Culinary Twist
Discover the best of Thailand's food scene and stay in luxury hotels: what's not to like?
Temples, Nature and Islands
Veer off-the-beaten-track in Cambodia and Thailand; Angkor to idyllic Koh Kood island via the Cardamom Mountains.
Back to Nature
A unique view of Thailand's less explored natural environments. Khao Sok Treehouses and Koh Yao Beach.
Northern Loops of Thailand and Vietnam
Discover the most beautiful parts of both Thailand and Vietnam. Lovely hotels, authentic local experiences neatly tied together with just one local flight.