The islands of Southern Thailand

When most people are trying to decide what to do in Thailand they have to choose between going to the west or east side of the peninsular. It’s an endless debate. I was lucky enough to be able to go to both, even though I was only on the west side for 4 nights.

THE EAST

Ang Thong Marine Park's praying monkey

Ang Thong Marine Park’s praying monkey

I spent the majority of my time in southern Thailand on the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. They are both tiny islands, easily navigable on scooters. Phangan is most famous for the full moon parties. And now half moon. And quarter moon. And new moon. If that is not your idea of a good holiday, never fear, there are plenty of places on the island where you can escape from the rowdy crowds. We stayed on Thong Nai Pan beach. It is a quiet bay sprinkled with smaller hotels, guesthouse, restaurants, stores and gift shops. And the tuk tuk ride to the main area of town is no more than 20 minutes. It is the perfect location.

The road to the village on Thong Nai Pan beach.

The road to the village on Thong Nai Pan beach.

Koh Samui is bigger than Koh Phangan, but it is still small. It is easily possible to rent a scooter and ride around the entire island in one day. Chaweng beach is the main, built up, tourist mecca of Samui. And, again, it is totally possible to avoid this and still have access to everything that you could need. All you need is a beach, some food and a couple of beers, right?

Sunset on Bang Por beach, Koh Samui

Sunset on Bang Por beach, Koh Samui

There are a lot of things to see and do on Koh Samui. You can take a day trip to the AnThong Marine Park, rent scooters and explore all the nooks and crannies, hike up waterfalls, visit mummified monks, ride elephants, swim in tropical waters, drink beer, eat.

And then there is also Koh Tao, the diving mecca of Thailand. A day trip there is possible from Koh Samui, but it is a long boat ride away.

Ko Nang Yuan island, Koh Tao's tiny neighbour.

Ko Nang Yuan island, Koh Tao’s tiny neighbour.

THE WEST

A few hours away by a combination of ferry and bus and colour coded stickers, and you’ll be on the west side of the Thai peninsular, and in a completely different world. Cliffs rise out of the ocean, waters are bluer and beaches are whiter.

I decided to base myself on Railay beach in Krabi province. It is not an island, but it is only accessible by boat because of the sheer cliffs that surround it. There are no roads, no form of transport other than your feet and the ocean. It is a rock climbing mecca and it is spectacular.

Early morning on Railay beach.

Early morning on Railay beach.

From Railay beach I did a day trip to Phi Phi and Maya Bay and stood with all the other tourists and marveled at The Beach. It definitely is something worth marveling at.

Maya Bay

Maya Bay

Wherever you choose to go, you will not be disappointed, I’m sure.

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