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Visiting south Thailand

South Thailand Travel
Thai Online Shopping with Lazada
Attractive travel destinations in the south of Thailand 
Accessibility is by trains e.g. Ko Samui / via Surat Thani and Koh Tao via Chumphon but most travelers in Thailand use the bus.

Further south is Krabi and Trang plus Hat Yai with access to the Ko Tarutao Archipelago and Malaysia plusSingapore. All other such as Phuket and Khao Lak plus Satun and Ranong have no train access. But all are very good integrated into the travel routes by airplane plus car and buses via road travel. Another popular travel spot in the south is around Ao Nang and Railey Beach with great limestone cliffs in the back of the beach.

At the west coast is Phuket with Phang Nga Bay and Krabi to the south and Khao Lak and Ranong to the north. Around are also a large population of Muslim on many parts outnumbering the Buddhist but there are no problems everything is peaceful and nice. Only at the border to Malaysia, there is a kind of insurgency going on which is fueled by Arab money and logistics from Malaysia they whole is very diffuse since the Islamist joined hands with criminals who run large diesel smuggling businesses since that is much cheaper in Malaysia.

Phangnga Bay is a bizarre limestone part with hundreds of islands and beaches, it looks quite similar to Halong Bay in Vietnam. Here they shot a James Bond movie and "The Beach" plus other films.
Holiday Photos
Hotels are plenty and the best is to book any room through the internet just use this link there is no better one.

If you can't handle this just book it locally that works, there are enough lodges etc. around except Christmas & New Year.

Book any tour only at the location, there are too many parameters which can go wrong if you are somewhere go to a local travel agent and check, do this with at least 3 different one. If anything happens, e.g. they sell you the tour and nobody come don't be shy contact the police they will help you, the crooks (there are lots) are very afraid of the police when they see them they get very cooperative.
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We start for south Thailand around a line from Hua Hin and Kanchanaburi beyond Bangkok.
We take Koh Samui for a start, after comes Koh Phangan and the Ang Thong Archipelago
close by and later we move south and south east where you will get incredible panoramas of this parts and the islands in the Gulf of Thailand, for details just use the menu left and right.

Koh Samui Beach
Koh Samui Beach

What to do in Koh Samui Chaweng Beach Vendor

Travel to Koh Samui is easy,
either take the aircraft (check which airport in Bangkok, there are two now) or take the bus from the southern Bangkok bus terminal. There are different price categories but below $ 20,-, a alternative would be to take the train to Surat Thani and from there with the bus. If you like adventure rent a scooter or bike in Bangkok and do it on your own, this is very dangerous, Thailand has one of the highest count on fatal road accidents in the whole world. In any case connections are done very easy, the people have a good routine.

southern Thailand local travel
south Thailand bus travel


This are the two "backbones" of Thai road travel,
the big one for long haul and the small one for short distance but it is also used for up to around 500km. Actually the difference is not much, mainly in terms of speed and stops . But I recommend don't use this minibuses, why? This small ones starts but usually are circling around for about an hour trying to find more passengers, so the whole speed advantage is already lost before the journey even really starts.


koh phangan beach
Great Koh Phangan beach
For Koh Phangan
it's the same as for Samui, the difference is at Surat Thani since at the Ferry Terminal at Don Sak there are two ferries one to each destination.




If you want to make a great day trip to Ang Thong
(pics below) use a local travel agent. This is a archipelago of around 50 islands, all are
uninhabited except the main one. Until a few decades ago a hideout for pirates, after taken over by the Navy and in 1980 it was finally declared a Marine National Park.

Ang Thong marine national park
Ang Thong marine national park in South Thailand

At the main beach pictured above is a restaurant open until around 10 pm and 5 bungalows for Baht 500,- / night each. Camping could be done but need to be arranged at the spot. There is a challenging hike / climb upwards from where the pics at the lower right was made. If you intend to get up there use good shoes and if possible gloves since the stones at the last part of the climb are quite rough. Tours are from Koh Samui and Phangan, costs are a bit over Bath 1000,-. Below is a beach at one of the islands you can rent a kayak at the main spot and paddle around.

Islands of the Ang Thong ArchipelagoIsland of the Ang Thong Archipelago











The picture below is from an elephant ride at Samui
a real attraction for the whole family about half hour around Bath 500,-, needs negotiation, it's a interesting experience, no need to be afraid nothing negative will happen. In Phuket, they want about baht 900,- per head, when you look into the eyes of of the elephant camp operator you can virtually see the $ sign rotating in his eyes expecting to milk the tourist, better be careful otherwise they milk you merciless, this guys don't know when enough is enough. They count on the effect that the father can hardly say no when the kids want to ride the elephant.

Elephant ride at Koh Samui
Elephant ride at Koh Samui

After leaving "this drops in the ocean" and coming back to Surat Town a decision has to be made, either moving south west through the countryside to Phuket or via the coast and Ranong. For this it needs to get a bit back to Chumphon in the north but it's definitely worth it , this is the biggest harbor on the west coast and the gateway to south Myanmar but its a bit complicated with the visa because on the Myanmar side foreigners can only stay within the city limits, no way out and when coming back to Thailand the immigration issues 2 week visa only.


Isthmus of Kra
Isthmus of Kra in Chumphon Province

On this way you will pass the Isthmus of Kra which is the narrowest stretch of land between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, may plans have been made and scrapped to dig a channel here.


The main interesting destination is Ranong & Kawthaung

fishing vessels
Fishing vessels, this is the fleet in the Andaman Sea

Ranong harbor
Busy Ranong Harbor for the visa run
Kawthaung Myanmar
Kawthaung Myanmar Waterfront

Kawthaung Harbor
Kawthaung Harbor with live aboard
Myanmar petrol station at Kawthaung
Myanmar petrol station at the harbor

a very busy harbor, here are the ferries, actually mainly long tail boats to Kawthaung in Burma and plenty of fishing vessels optically very interesting. There are several islands, a bit off the Andaman Coast with small resorts in a very idyllic setting one of them is Koh Phayam, 35 Km from Ranong and opposite Burmese St. Matthew's Island, only 10 km long, 5 km wide and a population of around 500 people, a ideal getaway.


Thailand Myanmar visa run
Thailand Myanmar visa run
Thailand Mosque
Thailand Mosque

This province is the least populated in the country and with foreigners mainly known for the visa run. It receives the most rain because of the clouds from the Indian Ocean get stuck on the hills of the coast all the way down to Khao Lak, from here to Phuket it's almost exactly 300 km over a very good two lane road. There are plenty of good hotels and resorts around.


Road side near Kapoe
Road side near Kapoe
Nam Khem Pier for Surin Islands
Nam Khem Pier for Surin Islands, this is almost exactly 100 km south of Ranong

morning bath
Morning bath

Spirit Houses at Khura Buri
Spirit Houses at Khura Buri

Khao Lak is not a village by itself
it's rather many houses along the main road for several km it belongs to Phang Nga Province and Takuapa district. This is the place where the Tsunami hit worst because of the underwater topology and the fact that it was around 10 am when everyone was in the hotels for breakfast and the hotels are only a couple of meters away from the beach.
Buddhist Monks at Khao Lak
Buddhist Monks at Khao Lak


Khao Lak south end
Khao Lak south end

Tsunami at Khao Lak
Tsunami at Khao Lak



Off Khao Lak are the Similan Islands,
a rather small archipelago and national park with some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling grounds on the planet.

People can either book a tour with the speedboat and they carry them around the islands, doing some snorkeling and visiting beaches or doing a scuba trip with the dive ship. There is plenty to see in the deep blue such as great corals and the assortment of big and small fishes. The sting ray below was pictured there and variants of sharks plus other are down there, if you want to start just ask in the hotel or resort you are they will arrange it for you.

We don't point out any particular companies or hotels here because there are very many and the best under this conditions is just do it yourself by using the hotel or a local travel agent, that's the reason they are here for. Also for all trips just visit one of the offices and book what you like, there is much more locally available usually with lower prices as you see in the internet

underwater scuba geek
Southern Thailand underwater scuba geek and a sting ray with fiends


Similan Islands National Park
Similan Islands National Park

Since this is only about 120km north of Phuket it's easy accessible but this is a travel agents cartel you cant get a boat to the islands unless booking a whole tour.

There is a whole national park crew behind the pier who get paid to keep this clean, just look at he junk laying around, why? Because the people are chattering on the phone the whole day, playing games at the mobile etc. all to lazy to work, that's one of the main reason why there are plenty of problems at any national park you visit. The HQ is far away at Bangkok and nobody cares, as usual.


Ko Tarutao Ao Molae Beach
Ko Tarutao Ao Molae Beach

Some time ago I used one of the bungalows at the National HQ at Ko Tarutao, the ventilator was so full with dirt that there was a continuous stream of small dirt particles spread all over the room, after I went to the guy at the reception and told they should clean it, he told me I am a stupid farang, I have some stories from other NP's like this.

Phuket means beaches, nightlife, bars & entertainment

Phuket westcoast with Kata and Karon Beach
Phuket westcoast with Kata and Karon Beach
I bit further up is Patong and about a dozen more beaches various types are dotting the coast, long stretches, small bays, sandy and with boulders, north west are almost pristine and other such as Patong and Surin are almost overcrowded.
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Nightlife at Patong Phuket Bangla Road Soi Crocodile
Nightlife at Patong Phuket Bangla Road Soi Crocodile

I bet there is no country in this world which can match Thailand in terms of night activities, nightclubs, fun, action and so on, enjoy the nightlife.



Bangla Road at Patong Phuket is a very special road, every evening thousands of tourists enjoy a walk along the road, have a drink in one of the countless bars, watch transvestite dancing on the table.


This is Pink Lady 2002, the top nightclub on the island at Phuket Town.

Phuket Town Nightlife Show
Phuket Town Nightlife Show

Have a look for the giggling girls in the bars on the roadside or just having a flirt -maybe more- with one of the pretty things, sometimes not so pretty, who offer themselves for some fun. Here are some more people in the nightlife scene.

lady boy show in the same place
nightclub girl from pink lady 2002 in Phuket Town


Since Phuket has much more nightlife than the part here pls. check the menu there is a lot of more information available.


Now we move further south and Phang Nga Bay and Phi-Phi Islands in Krabi are on our route.
This is a spectacular part because the bizarre limestone islands, atolls and caves, some underwater are incredible creations of "mother nature". Although it would be possible to take


Phi-Phi Islands
Phi-Phi Islands seen from the viewpoint after a challenging climb

the ferry to Phi-Phi and proceed to Krabi's Ao Nang Beach from there it is much more interesting to come back to Phuket and travel south afterwards via Phang Nga Bay.

Phang Nga Bay Panorama
Phang Nga Bay Panorama

Ao Nang Krabi Railay
Ao Nang Krabi Railay Beach
Before leaving the province for Trang two pretty island are out there, this are Ko Lanta Yai and Noi which translates to big and small. The interesting one is Lanta Yai, actually all hotels, resorts etc. are there. This is a bit off the main route because it needs two ferry rides to arrive there and means quite some times and waiting. Some hotels offer a shortcut by speedboat it needs to think about the transportation in particular if someone has a flight out of the airport which is about 20 km from the ferry landing jetty.

This is Ko Lanta Yai in the Andaman Sea
Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta\
Now we move into Trang Province
This is one of the real hidden gem's of the country with about 50 pretty islands the best known is Ko Mook or Muk,(Pearl Island) with the Morakot or Emerald Cave and a bit to the south is Ko Libong. This islands are all within one or two hours with a small ship from Kantang Harbor. There is also a small jetty at the north end of Pak Meng Beach where long tail boats are leaving, don't use this long tail stuff it's extremely loud because the engine are without muffler.
Trang Thailand
Trang Island Thailand

South west is Satun province with Ko Tarutao, Ko Lipe
and about another 50 islands around, on a clear day Langkawi in Malaysia can be spotted. This is the destination where most backpacker are heading for, there are great, pristine and very far away islands. If you want to get rid of civilization without paying a lot that's the place to go.


Ko Tarutao Sunset
Ko Tarutao Sunset


Ko Lipe Beach
Ko Lipe Beach

Behind Trang Province comes Sonkhla with the city and Hat Yai
Songkhla is a small rather sleeping town with the biggest fishing harbor on the Gulf west coast and some service facilities for the offshore gas production platforms. The biggest city and the third biggest in the country is Hat Yai which is mainly oriented as a entertainment hub for people from Malaysia and Singapore, its only about 50 km from the border.


Hat Yai Chinese
Hat Yai Food Court
Hat Yai Dinner
Hat Yai Dinner

Hat Yai is Chinese dominated everywhere you go Chinese characters are visible. Plenty of Chinese restaurants have interesting food plus lots of nightlife entertainment such as karaoke, show venues, hotels and more.


Sadao nightlife at the border crossing

is at a fast growing entertainment village which makes everything available to the guys from Malaysia. They have available what they don't have in their country and every evening they come in droves, the little problem is they close the border from 11pm to 5am.
Some History
Photos
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We set the line for the south at Hua Hin 
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Which is a bit more than 200 km south west on Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand.


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To the west and north
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There are huge dams and reservoirs, great river resorts, floating villages on the lakes, incredible waterfalls rivers for jungle rafting and other Thailand tours. All these scenic areas are usually integrated into a Thailand national park and there are over 60. You could visit the areas via a Thailand tour package or on an individual trip.

A very particular holiday subject is trekking, hiking and river rafting is around Kanchanaburi and from there to the west towards the three pagoda pass.

Everyone know the “Bridge over the River Kwai”

Located in Kanchanaburi town. Nearby is one of the most exciting waterfall on planet earth, the Erawan Falls. Erawan waterfall is a real highlight of any Thailand holiday, not the biggest waterfall but the location and the scenery of the waterfall running down mountains over 7 level are real great. Other places to visit are for almost every taste and wallet size. Whether you're a tourist, traveler, backpacker or whatever, you never get bored on Thailand vacation.
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North Thailand
Photos
Loei is a charming holiday destination, sandwiched between the Phetchabun mountain range and Mekong River. It's green, quiet and far away with tropical mountain forest, lakes, National Parks, waterfalls, all agriculture, no industry. On the road to Loei is the Dan Sai Resort, a nice place from where the countryside can be explored. At Loei are also several good hotels and at every hotel, the first question is, you like a massage? You know which one?

Easily accessible by air, bus and car over a very winding roads through a beautiful countryside create a good mood because it is easy to reach all places. The nearest great outdoor is Phu Rua national park on the way from Dan Sai to Loei town. The highest peak is 1,365 meters and in the “winter” month a chilly wind can bring the temperature down to below zero degrees centigrade.

Usually, no chilly winds are around and a terraced campground under pine trees invites to get your tent up and explore the beautiful surrounding. You can get out for a hike along markers that contain information about the forest. The area is dotted with pine trees. A light breeze of early summer winds might tickles your nose with a fragrance of wildflowers.
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