The South of Thailand consist of a lot of beautiful islands from the Gulf of Thailand: Koh Samui, Ko Tao and Ko Pha Ngan or more to the West: the islands in the Bay of Phang Nga like Ko Yao Noi and Ko Yao Yai and so many more.
We made the choice to go to Khao Lak so we could visit some islands in the Andaman Sea but also discover Khao Sok NP.
The South of Thailand has so much to offer, stunning nature, amazing beaches, beautiful islands and so much more.
How to get there?
We took a flight from Bangkok to Phuket with Thai Airways (about 1 hour flight). From Phuket it’s about 1,5-hour drive to Khao Lak.
You could drive by car from Bangkok via Hua Hin, but that’s a long drive. Flying is the best option and if you book in advance prices are quite cheap too.
Where to stay?
There are a lot of possibilities to choose from. As I am more into luxury we stayed at the beautiful and recent hotel: Grand Mercure Khao Lak . This luxurious beachfront hotel was amazing. The rooms are all very comfortable, spacious and have an attractive interior design. We booked a deluxe room and had a beautiful terrace near the water, a luxurious bathroom, a big closet, separate toilet and a very comfy bed.
There are loungers on the beach or you can decide to stay at the pool. During April there are a lot of jelly fish in the ocean, so it’s not recommended to swim.
For dinner and lunch, you can choose between the a la carte restaurant or the main restaurant which offers another theme buffet each day. Snacks are also available at the poolbar.
I recommend walking on the beach and there you will find a lot of restaurants run by local people, where you can have a great dinner at much cheaper prices than in the hotel.
Tip: don’t forget the flashlight from your room as there are many little crabs moving around on the beach in the dark.
Things to do:
There are a lot of options to choose from, we did the following tours:
Surin and/or Similan Islands.
Both island groups on the West-coast have beautiful diving and snorkeling options. We did the Similan Islands tour with Seastar Andaman . The fun thing about this tour is that you are together with a lot of locals (we were almost the only foreigners). You can go snorkeling on two different reefs, a lunch is provided on Koh Miang. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to climb up to Sailing rock where you have an excellent view on Koh Similan.
As this tour is one of the cheapest options a lot of locals will join you and it can be a bit crowded.
Koh Phi Phi, Maya Bay and Monkey beach
This tour was completely different, we joined 5 star Marine in Phuket to go for a private tour to Phi Phi Island. We loved this tour because we had the boat for ourselves and could decide which islands we wanted to visit. The ride from Khao Lak to Phuket took quite some time (around 1,5 hour). Phi Phi Islands are a group of 6 islands but only one of these has developments like a hotel, restaurants and bars. On this island we had lunch at the Hippie bar & restaurant.
Visiting Maya beach, known from the movie ‘the beach’ with Leonardo Di Caprio (2000) was an amazing experience. We were very lucky, as it had been closed for a few years to restore the reefs, it only recently reopened. Unfortunately, swimming is still not allowed.
We went snorkeling at Pileh Lagoon and Nui Beach, both amazing locations with beautiful reefs, crystal clear waters and a lot of colorful fishes.
A stop at Monkey beach made the trip complete. This tour was very luxurious and private which made it an awesome experience.
Khao Sok National Park
When staying in Khao Lak a tour in Khao Sok NP is a highlight experience! We were picked up at the hotel and took the tour with Khao Lak Land Discovery. This local tour operator offers different trips to Khao Sok NP, you can choose between 1-, 2- or 3-day tours.
We took the one-day option. After visiting a local market on the way to the park we had an amazing canoeing experience through the rainforest. In the trees hanging over the water we saw several types of snakes and monkeys playing close to the water.
Lunch in Rock and treehouse resort was also included. Visiting the monkey temple and the elephant camp was nice but I would have preferred to go to the lake as the views there are stunning as well. If possible, I would recommend taking the 2 days or even 3 days option as you will have the opportunity to do a night safari and combine the canoeing with the lake.
The South of Thailand is completely different than the North or Bangkok. It was a good choice to relax at the end of our trip in Khao Lak.
I will go back to Thailand as there is still so much more to discover.
If you have any questions about Khao Lak or the trips we did, feel free to ask in the comments. I will be happy to help.