Thailand is a country that has been on my list ever since I can remember. Being so close to Australia, I’ve had plenty of friends visit the South of Thailand and I’ve always been so envious of their photos of turquoise waters, long tail boats and limestone cliffs. Now it was my turn.
My big sister came to join us for the first 12 days which was really awesome. We started off our trip by flying to Koh Samui and catching the ferry to Koh Phangan the next morning. As per usual, I was super nervous about catching the ferry but luckily for me Koh Phangan is only 30 mins away! The boat ride was nice and smooth and over before I knew it. Koh Phangan is world famous for it’s crazy full moon parties. However, we decided not to do the full moon party as it didn’t fit in with our schedule, so there was no crazy body paint, cocktails served in buckets and partying til the sun comes up for us. That doesn’t mean to say we didn’t have fun though!
We stayed away from the usual backpacker area which was different for us, but a welcome change. The place we stayed at was called Sea love bungalows and was located on a beautiful quiet beach a short ride away from town. The bungalows were really cute and the beach was beautiful. It was the perfect place to spend three days lazing on the beach reading a good book. One of our days we decided to hire a jeep (as we weren’t too keen on squeezing three of us on one scooter) and drove around to see what else the island had to offer. The roads are very steep and winding but the views of the beaches and the jungles were stunning! Unfortunately for us, on our last day the smoke from the fires in Indonesia blanketed the whole island and we couldn’t see anything.
Our next plan was to go to Koh Tao which is the smallest of the islands in the Chumphon archipelago and is known for it’s diving and snorkelling. There was nothing but rain in the forecast so we decided to change our plans and go to Koh Samui instead. It was a much bigger island and had more activities we could do if it was raining.
We found a great hotel called Samui beach residence right in the heart of Chaweng beach. We’d heard mixed reviews about Koh Samui but I absolutely loved it right from the start. Chaweng beach itself, is busy but not too over run. The waters are calm and the sand is soft and white. The streets are filled with shops, markets, massage spas and plenty of restaurants and bars. The forecast was correct and it rained HARD every single day of our stay. This wasn’t going to stop us from having fun though.
We did a Thai cooking class and learnt how to make green curry paste, Massaman curry (my favourite) and garlic pepper prawns. It was really informative and lots of fun. We also went to see a Muay Thai fight which I didn’t think I would enjoy but I thoroughly did. We got plenty of massages and pedicures, wandered around the shopping mall, drank beer and played the game ‘shit head’ with cards and went to the beach inbetween the rain showers. Koh Samui was definitely a highlight for me for the south of Thailand.
Next was a short flight to Phuket followed by a two hour mini van ride to the famous Patong beach. Patong is the place lots of my friends have previously visited and I had heard plenty of stories about lady boys, strippers, ping pong shows and those famous cocktails served in buckets. I was a little sceptical but curious to see what else it had to offer.
Since it was low season (hence all the rain) we got a great deal at a hotel called the Sira grand which had an amazing roof top terrace with a pool. Since Tom and I are backpacking, we rarely get to stay at such nice places so this was a real treat. The beach is busy. It’s full of vendors trying to sell you things, jet skis, parasailors and lots of sunburnt tourists. Despite all this, it is still a beautiful beach with white sand, turquoise waters (watch out for the sea lice!) and mountains in the background. It is very picturesque.
We spent our days drinking coffee, lazing by the pool or beach inbetween rain showers and wandering around the mall. Right near our hotel were amazing food markets at night. There was so much delicious Thai food to choose from and we went there for dinner every night.
The most famous road in Patong is Bangla road. This is where all the craziness I spoke of before happens. Just walking down the street is an experience in itself. The street is lined with bars and strip clubs. Girls are dancing on bars, people are shoving cards in your face trying to sell you ping pong shows, ladyboys are in Cabaret costumes waiting to have photos with you and people are yelling drink specials at you. It is so crazy, fun and amusing all at once. The best thing to do is grab a seat over looking the street at a bar and do some serious people watching!
Sadly, it was time to say goodbye to my sister. Tom and I caught a 3.5 hour mini van ride to Ao Nang in Krabi. Our hotel was closer to Nompphrat beach than Ao Nang beach which actually turned out to be a much nicer beach. The next day we caught a famous long tail boat and went 15 minutes to Railay beach. This is where my images ofThailand came to life. Turquoise waters and huge line stone karsts came into view. It was stunning!
Again, the weather wasn’t on our side and it was raining so we decided to walk to Phra Nang cave. This was another stunning site to behold. The cliff was reaching over the water creating a cave. It was so beautiful and the water looked so inviting that we went for a swim despite the rain.
The sun started to come out a little so we walked back to Railay beach and relaxed there for a while before catching the boat back to Ao Nang. The next two days we rented a scooter and explored the surrounding areas. We went to another beach and went on a big sweaty hike which concluded with stunning views and a swim in a beautiful, natural pool. Ao Nang was another highlight for me.
The food in the south of Thailand was absolutely outstanding. I didn’t have one single meal that I didn’t enjoy weather it was Thai food or the occasional western food. The Thai people are also insanely polite and friendly. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring these areas. Now, it’s off to the North of Thailand! Have you been to Thailand before? What was your favourite place?