Thailand is a traveler’s spiritual home and a rite of passage for backpackers. The mantra goes something like this: for trekking, temples, and culture – head north. For beaches, parties, and the ultimate paradise – head south. OK, it’s not a massively catchy mantra, but it works.
Five amazing experiences to find in southern Thailand
Southern Thailand has some of the world’s best dive spots. Never dived before? The beautiful island of Koh Tao is a great place to learn. Not only is it one of the cheapest spots in the world to do your PADI Open Water, it’s also a seriously awesome place to spend a few days chilling out.
For something a bit different, head to Hin Daeng. Part of the Mu Koh Lanta National Marine Park, it’s considered one of the best dive spots in the world, and a great place to spot whale sharks.
Three words: Full. Moon. Party.
It may be on a well-worn backpacker trail, but there’s a reason that thousands of travelers flock to Koh Phangan each month for the ultimate beach party: it’s a damn good time. Head to Haad Rin and tick this once-in-a-lifetime experience off with a massive neon pen.
Not on the islands at the right time? Don’t worry there’s also black moon, new moon and jungle parties so you’re replete with opportunities to throw your dignity to the waves.
Do a good deed
It’s been good to travelers over the years, so it’s about time we gave something back to Thailand. There are so many options here, from teaching in schools on Koh Samui to coastal conservation in the south and elephant conservation near Chaing Mai. Yeah we know that’s in the north but it’s incredible so thought we should mention it.
Get back to nature
The south of Thailand isn’t all about the beaches. A visit to Khao Sok National Park will show you that it’s got a pretty spectacular rainforest (the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, in fact), huge limestone mountains, breathtaking views, and sprawling lakes.
And who said you had to head north for the best trekking? The hikes here are awesome and a must-do for any active traveler.
Get off the beaten track
So you’ve relaxed on Koh Samui, you’ve partied in Phuket, you’ve done the Full Moon… time for something different, right? Get off the backpacker trail and head to one of southern Thailand’s lesser visited gems.
Take Nakhon Si Thammarat, for example. It’s Thailand’s fourth largest city, but you wouldn’t know it to visit. You’ll find lush forests, some undeveloped beaches, and hardly any tourists.
Further south still you’ll find Phattalung, a peaceful province with mountains on one side and rice paddies on the other. It’s out the way, its low key, and it’s unlikely you’ll see any other foreigners. Bliss.