Southern Thailand, the Seen and Unseen
Southern Thailand is blessed with a stunning landscape, and the South is as close to Shangri-La as you get. Lush limestone karst landscape contrasting the azure blue sea with its waves gently drenching the soft sand.
Looking at Thailand as an elephant on the map. This is the trunk of the elephant stretching from the oldest beach resorts in Thailand in Hua Hin, via less explored areas like Chumpon, the country’s largest island and most prosperous province, Phuket, down to the Malaysian border in Narathiwat.
The three most Southern provinces see much Malay and Muslim influence due to historical reasons. But there is also a significant Chinese minority in the South, many related to tin mining history in the region.
While Phuket and Krabi have the impressive infrastructure and international airports to receive, the lion’s share of tourism to Thailand. There are also a lot of unexplored areas. Trang sees tourism, but its beautiful archipelago is still a place waiting to happen, Ranong is definitely a kind of unseen Thailand still, and Phang Nga, with the famous or infamous James Bond island, has more to offer to its visitors than just a few tourist traps.
The landscape is pretty much dominated by oil palms, coconut and rubber plantations, but there are sections where you find some of the world’s oldest rainforests, for instance, Khao Sok.
Tidbits of Islands
The Similan Islands, an archipelago in the Andaman Sea off the coast of, and part of, Phang Nga Province. It is the maritime border between India and Thailand. The islands are restricted in terms of accommodation and restaurants, but if you’re looking for clean and wonderful beaches, this is the place for you. Similan islands are part of a national marine park and are only accessible between October and May. The journey by speedboat from Phuket to the Similans takes about 1.5 hours.
Koh Phayam, Rayong and off the Burmese border guarantee a slow and appealing velocity that returns you to a lost paradise. Relish the modest life on the island with tranquil beach life.
Phuket submits all the Western needs there are. Top class restaurants, luxury resorts, world-class golf, and marinas. If you require the highest demands, Phuket is where you go.
Phuket is big and active but offers some of the most glorious beaches and sunsets. Great place for a family and close to high-quality hospitals that adds some security to the trip.
Koh Phi Phi is great for parties and provides extreme natural beauty. Koh Phi Phi came to fame when Maya Bay stood in for the hidden paradise in Leonardo di Caprio film’s The Beach. The once-quiet bay undoubtedly gets jam-packed with tourists intent on seeing heaven. However, the rest of the archipelago is just as gorgeous for natural, genuine attractions.
The Phi Phi Viewpoint offers views of the isthmus surrounded by jungle-clad hills, kingfisher blue shores and sugary sands. Koh Phi Phi Don, the bigger of the two major islands, is where you go drinking and dancing.
Koh Klang in the Krabi river is not your usual paradise island but a great place to explore real and traditional local Southern life. Read more about it here.
Southern Thailand is not only about islands and beaches. You also have the Straits Architecture towns where Songkhla standout the most, but Phuket Old town also offers a lot of charm, and in Trang and Takua Pha, you are close to daily life and a fascinating food scene. The straits architecture is often called Sino- Portuguese. Generally colourful shophouses where East meets West and without stucco decorations and wooden blinds. Read more about the loveliest towns in Southern Thailand here.
The Southern food
Plenty of de fruit de mer, of course, more coconut milk or cream and no lack of chilli. Fierce and spicy, curry on rice is slightly softened in taste by the coconut milk. The food in the South sees blends of turmeric, galangal, garlic, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Spices, roots and herbs are often minced to be ingested completely.
There is also a rich Chinese impact on the food culture and a dim sum breakfast or brunch is a must in the South.
Curry with roti” represents the South’s sizeable Muslim population; the spicy and sour Gangsom curry is a must-try in the South, and Sweet Trang pork shows the influence of the Chinese in the area.
At the night markets, look for rice or khanom jin(rice noodles) with curry toppings.
Old Phuket Town offers some of the best restaurants on that island.Read more about the food scene here.