30 Days in Southern Thailand: The Travel Itinerary

March 10, 2019

Thailand: a country which is definitely on many a traveller’s list when visiting South East Asia. It’s a hugely diverse country with heaps of things to do, places to go and paradises to marvel at - so how to decide where to go, and in what order?! Well look no further, because here is our 30 day Thailand Itinerary to help you on your way to planning a trip around one of the most exciting countries in Asia! Going for less/more than 30 days? No worries! Just use this itinerary as an idea of whereabouts destinations are in relation to each other, and roughly how long would be good to spend in each place. 

 

 

  

 

We’ve also included alternative destinations for those who may want to go elsewhere or travel for longer, as well as alternative routes (at the bottom) in case you’re not arriving into Thailand via Bangkok. Happy planning!

 

(I’ll be writing more in depth “Things to Do” guides for each location soon, so watch this space! For now, I have included other detailed blog posts and sites that we found useful on our visit to Thailand to help you plan your trip should you want more information. No Affiliate Links have been used in this blog.)

 

 

 

 

 

Bangkok

3 nights

 

 

 

 

If you are flying to Thailand you are most likely going to begin your journey in Bangkok! And, if you’re travelling from somewhere outside of Asia, what better way to get over the jet lag by spending a few nights in Thailand’s capital city? Around 3 nights should be enough to take in the main sights and get used to the time difference. Bangkok is a crazy city and it can be a shock when arriving from a western country, but it has a lot to offer in terms of Thai culture and interesting places to explore, so its definitely worth spending a couple of days seeing the sights before heading south. Fill the days with exploring the many sights that the city has to offer:

 

 

Things to do in Bangkok:

 

  • The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha) - Go early to avoid the heat and remember to dress respectfully (to all temples!)

 

  • The Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho - go early for the same reason as above

 

  • Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) - also good to go early  

 

  • Visit Chinatown - we went in the evening and it was buzzing with street stalls 

 

  • Climb the Ghost Tower (Sathorn Unique Tower) - do a bit of research on Tripadvisor before going here! We had to bribe the security guards (500 baht each) to let us in, and we met people who were refused entry!

 

  • Ride the Sky Train

 

  • Visit the 24/7 Flower Market - apparently at night is when it really comes alive

 

  • Cruise down the Chao Phraya River - worth even just a short trip for the views (we caught the sunset on our trip)

 

 

  • The Unicorn Cafe - put on a unicorn onesie and sip unicorn shakes! Honestly so much fun!

 

 

 

 

Some other blogs about Bangkok:

 

 

 

 

Alternatively, if you can find cheaper flights to places in the South (which is unlikely but sometimes possible!) such as Koh Samui, Phuket or Surat Thani, then these may be better destinations from which to begin your journey if you are intending to explore the south. This way you won’t end up having to spend a day travelling from Bangkok, however you also won’t get to explore this wonderful city, so it’s up to you! 

 

 

Koh Tao

4 nights

 

 

 

 

After you’ve finished exploring Bangkok, catch a bus to the port of Chumphon and jump on a boat to Koh Tao! This island is best known for its super cheap diving, and it’s a great place to get qualified - the dive sites are fantastic and it’s a relatively easy place to learn. But don’t just go to Koh Tao for the diving; there is so much more to this little island that just it’s underwater world! Whilst we were there we didn’t dive once and we managed to fill an entire week with adventures - it was one of the best places we visited in Thailand.

 

 

Things to do in Koh Tao:

 

  • Scuba Diving - Koh Tao is one of the cheapest places to dive in the world

 

  • Eat at Yangs - amazing food, huge portions and super cheap!

 

  • Koh Nang Yuan island day trip - there’s an amazing viewpoint over one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! 

 

  • John-Suwan Viewpoint - again, an amazing viewpoint

 

  • Beaches - Sairee Beach, Shark Bay, Sai Nuan Beach, Jansom Bay, Tao Thong Bay and Tao Thong 2, Chalok Baan, Tanote Bay and Hin Wong Bay - to name a few!

 

  • Walk along the coast - check out this blog from Traveltomtom which we used for an amazing walk along the coastal path from Mae Haad to Chalok. 

 

 

 

 

Koh Phangan

4 nights

 

 

 

 

From Koh Tao hop on a ferry to Koh Phangan which is a journey of about 3-4 hours. Best known for the monthly Full Moon Parties, Koh Phangan also has so much more to offer than just it’s famous beach party! We spent an entire 6 weeks on this island and, as well as completing our PADI Divemaster qualifications with Coral Research Facility COREsea, we also found a tonne of stuff to see and do, and we didn’t even cover the half of it!

 

 

Things to do in Koh Phangan:

 

  • Hire a Bike and explore the island 

 

  • Hike up Koh Ra - check out this blog for more details.

 

  • Watch some live Reggae every Friday night at Rasta Home

 

  • Scuba Diving (try Sail Rock Divers or Asia Blue) and Snorkelling at Mae Haad/Koh Ma, Haad Yao and Ao Thong Lang.  

 

  • Eat at the night market and Saturday walking street in the town of Thong Sala and restaurants such as Grandmas (Cashew Chicken), Mama Pa’s (Noodle Soup), Indy Kitchen (Pineapple Fried Rice) and Sabaii Dee’s (Curries) in Chaloklum - trust me, some of the best food we've have ever had!

 

  • Beaches - Secret Beach, Haad Salad, Thong Nai Pan Beach, Chaloklum Bay, Malibu Beach

 

  • Go to Bottle Beach - catch a long tail boat or, even better, hike over the jungle covered mountain (and see some amazing views on the way) 

 

  • Explore the island’s waterfalls - Paradise Waterfall and Phaeng Waterfall were our favourites, but there is also Wang Sai, Than Sadet and Than Prawet

 

  • Walk along the sand bar to the tiny islet of Koh Ma at Mae Haad Beach

 

  • Chill in some of the best sunset bars around - 360 Bar was our personal favourite!

 

  • Go to the Full Moon Party (gotta experience it once in your life!)

 

 

 

 

Another blog about Koh Phangan:

 

 

 

 

After Koh Phangan you could always head over to Koh Samui for a couple of nights. However, if you and choose not to do this (as we did), grab a boat to the mainland (Surat Thani) and catch a bus to Koh Sok National Park or Krabi.

 

 

Khao Sok

2 nights 

 

 

 

 

In between the East and the West Coast of Thailand, Khao Sok National Park could make an interesting stop on your way from the islands to Krabi. It’s well known for its ancient forest, beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife, so if you have time and are looking for a break from the beaches, pop Khao Sok into your itinerary. We unfortunately didn’t get a chance to visit (but it’s definitely on the list for when we return!), so here are a couple of blogs with more information about the area:

 

 

 

 

Krabi

3 nights

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t take long to get to Krabi from the east coast of Thailand (or from Koh Sok), and it’s a great city to stop in before heading to the islands in the west. Krabi town has loads to offer, and the surrounding area is easily accessible and has some amazing sights too. 

 

 

Things to do in Krabi:

 

 

  • Temples - Wat Kaew Korawaram and Tiger Cave Temple (over 1,200 steps to the top)

 

  • Beaches - Ao Nang, Nopparattara, Tup Kaek, Klong Muang, Tonsai, Railay Beach (can even stay here if you would like to spend a few days - great for climbing and beautiful scenery)

 

  • Eat at the night market in Krabi Town - the food here is amazing and super cheap  - we ate there every night we were in Krabi!

 

  • Go for a hike - Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail, Tup Keak (we didn’t get the chance to go to these because of the weather, but if the sun is shining the views are supposed to be amazing!)

 

  • The Emerald Pool - go early to avoid the crowds

 

 

 

 

Some other blogs about Krabi:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Koh Lanta

3 nights

 

 

 

 

Koh Lanta is around a 3 hour bus journey from Krabi and a great stop on the way to Thailand’s west coast islands. We absolutely fell in love with the sleepy villages and deserted beaches of Koh Lanta and would 100% recommend a stop there. 

 

 

Things to do in Koh Lanta:

 

  • Rent a motorbike and explore the island (great to do anywhere in Thailand/Asia) - there’s only a few roads so it’s super easy to get from one side to the other!

 

  • Beaches - Nui Bay, Bamboo Beach, Khlong Chak Beach, Bakantiang Beach, Secret Beach, Khlong Khong, Khlong Dao and Phra Ae Beach. 

 

  • Kayaking - we kayaked from our hostel in Koh Lanta Old Town (Sweet Life Community Guesthouse - one of the best places we stayed in Thailand!) over to a deserted island of which we don’t know the name because it’s in Thai!

 

 

  • Visit the Old Town and eat at all the yummy restaurants there - Sunee’s Place is a must go, her food is incredible! There is also a great Thai Cooking Class here run by Mon at Sweet Life Community Guesthouse. 

 

  • Visit Lanta Animal Welfare and walk the rescued dogs!

 

  • Explore Khao Mai Kaew Cave

 

  • Hike to Khlong Jark Waterfall & the Bat Cave

 

 

 

 

Some other blogs about Koh Lanta:

 

 

 

  • Things to do in Koh Lanta - Two Wandering Soles

 

 

Other islands you could visit as well as/instead of Koh Lanta are: Koh Lipe, Similan Island, Phang Nga Bay/James Bond Island for example - check out this blog for more info on island hopping in the Andaman Sea.  

 

 

 

Koh Phi Phi (or another island)

2 nights

 

 

 

 

If you like to party, then Koh Phi Phi is a 45 minute speed boat ride from Koh Lanta and would be a good place for short visit to drink some (very strong!) cocktail buckets on the beach! We didn’t have a particularly good time on this island (mainly because where we stayed had bed bugs!), so I’m hesitant to recommend it. On the other hand, I know a lot of people who absolutely loved Phi Phi and have had a great time there, so it could have been that we were just unlucky! 

 

 

Other things to do on Phi Phi (besides partying) include: 

 

  • Kayaking around the bay or to Monkey Beach - just beware! The monkeys on the beach look cute but after watching from the kayak for a good 45 minutes, we saw every single person who set foot on the beach get attacked by them! Maybe just look from the sea (stay clear of the shoreline or they’ll climb on the kayak) and if you do choose to go on the beach to get a pic with a monkey, go at your own risk and keep an eye on your things! There is a nice snorkelling spot just passed Monkey Beach which makes the kayak trip worth it. 

 

  • Boat tours

 

  • Snorkelling tours - Maya Bay (the place that put Phi Phi on the map) has recently been officially closed but the Thai government because too many tourists were damaging the area, so if that’s why you were planning to visit the island, you won’t be able to go there! However, recently some friends went to Phi Phi and they managed to get a boat trip into the bay where they snorkelled, and they just weren’t allowed onto the beach, so it may be possible to see it after all!

 

  • Hike to Phi Phi Viewpoint

 

  • Chilling on the beach

 

  • Scuba Diving 

 

  • Island Hopping - Bamboo Island, Viking Cave, Mosquito Island for example

 

 

 

 

Other blogs about Koh Phi Phi:

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to skip Phi Phi and explore one of the many other islands of this side of Thailand, most are only a ferry ride away. See above for some examples of islands you could visit, or alternatively, check out this blog.

 

 

Phuket

2 nights 

 

 

 

 

A good place to end your travelling around the south of Thailand is in Phuket. Cheap flights can be booked from the airport here to Bangkok or anywhere around the rest of Asia. Phuket boats some picturesque beaches and, because of this, is pretty touristy, but it’s definitely possible to avoid the crowds by renting a motorbike and searching for the beaches which are off the tourist radar (see below). 

 

 

 

Things to do in Phuket:

 

 

  • Party on Bangla Road

 

  • Eat at Phuket Night Market

 

  • Go to the Big Buddha viewpoint/statue

 

  • Beaches - Phuket has many beaches to choose from which are easily accessible by motorbike. Most are covered in other tourists or people selling massages, food and kayaks, but it is possible to find beaches that are quiet and virtually empty! This is the blog we used to find Phukets hidden beaches, and we can certainly recommend Ao Sane!

 

 

 

 

If you are looking somewhere to stay in Phuket, try White Wall Poshtel! We stayed there and it was super nice, the owner is lovely and it was really good value for money. 

 

 

Another blog about Phuket:

 

 

 

Good luck with your trip around Southern Thailand, with this itinerary you’re sure to have a great time (we did)! 

 

Some alternative routes that you could try are:

 

  • Phuket → Phi Phi (or other islands) → Koh Lanta → Krabi → Khao Sok → Koh Phangan → Koh Tao → Bangkok 

 

  • Koh Samui → Koh Phangan → Koh Tao → Khao Sok → Krabi → Koh Lanta → Koh Phi Phi (or other islands) → PhukeT 

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to CONTACT US!

 

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Ellie and Will

 

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