We spent December 16 – December 23 in the islands of Southern Thailand. We had an amazing time and definitely, definitely want to come back at some point!! 🌴🌞
Phuket is the biggest destination for tourism in Southern Thailand. Although the beaches are beautiful, they were extremely crowded. We spent two nights on Patong Beach (at an awesome hostel!), which was the perfect amount of time.
- Patong Beach: This is the most famous beach resort area in Phuket. Although the beach was crowded, there were tons of good restaurants and umbrellas for us to hang at.
- Phang Nga Bay: This bay, also known as Ao Phang Nga National Park, is about a 30 minute boat ride from Phuket and known for its limestone cliffs and caves. We booked a day trip here with an agency called John Gray’s Sea Canoe. We departed Phuket midday and boarded a big boat where we had a delicious, healthy lunch (cooked by the chef and crew onboard) as we sailed towards Phang Nga Bay. When we arrived, we got on a sea kayak with our guide for the day named Dool. Throughout the rest of the day, Dool brought us through many caves and to see many bays. One of the caves was a bat cave, also known as “Tidal Nape Sea Cave,” where we had to lie down in the kayak at one of the openings because the tide was too high! Once we got through the opening, the bay was picturesque! We also saw a rock formation in the shape of a skull and a big limestone cliff that the locals have started to call “Miny James Bond Island” (we decided not to go to the real James Bond Island since it’s just a huge tourist trap and this day trip would be much more enjoyable and have similar, and even better, views). Dool also showed us many of the fish and birds in the area, including jelly fish that surprisingly don’t sting!! At first Mel didn’t believe him, so to prove it to her he simply grabbed the jelly fish from the water with his bare hands!! After our lovely afternoon kayak tour with Doole, we spent the rest of the afternoon kayaking and swimming on our own before having delicious, Thai dinner. After dinner, Dool helped us make a flower “Kratong” that we then set off in the caves while making a wish. While in the caves after sunset, we flicked our hands and paddles in the water and got to see tons of bioluminescent plankton!
- Night Market: Like most places we have been to in Asia, Patong had a great night market! Make sure to get a Thai pancake (and of course we got ours with peanut butter).
- Muay Thai: We took a Muay Thai class at our hostel! It was an intense workout and we learned how strong (and flexible!!) fighters need to be 🥊!
Phi Phi Island is a two hour ferry ride from Phuket. The set of small islands are famous for their appearance in the movie ‘The Beach,” Leonardo DiCaprio’s first movie. The actual beach used in the film is now extremely touristy with dozens of long tail boats. We saw the beach from the ferry, but decided that we could skip it and spend our short time in Phi Phi exploring the main island instead. When we arrived at Phi Phi, we were astonished by how developed it was since we had previously learned that the 2004 tsunami claimed over 1,000 lives. We soon learned that although the tsunami devastated most of the island, it only took two years to restore!
- Hike to the viewpoints: The island has three main viewpoints that are an easy hike from the main town. The first two viewpoints were nice, but the third hidden viewpoint was the best! Just ask any local to point you towards the trail and it’s a quick 10 minute hike from viewpoint two.
- Long Beach: This is known to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Phi Phi. We walked there for sunset, had dinner on the beach, and took a private long boat around the bend to get back to our hotel.
- Aroy Kaffeine: We had a healthy, delicious breakfast here! The menu includes local food as well as our Western food, including peanut butter and açaí 🙌🏼.
We went to Koh Lanta for our last stop in Thailand! This island was our favorite, since it is much more easy-going and less touristy compared to Phuket and Phi Phi. We stayed at an amazing resort called SriLanta, which sits on a peaceful, white sand beach.
- Go scuba diving: Several of the islands surrounding Koh Lanta offer amazing scuba diving trips. Cody dove with Anti-Gravity Divers, who were located next to our hotel and have a large boat that handled the large waves well. On the first day, he dove at Koh Bida which is near the Phi Phi Islands. The limestone cliff-island sinks about 30 meters into the water and offers large coral reefs as well as giant moray eels, snapper, barracuda and a large venomous seasnake. The second day at Koh Haa was even better. A local favorite dive-spot, Koh Haa is larger and has a few cave swim-throughs and large schools of fish around every corner.
- Relax, do yoga, and get a Thai massage on the beach 🏖