Finding Rejuvenation in Southern Thailand

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Whether you find peace through underwater scuba adventures or unwinding on sun-kissed beaches, southern Thailand is the perfect escape for all globetrotters.

Resting in the azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand, the Chumphon Archipelago and islands in the Andaman Sea emerge as a sanctuary for travellers seeking rejuvenation amidst incredible natural scenery and friendly hospitality. This beautiful region promises more than an exciting island-hopping adventure but a journey of relaxation, wellness, and discovery.  

Here are some of our favourite Thailand experiences sure to leave you feeling refreshed and yearning for the blissful pace of Thailand’s island life, from secluded beach hideaways in Koh Tao to luxury resorts in northern Koh Pha Ngan, romantic escapes on the shores of Koh Samui, rock climbing over Railay Beach, and watching the sunrise from the Phi Phi Islands. 

Koh Pha Ngan is an island full of adventure and serenity among rolling lush mountains.

The island of Koh Pha Ngan is known for its monthly Full Moon Party, where thousands of tourists and locals dance under the full moon until the sun rises. It’s an exciting and memorable experience for those who find happiness in dancing on the beach and partying with new friends, but Koh Pha Ngan is also the ideal destination for those who’d rather enjoy Thailand at a slower pace.  

Tucked away in the northern hills of Koh Pha Ngan are luxurious beachfront resorts hidden away from the crowds of backpackers and lively towns in the south. Properties like the Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort & Spa offer luxurious and serene escapes from the busy action of the south without sacrificing any of the authentic Thai charm. Spend days soaking in the sun on your private beach, indulge in fresh Thai cuisine at the beachfront restaurant, relax in the pool, or break a sweat at the fitness centre before calling the free wooden car shuttle service to your teakwood room overlooking the beautiful lush cliffsides. Koh Pha Ngan is the perfect place to slow down and embrace the natural wonder surrounding you before your Thai massage treatment. 

No island embodies Thailand’s warm, laid-back pride quite like Koh Tao. Just a short ferry ride from Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Tao is another isolated piece of paradise where globetrotters come together to enjoy some of Thailand’s most spectacular scenery, including lush vistas overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, hidden beaches, otherworldly sunsets, and the changing tides crashing against the rugged coastline. Koh Tao is an excellent addition to any Thailand vacation, offering a beautifully intimate atmosphere as the smallest, least developed, and most affordable island in the Chumphon Archipelago. You can easily spend days relaxing on Sairee Beach, rock climbing, enjoying fresh seafood and deliciously authentic Thai food, or getting your scuba diving certification at over 20 world-renowned dive sites catering to all ages and skill levels.  

I recently returned from a trip to Koh Tao, where I dove for the first time. I was very nervous initially, but the extremely friendly and professional dive masters made it an easy and peaceful experience. I will never forget the sight of hundreds of fish swimming above me and inches from my face as I weightlessly navigated vibrant coral reefs. This was a truly magical and memorable experience that I recommend for all. 

There are plenty of magical venues for a wedding or special event in Koh Samui.

My family and I travelled to Thailand for my cousin’s wedding in Koh Samui, and the multi-day wedding celebration on the island’s southwest shore was nothing short of magical. Connecting with family and friends—both old and new—to celebrate this new marriage was a truly joyous and unforgettable experience, capped off by beautiful sunsets over the Gulf of Thailand, seemingly endless gourmet food, and warm hospitality.  

Koh Samui will captivate you as soon as you get off the plane, step into the tropical open-air airport and begin your journey to the countless romantic sites and experiences waiting for you. You’ll need multiple days to explore the entire island, and the forests of coconut trees, hidden beaches and waterfalls, and countless authentic Thai restaurants will lead you to unforgettable and intimate experiences. Whether you and your partner are your closest when summiting peaks, enjoying couple massages from authentic Thai masseuses, embarking on cultural tours at historic temples, or indulging in an all-encompassing gastronomy journey, Koh Samui will leave you feeling loved.  

Nestled on the edge of the Railay Peninsula, the namesake Railay Beach is a secluded piece of paradise amidst towering limestone cliffs, atmospheric caves, lively bars, resorts, and live music. This beautiful beach is only accessible by longtail ferries from mainland Krabi, but the sight as you navigate around the coast to the golden sand between imposing limestone cliffs is one you’ll never forget. You have a wide range of accommodation options to choose from, from bungalows to luxury beachfront resorts. No matter where you are, you’ll likely encounter some adorable local monkeys swinging in the trees above you or exciting monitor lizards walking through the bushes below. 

One of the most popular activities in Railay Beach is rock climbing, with plenty of tour operators offering courses catering to all skill levels, from beginners to experts. You can easily spend days entertaining yourself by summiting cliffs, bouldering in caves, and meeting like-minded climbers before catching up over dinner on the beach. Railay Beach is the perfect destination for anyone who finds peace in exercising, pushing themselves, and trying new things. Whether you’re tackling new climbing routes, making new friends at the bar, or falling asleep under the stars, Railay Beach is a one-of-a-kind hideaway that will stay with you forever. 

Sunrise tours of Koh Phi Phi are one of the most popular experiences, beginning as early as 4 a.m.

Koh Phi Phi, or the Phi Phi Islands, is a group of six islands between Phuket and the Straits of Malacca coast. Koh Phi Phi is accessible by boat from both Krabi and Phuket and it is the perfect day trip among natural scenery you won’t find anywhere else in Thailand. Like Railay Beach, Koh Phi Phi boasts exciting nightlife, beautiful beaches, and excellent rock climbing, but the island’s walkability is what makes it stand out from the rest. The main island is only 5 mi (8 km) long and 2.2 mi (3.5 km) wide, and the only mode of transportation available–aside from your two feet–are taxi boats. You can cruise through the islands’ imposing limestone cliffs by longtail boats and kayaks and you can also explore the vibrant underwater marine life with countless world-renowned snorkelling and diving sites around the islands. One of the most extraordinary experiences in Koh Phi Phi is watching the sunrise over islands scattered across the horizon at the break of dawn. 

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Sael Forster
Sael Forster

Content Associate – Born to two parents who met travelling, Sael has always wanted to travel the world. Sael has hiked the Inca Trail in Peru, visited Blue Footed Boobies on the Galapagos Islands, stood on both hemispheres of the equator in Ecuador, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, hiked the base of Uluru, surfed Pacific Ocean waves in Mexico, and skydived over the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. Meeting new people and sharing stories are some of Sael's favourite parts of travelling, and he hopes he can help ignite this passion for discovery in others.

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