The area stretching south from Surat Thani and Krabi to the Malaysian border is a unique area with a rich multi-cultural heritage. Densely forested mountains characterize the interior, and you will still find pristine wilderness here. The beaches attract the most visitors, but the region also has a lot to offer culturally and historically.
Along the Gulf Coast - From Surat Thani to Hat Yai
South of Surat Thani, the Lower Gulf Coast has attractive beaches like Hat Khanom–Mu Ko Thale Tai National Park. The old Buddhist city of Nakhon Si Thammarat, the political and cultural capital of southern Thailand, is also located here. Farther inland the Khao Luang National Park shelters some of this area’s extraordinary wildlife. Songkhla is a charming town with a rich cultural heritage. The sprawling Songkhla lakes are home to a variety of wildlife, especially birds. Vibrant Hat Yai, is the south’s economic stronghold.
Destinations - Sights - Hotels
Hat Khanom–Mu Ko Thale Tai National Park,
Located in the districts Don Sak and Koh Samui of Surat Thani Province and Sichon of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. The park covers mainland areas with lovely bays and beaches sheltered by limestone mountains and the off-shore islands of Koh Noi, Koh Wang Nai, Koh Wang Nok, Koh Tan, Koh Rap, Koh Tha Ra and Koh Phi. One of the unusual attractions is the pot of rare pink dolphins that lives in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand just offshore.
Hotel: Aava Resort & Spa - 4 Stars (4/5) ; Racha Kiri Resort & Spa - 4.5 Stars (4.5/5)
Khao Luang National Park
One of the largest national parks in southern Thailand, northwest of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Centered around the 1835 m high Khao Luang, the park is home to a wide variety of tropical flora and fauna. The most popular attraction is the nine-tiered Krung Ching waterfall.
Nakhon Si Thammarat
Located approx. 140 km south of Surat Thani. Although the historic town of Nakhon Si Thammarat features on few tourist itineraries, the cultural capital of Southern Thailand is a lively center with several attractions. From the 7th to the 13th century, it was an important city of the Srivijaya Empire. The main city attractions are located at Ratchadamnoen Rd. and Tha Chang Rd.:
Wat Mahathat – Temple of the 77 m high Great Chedi and one of the most revered temples in Thailand; National Museum of Nakhon Si Thammarat; Suchart House - Shadow Puppet Theater and workshop; Ho Phra I-suan and Ho Phra Narai – with phallic symbols of the Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu; Ancient City Wall and North Gate; Wat Sao Thong Tong – the southern Thai wooden house; Bavorn bazaar – a popular meeting place with bars and eateries.
Located approx. 150 km south of Nakhon Si Thammarat, between the Gulf of Thailand and Thale Sap Songkhla, part of the country’s largest lake system. Bordered by beaches Songkhla is home to museums, bustling night markets, and temples. It is a melting pot of Thai and Muslim cultures where trendy bars coexist with fishing villages and old Portuguese-style houses, reflecting the city’s multicultural heritage. Main attractions are:
Hat Simila - Songkhla’s main beach with the famous mermaid statue; Rat and Cat Island – in front of Samila beach; Khao Noi hill – just south of Hat Simila and offers great views of the city; Songkhla National Museum – housed in a beautiful building; Wat Chai Mongkhon temple; Khao Seng – a traditional Muslim fishing village famous for its colorful korlae boats; the Songkhla lakes - home to a variety of wildlife, especially birds.
28 km southwest of Songkhla, Thailand’s third largest city, is the commercial and transport capital of southern Thailand and the south’s economic stronghold. Most visitors to the city spend their time shopping for bargains.
24 km west of Hat Yai lies the Ton Nga Chang waterfall. To the west Highway 406 leads to Satun and joins Highway 416 to Pak Bara, jumping-off point for Koh Tarutao Marine National Park.
Along the Andaman Coast - From Krabi to Hat Yai
South of Krabi province, breathtaking natural beauty, verdant rain forests and stunning beaches beckon visitors to the Lower Andaman Coast. The tropical mangrove forests, home to a variety of land and water animals, are one of the best kept secrets.
The Trang coast remain relatively untouristed. National parks such as Hat Chao Mai are a haven for all kinds of marine life and from the islands of Koh Hai, Koh Muk, and Koh Kradan, visitors will also find plenty of opportunity for sea-kayaking, diving, and snorkeling.
Extending across the maritime territory of both Trang and Satun provinces, Ko Phetra Marine National Park comprises more than 30 islands. Further south lies the Tarutao archipelago, with fine sandy beaches and fine corals. The Thale Ban National Park, accessible from the town of Satun and bordering with Malaysia, provides good trails for trekking and nature walks.
Located 125 km south of Krabi, the capital of Trang province is an important commercial town with rubber, palm oil and fishing. East of Trang, in the Banthat mountains, you can visit some beautiful waterfalls and caves, a.o. Ton Tay-waterfall and Sairung-waterfall and the Tham Chang Hai cave. To the west of Trang, the beaches Hat Pak Meng and Hat Chao Mai are the embarkation points for the nearby islands of Hat Chao Mai National Park
Hat Chao Mai National Park
Located to the west of Trang, the coastal landscape of the park includes mangrove creeks, coastal karsts and hidden coves. Main beaches are Hat Chao Mai, Hat Yong Ling and Hat Yao. Dugongs can sometimes be spotted in the surrounding waters. Main islands are
Koh Hai - also called Koh Ngai, a tiny, beautiful island, good for snorkling. Hotel: Koh Hai Fantasy Resort - 3 Stars (3/5)
Koh Muk – famous for Tham Morakot or Emerald cave. Hotel: Koh Muk Sivalai Beach Resort - 3 Stars (3/5)
Koh Kradan - with fine coral reefs just off-shore. Hotel: Seven Seas Resort - 4 Stars (4/5)
Koh Libong - known for the Libong Archipelago Wildlife Reserve. Hotel: Andalay Beach Resort - 4 Stars (4/5)
Koh Sukorn - another gem of the Trang coast. Hotel: Sukorn Andaman Beach Resort - 3 Stars (3/5)
A small seaside town and fishing village, and jumping-off point for Koh Phetra Marine National Park and Koh Tarutao Marine National Park
Koh Phetra Marine National Park
Extending across the maritime territory of both Trang and Satun provinces, the park comprises more than 30 islands, including the main island of Koh Phetra. Almost all the islands are made up of interesting limestone formations surrounded by rich coral reefs.
Koh Tarutao Marine National Park
Koh Tarutao archipelago comprises 51 islands and is part of an ecologically rich area also comprising Malaysia’s Langkawi islands, located 8 km to the south. Famous for its pristine diving sites, rich marine life, and outstanding beauty. The island of Koh Lipe is a popular beach destination. Koh Lipe - most popular destination in the archipelago. Hotel: Sita Beach Resort & Spa - 3 Stars (3/5) ; Idyllic Concept Resort - 4 Stars (4/5)
Thale Ban National Park
A lush expanse of tropical forest in the Banthat mountains near the Malaysian border. Its limestone hills are dotted with caves and marked trails lead to Nam Tok Ya Roy waterfall and Nam Tok Ton Piew waterfall. Satun acts as a gateway to the park.
Is the capital of Satun province, with boat services to Penang and the Langkawi archipelago. Main attractions are Satun Friday Mosque and Satun National Museum.
From Satun Highway 406 goes to Hat Yai.