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I had the opportunity to explore Thailand during a six-month trip to Southeast Asia in 2023. This experience enabled me to discover this country from every angle on a backpacker’s budget, taking the time to soak up every moment.
In this article, you’ll find my 3-week southern Thailand itinerary. You can adapt it according to your desires and the length of your trip. See below my 1-month itinerary through Thailand (Northern part).
3-weeks southern Thailand itinerary
My 3-weeks Southern Thailand itinerary
I started with the island of Koh Lipe as we arrived from Langkawi island, situated in Malaysia.
📍 Koh Lipe – 3 nights
Koh Lipe is Thailand’s southernmost island and lies almost on the border with Malaysia. Along with Koh Adang and many other small islands, this pearl island is part of Tarutao National Park and is therefore protected by nature.
What makes Koh Lipe unique in Thailand is certainly its breathtaking beaches. The turquoise-blue sea and white sand have earned this paradise the nickname “Thailand’s Maldives“. Thanks to its size of just 4 square kilometers, you can comfortably walk from beach to beach.
How do I get around Koh Lipe?
Koh Lipe is small enough that you can walk to any beach in less than an hour. You can also take a tuk-tuk if you don’t feel like walking.
Koh Lipe Island must-dos
- Koh Adang viewpoint hike. Koh Adang, is the Koh Lipe of 10 years ago and lies opposite Koh Lipe. It’s an undeveloped corner of paradise where, even on the busiest days, you’ll be sharing a huge stretch of white sand with no more than 10 people. You can make it an easy half or full-day excursion. The Koh Adang viewpoint is a steep climb to a lookout point. The hike has three viewpoints: the third is the main attraction and offers an epic view of Koh Lipe. Getting from Koh Lipe to Koh Adang is easy. Take a long-tail boat from Pattaya Beach, Sunrise Beach, or Sunset Beach. You can also rent a boat for THB 1,200 (USD 40) for the whole day. The boat from Koh Lipe to Koh Adang only takes about 15 minutes.
- Relaxing on the beaches of Koh Lipe. The island has three main beaches, including Sunset Beach, Sunrise Beach, and Pattaya Beach. As the island is quite small, you can visit all the beaches in one day. Koh Lipe is not overcrowded, as some say, and you’ll always find plenty of quiet places to relax.
- Take a stroll along the island’s main street, Walking Street. It’s a narrow street brimming with friendly bars, delicious restaurants, cafés, stores, diving schools,…
Tip: Bloom Cafe & Hostel is one of the island’s friendliest and highest-rated hostels. Guests appreciate the chic ambiance, cleanliness, and location.
My good addresses on Koh Lipe
- On the island, you’ll have plenty of choice for seafood on Walking Street. We recommend the King Crab restaurant for delicious chicken or fish kebabs.
- I also recommend the Bombay Indian restaurant for a delicious Indian meal!
📍 Koh Lanta – 3 nights
It’s the ideal destination for relaxing on the beach and enjoying impressive sunsets. The atmosphere is more relaxed. The mangrove forests to the northeast and the rocky coastline to the southwest make Koh Lanta a diverse and exciting island.
From Koh Lipe, there are numerous boat connections to Koh Lanta (book at your accommodation or tourist office, or via the 12go website).
What to do on Koh Lanta?
- Rent a scooter to tour the island and its beaches.
- Take a day trip: several excursions are offered by accommodations and tourist offices. You can also book these activities via my GetyourGuide link below.
- Visit Koh Lanta’s old town: A visit to Koh Lanta’s old town is one of the best things to do in Koh Lanta. Located on the eastern side of the island, it is mainly inhabited by Thai and Chinese families.
- Visit Koh Lanta National Park: Another of Koh Lanta’s highlights is Mu Ko Lanta National Park, located at the southernmost tip of the island. The drive to the park is very scenic and, if you’re lucky, you may spot some monkeys along the way. The final attraction in the national park is the Koh Lanta lighthouse, which has almost become an island landmark. Entrance fee: 200 baht – opening hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
My good addresses in Koh Lanta
- Restaurant Yawee, we went back three times and everything was really good!
- We stayed at Baan Suan Rim Klong, which we recommend if you have a scooter.
📍 Krabi – 4 nights
Krabi is probably one of the most popular places to visit in Thailand. With its vertical limestone cliffs, beautiful hidden beaches, and all the amazing islands you can visit, it’s hard not to recommend this place.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a hiker, or a beach lover, the Krabi region has it all. If you’re looking for adventure, you can go climbing; if you like nature walks, there’s no shortage of viewpoints; and if you simply want a relaxing vacation in paradise, you’ll be surrounded by stunning beaches and islands.
From Koh Lanta, there are numerous boat connections to mainland Thailand (bookable at your accommodation or online via 12go).
What to do in the Krabi region?
- Ao Nang and its beach: This is the town I recommend you stay in, even if it is very touristy. It has many stores, boutiques, bars, and restaurants. The beach is very long and pleasant. In the evening, the sunsets are amazing. You can also stay on Railey Island, which is much quieter than Ao Nang.
- 1 day at Railey, discover its beaches and maybe do a bit of climbing. Long-tail boats operate for 200 baht/per person to and from Ao Nang Beach. The boat departs when 8 people are waiting to board. If you go to Railey, don’t hesitate to walk to Tonsai Beach, which is less crowded than Railey’s main beach
- 1-day island hopping tour. See the options below.
📍 Koh Phangan – 6 nights
It’s a tropical paradise with yoga retreats, bars, dusty, windy roads, and white sandy coves hidden behind rows of palm trees – it’s got a hippie vibe! It’s also home to the famous full moon festival.
What to do in Koh Phangan?
- Make a spiritual retreat: See my article (available soon).
- Bottle Beach viewpoint: Hiking to Bottle Beach is a unique experience on Koh Phangan. It combines everything: spectacular nature, a soothing jungle walk, adventure, and a breathtaking view of one of Koh Phangan’s most beautiful beaches: Bottle Beach.
- Chaloklum Beach: Chaloklum, in the north, is first and foremost a fishing village. The main village of Chaloklum is located in the middle of the beach. Here, you’ll find a local atmosphere and plenty of fishermen with their long-tailed boats. To avoid the boats, you can swim at the western and eastern ends of the bay. The sand is white, there are lots of palm trees and it’s quite calm.
- Discover Koh Pha Ngan’s beaches: Like Haad Salad, Thong Nai Pan, Bottle Beach… Haad Rin Beach (famous for hosting the full moon party).
- Explore the local market of Thong Sala to discover the local culture and taste traditional Thai dishes. You’ll also find plenty of souvenirs.
Where to stay in Koh Phangan?
There’s accommodation to suit every budget in Koh Phangan. Where you want to stay on the island depends on what you’re looking for. If you like to party and only come for the parties, the best option is to stay in the south, near Haad Rin beach. On the other hand, if you’re more of a nature lover and you’re coming to Koh Phangan to relax, eat healthily, do yoga, and get closer to nature, you’re better off staying on the northwest coast.
My good address in Koh Phangan
- Yams kitchen Delicious, inexpensive food. Very friendly and smiling owner Yam. Close to the sea, it’s a great place to watch the sunset.
- Kaif : Kaif is a trendy café serving fresh pastries and breakfasts with a beautiful terrace facing the sea.
📍 Koh Tao – 3 nights
Koh Tao, it’s hard not to describe this island as a paradise. With its heavenly beaches, breathtaking views, and diving spots, the island has it all! It’s my favorite!
Its name means “turtle island“, but no one knows if it’s because of its shape or if turtles came to lay their eggs on the beach. Koh Tao was sparsely inhabited for a long time, then became a political prison in the 1930s. 15 years later, the prime minister of the time obtained a royal pardon for all the prisoners. The island was abandoned again, until the 90s, when a few tourists arrived.
The only drawback I found with Koh Tao is that you need to pay for most of the beaches and viewpoints.
How to get to the island?
Koh Tao is only accessible by boat or ferry.
- From mainland Thailand, there are two ferry terminals departing for Koh Tao: Chumphon and Surat Thani.
- From Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, you can also reach the island by ferry. Lomprayah Boat is a good company to travel with. Koh Tao’s main port is Mae Haad Pier, so this is where your stay on Koh Tao begins.
What to do on Koh Tao The must-sees
I recommend renting a scooter and exploring the island at your own pace. Here’s an overview of what you can see.
- Try your hand at scuba diving: Koh Tao is world-famous for its exceptional dive sites. It’s the perfect opportunity for a discovery dive or to pass your scuba diving levels.
- Snorkeling at Shark Bay: If you’re very lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a harmless ray or shark among the colorful fish.
- Admire the panoramic view from the John-Suwan Viewpoint: The view here is sublime, especially at sunset. The hike is not very difficult and takes about 20 minutes for the average person.
- Discover the enchanting Sai Nuan Beach: One of my favorite beaches in Thailand, quiet and relatively unspoiled, you’ll see the typical Koh Tao rocks and turquoise water.
- Hike to Tanote Bay: Set off through the jungle to discover this sublime beach.
- Sunset at Sairee Beach: Sairee Beach is one of Koh Tao’s most popular beaches. The sea is shallow on the first part of the beach and the water is very calm, making it an ideal place to relax. You’ll also find plenty of restaurants and bars.
Where to stay in Koh Tao?
We stayed for 3 nights at the Nirvana guesthouse, which is a 5-minute walk from the harbor and close to restaurants. It’s a very good budget hotel. The private rooms are spacious and well-located. The hotel also has dormitories.
My good addresses on Koh Tao
- Pomsomtam: Family-run restaurant with delicious local dishes, located near the port. One of our favorite restaurants on the island. Prices range from 60 – 120 baht.
- Secret bar: Cocktails with a splendid view to admire the sunset.
- Whitening restaurant: Restaurant/bar on the beach and top cocktails!
If you’re looking for islands near Bangkok, check my article here below.
I hope you enjoyed this 3-weeks southern Thailand itinerary. Please feel free to browse through our other articles about Thailand if you’d like more details. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! If you’re interested in Asia, take a look at our other destinations.
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