Most of the popular tourist destinations of Thailand are located in the southern part of the country, from Bangkok to the Malaysian border. There is an island for everyone whether you are looking to party, relax, climb or explore the ocean wonders.
The first time I travelled to Thailand back in 2015 I loved the Andaman sea islands and I thought they were the most relaxing, fun and exotic place I ever visited. This was the impression I got before travelling to other Asian countries. I felt way different when I went back this year and I kept comparing them with the far less develop, touristy and crowded beaches in the Philippines, Cambodia, Sri Lanka or the Maldives. I wanted to check out Koh Tao but it was raining on the Gulf of Thailand so end up back in the Andaman Sea.
So, if you have never been to Asia and are looking into a comfortable holiday to have fun and take awesome pictures, Thailand is the perfect place for you. I would definitely recommend going to Koh Phi Phi if you want to party and see the famous Maya Bay; Railay beach for rock climbing and Koh Lanta for a chill vibe.
How to get there: you can fly for about 25€ or take a night bus from Bangkok to Ao Nang and a boat to Railay Beach from there, this should cost you about 16€. There are 3 stops in Railay: Tonsai beach, Railay West and Railay East.
Where to sleep: Tonsai has the cheapest accommodation, where you can get a really basic bungalow for 500 baht, about 13€. Most places don´t have online bookings so just show up and haggle a good price.
Where to eat: Mama chicken is great and good value for the money.
How to move around: there are no cars so you must walk everywhere. It takes about 15 min to get to Railay West following a rocky path.
What to do: rock climbing, island hoping tours and relaxing at the beach are the main activities there. I loved the sunset from Phra Nang Beach. There is a viewpoint and a hidden lagoon you can trek to but we couldn´t go there.
How to get there: is a 2 hour ferry ride from Railay and one from Koh Phi Phi.
Where to sleep: I would not recommend our hostel Funky Fish, the water from the pipes was brown and was very noisy as is next to the Tree house bar.
Where to eat: Somewhere else restaurant has delicious Massaman curry.
How to move around: a motorbike is absolutely necessary in Koh Lanta, the tuk tuks are very expensive and there is no public transport at all.
What to see: Nui beach is really beautiful.
What to do: we did the snorkeling and island hopping tour on a long tail boat to Koh Maa and Chuek for snorkeling, to Koh Ngai island and Koh Mook to visit the Emerald Cave.
Tip: The island hopping tour was beautiful but it felt too long the almost 2 hours ride to get there and 2 hours to come back. If you can afford the difference, pay to go on a speedboat.
Koh Phi Phi
How to get there: by ferry from Krabi (3 hours), Phuket (4 hours) or Koh Lanta (1 hour)
Where to sleep: Uphill cottage is clean and has a small swimming pool overlooking the bay. Privates are 16€ for 2 people.
Where to eat: Pa Noi Thai food is super tasty and cheap. There is a local market on the backside of the resorts where you can buy cheap street food and fruits.
How to move around: there are no bikes or cars in the island, everything is pretty much walking distance.
What to see: the viewpoints are amazing, look for number 3 as is far less crowded than the second one.
Long beach is a short walk from the main town and Nui Bay is a hidden gem that you can only access by boat or kayak.
What to do: there is a full day island hopping tour that takes you to Bamboo island, Mosquito Island and Phi Phi Leh to visit the famous Maya Bay. Some of my friends did only the half day tour and didn´t go to Bamboo Island, a must do in Koh Phi Phi.
Tip: there is party at Loh Dalam Bay every night with bonfires. There are plenty of street stalls selling buckets, look for the cheapest one that costs 150 baht, way cheaper that it costs in the bars.