From the historical and mountainous Chiang Mai in the north, to the most idyllic islands in the south, Thailand is a destination high up on my bucket list. It is a country I have been longing to explore ever since my spark for travel was ignited.
Although every part of Thailand is completely enticing, I am most drawn to the South, along the Gulf coast, and all its diversity. The islands are a vision of paradise with warm, turquoise waters, white sand beaches and arching fringes of palm trees. There is no where I feel quite at home other than under a palm tree and near the ocean.
Have you ever dreamed about visiting Thailand? Well, there’s a chance you might be able to! As part of the Amazing Dream Journey competition run by Tourism Authority of Thailand, you’re now able to create your dream itinerary and the winners will have the chance to bring it to life and score themselves a free trip to Thailand! All your flights, accommodation and expenses will be covered. All you have to do is head to their website, fill out your ideal 3 day itinerary and share it on social media. The closing date is 30 November 2016. It’s certainly an opportunity not to miss!
So if you’re planning a visit to Thailand in the future, or you’re a little intrigued to know more about this part of the country, today I’m sharing a dreamy 3 day itinerary for those wanting to explore the paradise-like islands of southern Thailand.
Exploring by Yacht
Is there anything more luxurious than exploring the beauty of Thailand other than by yacht? Thailand is actually one of the best yacht charter destinations in the world. The best way to explore the islands is to hire a yacht, equipped with its own friendly staff, for cruising around the magical islands.
Angthong National Park > Koh Samui
The sail will start off at the most picturesque Angthong National Park. Angthong is a marine national park in the Gulf of Thailand, on the shores of the Surat Thani Province that is made up of 42 islands. It’s no ordinary park though, as most of it consists of towering limestone mountains, thick jungle, white-sand beaches, waterfalls and hidden lakes.
Emerald Lake: The day will start off at one of the most picturesque lakes you will ever see, known as Emerald Lake. You might recognise this stunning lake from Leonardo DiCaprio’s film, The Beach. To see the lake, you must hike up some stairs to enjoy the view and although it’s a rather strenuous climb, the viewpoint will definitely make up for it!
Snorkelling + Swimming: Once you’re back down at sea level, it’s time to switch to beachwear and enjoy what the park has to offer. Snorkeling is among the best activities you can do due to the crystal clear waters and vibrant sea life. Spend the rest of the day swimming, snorkeling and lazing around on the beach…. talk about paradise! Koh Wua Ta Lap is the largest of the islands in the park and a great place to stop for lunch as well as its beaches.
Dinner at Six Senses Samui: In the evening, the yacht will stop off at Ko Samui, a very short trip for the National Park. You will have the opportunity to discover the ultimate dining experience in Samui, Dining on The Rocks at Six Senses Samui. The open air restaurant consists of nine terraced decks of weathered teak and bamboo with a panoramic view of the surrounding islands. After sunset, you’ll feel like you’re dining on a starlit sea. And it doesn’t stop there as this restaurant is world renowned for its exquisite cuisine, known as ‘New Asian Cuisine’, which combines the tastes of east and west and contrasts hot and cold.
Koh Phi Phi
With clear crystal waters, white sand powder, and lush tropical vegetation, Koh Phi Phi gathers all the postcard clichés in one place. It’s one of the largest and most populated islands, but often touted as one of the world’s most beautiful islands.
Snorkel and swim in Maya Bay: Maya Bay was made very famous for also appearing in the film, The Beach, attracting thousands of tourists each year and you could probably see why. It’s located on Ko Phi Leh, and you can usually get there for the day with snorkelling trips advertised on Koh Phi Phi.
Eat & stroll the Phi Phi Market: Located in Tonsai Village, the Phi Phi market is a great way to get a feel for local life on the island, and it’s open daily. It’s packed with veggies, fruit, and food stalls so make sure you come hungry!
Enjoy the nightlife: A lot of people are attracted to Ko Phi Phi for its nightlife alone. Between the beach parties, Thai boxing matches, booze cruises and fire shows that happen almost nightly, it gets pretty crazy.
Koh Phangan is most renowned for its full moon parties but it has a lot more to offer visitors than all-night dancing. It’s a pristine paradise with secluded beaches, sunset spots, tropical forests, and chilled out cocktail bars.
Enjoy the beaches: What better way to spend your morning other than exploring the beautiful beaches Koh Phangan has to offer? Bottle Beach is known to be the best beach on the island, and one of the best in Thailand. It’s secluded, laid back, and has remained relatively untouched. If you’re after something hidden and away from tourists, Chaloklum beach is a great choice. It’s boasts clear and warm waters for swimming and white sand for laying around. It’s so peaceful you’ll soon forget about any stress of your everyday life! Otherwise there is also Haad Salad, a stunning gem of a cove. In a nutshell, this beach is so tranquil that it was made for hammocks. Despite its close proximity to the main town, you’ll still feel a world away!
Sunset at Amsterdam Bar: There are many great spots on the beach to spend your afternoon enjoying a delicious lunch, fresh cocktails and chilled music. But once sunset arrives, there’s one place you have to be, and that’s Amsterdam Bar. It is strategically placed mountainside for the ultimate sunset experience.
Thong Sala night market: One of the best things about visiting Thailand is without a doubt the FOOD! If you haven’t tried Thai food, you haven’t lived. Thong Sala night market is a must for this wanting to immerse themselves in the culture and local life of the island. Wander the stalls for every kind of Thai food you can imagine, from vegetable curry puffs, to spring rolls, and coconut cake. A foodie’s dream.
Half moon party: You might know Koh Pha-Ngan for its full moon parties, but if you don’t get the chance to catch one, the island also runs half moon parties almost nightly that are guaranteed to be just as fun! Although the island has much more to offer than its party atmosphere, what better way to end the trip than dancing, cocktails and meeting new friends!