Southern Thailand is much more than an ideal tourist destination if you are looking to enjoy beautiful beaches, rich culture and an unforgettable experience. It is a region that changes the lives of those who visit it, and we will tell you why.
In this region of Southern Thailand you will find some of the most impressive beaches in the world, as well as a large number of historical and cultural places to visit; You will also find a multitude of women and men who —without speaking your language— will tell you a thousand things with a glance, you will see smiles as radiant as the white sand beaches where you will sink your feet, and you will discover a completely different rhythm of life.
In this post we will tell you everything you need to know about the best of southern Thailand, how to enjoy Thai massage there and some of the reflections that we have cultivated in our travels to the region.
“I have seen sucrose beaches and brilliant blue waters. I’ve seen an all-red business suit with flared lapels. I’ve caught the smell of suntan lotion spread over twenty thousand pounds of hot meat. I have been called “colleague” in three different countries. I’ve seen five hundred posh Americans dance the Electric Slide. I’ve seen sunsets that look computer manipulated and a tropical moon that looked more like some obscenely large, suspended lemon than the old stone American moon I’m used to. I have danced (very briefly) the conga.”
Something Supposedly Fun I’ll Never Do Again
Book by David Foster Wallace
In this essay (A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again), Wallace recounts his week-long experience on a Caribbean cruise and how the excesses made him miserable. It’s a really fun read that one can’t miss. Wryly, he describes his disgust for the prefab tourism industry and for the “fun” he’s supposed to have on the cruise, but which his integrity prevents him from appreciating. It is true, mass tourism offers predefined and not very genuine experiences; but that’s why we love Thailand, because it invites you to jump off that rail to discover a real country, first hand and without sweeteners.
The southern islands of Thailand
If there is one thing that defines Thailand, it is the impressive islands found in the south, such as Phuket and Koh Samui.
Cada una de estas islas del sur de Tailandia tiene su propio encanto y personalidad, y todas valen la pena, pero como el tiempo es limitado seguramente quieras comenzar por Phuket.
Best of Southern Thailand: Phuket
Phuket is one of the largest islands in the country and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern Thailand. The island is famous for its white sand beaches, its crystal clear waters and the large number of tourist activities. Here you can enjoy water sports such as snorkeling, diving and surfing, as well as land activities such as hiking, biking and golf. One of the most famous beaches in Phuket is Patong Beach, known for its nightlife and live entertainment. Other impressive beaches on the island are Kata Beach and Karon Beach, which are quieter.
The name “Phuket” comes from the Malay word “bukit”, which means “hill”, due to its orography, in which hills and mountains abound. On the island we can visit The Great Buddha of Phuket: a huge 45-meter-tall white marble statue that stands on a hill with Instagrammable views. It was built in 2004 and has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Southern Thailand. You can learn more about these incredible monumental statues at nuestro último post.
Food and tradition come together in a unique ritual
The food in Phuket is delicious, yes, but what is most often impressive is its incredibly low price. Some of the most popular dishes include pad thai, coconut curry soup, green curry, and tom yam kung (spicy prawn soup).
Bonuses for vegetarians! Every year, Phuket celebrates the Vegetarian Festival, a nine-day event in which participants refrain from eating meat. This festival in honor of the Taoist gods takes place every October and devotees of the Nine God Emperors perform sacrifices to purify their minds and bodies, showing their rejection of pain.
Devotee wearing a ceremonial piercing during the Vegetarian Festival.
However, not everyone is ready for this celebration, as some of the sacrifices include walking on hot coals, piercing the body with needles, swords, and other objects.
The idyllic beaches of southern Thailand
Of all of Southern Thailand, Phuket is the area most famous for its beautiful beaches, such as Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach, and Nai Harn Beach, among others. Each of these beaches has its own appeal and personality, but they are all a paradise for lovers of Thai massage. There are numerous spas and massage centers throughout the island and on the beaches, offering relaxing and therapeutic treatments. They are ideal for resting after a night out, because Phuket is a nightlife paradise. Bangla Road is the epicenter of the revelry in the region.
Koh Samui: continuing the route through the south of Thailand
“The other popular island” in southern Thailand is known for its white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, but is less known for its immense coconut production. It is home to the especially sweet and savory “Samui coconut,” and an entire food—and alcoholic—culture revolves around this variety.
The island also has several impressive and mystical Buddhist temples. Visiting these temples may not be the priority for bathers, but they offer a place as exotic as it is romantic for travelers who know how to enjoy the bleak charm of Thai ruins.
The secret Garden
At the top of Pom Hill in Koh Samui is the Secret Buddha Garden, a place that combines adorable (and sinister) statues that impress the beholder and lush green forests that exude serenity. For this reason, both architecture and nature lovers should discover this place.
The island of Koh Samui is also known for its beautiful butterflies – the Samui Butterfly Garden is a popular attraction for tourists and boasts a wide variety of species. Every April, Koh Samui celebrates the Water Festival, also known as Songkran, which marks the beginning of the Thai New Year.
Visiting Southern Thailand, whether for its natural beauty, its rich culture or its impressive cuisine transforms people. From the idyllic beaches of Phuket and Koh Samui to fascinating historic cities like Hat Yai and Songkhla, southern Thailand has much to offer visitors, but the country’s real value is its people. Walk through its streets and beaches, stop for a moment and discover the comforting kindness of a town that still does not remain outside the hyper-connected and complex world in which we live.
If you want to get to know this country better without leaving Barcelona, at ThaI Spa Massage you will find a Thai sanctuary that will transport you to the heart of the land of smiles.