Pick up at the urban tourism hub of Surat ThaniPhuket works too — and turn uphill to Khao Sok, arguably Thailand's most impressive national park. Spend one night in a rafthouse and another in a treehouse after days spent hiking and kayaking beneath the vertical limestone cliffs.

Head to Krabi Town for bursting markets and riverside scenery, then catch a boat to Ko Lanta and take your pick out of a baker's dozen beaches boasting top-notch family and luxury resorts. Take another boat ride south to sedate Ko Muk for the Emerald Cave and snorkelling around (or staying on) neighbouring islands like Ko Kradan, Ko Ngai and Ko Rok, all boasting luscious beaches as well.

Re-engage with the non-island world at Trang, a low-key town with an airport and train station.

Key information

Destinations Destinations Bangkok, Ko Lanta, Krabi, Trang, Khao Sok
Activity Activity Beach, Family, Nature & Wildlife
Physical Level Physical Level Easy
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Explore colourful Bangkok

Explore colourful Bangkok

Day 1 in Bangkok

Known by the locals as Krung Thep, Thailand’s capital city is a sprawling, sweaty fusion of old and new, where towering skyscrapers emerge from crumbling pavements, and historic temples are circled by colourful tuk tuk cabs and monks clad in vibrant orange robes.

Once a small trading post for the 15th century Ayutthaya Kingdom, this thriving metropolis is now home to over 10 million souls, and is considered one of Asia’s premier tourist destinations. Whether you explore the capital’s historic district, hone your haggling skills at one of the many markets, brave the red light district or fill up on world-famous street food, there is something for everyone in this ever-evolving city.

Don't miss

Enter the belly of an elephant near Bangkok

Enter the belly of an elephant near Bangkok

The main event at the late Thai visionary Lek Viriyabhun's Erawan Museum, off Bangkok's southeast fringe, is a 44m tall copper elephant depicting the vehicle of Hindu god Indra. Look for scenes from every world religion beneath a tremendous stained glass ceiling crafted by the late German artist, Jakob Schwarzkopf.

Get on the water in Khao Sok National Park

Get on the water in Khao Sok National Park

Day 2–5 in Khao Sok

The South’s most popular nature reserve, Khao Sok National Park is home to 738-sq-km of virgin lowland jungle, towering limestone karsts, waterfalls, caves and the dazzling man-made Cheow Lan Lake. Also known as Ratchaprapha, the lake was formed in the 1980s by one dam and countless vertical limestone castles sculpted by nature's hand. Due to its size, the park houses a number of rare species, including tigers, gibbons, hornbill birds, a variety of orchids and the giant parasitic Rafflesia flower. The park is also known as a top destination for watersports, caving and trekking.

Head to Krabi, the gateaway to the Andaman Sea

Head to Krabi, the gateaway to the Andaman Sea

Day 6–7 in Krabi

Krabi introduces epic Andaman Sea scenery that also stars limestone massifs at Railay, Thailand's premier climbing destination.

Relax on Ko Lanta's pristine beaches

Relax on Ko Lanta's pristine beaches

Day 8–12 in Ko Lanta

In Krabi Province on Thailand’s Andaman coast lies the island of Ko Lanta, where coral-fringed golden beaches and mangroves give way to sleepy streets and a rocky, jungly interior.

Despite frequently topping the lists of best Thai islands, Ko Lanta remains largely unspoiled, with an emphasis on low-rise developments and a slower, more cautious approach to tourism than some of its noisier neighbours. Spend your time relaxing on one of the dozen beaches on offer, enjoy world-class diving or visit one of the many nearby islands — Ko Kradan, Ko Ngai or Ko Rok all boast fantastic beaches and snorkelling.

Don't miss

From darkness to emerald on Ko Muk

From darkness to emerald on Ko Muk

At Tham Morakot, the Emerald Cave, swimmers and kayakers slip through a sea tunnel when the tide is just right, covering some 100m of damp darkness before re-entering daylight at a hidden lagoon and beach encircled by limestone cliffs that only monkeys dare climb on. Staying on Muk rather than visiting on a day trip from Ko Lanta will help you beat the crowds.

Go snorkelling on Ko Rok

Go snorkelling on Ko Rok

Swim among reef shark, giant morays and schools of fish on Thailand’s premier dive site.

Volunteer on Thai islands and make local friends

Volunteer on Thai islands and make local friends

In addition to giving something back, volunteering affords an inside glimpse into coastal communities and can lead to local friendships. Trash Hero keeps an open invite for weekly beach clean-ups throughout the Thai islands and beyond, while animal rescue facilities can always use a hand on Phuket, Ko Samui, Ko Lanta and Ko Chang.

Transfer to Trang and depart

Transfer to Trang and depart

Day 13 in Trang

For your onward departure travel to Trang, a low-key city with an airport and bus station.

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