Backpacking through Thailand and got 3 weeks to spare? Ready, set, go!
Relax in Koh Lipe – 3 days
Koh Lipe is actually closer to Malaysia than Thailand hence why a lot of people tend to skip it. Don’t! I still think that Koh Lipe is probably one of the most serene and chilled places in Thailand. Why? Because it has the best beaches and it still hasn’t turned into a party island! I even wrote a separate blog about why Koh Lipe is the only island you need to visit! Eat all the sea food, dive, snorkel, sunbath and get all the massages you need. I don’t know what else one might want from life?
If you are travelling to Thailand from Malaysia then Koh Lipe is less than two hour ferry ride away from Langkawi. However, you can also easily access Koh Lipe from other islands like Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi, though be prepared to spend 3-4 hours on a speed boat. Maybe have some travel sickness tabs with you because I can assure you it’s not the most pleasant journey. (Note that the boats operate during the high season (November to May). At any other time, it might be pretty difficult to get there or you will pay double the price. )
Day trip to Koh Phi Phi and the Maya Bay
I personally wouldn’t recommend anyone to go to Koh Phi Phi. In my opinion, it’s an absolute waste of time, however if you are like the majority of backpackers (including me) and you are dying to see THE BEACH, then get a one day tour. It’s easily accessible from Phuket, Koh Lanta, Ao Nang, Ko Yao Yai and Krabi.
Unleash your wild side in Phuket – 2 days
I know that a lot of backpackers get overwhelmed by Bangkok. I didn’t. Maybe because I started my trip in Singapore and worked my way up. And I have to say Patong in Phuket to me seemed waaaaay crazier than Khao San road in Bangkok. Well at least at night!
I don’t think I’ve seen more stripers, drug dealers, and banners of red rooms/ white rooms/’European girls only rooms’ and of course, ping pong shows, in my life. So if you want to unleash your wild side you know where to go – Bangla road.
The beach is also not too bad. You know, to cure your hangovers or wash away your shame.
Chill on a Railay beach and explore Krabi – 3 days
Travel to Ao Nang and spend a day on Railay beach. I have to say I didn’t realise how popular this beach is on Instagram until about a month after I left Thailand! I only spent a day in Ao Nang and only by chance did I end up on a Railay beach.. I understand why people love it though! It can only be reached by boat and it feels so secluded. Spend a day there and Instagram the f**k out of it! Also climb to the viewpoint!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go to Krabi but would highly recommend taking a day tour there. I’ve heard that it’s really good and you’ll get to learn more about Thai culture (which let’s be honest all the islands are really lacking).
Get some neon on in Koh Phangan – 5 days
I guess you can’t say that you’ve been to Thailand if you haven’t been to a Full Moon party, right? Well, I didn’t go to one. I went to Half Moon because it was supposed to be ‘quality’ and I was promised some good techno. Well, I didn’t really get good techno and it wasn’t the best mini-festival experience I’ve ever had, but it was still fun! Would I recommend anyone to go to Full Moon or Half Moon? If you are like me and you are into electronic music and couldn’t care less about the latest Pop Top 20, then no… However, if you are not that fussed about the music, then get some neon on and tick that box!
Why 5 days in Koh Phangan? Well first of all, if you are aiming to go to one of these parties majority of hostels will ask you to book a room/bed for at least 5 nights, though don’t get put off by this idea… it’s definitely worth staying a little bit longer. There are so many awesome bars with the most spectacular views. Make sure you pay a visit to the infamous Amstardam bar, also Blue Rama Adults Only Resort (for their infinity pool and top notch cocktails) and last but not least Three Sixty Bar View Point. You’re welcome.
Learn to scuba dive in Koh Tao – 7 days
Save the best till last. KOH TAO! My ultimate favourite. If you haven’t dived before, you have to give it a try! Courses usually take around 3-4 days and you get to complete up to 4 dives. (I got my certificate at Scuba Shack. I was fairly happy with them as their groups are up to 4 people and it makes a huge difference when you are shit diver like me!). Honestly, diving has completely opened my eyes and this all I want to do nowadays.
And if you are too scared of diving then take a snorkelling day trip around Koh Tao. I know some people spot turtles and little sharks over there! These day tours also take you to Koh Nang Yuan island which is hands down one of the most beautiful places in the world. (Pro tip: it’s actually cheaper to take a day snorkelling tour than arrange your own transport to Nang Yuan).
Once you are done with water sports, enjoy the Sairee Beach and its beautiful beach bars. Who knows maybe like the majority of backpackers you will enjoyso much that you will end up staying there longer than you intended!
If you need to go back to Bangkok, you will need to get a ferry to Chumphon and then take an overnight train.