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Thailand is one of the most sought out travel destinations in Southeast Asia for its beautiful beaches, lush jungles, wonderful people and cheap prices. For many backpackers starting their Southeast adventure, Bangkok is a great place to fly into and start exploring! For many backpackers it can be overwhelming to decide which places to check out in Thailand while making the most of time and money. Bare Republic’s guide on “How to Navigate Thailand” will help you see a wide variety of the country and the diversity it has to offer.

Eastern Thailand

  • Koh Saumi - In the Gulf of Thailand lies Thailand’s second largest island and one of the most visited in Thailand. It's best known for its palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves and dense, rainforest. This island is also full of luxury resorts and posh spas to help you relax on your travels.

  • Koh Tao - Looking for adventure? Koh Tao is known for scuba diving, rock climbing, and hiking. Nearly 7,000 new divers get certified on Koh Tao each year making it one of the most popular destinations in the world to learn to dive and get certified. Plus its super affordable! Enjoy the island’s restaurants, nightspots and dive shops clustered in Mae Haad Beach near Sai Ri Beach.
  • Ko Pha Ngan - In the southeast, Thailand is known for its monthly Full Moon Party.  This boisterous night-long celebration, which is tied to the lunar calendar, draws revelers to its southeastern peninsula, Haad Rin. This was a great spot to people watch! Ironically, Ko Pha Ngan is also known for its meditation retreats so you can balance with some zen after the celebration.

Western Thailand

  • Krabi - On southern Thailand’s west coast is a province characterized by craggy, sheer limestone cliffs, dense mangrove forests, and more than a hundred offshore islands. This is a great landing spot for any traveler looking to take day trips on long-tail boats to any of the islands. Visit the iconic James Bond island and then enjoy lunch at the Floating Village!

  • Koh Phi Phi - an island group between the large island of Phuket and the west Strait of Malacca coast of the mainland. Phi Phi is often known for its nightlife, boating tours, snorkeling and monkey islands (be careful to not let a monkey steal your iPhone or sunglasses)! Ko Phi Phi Leh (a small island off Koh Phi Phi) is famous for the filming location for the movie “The Beach", called Maya Bay. We recommend taking a private longtail at sunrise to beat the crowds! We did this and it was so worth it as we were the only two on the beach! 

  • Koh Lanta - is in the Andaman Sea off the west coast of Thailand, between the Phi Phi Islands and the mainland. Many backpackers find Koh Lanta to be nice relaxing getaway after the business they’ve experienced in Phi Phi Islands. Rent a scooter and cruise the coastline all the way to the south end of the island to find pockets of paradise and stunning coastal views. These were some of our best beach days! Make sure to also bring a snorkel set along the way to see coral reefs and ocean life including manta rays. 

Northern Thailand

  • Pai - is a town in the Mae Hong Soon Province of northern Thailand. It sits in a valley on the banks of the Pai River. It's known for its chill vibes along nearby gorges, canyons, hot springs and waterfalls. Pai’s downtown is also full of yummy restaurants and nightlife. Also, while in Pai be sure to climb up the White Buddha (Wat Phra That Mae Yen). This area was a backpackers paradise!

  • Chiang Mai -  is an old city filled with temples, markets, amazing food (famous for its Khao Soi) , architecture and a laid back atmosphere. It’s a good launching pad for jungle adventures and elephant sanctuaries! Just make sure to visit one that is an ethical and sustainable eco-tourism project.

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