Is Southern Thailand too touristy for its own good?!

Who remembers when the southern beaches of Thailand were sandy castaway shores, devoid of civilisation? Nope, me neither. While tourism is obviously good for the local economy, how many of these potential visitors will actually realise that most of the beaches they see in the advertising look nothing like that in real life?

The Thai longboats of the Andaman coast are an iconic sight – but is this the view you will see when you get here?!

In my travels around South East Asia, I always look forward to returning to Phuket and Krabi in particular to enjoy a few days relaxing on the sand. I am not one for sunbathing usually, but the tropical ambiance of southern Thailand really makes me forget my troubles and just go with the flow. Before I began travelling, people told me that shimmering turquoise water and golden sands would be waiting for me at these Thai beaches.

Crowds can be a problem

In reality, as I found out to my cost years later, you will be very lucky to enjoy Thai beaches without the crowds. The water may be turquoise (and warm), but you have to share it with hundreds of other revellers, many of whom are usually drunk in my experience, and to make matters worse, it is not the Thai longboats that dot the shore, but ugly motorised speed boats that take these intrepid revellers island-hopping.

Finding a spot on the beach – especially as a solo traveller – can be a somewhat haphazard affair. Especially in Phuket, I found that it is near impossible to spend any quality time enjoying the views, and most of the beaches are not full of golden sand anyway; dead leaves, pebbles, and of course litter are such a curse in southern Thailand that I wonder why the authorities haven’t tried to do more about it by now.

That said, don’t be put off by coming to the beaches of Thailand. Some of them are closely related to what the advertising claimed. In particular, Bamboo Island near Krabi springs to mind. I find that western Thai beaches (Phuket, Koh Lanta, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi) are more crowded than their eastern counterparts (Koh Samui, Koh Kood), and the eastern beaches are perhaps slightly more highbrow in the type of visitor using them – although this doesn’t mean any less visitors!

8 thoughts on “Is Southern Thailand too touristy for its own good?!

  1. You are so right. I was first on Krabi and Phuket in 1996/7 and what a (horrible) shock I for when I returned just a few years later. It is still however one of my favourite countries … there is so much to see and do, and there are still beaches to escape to.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Couldn’t agree more. I was really let down when we visited the south recently. I absolutely hate tourists (despite being one) and the beaches are completely littered with them. Most of whom are annoying and constantly in the way. We came up north and like it a lot better.


  3. I find that a little more work in terms of the journey works wonders. Our last visit to Thailand took an overnight stop on the way to our carefully selected island. It paid off.
    The majority of people want a simple journey. Thailand has endless islands that are not simple to get to.


  4. Nice post & pics. Krabi has many beautiful beaches and most of them are located on the paradise-like islands that you can explore while island hopping in Krabi.


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