We’ve tweaked a few details on our 2-week Southern Thailand tour, “Mountains and Rainforests‘, so here’s a selection of recent photos – mostly by Wi (Wipaporn) – taken on a couple of recent trips down south, mixed in with a few old faves.
Spot on view from this Bangkok coffee shop overlooking the UNESCO-listed Royal Palace and Wat Phra Kaew – Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
From central Bangkok we make our way into the lesser-known outskirts and Amphawa District in Samut Songkram Province with its canals and old wooden houses. An obligatory stop on the way, at the famous ‘Railway Market’, is a must.
Next up we head west to Kanchanaburi – home of more railway-related sites, albeit of a very different nature. Boarding at the Bridge on the River Kwai, we’ll take the local train along the infamous ‘Death Railway’, constructed by the Japanese military during WW2 using Allied POWs, followed by a visit to the highly moving Hellfire Pass Museum located on one of the old track’s most notorious sections.
An overnight stay on raft houses on the River Kwai itself is followed the next day by a kayak trip down the picturesque, jungle-lined river. (Individual kayaks or 2-person ones for the uninitiated.)
We’ll also take in the well-restored Angkorian ruined temple and city Muang Sing, established by King Jayavarman VII (of Bayon fame) in the late 12th-century to protect this remote border region, before boarding the night sleeper train for South Thailand.
The next two days of our Southern Thailand tour are spent amid the awe-inspiring karst scenery and lush equatorial forest of Khao Sok National Park. Accommodation is at a well-appointed jungle lodge while activities include nature and wildlife spotting hikes, a boat trip on spectacular Cheow Lan Lake, exploring limestone caves and a visit to a local elephant sanctuary.
From Khao Sok we head west to the bustling southern town of Nakhon Si Thammarat to check out some of its local specialities, eclectic architecture, iconic shadow puppets and a hike through more lush jungle to visit the spectacular Kharom Waterfall in nearby Khao Luang National Park.
After the park a short drive south takes us through more highly scenic, though very different, landscapes as we stay overnight in the scenic wetlands of Thale Noi Lake in Phattalung Province.
Dawn and dusk boat trips on the lake to check out some of the flourishing birdlife, as well as local life, after which it’s time to transfer across the peninsula to Trang Province on the Andaman Sea coast. Varied activities and destinations in another stunning, yet little-visited, region include a cave temple, a canopy walkway in botanical gardens, canoeing through mangrove swamps and sea caves and, of course, checking out some of the southern food in the town’s night market.
Our Southern Thailand tour then finishes with a transfer to the airport and a return flight to Bangkok although, while you’re down that way, we’d strongly recommend extending your tour with a few days quality ‘R and R’ on one of the region’s islands such as Trang’s Koh Libong or Koh Lanta in neighbouring Krabi Province.