Khao Sok national park is certainly one of the best South Thailand destinations! However, there are other amazing spots just down the road! In this blog we’ll take a brief look at a few other of our favourite southern Thailand travel locales near Khao Sok, the best way to get off the beaten path in South Thailand!
The Andaman Coast – home of amazing South Thailand destinations!
Disclaimer: We love nature and the Real Thailand! The following destinations are recommended for travellers wishing to get off the beaten path in South Thailand. If you are willing to sacrifice some comfort and amenities in exchange for once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences, then keep reading!
Leaving Khao Sok, the easiest way to get somewhere amazing is to head West. Unlike the bustling East Coast, with Surat Thani and the gulf islands, Thailand’s Andaman coast remains quiet and undeveloped in many areas. It is here that guests can find some true gems of southern Thailand travel.
Andaman Discoveries: offering the best of southern Thailand Travel
Our first pick for awesome can be found in the tiny, rural outpost of KuraBuri, PhanNga. KuraBuri is about 1.5 hours from Khao Sok, and is the home base of an incredible organisation, Andaman Discoveries.
AD is a community-based tourism operator that began following the 2004 tsunami. Their goal then is the same as now: to offer sustainable tours which strengthen local communities while providing travels with incredible experiences.
Travellers looking for a way to get off the beaten path in South Thailand will find it here!
Andaman Discoveries works with several villages up and down Thailand’s Andaman Coast to offer guests unique experiences in some incredible south Thailand destinations.
Tours focus on low-impact, community-based tourism, and emphasise cultural experiences over selfie opportunities. Multi-Day tours involve homestay accomodation, where guests sleep and eat with a local family. Additionally, activities are rich in the skills and trades that local Thais practice on a daily basis!
You can find information on all of Andaman Discoveries’ Village tours here.
There is no better way to get off the beaten path in South Thailand than to get a taste of the Island Life. Luckily, no where provides a better experience than Andaman Discoveries, especially the Surin Island tours!
AD benefits from a long history with the Surin Island group and the Moken ‘Sea Gypsies’ that live there. As a result, it is in a position to offer guests a unique chance to interact with guides from of one of Earth’s ancient cultures. In addition to cultural experiences, the Surin Islands are one of the best south Thailand destinations for nature and wildlife! The snorkelling on Surin is arguably the best in Thailand. Additionally, guests sleeping on the island routinely wake up to Gibbon song, as well as the rustling of the exquisite Nicobar Pigeon in the undergrowth.
You can find information on all of Andaman Discoveries’ Island tours here
Giving back – volunteer opportunities
If you are among the small number of people that elect to spend your vacation time doing work that will benefit others, then Thank You!
Anyone thinking of coming to Thailand for volunteer work should give consideration to arranging their trip with Andaman Discoveries. It can be surprisingly difficult to find reputable voluntourism operators in Thailand. However, Andaman Discoveries has a proven track record of excellent volunteer work.
Most volunteer opportunities will focus on teaching English in one of the many local schools AD partners with.
Additionally, volunteers may work with Burmese children in the Burmese Learning Center that was founded and sponsored by AD.
No prior teaching experience is needed, just a desire to change lives, and a good sense of humor!
You can find information on all of Andaman Discoveries’ volunteering opportunities here.
PhraThong Island – the diamond in the rough of south Thailand destinations
In the age of smart phones, high-speed internet, and public transportation, there are few places left in Thailand that are truly remote.
PhraThong Island is one such destination: one of the last means to truly get off the beaten path in South Thailand.
This island is a true gem for those seeking a quiet, secluded, and back-to-basics island getaway. It is located in northern Pang-Nga province, and is part to the KuraBuri municipality, about 1.5 hours from Khao Sok.
While the island presents a charming front, its isolation means that guests will need to come prepared to sacrifice amenities. Specifically, there is no mainland power on the island. Generators and solar panels provide electricity to charge devices, and run fans, and there will be shared WIFI at resorts. However, guests can expect no Air-Conditioning or in-room refrigeration anywhere on the island.
If you are interested in adding PhraThong Island to your southern Thailand travel plans, we recommend the Horizon Eco Resort. The manager, Lory, has been a fixture in PhraThong Island life since before the 2004 Tsunami. Her long history on the island means she knows how to provide her guests with the best experience possible!
Kho Khao Island – getting off the beaten path in South Thailand without leaving it all behind
Just south of PhraThong Island, and a whole world closer to Khao Sok is Kho Khao Island. Once, Kho Khao would have been similar to PhraThong. However it is infinitely more accessible, and as a result Kho Khao is better-developed. However, despite the paved roads, western restaurants and internet service, Koh Khao remains a well-kept secret of PangNga province. This island is never as heavily touristed as other south Thailand destinations, which makes it a great place to get off the beaten path in South Thailand.
Getting to Kho Khao island from Khao Sok is easy. Guests can take a public bus or shared van west, to the city of Takua-Pa. From the Takua-Pa bus stop, it is a 20-minute taxi ride to the Ban Nam Kem pier, where ferries depart for Kho Khao. Once on the island, it is easy to find transport to any resort. For the more adventurous traveler, we recommend renting a motorcycle to explore the island.
While there are diversions in the island’s interior, the focus for guests to Kho Khao island will be the beaches. Kho Khao has stunning, western-facing beaches, most of which fade into groves of Caussarina trees. Our favourite of these is Ha Pla beach, on the central-western shore. To that end, we would recommend guests attempt to find a room at the Ha Pla Beach Cottages. This is a lovely collection of cottages, run by a charming Thai couple.