Budget friendly destinations in Southern Thailand

photo by CC user 15711590@N00 on Flickr

For travelers headed to Southeast Asia, spending time in Thailand is all but a given, as its people, food and culture are all powerful draw cards that make it an unmissable destination. Without a doubt though, the most powerful asset that this nation has is its world class beaches, which regularly outclass similar destinations elsewhere in the world.

While accommodation in most of Thailand is cheap, it can tend to be on the pricey side across the nation’s southern portions, where many of its best oceanside gems can be found. For those that know where to look though, it is possible to find budget friendly destinations in Southern Thailand.

Leveraging the knowledge of our staff of avid beach bums, we have come up with three places in this part of the Land of Smiles where you can still have your beach hut without setting your travel budget on fire.

1) Phuket Town

While Phuket Town is located in the interior of one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations, basing yourself here will save you sacks of cash and your sanity. You’ll have to sacrifice both to stay in Patong Beach or many of the other west coast beach resort cities, as prices for accommodation often approach western standards, and the noise from touts, speaker trucks and raucous nightlife will rattle even the most zen traveler.

By staying in Phuket Town, you’ll have access to songthaews that will shuttle you to and from the major beach areas for little more than $1 USD per trip, and with the bulk of local Thais calling this place home, you’ll have a more authentic experience when you return here in the evenings.

2) Ko Lanta

Despite being located a relatively short distance away from the highly popular beach resorts in Krabi province, the sleepy island of Ko Lanta remains the chilled out paradise that it has been since being “discovered” by foreign tourists a generation or so ago.

While some development has occurred over that time span, Krabi and Phuket have attracted the lion’s share of attention from builders, leaving budget and family friendly accommodations to thrive in this friendly backwater.

From meals on the over water pier restaurants at Baan Saladan, to reveling in the Robinson Crusoe-like isolation of pocket beaches like Ao Kantiang, Ko Lanta will very quickly steal a slice of your heart, making a return to this magical place an inevitability.

3) Ko Jum

Located off the coast of Trang Province north of the island of Phuket, Ko Jum is one of many islands that represent one of the final frontiers when it comes to beach tourism in Southern Thailand. Kept off the radar for some time by locals seeking peace and quiet, they have slowly opened up to low-key tourism over the years, and when you see what awaits you, you’ll wonder how it eluded detection for so long.

With shimmering jade colored waters and powder white sand, lush jungle, and locals that have yet to be corrupted by mass tourism, it is everything that a traveler could want in a SE Asian island getaway.

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