Go West, Young Traveller: To Phucket, Krabi and Beyond

Next to Bangkok, the most famous and often visited spot in Thailand is Phucket. The party-heavy province, also Thailand’s biggest island, is parked off the western coast, reachable by plane into the modestly sized airport or via the one bridge that crosses from a northern peninsula off the mainland. So while it’s hardly difficult to reach, its physical isolation—it’s an island still—helps the place maintain a chill, distant vibe, like you’re partying on a tropical island without really going too far afield.

In fact, Phucket’s reputation as a partier’s haven as outgrown its reputation for anything else, which has led travellers to yearn for a taste of something different. Enter the new trifecta: hitting up Phucket, Krabi and Ko Phi Phi in a triangular one-two-three punch that dazzles and impresses visitors of any disposition.

A stunning sky off the coast of Krabi. (norsez Oh / Flickr)

This kind of itinerary is best started in Phucket, home to the region’s only international airport. The island is well suited for tourists, with all the amenities, including ample choices of restaurants, massage parlours and seaside activities. You can head to the popular western beach for a bite with a view, or trek further inland to visit unique spots like a Thai rum distillery, trek the highlands or admire the Chinese-influenced architecture of the island’s eponymously named capital city.

Moving on to Koh Phi Phi, you’ll find the island paradise you’ve always dreamt up. You can trek up to the highest peak to catch a stunningly expansive sunset, watch monkeys trolling the beach, swim in the salty blue ocean and drink fresh coconut water straight from the source all day long. At night, Koh Phi Phi is a haven for affordable nights out, with well-stocked bars and sizzling pad Thai around every major corner.

Finally, in Krabi, you can get a taste for authentic Thai culture by climbing the infamous 1,260 steps to the ancient Tiger Temple, browse the town of Ao Nang and visit local markets for something to bring home to your friends.

No comparable sunsets anywhere but Koh Phi Phi. (TimOve / Flickr)

If you’re looking for an affordable way to see all this with fellow millennial travellers, check out Contiki’s Thai Island Hopper West tour—it’s got seven nights of accommodation, daily breakfast, loads of free time and all transport costs covered. And if you’re looking for a deal, use our coupon code to save $150 off this or any other Thai trip with Contiki!

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