Gulf of Thailand
The Gulf of Thailand literally meaning Gulf of Siam is a shallow arm of the South China Sea. It is bordered by Cambodia, Thailand and
Vietnam. The northern tip of the gulf is the Bay of Bangkok at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. The gulf covers roughly 320,000 km². The
boundary of the gulf is defined by the line from Cape Bai Bung in southern Vietnam (just south of the mouth of the Mekong river) to the city
Kota Baru on the Malaysian coast. At the height of the last ice age the Gulf of Thailand did not exist, due to the lower sea level, the location
being part of the Chao Phraya river valley.
The Gulf of Thailand is relatively shallow: its mean depth is 45 m, and the maximum depth only 80 m. The main rivers which empty into the
gulf are the Chao Phraya (including its distributary Tha Chin River), Mae Klong and Bang Pakong Rivers at the Bay of Bangkok, and to a
lesser degree the Tapi River into Bandon Bay in the southwest of the gulf.
The Gulf of Thailand harbors many coral reefs, and thus several diving resorts. Due to the tropical warmth of the water, it is popular with
tourists. Some of the most important tourist destinations in the Gulf of Thailand are the islands of Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan in Surat Thani
Covered Islands and Beaches in the South are:
o Koh Samui
o Koh Phangan
o Koh Tao
o Cha Am
o Hua Hin
On the east coast in the Gulf of Thailand, is Ko Samui the largest Island in the Gulf Of Thailand. It is Thailand's third largest island after Ko
Chang and Phuket, with an area of 228.7 km2 and a population of over 50,000 (2008) attracting 1.5 million tourists per year. It is rich with
natural resources, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees. Once on the backpacker's trail with basic facilities, the island has
developed into an international resort with all comfort which Mass tourism is looking for.
Despite the development Samui still retains its friendly charm, beach lifestyle and local flavor. The main beaches of Chaweng and Lamai
have a great nightlife with clubs, discos, live music, cool bars and restaurants while Maenam, Bophut and Buddha beach are for those who
enjoy a simpler, less hectic lifestyle.
Koh Phangan is an Island in the Gulf of Thailand in South East Thailand, and located in Surat Thani Province. It is famous for its full moon
party at Haad Rin Beach and as a backpacker’s destination. Ko PhaNgan has two sister islands: the larger Ko Samui to the south and the
smaller Ko Tao to the north. Koh Phangan is just a short boat trip north of Ko Samui and about two-thirds its size.
Ko Phangan has beautiful beaches and inexpensive, basic bungalows. It's the simple beach life which attracts many tourists each year, and
also the island's reputation for full moon parties and hedonistic culture. Popular with budget tourists seeking paradise and cheap
accommodation, the Full Moon parties, once a spontaneous event, now attract up to 10,000 party-goers. Although there have been changes
caused by development, Koh Phangan still has plenty of remote beaches, surrounded with beautiful coral and protected by the spirits of old
Koh Tao is a great place for divers or anybody who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of Ko Samui and want more than the Full
Moon Party on Ko Pha Ngan.
The island is geared towards diving tourists more than backpackers on a budget. You won't find cheap food stalls here. Ko Tao is a great
place to learn how to dive. There are hardly any currents and a wide selection of dive sites and dive shops, schools and resorts. Activity
options are growing outside of diving and the food and nightlife options are some of the best in the Gulf of Thailand.
Ko Tao is a small island of approximately 21 km² and receives over a 100,000 visitors per year. Peak seasons in Ko Tao are from December
to March and July to August. It is a quite popular destination amongst Thais also, so it can be nearly fully booked on Thai holidays.
Cha Am and Hua Hin
One of Thailand's few mainland beach destinations, Cha Am and Hua Hin has long been a favorite resort of Thai royals and high society,
many of who have built weekend holiday homes here due to its close proximity to Bangkok (less than three hours by car). Consequently, the
crowd is a mix of foreign and Thai tourists.
A lot of retired western Expats live there enjoying the warm climate as well as the short distance to Bangkok. Renowned for its balance
between provincial coastal town and high-end resort area, over recent years it has become one of Thailand's premier wellness retreats.
Its home to world-renowned spas and becoming something of a rehab destination to stars and health junkies. Hua Hin is also Thailand's
premier golf destination, with many world- class golf courses scattered about and where major golf events like the Thai Open are hosted. We
don’t really recommend Hua Hin / Cha Am for Tourist beside if the Live already in Bangkok and want to take advantage of the short distance
between those cities