Best cultural experiences in southern Thailand

photo by CC user kallerna on wikimedia commons

Trying to uncover the best cultural experiences in Southern Thailand? This post will reveal to you to the best places to go when the party highlights of this region aren’t enough to pique your curiosity for the finer things in life…

Krabi: Wat Tham Seua

Also known as the Tiger Temple, Wat Tham Seua should not be mistaken for the complexes further north that employ questionable ‘conservation techniques’ in the care of one of nature’s most precious cats. Instead, this temple sits at the base of a limestone karst, with a Buddha statue and golden stupa sitting at the other end of more than 1,200 steps.

The climb might be grueling, but by the time you get to the top, the view and sense of accomplishment that you will receive will make the pain more than worth it.

Nakhon Si Thammarat: Wat Phra Mahathat

Ranking as one of the most important temples in all of southern Thailand, Wat Phra Mahathat in Nakhon Si Thammarat is a must visit as you poke around the region on your slow travels. The main draw of this place is the fact that it is reputed to have a relic of the Buddha in the form of one of his teeth.

Boasting a 78 metre high chedi surrounded by more than one hundred smaller ones, this temple depart from typical Thai design, as its construction was inspired by the type of builds typically found in Sri Lanka.

Sculptures complete the ambiance of the place, with elephant heads and demon guardians joining the omnipresent Buddhas around this complex.

Phuket Town: Old Phuket

While Phuket’s reputation is largely influenced by the goings-on in places like Patong Beach, there is more substance to this place than all-night parties and sun loungers. In the island’s interior is the administrative centre of Phuket Town, and it is here where settlement existed well before it was ever found by the global tourism industry.

The Chinese and the Portuguese were here long before that with their pick axes and shovels, eager to liberate tonnes of tin from the earth in exchange for riches. As such, you’ll find architecture in its streets that reflects its unique cultural heritage, as well as a museum that profiles its past history before Europeans came here en masse.

Songkhla: Songkhla National Museum

Find yourself in the provincial capital of Songkhla during your wanderings off the beaten track? Drop by the Songkhla National Museum, the former mansion of the governor of this Thai province.

Today, it plays host to southern folk art and crafts, so if you’re looking to get underneath the creative skin of the people here, this is the place to go.