Bounded on both sides by water the people of the south are generally a seafaring lot, and this region offers some magnificent seafood dishes. The south is also a major exporter of rubber, tin and coconut.
Further south is the coastal town of Songkhla with its brightly painted fishing boats and white sands of Samila beach. 30km south-west is Had Yai where you can easily pick up a bus or taxi to Sadao and into Malaysia.
Probably the most famous piece of coastline in Thailand is at Phang Nga Bay about 96km north of Phuket. Forested limestone pillars rise out of the sea like inverted mountains, while numerous caves provide plenty of scope for adventure.
180km by road from Phuket is the provincial capital of Krabi which has good beaches and offers excellent snorkeling opportunities around the numerous islands in the province. Further south is Satun and the Phetra National Park, where Koh Turatao is located.