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Destination guide to… Thailand

With powder-like white sands, top-notch hospitality and affordable fragrant cuisine,  it’s difficult to find a reason not to visit Thailand for a secluded, romantic or family escape. Regarded as one the most popular holiday destinations for expats living and working in Hong Kong, Thailand keeps the crowds coming back for its pristine waters, subtropical climate and soulful locals. With hundreds of islands stretching from the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea, it can sometimes be difficult to choose where to visit first. Read on for an introduction to which islands are the best to visit, and why! 

Koh Phi Phi Islands, Thailand © Thai Consulate

 

Chiang Mai

As the most popular travel hub for Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is regarded as the top province to visit if you’re looking for an action-packed escape. The city appeals to the cultural thrill-seeking traveller with a vast array of activities, tours and experiences, including a day in the life of a local villager, visits to the tiger and elephant parks, treetop ziplining, abseiling, white water rafting and much more. 

Wat Chadi Luang by Yves LC

What to do 

Schedule a private day-tour that takes you on a journey through Chiang Mai’s mountain villages, where you can enjoy an authentic home-cooked Thai lunch. Then complete the day with a visit to the Elephant Nature Park and Tiger Kingdom

Where to stay

Fringing the Mai Ping River, The Anantara, Chiang Mai Resort is a luxurious sanctuary of contemporary colonial luxury. 

Where to eat & drink

Swing by Favola at Le Meridia Hotel, Chiang Mai’s most popular contemporary Italian restaurant and bar for finger-licking pasta, pizza and desserts. 

How to get there

Hong Kong Express travels direct to Chiang Mai for $1500 return. 

Favola at Le Meridien Hotel

Phuket

Known as the jewel of Thailand – and home to the most exclusive resorts and beach clubs – Phuket offers even the most discerning traveller with a never-ending list of great dining and relaxation options. Head to old Phuket Town to view original shophouse-lined streets and delight in fabulous local dining options. Or, for something more chilled, head to the north of the island for seaside luxury resorts with lush beach appeal. 

Private plunge pool accommodation at Trisara, Phuket

What to do 

Schedule a luxury fishing charter from Phuket’s Chalong Marina and spend the day catching and swimming with tropical marine life. 

Where to stay

If a busy year has you wanting to splurge on private villa-style accommodation then head to Trisara for the ultimate in luxury retreats. 

Where to eat & drink

Stealing the Traveler’s Choice award in 2016, be sure to check out Kopitiam by: Wilai for what is dubbed as the most authentic Thai tucker on the island.

How to get there 

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon code-share daily flights to Phuket from $1,600 return.  

Kopitiam by Wilai

Koh Samui

Voted as one of the best spa, yoga and relaxation destinations in the world, Koh Samui caters for both the luxe and budget traveller with a plethora of beachside bungalows and resort accommodation options scattered across island. From the hustle and bustle of Chaweng Beach or the tropical seclusion found in the bay of Maenam; Koh Samui offers enough sheer beauty to tickle everyone’s fancy! 

Sunrise in Ko Samui by Lisa Tancsics

What to do 

Book a day on the Island’s Chanter Junk Boat and enjoy the taste of Asia with the wind in your hair. 

Where to stay

Reserve a double balcony room at the Four Seasons Resort, Koh Samui and indulge in one of the many oceanfront Thai spa treatments!

Where to eat & drink

For contemporary Thai food and a sublime sommelier-inspired international wine list, visit Barracuda at the Wharf. A favourite watering hole among expats here.

How to get there 

Bangkok Airways offers direct flights from $7,800 return. 

Contemporary Thai cuisine at Barracuda at the Wharf

  

Ko Phi Phi

Ko Phi Phi (pronounced Koh PP) is best-known for its breathtaking beaches, unique rock formations and turquoise waters. You’ll be in the minority if you visit Koh Phi Phi and don’t arrange a day tour snorkelling or scuba diving around the islands eccentric rock formations. If you are however, rest assured that the dining and nightlife scene found at Phi Phi is also voted best in Thailand and will keep you well entertained.

The shores of Phi Phi by Diego Delso

What to do 

Measuring only 600m wide and 700m long, schedule a day trip to Bamboo Island for tropical oasis bliss!  

Where to stay

For rustic beachside luxury check in to Zavala Resort, Koh Phi Phi. 

Where to eat & drink

Skip the main course and head to The Mango Garden for a menu loaded with decadent international desserts.

How to get there 

Air Asia has daily flights to Krabi from $1,900 return. A boat transfer is needed for the rest of the journey.

The Mango Garden

Bangkok 

Bangkok is a city of contrasts at every turn. Marvel at gleaming temples, indulge in hawker stand street cuisine or spend the day on foot traipsing through markets and local shopping districts. The cosmopolitan city boasts majority of the leading luxury hotel chains or for the more modest traveller, budget yet cosy serviced apartments can be found in the plenty.

Wat Arun, Bangkok by Muisamart

What to do 

Put on a comfortable pair of walking shoes and trek the city by dusk into the evening. Enjoy local street food and refuel at many of the cities local watering holes. 

Where to stay

If you want to be positioned in the centre of town and close to where the action is check out SO Sofitel, Bangkok. 

Where to eat & drink

Enjoy an alfresco cocktail and dining experience high above the city at Banyan Tree’s Vertigo & Moon Bar.  

How to get there 

Hong Kong airlines filies direct to Bangkok from $1,400 return. 

The night view from Vertigo & Moon Bar © Banyan Tree

Koh Lanta 

Koh Lanta is best known for its coral-fringed beaches and mangroves. It attracts the more discerning tourist looking for a totally chilled beachside holiday. Once a popular destination for sea gypsies and yoga buffs, this natural gem has now morphed into a bohemian’s luxury paradise. 

Beach huts in Koh Lanta by Dronepicr

What to do

This island exudes the relaxation vibe, so prop up a beach-front cabana chair and basque in the sunshine with a good book.

Where to stay

Book a couple of nights at the Pimalai Resort and Spa for vast ocean views and plunge pool paradise. 

Where to eat & drink

Set within stone and overlooking a canyon of ocean you will find Cave Restaurant & Bar serves up exceptionally good Western and Thai fusion cuisine. 

How to get there 

Air Asia has daily flights to Krabi from $1,900 return. A boat transfer is needed for the rest of the journey.  

Ban Saladan Pier, Ko Lanta by Casey Yancey

 

By: Noelle Walker

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