In the heart of South East Asia, bordered by Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Burma, Thailand is the meeting point of all those peoples that forged the history of this age-old continent for thousands of years. Although the country resolutely looks to the future and is developing cities of breathtaking modernity, it has still managed to preserve its exceptional heritage.
Thailand’s rich geography that comprises paradise islands, outstanding beaches and luxuriant jungles combined with its cuisine of exceptional subtlety and variety makes Thailand South East Asia’s foremost tourist destination.
Thailand offers the discerning traveller a very luxurious experience with top quality accommodation at top quality destinations with top quality activities and experiences. Combined with delectable cuisine and top quality wellness options, Thailand can leave a lasting impression on you so that you keep coming back for more! In this edition, we focus on some of the exotic destinations that Thailand has to offer:
Hua Hin is a beach resort town in Thailand, in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula, some 200 km south of Bangkok.
Known as the ‘royal’ coast, Hua Hin has long been the favoured playground of the Bangkok monarchy and elite. Located 200 kms south of Bangkok, Hua Hin is popular with tourists in the same pursuit of leisure and to visit the summer palaces of the revered kings which are now open to the public.
Tourist attractions in Hua Hin include Hua Hin Beach, Kao Takiap (a headland with a Buddhist temple), Klai Kangwon Palace, Takiap Hill, Hin Lek Fai Hill, Tao Hill, Pa La-u Waterfall, Plearnwan and Butterfly Garden.
Recreational activities in Hua Hin include fishing, boating, kite-boarding, martial arts, elephant camping, banana boat riding, water sports, trekking, cycling, diving, snorkelling, pony-riding, golf and various cultural activities showcasing Thai culture.
Whether you are planning a honeymoon, anniversary or any special occasion, the best hotels in Hua Hin to stay are Anantara Resort and Spa, Aleenta Resort and Spa, Chiva-Som Resort, Dusit Thani Hua Hin, Hyatt Regency and The Barai Residential Spa.
Best time to visit Hua Hin:
Best time to visit Hua Hin is from November to February because weather is pleasant and you are most likely to experience dry, sunny days. December and January see the maximum influx of tourists.
How to reach Hua Hin:
Flights to Bangkok are available from all the major cities in India. From Bangkok, you can take a private transfer to Hua Hin.
Krabi is located on the west coast of southern Thailand at the mouth of the Krabi River where it empties in Phang Nga Bay. Krabi has myriad bays and coves and with attractions like hot springs, a wildlife sanctuary, sea caves, flourishing coral reefs and exotic marine life and limestone cliffs, visitors are treated to such variety and diversity.
Most of Krabi province is home to national parks. The key destinations for tourists include Hat Noppharat Thara, Ao Nang, Railay, Tiger cave temple, Poda Island and Ko Phi Phi National Park. Krabi province includes over 80 smaller islands such as Lanta Island (Ko Lanta) and Phi Phi islands that are well-known to adventurers, yachtsmen, scuba-divers, snorkelers, and day-trippers from Phuket.
Ko Lanta National Park includes several coral-fringed islands with well-known diving sites. Ko Lanta Yai is the site of park headquarters, and is also home to Chao Le, or sea gypsies who sustain themselves largely through fishing.
Apart from fishing, canoeing, cliff jumping, elephant trekking, kayaking, water sports, sailing, bird watching and snorkelling are among popular activities. Khao Phanom Bencha and Than Bok-horani, two well-known national parks, offer inland scenic attractions including waterfalls and caves, and opportunities for trekking, bird watching and eco-tours.
The rock faces at Railay Beach near Ao Nang have attracted climbers from all over the world and each year and are the venue for the Rock and Fire Festival. You can see several rock climbing schools at Railay Beach. In addition, you can play golf in various golf courses in Krabi or indulge in retail therapy at world-class shopping venues.
Most popular luxury hotels in Krabi include Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort, Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort, Phulay Bay, Ritz Carlton Reserve, Zeavola Resort & Spa, Nakamanda Resort & Spa, Hill Top Villa and Rayavadee Hotel.
Best time to visit Krabi:
Best time to visit Krabi is from November to May. During this period you will find sunshine (without scorching heat) all day. Even though sheltered by mountains, Krabi is very cool and breezy especially at night. Even if occasional rainfall occurs, it is moderate. The rainy season is between May and November.
How to reach Krabi:
Direct flights to Bangkok are available from all the major cities in India. From Bangkok, you have to take a 90 minute domestic flight to Krabi. Airlines like Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways have multiple daily flights between Bangkok and Krabi.
Ko Samui, Thailand’s second most popular island destination, is located in the Gulf of Thailand roughly 700 km. south of Bangkok. Ko Samui retains much of its natural beauty while offering nearly every imaginable activity or service for the ultimate beach holiday.
Gifted with natural beauty, popular tourist destinations in Ko Samui include Nathon, Lipa Noi Beach, Bo Phut Beach, Chaweng Beach, Santiburi Samui Country Club, The Yogarden, Wat Plai Laem, Wat Sila Ngu Temple, Ko Tan, Namuang Waterfall, Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park, Big Buddha Temple and Buddha statue.
The beaches of Chaweng and Lamai are bustling beach towns with fabulous beach resorts, internationally acclaimed restaurants, and world-class nightclubs. Activities around Ko Samui include cooking courses, yoga instruction, Muay Thai training, scuba diving, elephant trekking, kayaking, sailing and golf. There are a few quieter beaches that are ideal for relaxation, particularly those that feature some of the finest 5-star resorts in the world.
Some popular luxury hotels in Ko Samui are the Conrad Ko Samui Resort & Spa, ShaSa Resort & Residences, Q Signature Samui Beach Resort, Hansar Samui Resort and Silavadee Pool Spa Resort.
Best time to visit Ko Samui:
The best time to visit Ko Samui is from December to June. The climate of Ko Samui is divided into sunny and rainy season and December to June is the time when both sun as well as rainfall is moderate and in general, the climate is pleasant most of the time.
How to reach Ko Samui:
Direct flights to Bangkok are available from all the major cities in India. From Bangkok, Ko Samui is an hour’s flight from Bangkok. Airlines like Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways have multiple daily flights between Bangkok and Ko Samui. You can also fly to Ko Samui from Singapore on Singapore Airlines.
Chiang Mai is the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand. This city was the capital of Lanna Kingdom from1296 AD to 1768 AD. The old city is a showcase of the north’s fascinating indigenous cultural identity that includes diverse dialects, delectable cuisine, distinctive architecture, traditional values, lively festivals, numerous handicrafts workshops, and classical dances. Chiang Mai is also blessed with pristine natural resources including mountains, waterfalls, and rivers
Chiang Mai is one of the few places in Thailand where it is possible to experience both historical and modern Thai culture coexisting side by side: the city features centuries-old pagodas and temples next to modern convenience stores and boutique hotels. Popular tourist spots in this city include temples like Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chet Yot, Chiang Mai Zoo, Elephant Nature Park, Doi Suthep, Wat Umong as well as museums like Chiang Mai National Museum and Tribal Museum.
Some of the best five star hotels in Chiang Mai include Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa, Puripunn Baby Grand Boutique Hotel, Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa and Rachamankha.
Best time to visit Chiang Mai:
October to February is the best time to visit Chiang Mai because rains are occasional and winter is moderate.
How to reach Chiang Mai:
Flights to Bangkok are available from cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. From Bangkok there are ample flight options to reach Chiang Mai.
Chiang Rai is the northernmost big city in Thailand. It was established as a capital city in the reign of King Meng Rai, in 1262 AD. Chiang Rai is a land of outstanding natural beauty, where travellers can visit remote hill tribes and spot exotic wildlife.
Attractions in Chiang Rai range from ruins of ancient settlements and Buddhist shrines to magnificent mountain scenery and hill tribe villages. Tourist attractions in Chiang Rai include temples like Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong, Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Phra Sing, Wat Doi Khao Khwai, Wat Rong Khun (a modern temple built since 1998 by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat) and Chedi Doi Trimoorati.
Other popular tourist spots include Princess Mother Hall and Doi Mae Salong, Kok River, Doi Tung Royal Villa, Doi Tung Zoo, Phu Chi Fa, Gate of Siam and Saun Mai Ngam Park.
In Chiang Rai, the Night Bazaar is a night market that is a place for souvenirs and local products, with free cultural performances. This place is a must visit for shopaholics. Tourists can enjoy a huge variety of Thai cuisines in more than forty restaurants.
Even if you are not a shopaholic or a foodie, the other recreational activities include Suwannee Thai Cooking Class, Bicycle Tour, Thai massage, golf, elephant ride, yoga training, and city tour via tram. For those interested in the outdoors, jungle trekking is a magical experience where you can explore the mountains of the north along various hiking trails, many of which access the villages of diverse hill tribes groups who still maintain their traditional lifestyle.
No matter whether you are going on vacation to celebrate a special occasion or taking a holiday with the family, the best hotels in Chiang Rai for your stay include Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Dusit Island Resort and Katiliya Mountain Resort & Spa.
Best time to visit Chiang Rai:
The best time to visit Chiang Rai is from late November to the middle of January as the climate is moderately cold during this period and rainfall is occasional.
How to reach Chiang Rai:
In order to reach Chiang Rai, one needs to take a flight from Bangkok. Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways operate daily flights.
Ko Chang is located on the Gulf of Thailand‘s eastern seaboard, 300 kms from Bangkok and near the border with Cambodia. Ko Chang (Elephant Island) is Thailand’s second largest island and the primary destination for those visiting Ko Chang Marine National Park, which includes dozens of unspoiled islands. 70% of Ko Chang is covered by pristine rainforest.
Ko Chang is famous for its waterfalls that include Klong Nonsi, Klong Nueng, Khiri Petch, the 5 waterfalls of Kongoi near Bang Bao, and the Thanmayom waterfall. Other tourist destinations in Ko Chang include Mu Ko Chang National Park, Khlong Prao Beach, Kong Koi Beach, Ban Kwan Chang, White Sand Beach, Kai Bae Beach and Bang Bao Beach.
If you visit Ko Chang in January, you can witness the yearly festival known as Ko Chang Yutthanavi Day that commemorates the Royal Thai Navy’s engagement against the French at the Battle of Ko Chang on January 17, 1941.
Fun activities in Ko Chang include cooking lessons, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, golf, kayaking, diving, elephant trekking, crocodile shows, diving and snorkelling. A large number of spas are available for Thai massage, aromatherapy, and reflexology.
Be it for food, drink or amenities, everything in Ko Chang welcomes you with an exotic feel. The best hotels in Ko Chang include Amari Emerald Cove Ko Chang, Tranquility Bay Residence and Parama Ko Chang.
Best time to visit Ko Chang:
Best time to visit Ko Chang between November and February as the climate is pleasant.
How to reach Ko Chang:
Now serviced by an airport just 15 minutes from the ferry terminal in Trat, Ko Chang is more easily accessible than ever before.
Ko Samet is located in the Gulf of Thailand off the coastline of the Rayong province and is just 200 kms South East of Bangkok. It is the largest and westernmost of a cluster of islands not far from the coast.
Ko Samet is famous for its beaches which has powdery white sand and great year round weather. To enjoy the pleasant climate, cool breeze and soft sand, one needs to go to the beautiful beaches namely Sai Kaew Beach, Ao Nuan, Hat Sai Kaeo beach, Ao Hin Khok and Sin Samut. Audi Bar is another destination popular with tourists. On the main port of Ko Samet, there is a Welcoming Mermaid statue that is worth visiting. At Hat Sai Kaeo Beach, there is a mesmerizing Statue of Aphai Mani and mermaid.
The recreational activities that are available in Ko Samet include water sports, boat rides, ATV rides, shopping, Thai massage, diving, snorkelling, island tours, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, catamaran trips, fishing and beachside massage.
For a luxury vacation, you can find best suites, best cuisines and best massage services in Paradee Resort & Spa Hotel, Le Vimarn Cottage & Spa and X2 Resort Rayong Villas.
Best time to visit Ko Samet:
The best time to visit Ko Samet is during the winter season between November and February when the weather is cooler and the seas are calmer.
How to reach Ko Samet:
From cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and New Delhi, one needs to take a flight to Bangkok. From there, bus and private vehicle options are available for travelling to Ko Samet.
Khao Lak, just an hour’s drive from Phuket is something not to be missed if you are in or around Phuket. This beautiful place is a series of villages spread across a large area surrounded by 3 national parks & wildlife reserves and flanked by endless beaches.
Watch the topography change from high rise cliffs & highlands, to lush green forests and backwaters to the blue hues of the ocean in just a matter of a few hours as you tour on this wonderful nature trail.
The beaches of Khao Lak are stunning where tourists can relax and unwind. Popular beaches in Khao Lak include Khao Lak Beach, Pak Weep Beach, Nang Thong Beach, Bang Niang, Khuk Khak, Cape Pakarang and Bang Sak.
Other tourist destinations in Khao Lak include Lampi Waterfall, Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park, Chong Fah Waterfall, International Tsunami Museum, Wat Suwan Kuha (a Buddhist temple) and Thai Muang National Park (best known for the sights of sea turtles). Khao Lak is also the departure point for Similan Islands, known as one of the best diving spots in the world, where the divers come to swim with whale sharks.
Another popular tourist attraction in Khao Lak is the presence of fight clubs such as Rawai Muay Thai and Khao Lak Muay Thai that showcase Muay Thai matches. Recreational activities include golf, diving, elephant trekking, Thai massage and shopping.
From luxury food, world class services and entertaining babysitting activities for your kids, you will find everything in the best hotels of Khao Lak namely JW Marriott Resort & Spa, The Sarojin, Casa de La Flora, Pullman Khao Lak Katiliya Resort & Spa and La Flora Resort & Spa.
Best time to visit Khao Lak:
The best time to visit Khao Lak is between November and February when the climate is moderate.
How to reach Khao Lak:
From cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and New Delhi, one needs to take a flight to Bangkok and then onwards to Phuket. From Phuket, Khao Lak is an hour’s drive north of Phuket.
With a list of eight exotic vacation-spots in Thailand, what’s on your bucket list? And why? We would love to read your comments.
About Odyssey Travels
Odyssey Travels is a leading IATA accredited Travel Company, established in 1992. We specialize in planning customized holidays in India and abroad for our clients which includes air ticketing, worldwide hotel reservations, inclusive tours, sightseeing activities, visa assistance & travel insurance services. For further information or to make a booking contact 020-66442929 or visit www.odysseytravels.net