Is there anyone out there that wouldn’t like to visit Thailand? Anyone? Because we see you lot lapping up the amazing Thailand deals we find. We think it’s because Thailand is one of those countries with something for everyone, providing you’re into tropical climates and exotic holidays of course. There’s certainly a wide variety of resorts; from barefoot chic beach huts on unspoilt islands to high-rise hotels offering all the mod-cons. Plus Thailand offers the UK very good value – no matter what your budget.
And how better to demonstrate that than by planing how we’d like to spend a day at some of our top Thai beach destinations! From thrifty backpacker budgets to pulling out all the stops with a laid back luxury retreat.
Luxury: Living the High Life in Krabi
Deluxe Pavilions at the Rayavadee resort – Image © Rayavadee
Obviously any sumptuous day will begin in suitable style: We’d suggest awaking in your own two-storey pavilion, set in a lush coconut grove, at the luxurious Rayavadee resort. You can sit down to a wholesome breakfast at Raya Dining, just one of the hotel’s four divine restaurants, this one decorated with polished wood, intricate carvings and a delicate gold mural.
For the morning you can travel by elephant (vehicle of choice for maharajahs, darling) to the sparkling waters of the Emerald Pool. The fresh water pool is about an hour by elephant, through a palm tree plantation. There’s time to for bathing in the waters, and exploring the nearby crystal clear spring water pools before the return trek. Only book with a reputable elephant camp – If you’re having a day of royal treatment you can afford to make sure these beautiful animals are cared for too.
Emerald Pool (you need to visit in the early morning to see it’s emerald hue)
You’ll want to make some time for the three breathtaking beaches at your resort (inconspicuously patrolled by the hotel’s security guards to keep those grubby backpackers out) and there’s only one choice for lunch: The Grotto. This atmospheric eatery is nestled beneath an open limestone cavern, with sand underfoot and stalactites overhead.
The Grotto – Image © Rayavadee
In the afternoon charter your own traditional longtail boat to take you to some of the surrounding islands. The four islands is a popular itinerary giving you brilliant white sands and snorkelling aplenty. If you had longer you could journey to the Hong Islands or remote Bamboo Island.
Rooms at Rayavadee: from £332 per night
Elephant Trek: from £20 per person
Private Longtail boat tour: from £45 per person
Mid-range: An Action Packed Day in Pattaya
Our pick for a great all-rounder (and not an easy decision given the many, many hotels in Pattaya) is the Page 10 Hotel; excellent reviews, reasonable price tag, cool boutique vibe and the biggie: a location close to the beach!
Image © Page 10 Hotel
Pattaya is Thailand’s most built up beach resort so there’s an enormous choice of activities to do here. Whilst it’s still cool in the morning set off on a cycle tour of the city. RBB offer a gentle “Colors of Pattaya” ride which take you to the Northern and eastern suburbs of the Pattaya which feel a world apart from the bustling centre. You’ll see typical Thai style buildings and a Muay Thai boxing school.
Relaxing time! Pattaya beach
After lunch it’s time for a bit of longing on the beach, which will give your stomach time to digest before you jump into the 2Sky Pattaya-Rocket Ball! You’ll be launched 50 metres into the air at 100 kilometres an hour, it would be a fantastic view of Pattaya – if only you manage to keep your eyes open!
If you want a bit of authentic Thai culture then you should take a trip to the incredible Sanctuary of Truth temple. This coastal wooden temple tells Buddhist stories through intricate carvings and not a single nail was used in its construction.
Sanctuary of Truth
Your day’s not nearly over when the sun sets. There’s some very out-there nightlife on offer in Pattaya – the transvestite show Tiffany’s Cabaret has achieved international renown. Check it out for yourself, and expect a very decadent performance.
Room at Page 10 Hotel: from £55 per night
Bicycle tour: from £20 per person
Rocket ball: From £15 per person
Entrance to the Sanctuary of Truth: From £10 per person
Tiffany’s Cabaret Show: from £25 per person
Budget: Backpacker Fun in Ko Pha Ngan
Thailand may be attracting more and more luxury tourism these days, but the backpacker will never go short of a place to stay. Especially if they head for the island of Ko Pha Ngan, famous (or should that be infamous?) for the Full Moon parties. The parties are held at the main resort of Haad Rin, but there are plenty of other accommodations on unspoilt beaches all over the island – Try Haad Salad and Haad Kuat for the cheapest bungalows: you can stay for a couple of pounds a night if you’re willing to seek out the best bargains and haggle a little. YOu should expect to pay more if you’re there for full moon though – and book in advance if at all possible!
As for activities – you’re on a budget remember?!? The beach is free, as is snorkelling in the crystal clear waters – head to the Marine Park at Mae Haad if you want to see some amazing reef life. If you’re really feeling flush you could splash out a massage – you can expect to pay just a couple of pounds on the beach.
Full Moon Party – Image © OlegD
Of course you shouldn’t miss out on the nightlife though – and you don’t need to even if you’re strapped for cash. The parties happen right on the beach and you can buy a bucket of cocktail from the beach front vendors – warning. They are strong. Share with a friend.
Beach bungalow: fr £5 per night
Massage: from £3
Drink bucket: from £4