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Tantalising Thailand

  • July 3, 2018
  • By 50 Shades
Tantalising Thailand

Like many of my fellow Australians, I have travelled to tantalising Thailand to see what all the fuss is about.  In fact I have had four Thailand holidays staying at four different locations: the islands of Phuket and Koh Samui, the coastal tourist area of Ao Nang in Krabi and the capital city of Bangkok. They are all unique in their own way.


Patong Beach in Phuket is probably the most well known Thailand holiday destination with it’s reputation as the party capital of Thailand. Patong’s streets are bulging with vendors and markets selling anything from pirated dvd’s to fake designer brand sunglasses. Although the beach here is hugely popular, I would not swim here, but a short drive to neighbouring Karon Beach or Kata Beach will more than satiate your golden sandy beach thirst.

Tantalising Thailand

Although Patong Beach boasts hundreds of up-market resort hotels, a western-style shopping centre called Jungceylon, nightclubs and bars and an array of top quality restaurants, it still has a seediness and stench about it that is unappealing. After staying at nearby Kata Beach, I would not bother with Patong at all, unless you really want to haggle a deal with the many street vendors or you want to experience the vibrant night life.

Tantalising Thailand

What to Do & See in Phuket

There are many things to do and see on a Phuket holiday, that makes it extremely popular with tourists from all around the world. The highlights would have to be:

  • Hire a long boat with driver and cruise out to one of the small islands just off the coast of Phuket and go snorkelling or swimming in the beautiful aqua waters of the Andaman Sea.Tantalising Thailand
  • Cruise out to the numerous islands off the coast on a day trip by speed boat and visit Phi Phi Island, Maya Bay – the island where the movie The Beach was made, and beautiful Kai Island.Tantalising Thailand
  • Cruise out to James Bond Island by speed boat and kayak amongst the many limestone rock formations jutting out of the ocean.Tantalising Thailand
  • Hire a taxi driver for the day and circumnavigate the island visiting many points of interest such as Cape Panwa, The Big Buddha, The Buddhist Temple in Phuket Town and finish the day off by taking an elephant ride through the forest.
  • Get a Tuk Tuk to take you to the After Beach Bar for a cold beverage and watch the spectacular sunset on their deck overlooking the Andaman Sea.Tantalising Thailand
  • Take in a show such as Fantasea, which is part circus-part cabaret, or the Simon Cabaret, the boy-girl and transvestite show.
  • Go to Dino’s restaurant and bar at Karon Beach, which is made out of fake rock to replicate the set of The Flinstones or to the nearby Secret Cliff Restaurant which is located on a cliff and offers stunning ocean views and delicious Thai cuisine.Tantalising Thailand
  • Shop at the many street markets and get yourself cheap knock-offs of almost any designer brand handbag, watches, sunglasses, sports shoes, surf shirts and boardshorts and even designer brand underwear! Alternatively get a tailor-made suit or dress made to measure that can easily be whipped up in 24 hours.Tantalising Thailand
  • A trip to Phuket would not be complete without indulging yourself in a massage, either in one of the up-market resorts or on a sunbed on the beach. An hours massage can cost as little as $10 AUD.
  • A day trip to the Monkey Caves, White Water Rafting and Elephant Trekking is also very worthwhile.Tantalising Thailand

For more inspiration of what to do an see during your stay in Phuket see top 10 things to do in Phuket.

Where to Stay in Phuket

We have been to Phuket on three different occasions and have stayed at a variety of hotels and resorts. You can expect to pay anything from $40 to $500 AUD per night, depending on your budget and your preference of style of Phuket accommodation. Most beachfront hotels/resorts charge around $100 to $150 AUD per night.

Tantalising Thailand

Here’s a couple of the places that we stayed at that I would recommend:

Novotel Phuket Resort in Patong Beach
Kata Beach Resort & Spa on Kata Beach
Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa at Karon Beach

Ao Nang Beach, Krabi

Although Krabi does have an international airport, you can catch a ferry from Phuket over to Ao Nang, which is well worth the trip as you cruise past many other pretty little islands on the way. If you fly in, it is a 20 minute drive from Krabi Town, located on the west coast of southern Thailand.

Tantalising Thailand

Ao Nang is a fairly relaxed and laid back small beach resort town with plenty of top class hotel resorts, nice little restaurants and some great shopping. It is a little lacking in nightlife and young party travellers would bore quickly, but it does have a few relaxed bars and two nightclubs.

Tantalising Thailand

What to Do & See at Ao Nang Beach

Ao Nang offers a wide range of activities and attractions, including snorkelling, kayaking, island-hopping, climbing, scuba diving, spa/massage/beauty, shopping, white water rafting, hiking, temple visits, elephant trekking, cooking classes and  fishing.

Tantalising Thailand

I can highly recommend a long boat trip around to Railay Beach and then a short walk around to Phra Nang Beach which is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The water here is exquisite and the beach is flanked by high limestone cliffs on either side.

Tantalising Thailand

On the eastern side of the beach there is Phra Nang Cave that contains a large collection of carved wooden phallic symbols, offerings and other objects believed to help with fertility. Definitely worth a try if you are wanting to conceive!

A day spent island hopping to the outer islands of Chicken, Poda and Tup Islands are also a must do. But a word of warning, these islands get very busy and crowded so you’re best to get up early and jump on the first long boat or speedboat before the tourists all swarm in.

Tantalising Thailand

But probably one of the best things to do in Aonang Beach is to find a spot for a cool beverage and watch the magical sunset over the beach. It’s divine!

Tantalising Thailand

For more on Ao Nang Beach and Krabi read my post Kool & Kicked Back in Krabi.

Where to Stay at Aonang Beach

I’ve visited Aonang Beach on two separate occasions, with our first experience being very favourable and second not so favourable. Because on both occasions we wished to be beachfront there are limited resorts in this location. Most of the hotels and resorts are tucked away or are located a distance out of town and they are generally more expensive that Phuket.

Tantalising Thailand

I would recommend Aonang Villa Resort and I would not recommend the rundown and tired Golden Beach Resort.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is the second largest island after Phuket, located off the east coast of Thailand with an abundance of natural resources, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees. There are many things to do on this island paradise, apart from just lounging around your resort pool or on one of the beautiful beaches.

Tantalising Thailand

Chaweng Beach

What to Do & See on Koh Samui

  • Hire a scooter and circumnavigate the island taking in many of the sights.
  • Visit Grandpa and Grandma Rocks which look, respectively, like  male and female genitalia at Lamai Beach.Tantalising Thailand
  • See the Big Buddha temple and watch the majestic sunset from the viewing deck overlooking the sea.Tantalising Thailand
  • Take a speed boat out to Ang Thong National Marine Park that is a pristine archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand with towering limestone mountains, thick jungle, white-sand beaches, fertile mangroves, waterfalls and hidden coves and lakes to explore.Tantalising Thailand
  • Have a refreshing cocktail or local beer on a deck chair at one of the many beach bars adorned with fairy lights and paper lanterns along the beachfront and watch the sunset.Tantalising Thailand
  • Drive out to the two Na Muang waterfalls that are probably the most picturesque. The name Na Muang refers to the massive purple rocks at the waterfalls.Tantalising Thailand
  • Visit the Samui Aquarium and Tiger Show where there is a very good dolphin and bird show and you can even get your photo taken with a tiger cub.
  • View the body of Samui’s most famous mummified monk, Luang Pordaeng is on display at Wat Khunaram.Tantalising Thailand
  • The fishermans village at Bophut Beach near Chaweng is worth a visit for its mixture of shops with several boutiques, selling high quality clothing and jewellery.
  • Shopping, bars and nightclubs are everywhere in Chaweng, the major town of Koh Samui if that is what you are looking for.Tantalising Thailand
  • Dine at The Cliff Bar & Grill situated on the south-east coast of Koh Samui in between Chaweng Noi and Lamai. The views and the food are both scintillating. Tantalising Thailand

Where to Stay on Koh Samui

There are literally hundreds of hotels and resorts littered around the island so the choices are endless. My advice is to watch for great accommodation deals on Luxury Escapes for starters, that include all types of extra goodies like massages, dinners, transport and activities.

Tantalising Thailand

We stayed at the Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa at Lamai Beach. This was superb 5-star resort accommodation in a great location and yes we did get a great deal at the time!

Known as the “Land of Smiles”, a Thailand holiday has much to offer, from holidaymakers seeking sandy beaches for relaxation and watersports galore, to the bargain shopping and pulsing nightlife. For most it’s about venturing to the islands in the Gulf of Thailand or Andaman Sea, such as Koh Samui or Phuket, for postcard-perfect beaches fringed with palm trees. Most of all it’s an affordable holiday and the Thai people are friendly and willing to please.

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By 50 Shades, July 3, 2018 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

  • Pinky Poinker
    January 20, 2014

    Amazing photos! Especially of the water. Wow!

  • Kathy
    January 20, 2014

    Pinky, yes the water is sublime. There are so many untouched and unspoilt areas in Thailand and that is just a sample of how beautiful it is!

  • Johanna
    January 20, 2014

    What a fabulous travel trip you’ve taken me on this afternoon. I haven’t been to Thailand in a long time and you’ve reminded me how much I want to go back. We’ve been to Bangkok and Phuket and Koh Samui, but it’s Krabi that’s been on my bucket list for quite a while.

  • kathymarris
    January 20, 2014

    Yes it took me back too Jo. There is definitely something magical about Thailand. I don’t whether it is the gentle Thai people, the delectable Thai food or the beautiful beaches that tantalizes me, but I would say that I will go back there someday. As for Krabi, it is a lovely spot – you would love it there.

  • Gabes
    April 22, 2015

    Thanks Kathy, we are going to Thailand in December for a wedding so this has given me some great ideas for things to see and do. We are staying in Phuket at Karon Beach for 6 nights, then travelling by train up to Chiang Mai via Hua Hin (hubby’s fave golfing spot) and Bangkok. It’s my first trip so really excited :)

    • Kathy
      April 25, 2015

      Glad I could be of help Gabes. Thailand is well worth a visit. I hope you enjoy your trip.

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    April 22, 2015

    It really does look beautiful. I love the colour of the water and all those formations. My big boys are going over later in the year. I must show them this post.

    • Kathy
      April 25, 2015

      Michelle, Thailand is a great place for a cheap holiday and as along as you avoid the sleazy bar and nightclub area. Your boys will love it!

  • budgettraveltalk
    February 11, 2016

    I love the Thai people. So far we’ve only been to Bangkok where we stayed for four days using it as a base to fly to Laos. Your photos and summary have given me more ideas. :)

    • Kathy
      February 11, 2016

      Yes the Thai people are lovely. Out of all the SE Asia countries we visited recently on our cruise the Thai people were by far the nicest. I am actually returning to Thailand on a girl’s holiday in 10 days time to Bangkok and then on to Krabi for a week. So I will be very relaxed and reinvigorated after two holidays! :)

  • Jo from Lifestyle Fifty
    February 11, 2016

    Loved your photos (again) as I’ve re-read this today and wished I was in Krabi!

    • Kathy
      February 11, 2016

      Believe it or not I am returning to Krabi in 10 days time for a girlie holiday! I will be well and truly South East Asia’ed out after that!! :)

  • Janet
    July 8, 2018

    *Sigh* yup Thailand is definitely on my bucket list. Loved reading your experiences and seeing your pics!

    • Kathy
      July 8, 2018

      Thailand is a great holiday destination and we have enjoyed all of our trips here. The Thai people are simple and beautiful people and make you feel very welcome. I could easily return here.

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